Take Two and Call Me in the Morning   22 comments

So, I promised an update on my hands after my visit to the specialist today.  Firstly, I don’t know anything more yet.  They just ran more tests today.  However, I cannot say that my experience was overly positive or that my expectations were really met.

Let’s start from the beginning, shall we?

I get the the doctor’s office 15 minutes before my appointment, as I’m a new patient.  I had completed all of the paperwork they mailed to me, but figured they’d need to do things like check my insurance, process my co-payment, etc.  That did, in fact, take the better part of 15 minutes.  So once the receptionist is done with all of that so says to me “Dr. X will see you, well, when she gets here”.

Strike One.

WTF?  I have an 8:45 appointment.  Scheduled.  And the doctor isn’t even in the building yet?  Ok, whatever.  Maybe she’s caught in traffic or something?  Of course, the way that the receptionist made the comment made it seem like this was a regular thing.  Granted, shame on the receptionist for even making such a comment to a patient.  But I’m a bit disappointed with the doctor from the moment I hear the comment.  It’s probably unfair, but it’s how I felt.

I finally get called back for the appointment, about 25 minutes after my scheduled time.  At which point the doctor rushes in, doesn’t even look at me, and says “so how have you been since the last time we saw each other?”.  Um…I’ve never seen you before.  She didn’t even take the time before my appointment to review the information forwarded to her (including blood work), or to note that I was a new patient.

Strike Two.

Once she fumbled over her mistake we started talking a little bit about my pain.  She asks me about it, taps a few places on my hand/wrist.  Looks at my file.  All in all, I probably saw her for less than ten minutes.  I was a bit, well, disappointed.  But, she ordered some additional blood work and wanted X-Rays done.  So that is at least something a little more. 

I guess I wasn’t sure what to expect.  And perhaps my expectations are too high.  My doctor in Atlanta always started your visits in her personal office.  Where she sat down with you while you were fully clothed and comfortable, and talked with you for 15-20 minutes before your exam.  Then you were directed to your exam room, and she came in and looked over every issue that you addressed in your original visit, and did your exam.  After that, she again saw you in her office for about 5 minutes, where she would discuss any blood work she wanted to run, tell you why and what it’s for and what to expect.

Of course, she was also rated as one of the top doctors in the country.

I guess I just expect that level of attention and care from anyone when I’m talking about my body.  I expect to be more than a number or a name on someone’s chart.  I expect my doctor to actually care what is wrong with me, and walk me through what is being done.  I want to feel like I’m important to them.  I guess that is more the exception than the rule, and I’m spoiled.

Anyhow, disappointed.

Perhaps my later visits will improve and be better.  I’m trying to remain optimistic about it. 

The doctor ordered some more blood work.  I wasn’t expecting blood work and I’d not had anything to eat or drink before my appointment.  I have tiny veins to begin with, making blood work a challenge.  I always make sure to drink at least two bottles of water before I have blood taken to make it less painful, and easier for the vampires to get what they want.  I did not do that this time.

I sat down and let the lab tech know that they will need to draw from my hand.  Mercifully, she listened to me, and didn’t have a “I’m so good I bet I can get a vein in your arm” attitude.  Because I don’t know about you, but I hate being a pin cushion solely for someone’s ego.  So we sit down and she picks a spot close to my wrist on my right hand.  And in goes the needle, and she misses.  She tries again.  And it really, really hurts.  I’ve never had it hurt that bad before – and all I can think is “fuck that is going to leave a HUGE bruise”.

There is a guy sitting across the tiny room getting an IV of something watching the whole thing.

The phlebotomist asks me if I’ve had any water, I tell her “no”.  She decides to try my other hand.  I look away as she gets ready to insert the needle.  As she advises me that she’s in and the blood is flowing freely, I start to feel a bit woosy.  She asks me if I feel dizzy – which only makes me feel more dizzy.  Now, I’ve never passed out from having blood drawn.  But I start to sweat, and see brown spots before my eyes.  Dammit.

I ask for a glass of water.  Keeping my eyes firmly shut and my head down.  I feel like such a weenie.  They bring me one, and as I try to drink I almost pass out.  The vampire indicates that she’s going to take the needle out – I panic, I don’t want to get stuck again for more blood.  She indicates that she’s got enough for what she needs, and they bring me a can of apple juice and make me drink it all down.

