Gone to hell in a handbasket


When I last wrote, I reported that the three CAT-scans I had on Monday had determined that I have a badly crushed L1 vertebra (L1 is the red vertebra in the illustration), and “something” on my left kidney. That something could be a hematoma from the fall, a tumor, or a cyst. To determine which, my internist ordered an MRI, which is scheduled for tomorrow, Thursday. Today, I’m to have a prerequisite blood test to verify that my kidneys have recovered from the injection of the contrast medium on Monday, the test being necessary because more contrast medium is to be injected tomorrow.

The internist’s office called yesterday morning (Tuesday) to let me know they had faxed a referral to a surgical neurologist. I immediately called the neurologist’s office to make an appointment, only to have someone named Toni tell me in her chipper voice that the referral hadn’t arrived. After a second referral was faxed, I called Toni again, but had to leave a message on her voicemail. She didn’t call back, despite being told that my situation was urgent. I called her again this morning. She said she still hadn’t received a referral. so I gave her the name of the person who had faxed the TWO referrals, the exact times the referrals were faxed, and the name of the person in her office who had taken the referrals from the fax machine and delivered them to her; at which point Toni said, in her, by now, maddeningly chipper voice, “Oh, here they are,” and made my appointment.

I think that what was going on for Toni was that she wanted me to be a good boy and quietly wait my turn in line, no matter how long it took, but, as I told her: “I’m in terrible pain; I’m getting almost no sleep; I can’t even do light housework; the only way I can take the edge off is to combine Fentanyl and oxycodone, drugs that are dangerous when combined; all this plus I look pregnant because I’ve gone from having two bowel movements a day before the accident to having none since the accident, suggesting the likelihood of abdominal nerve damage. I really need to be seen.” This was way more information than Toni wanted to hear, and some of the chipperness left her voice.

If you want to know what’s it like to feel powerless, be in desperate need of medical care but not actually bleeding to death. Of course, there are good office staff, and I try to have fun with them. I was talking to one just this morning. When she called me to say, “I have the answers to all of your questions,” I responded, “Okay, what is the meaning of life?” Earlier this week, another had asked, “Do you have other issues?” and I said, “Oh, but do I ever have other issues, but I don’t think you can help me with them.” Maybe she was kidding me back when she said, “Well, I’ll certainly do my best.”

20 comments:

Elephant's Child said...

Toni type people cause me to gnash my teeth and think bad thoughts (and also to wish painful hemmorhoids on them). And your masterly dealing with her shows way too much experience with her ilk.
Many, many good wishes flowing your way.

Putz said...

i have done a lot of teasing but may i say to a very good friend, MEND WELL AND SOON< and please no more complications<><><>just the old stuff be eliminated<><><>no new stuff<><><>espcially the pain<><>

angela said...

I snag handle the frustrated receptionist types. They think that how so much power yet thay are just glorified answering machines. I'm glad you took your power back and got the ball rolling. Good on you

Joe Pereira said...

Get well soon Snow, best wishes and a speedy recovery

Helen said...

Grrrrrrrr and keep us in the loop, Snow.

Winifred said...

Streuth! I'd worry about seeing a neurologist who employs such a dimwit!

lotta joy said...

Finally! I think this comment might go through.

I make a point of being the bestest friend, buddy, amigo that I can with all receptionists and nurses. And with my thick accent, they soon recognize me the minute I say "HI".

In Indiana, I had the same rapport with the doctors, but they were hometown americans. Indians aren't given to friendships outside their nationality.

The one thing I would LOVE to do is beat the unholy crap out of you for doing the same stupid things we all do when we can't admit we're feeble of mind AND body.

"Another fine mess you've gotten yourself into, Ollie."

Love you, Stan Laurel.

Sissy said...

Snow, such a tragedy on top of all your other ailments. I feel for you; not that it helps you but still I do.

I am a clumsy-expert at falling; walking about, down stairs, off ladders too.

It always completely amazes me when a doctor asks(at my age, mind)if I have ever fell. Sometimes I don't bother to answer and just roll my eyes.

Stephen Hayes said...

Toni needs to remember why she's there, to help those in pain instead of making you feel like you're bothering her. I really feel for you and hope this can be resolved as quickly as possible. I'm sending good thoughts your way.

All Consuming said...

