Monday, September 21, 2009

Satisfaction. Sort Of.

Obviously I am not happy to be sick. Obviously. It sucks, and it takes a while to be clear of this kind of yuck.

But I cannot deny a certain satisfaction with the diagnosis. It's good to put a name on feeling like hot buckets of raw sewage. It was also particularly satisfying at the doctors office, in a third grade mocking "faaaace!' sort of a way. Too bad I have to have pneumonia to have that sort of "satisfaction."

And I hate to play the weight card, but I have to wonder as I look back on my experience, if I had not had one of those "fat hating" health care providers that I have heard about but never encountered. Really though, there is no telling. I have heard on the occasion that I rub folks wrong, and my daddy says that I do not suffer fools well. Perhaps she was just a lousy nurse, or a nurse having a lousy day. Who knows, but here is what happened:

Nurse calls my name and I walk back to the exam rooms with her. She indicates that I should get on the scales and then ushers me back to the room. Looking back on it now, I realize she has skipped the part where she is supposed to take my temperature. But if I noticed at the time I wouldn't have cared much. I never run a fever... as a matter of fact, my regular temp is exactly 97.5 and has been since my early twenties, so I never worry about it. I get strep and don't burn y'all... I just don't.

She takes my blood pressure and it's a little high. Then she sits down with the lap top to start taking notes.

"So, how long have you had this cold?"

"Oh, it's not a cold. I just started with a wheezing and a gurgling sound in my chest last Saturday, then I started feeling achy, supersensitive skin, and fatigued and sore joints yesterday."

"Ok... so you've had symptoms for five days?" She begins typing in.

"Nooooo.... it's been longer than five days."

She looks up and narrows her eyes, "you started with this cold last Saturday?"

"Yes, that's when it started, but it's not a cold. A cold comes with feeling like I have a cold."

"So five days." Resumes typing.

"Um, isn't today Friday?"


"So how is that five days?"

She holds up her hand like she is explaining math to a four year old.... yet again. "Well, you came down with symptoms on Saturday, so that's Sunday," holds up a finger, "Monday," another finger goes up. She continues counting till she get to six and then grudgingly says, "OK. Six then."

I really should let this drop, but I feel like crap and want to be taken seriously. Besides, why the heck is she trying to minimize my symptoms? Why won't she just listen to what I am saying? "So, if I started with symptoms on Saturday, don't you count Saturday?"

"Yes. I counted Saturday."

"Then that's seven days isn't it?" I watched her count again in her head. Her fingers twitch as she goes.

"Fine. Seven." She isn't even pretending to be nice nursie now.

"Yeah. Seven days. But I felt fine until yesterday."

She tippity taps for a few minutes, and then announces that the Doctor will be in in a minute, and leaves.

Y'all, I felt really sick and a little scared. I wasn't watching closely, so I am not sure what was going on with this woman... it could be that I pissed her off in a personal way. Who knows. But the nurse comes in with the doctor ten minutes later and the doc sits down with the lap top and asks the room in general "OK! What is going on with Mrs Chaos here?"

Nurse pipes up from the corner "she has had a cold for seven days."

I know myself well enough to guess that any "polite face" I may have had until that point is gone. I think she is an idiot and I am pretty sure it shows. "This is NOT a cold. I know what a cold is, this is something different."

More discussion and I am getting frustrated. I start to suspect that the doctor believes his nurse over his patient as he asks yet again if I am having any nasal congestion.

Finally he looks in my ears and down my throat and sees nothing. Listens to my lungs and now he starts to engage a little. "OK, well I am definitely hearing somemedicalterm in your left lung. What was her temperature nurse?"

"Um. I didn't take her temp."

"Please do that now," he snaps.

She jumps and the better part of 102 degrees later the doc is ordering influenza tests and a lung xray. This is the last I see of this nurse, and that's GOOD thing, because her replacement is the one who puts the shot in my caboose, and I am betting that could have gone worse than it did.

And now that I have written this whole post, I see how laughable I am. I am an easy target, and my daddy is sooooo right about me! MWahahahahahahaaaaaaa!


Lynanne said...

That kind of attitude rubs me the wrong way too. Last time my father was hospitalized, I told his nurse that he was acting more confused than usual and that I was worried he was spiking a fever. She responded that he didn't feel warm and that he had been that way for the past two days. I started to disagree and she insisted that She'd Taken Care of Him for Two Days. I pointed out that he'd only been admitted 12 hours earlier, and the conversation went all wrong from there. Long story short, he had a fever and an hour after receiving Tylenol, he was more alert again.

Then there was a clash I had with a doctor last week: I was in for my GYN yearly physical and when the doc ask how I was feeling, I answered honestly: I had woken up with a sore throat, fever and aches. My daughter had been diagnosed with strep throat the day before. "Oh," she said, "you could have just called and canceled your appointment." Buh? I tried to joke that it would seem odd to cancel a doctor appointment because I was sick. She took a 2 second look at my throat, said it looked fine and asked if I wanted her to order a swab anyway. Again...buh? So,yes, I too felt a odd sense of satisfaction when the doctor called me later to tell me the strep test was positive.

Anyhow, even if speaking up for yourself rubs someone the wrong way, good for you for doing it. Sometimes medical professionals forget there is a person with feelings behind the chart and sometimes that person isn't an idiot. :)

Nobody™ said...

I love my doc, he takes me seriously no matter how I describe my symptoms. But some of those nurses can be a bit, well, bitchy, if I may use that term here.. At least they ask their silly questions and then leave me and the good doc alone.

Heather said...

yuck. Remember that awful junk you got in Springfield Vt? Sounds like this is worse.

Mama D said...

That has happened to me almost every time I have gone to walk-in for something serious. You were not a bag you were being reasonable with an unreasonable person. Unfortunately when it comes to health care I truly believe that you have to get almost nasty sometimes to be heard. Unfair but fact. Hope you start to feel better soon. :)

Fantastagirl said...

I am beginning to think we are really lucky here. The doctor we go to actually listens to what we say, and most of the time so do his nurses... he has one, that needs to just go into a different line of work, because she acts as if it is an imposition to bring you back to the room.

Maybe next time - you will have a nicer nurse.

elizasmom said...

Lessee, you are sick, feeling lousy, lady is ignoring your complaint and being a horse's patoot — no, I don't think you are in the wrong here. I would've been a wee mite snappish too.