The man across the room is still staring at me.

I am immensely embarrassed.  But they make me continue to sit there until my juice is gone and then a little more to make sure I’m not going to stand up and pass out.  They joke about how they have a “no passing out” policy.  They insist on walking me out – likely to make sure I don’t face plant between the lab and the front desk.  I’m mostly ashamed that I’ve caused such a fuss.  I’ve never had this happen to me before, and I’ve had lots of blood drawn.  I don’t know if it’s the room, or the multiple stabbings, or that I hadn’t had breakfast. 

There is some difficulty in scheduling my next appointment because I’m literally travelling for work the entire last half of August, and the doctor is out at the two week mark.  It’s either wait a month to see me, or work something else in.  They decide to work something in for August 15th.  Maybe I’ll end up seeing the other doctor in the practice.  Maybe I’ll like him better.

They then scoot me off to X-Ray.

I’m advised there is a 30-40 minute wait for x-rays, and I sit down and read.  X-ray is fairly painless.  They take X-rays of my hands and my feet.  Apparently you can learn a lot about different injuries from someone’s feet.  I did not know this, and I’m a bit fascinated.  I hope that the doctor will show me the x-rays.  I’ve always found them intriguing.  Ever since I broke my arm when I was a kid and had plates and pins put in it.  My favorite part about seeing the orthopedic surgeon was him putting the x-ray up on the light and pointing out how my arm was healing.

Anyhow, I digress.  They took x-rays.

If both the bloodwork and the x-rays are inconclusive, they will move to doing nerve testing.  I’m not entirely sure what that involves.  Several people on twitter said they are going to run electric shocks through me for a half hour or so.  This does not sound particularly pleasant.  But if it gets me closer to a resolution, bring it on.

I did not receive any advice for the pain.  Granted I was so in shock with everything else, I also forgot to ask what I should do about it in the interim.  So it would seem that it’s going to be the status quo for the next 12 days, until I go back for the results, and potentially more testing.  Hopefully by that time, I’ll be a little less shocked and know a little more about what to expect.

At least we are on the path to finding out what’s wrong?  Silver linings and all that?

Posted August 3, 2011 by Beruthiel in Take two and call me in the morning

22 responses to “Take Two and Call Me in the Morning

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  1. This is a specialist?? My GP doesn’t even treat me like this. My Rheumatologist treats me like a rock star. I couldn’t imagine being treated the way you were. Are there others in this specialty in your area? There is nothing wrong with finding a doctor who respects you. Make sure you let her and the senior physician know why you are leaving, if you do. If you stay, don’t be afraid to let them know of your disappointment about the entire visit. Hold them to a standard. This is your body and you get the final say.

  2. Dang, Beru, I’d be freaking disappointed, too, but I’d also take their workload into consideration. Some specialists are so booked, they literally do run from patient from patient. We have one pediatric orthopedic surgeon in our entire metro area.. we had to book him to get our daughter’s cast taken off the night it was put on and we were told there’s only one day that week he can do it, because he’s already booked the rest of that week. Of course, we took it. He, at least, though, had reviewed the file before he talked to us.. :;sigh::

    But I do very much agree with them on the no-fainting policy, having watched my husband keel over one morning years ago when they were doing diabetes testing. He is Type II and had fasted as required. His tests were done, we were on our way out. I stopped at the window to turn in our paperwork, our then three-year-old daughter had walked ahead of Daddy into the reception area and then I heard a huge BOOM and turned around to see him on the floor, twitching. Jess began screaming from the other side of the door, in falling, he’d knocked it not only closed, but clean through to the wrong-way side of the door jamb, so she panicked as she was suddenly cut off from her parents.

    A lady in the reception area picked her up, passed her through the window to the receptionist who brought her to me at the other window. She immediately squirmed down and went to cuddle with her stricken Daddy. I had just kind of stared in shock. He was instantly swarmed by two nurses, an intern and a doctor, I think, so all I had to do was stand there and soothe my little girl. He woke a minute later, wondering why he was on the floor… Well, they took him off, poured juice down him and made him wait a bit before we all left.