I've got the t-shirt that Toni's particular band of bastards produce. I get as full on with the nasty details re pain bowels you name it, it's often the only way to get any joy here. It's so rare to get a receptionist/ orderly who has any compassion and give a shit that the last time I needed some urgency myself in the situation I cried when I came across a woman who not only did her job properly, she was kind with it. Another reason I can't stand many humans. She, like us, are exceptions to the rule when it comes to caring and not being a selfish moron. The upshot of which is ; I empathise and care a great deal about you X

KC said...

Snow, I am so sorry for this terrible set back. I hope the Dr. is extremely more competent than his staff.

PhilipH said...

Don't panic Snowy; you WILL get sorted and no mistake.

OK, I know you're NOT panicking but if you feel like panicking, just DON'T.

Best wishes; get better quicker.

Snowbrush said...

"I'd worry about seeing a neurologist who employs such a dimwit!"

Me too, but I don't have the leisure to shop around, what with the pain and the risk of spinal cord damage. Also, I question how much longer I will be able to walk since I've now lost the ability to do so unaided. Plus, my back has started going into near spasms many times a day, leaving me to fear that it will go into a full spasm. I'm scheduled to have the kidney MRI today, although I have no idea how I'm going to get to the appointment due to my challenge with walking, or get off the table once the MRI is over, but I HAVE to do these things. I'm waiting to hear from my internist for recommendations, and Peggy is on the phone now trying to get me into the neurologist sooner. When she is off the phone, I will be calling someone who I hope can borrow a wheelchair for me.

Charles Gramlich said...

Very sorry, man. I hope everything can be resolved. My thoughts are with you.

Snowbrush said...

I thought I was about to get on the phone to look for a wheelchair, but am instead waiting for calls from not just one but two doctors now that Peggy has called the neurologist, so I will need to hold off on the wheelchair.

"I make a point of being the bestest friend, buddy, amigo that I can with all receptionists and nurses."

Me too, but if a person hates her job (it's usually a her), and resents the low pay given her by men (usually) who are multi-millionaires, she might not be too amendable to influence, or at least to such influence as I can bear. I try to be courteous and respectful, and I'm good with humor, but I'm hardly charismatic. I'm also a male, and I think it works against me when dealing with some women.

"They think that how so much power yet thay are just glorified answering machines."

Here, they're the gatekeepers between you and your doctor, and it would be a terrible mistake to treat them as non-persons. For example, piss one off, and instead of getting an appt next week, you might not get in until next month.

"It's so rare to get a receptionist/ orderly who has any compassion..."

It's hard for me to know sometimes. For example, if they don't call me back, is it because they don't give a rip, or is because of the constraints of their job? What I do know is that I have to be proactive to get things done. If I simply rely on others, I'll fall through the cracks. Unfortunately, being proactive sometimes means calling the same people about the same thing repeatedly, especially as the week progresses because once the weekend arrives, nothing gets done, and then when I call again on Monday, the offices are all swamped. If I were to guess, I would say that the number of those who are conscientious run about 50%.

ellen abbott said...

Petty people and their power plays. The tests Monday were done in a hospital? I'm surprised they did nt admit you or if they were done in a clinic that your doctor didn't admit you since a crushed vertebra is serious and you obviously aren't stable.

Mim said...

good luck snow, I'm still hoping for "it's all going away"

Linda said...

I went through the two faxes deal, too. The person who sent both faxes was perturbed. I got in my car, went to the place where the two faxes sat and repeated aloud that "Dr. Blank's person, Ginger, sent two faxes to this number (I read the number) and now joni says the faxes never arrived."

I could see the fax machine. Someone walked over and took two faxes off the table. Then, I was told that they both just arrived. Okay, let me see the date stamp.

One day, knowing I would just die if I came back, I told several people off, praised others, called the state office of the chain, and never looked back.

Pulling yourself along the floor was a bad sigh. Now, will you stay off ladders? I now refuse to do ladders and cannot anyway. I fear some situation like yours. It is good you are not waiting on them to get things in order. When you cannot get off the MRI table, maybe you can be hospitalized immediately to save your ability to walk. Keep us posted.

All Consuming said...

The ladder issue - GET A CHERRY PICKER. OH Did I just shout? *laughs. We'll all pitch in before you start grouching honey.

Strayer said...

I hope you will be ok, Snow, you don't need more pain, that is for sure. Wishing you recovery, a quick one, a good one, and so glad you have Peggy there and darn that damn ladder anyhow.