    I NEVER want to go through that again, so just let them fuss over you when you get that way, kk?

    • I’m not going to write her off yet. I figure she deserves another appointment or two before I decide that she’s really not working for me. As for the blood work – SO embarassing! My next appointment is on a day that both Brade and I have off together, so I may have him come with me, so that if I end up shaky he can drive me home :)

  3. Geez! That’s pretty upsetting. I’m so sorry you had to go through something like that.

    I must say though, they’re a lot quicker than my specialists! But at least they take time with me when I see them.

    I actually just had nerve testing done a few months ago. They’ll poke you with tiny needles for reactions, as well as attach electric nodes to your body at different intervals and then send tiny shocks into your body and time how long it takes to get further down your limb. The shocks do get quite uncomfortable, but it’s manageable.

    Let’s hope that your tests are conclusive by this point. Mine weren’t.

    After not finding much specific, they decided to check one last test. They poked 3 inch long needles into my leg muscles that had a video camera on the end. They wiggled them around to see if there was any damage on my muscles and tendons. Yeah…. not the most pleasant feeling. Though not quite as bad as I thought it would be!

    Anyways, back to what you were saying: give it a shot at your next appointment, but if you don’t feel respected this time, I’d honestly complain and/or ask for another reference. I mean.. being late, not reading your charts, not giving you pretty much the time of day? And the nurse missing your veins!! I have tiny veins myself and have gotten really bad bruises from egotistical nurses before. And one blood donation that went really bad that included numb fingers and an extremely painful elbow joint for 2 days.

    Your health and comfort is important, and let them know that. You’re paying for the service, you better damn-well get serviced properly!

    • When I talked to my mom about it, she said that she had the nerve testing done awhile ago (she has alapecia totalis), and that it isn’t too bad. Of course, my father, who was listening to the call, said “hey – can you make them wait to do the shocking thing until I’m going to be there?!”. I was like….THANKS DAD! -_-

      I do intend to give her another shot, and we’ll see where we go from there :)

      • Haha dads are totally awesome! Mine does stuff like that. Yeah, give her another shot; hopefully it’s better :)

  4. I have to get blood drawn pretty often, but I’m one of those people who gets light headed just thinking about needles and blood, so I have a number of coping mechanisms. The most important ones are just like what you already know — close your eyes and drink lots of water beforehand. You have to keep breathing normally because hyperventilating will make you even more light headed. I don’t know if she should have told you when she was taking the needle out… it’s small details like that that make me start visualizing the needle in my arm and… ugh. Better when they tell you it’s all done.

    Feeling dizzy is extremely common, even if you’re not normally scared of blood. That’s why they have the juice boxes on hand. One time I got so dizzy after getting a vaccine (not even blood!) and they made me finish my juice and stay there for at least 15 minutes before I could leave. My mom was even with me, so it wasn’t like I’d pass out with no one to help me. Medical assistants used to it and it’s a normal reaction, so you shouldn’t worry about appearing weak.

    I hope they can find out what’s wrong with your hands soon. I can’t imagine going so long without a diagnosis. :(

    • Yea, I’ve never had trouble with bloodwork before and I don’t know why I did today :(

      Of course, if they do any other blood work for future visits, they are probably going to assume I’m going to get lightheaded!

  5. That’s horrible. Having blood taken in a room with a stranger watching seems unprofessional in my eyes at least. It’s a fairly personal thing, especially given how many people react negatively to it, either due to it being hard to find a vein or dislike of needles/blood in general.
    Although ever since a Nurse told my Grandmother that she had Cancer based on a rather inconclusive blood test, I’d be the first to admit that I tend to see the Medical profession in a fairly dubious light.

    • It was definitely very odd. And he didn’t even offer any encouragement! (Or at least look away!). He just sat there getting his IV injection and watching me squirm :(

  6. I am so longing for when they invent a better way to get your blood. I have been fortunate enough not to have to do that very often, but a friend of mine also usually ends up with someone who carves in her arm. *shudder* I hope everything works out for ya.

    • You know, my dentist in Atlanta had this barely noticible novicaine injection thingie. No huge needle, no pinch and pressure. It was awesome! Surely they are working towards less painful blood withdrawal :)

  7. Ugh, what a series of unpleasant experiences! That doctor really didn’t do much to endear herself, huh. Hopefully it was just an off-day and she’s more personable and professional next time! And that guy watching you get blood drawn…that’s really intrusive. ANY sort of medical procedure is rather private, and often such a vulnerable and exposed feeling. What the hell were they doing just letting some stranger stare at you? I’d be pretty uncomfortable (and annoyed) myself, let alone if there was the embarrassment of near-passing out to deal with.

    I hope your next tests are less miserable and that they have some helpful solutions for you!

    • Yea, wasn’t that impressed with the new doctor at all :( I’m hoping it was just an off day as well. Here’s hoping that they’d have some answers from the blood work and the xrays!

  8. Nerve tests aren’t painful. It isn’t comfortable, but it doesn’t hurt exactly. It’s a really strong buzzing feeling. I had lots and lots when they were diagnosing that I have MS.

    Typically they stick needles in at two points and then run a current in between. It does take a while, especially if the results aren’t conclusive, or if they get unexpected results and want further testing. I’d suggest bringing in a friend, in case you aren’t feeling happy about driving afterwards. My hands had the shakes afterward.

    • My mom said the same thing, pretty much. “They don’t hurt”. But I think I’ll wait and decide that for myself! She’s got a much higher tollerence for pain than I do :)

  9. I don’t think you’re asking for too much to have your doctor read over your file before she meets with you. There are doctors at the practice I go to that I won’t see anymore unless I’m desperate for just this reason. My doctor always remembers me (or pretends very well) even though I only see her maybe two or three times a year at most.

    I have the same blood drawing issues as you, though, with telling the phlebotomist that they’re better off with my hand and them not listening/not believing me/thinking they can do magic. It drives me crazy, because then I get to walk around with this huge painful bruise on the inside of my elbow from the three plus times they stuck me trying to get a good vein.

    • There are definitely doctors at my PCP that I refuse to see now. (Potentially including my own doctor now!). Both of my hands are starting to bruise now. They look so ugly, like someone tried to beat them up!

  10. Sorry your experience was so disappointing. I hope your doctors get better in the future.

    I hate that feeling of thinking you’re going to pass out. I never had a problem with blood or needles until the one time that happened to me – the world spun, my vision went black, I felt like I was going to throw up. I had never had an experience like that before but the combination of not eating and a couple unpleasant procedures beforehand made the blood withdrawal terrible that one time. For a few years after that I was paranoid about it happening again and insisted on laying down any time I had to have blood taken. I’ve only recently gotten over it. I’m just lucky that I have good veins (or so the nurses say).

    • It’s such a very wierd feeling, to be sure. For me, I just feel so out of control of…well, myself! I’ll just remember to drink lots of fluids before going to the docotor again, just in case. :)

  11. Well it has been a long while since I looked in at my favourite Tree blog (since I had to give up raids due to time constraints so went PvP, mostly Kitteh). I am so sorry to hear of your trouble with your hands, I do hope you get a correct diagnosis & effective treatment ASAP.

    Anyway so my guild is gonna carry my resilience laden PvP geared Tree thru Majordomo so I can get the fire staff, ofc I want to carry my weight as much as I can, so my 1st thought to get up to speed on PvE Tree & the fight itself was “Falling Leaves & Wings”! And of course everything I need is right here, a FRAPs kill from Resto PoV no less. Ty Ty TY <3 <3 <3

    Its a funny thing blogging. Although I very rarely commented, I was an avid reader of your blog back in Wrath when I tree raided & was grateful for all the awesome & supremely helpful Tree advice, enjoyed your off topic posts, and related to many of them. it is lovely to be back & reading your blog again, although I am so saddened to hear of your hand pain. From reading so much of your writing I feel I know you quite well (well your public persona anyway), but for the large part, you don't know that silent portion of your readership who think you're an awesome raider & awesome human being & really wish you all the best, and I bet there's lots more than me – I'd hazard a guess that there's more love & support out there than you realise but we're so quiet you wouldn't know we're here or know we care. But we do.

    Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks for all the Tree resources & good reads & send you all my best wishes for fast & effective treatment for your hands.
    Get well soon

    Mokele

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