Out the door
Friday May 22nd 2009, 2:00 pm
Filed under: Crohn's flare

I had a conversation once with my Dr R about another doctor whose nurse wasn’t returning my phone calls over a worrisome subject outside Dr. R’s field. “He doesn’t understand,” I said, “I don’t complain. And if I *do* complain, LISTEN UP!”

Dr R agreed, “You don’t complain,” and I knew what he was thinking: about the time six years ago when I kept thinking I was surely getting better till the morning it all suddenly went south fast and my survival was no sure thing. He made me promise forevermore after that to tell him when I wasn’t doing well.

I’m not doing well. I know, I was, it was nice while it lasted.

He’s on sabbatical. The receptionist said his nurse would ask the other doctors’ nurses if one of them could fit me in today. Five hours later, no phone call–when I called again and said, here, let me add some context to that, I had a total colectomy four months ago, I got a receptionist in what-can-I-do mode telling me she’d told the nurse and the nurse would call me back.

Yeah, I’ve been here before. When that one doctor did not answer me for four days I finally parked myself in his waiting room before he arrived for work that morning and demanded to be seen. It worked.

Abdominal pain as a description may not be a big deal to a gastroenterologist who doesn’t know me, but I know me and random doubling over when I eat or walk is Not A Good Sign. See me. Now.


Follow-up,  3:30: They blew me off. But at least I made them do so to my face rather than by their having me waiting by the phone for twelve hours.  They told me to go to Urgent Care.

It’s a holiday weekend and clearly none of them wanted to put in any extra time.

You go to Urgent Care to get an IV. You do not go there to get a diagnosis. I got sent there once under similar circumstances and got a doctor who denied I had Crohn’s, denied the reality of the Asacol I’d been on for five years for Crohn’s, insisted I must have eaten raspberries with salmonella, insisted he saw that a lot lately (and on how many others of them were you wrong, too, sir?), tested me, and it came back negative as I knew it would.  He insisted on re-testing me and culturing for ten days because by golly it was going to prove him right!

It stayed negative. Fancy that.

I figure today, well, if I’m healthy enough to manage driving myself there and back, then I guess I’ve validated their demand that I not get sick till Tuesday when the holiday weekend is over.

30 Comments so far
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Oh sweetie! – do I need to go beat someone about the head with a wet fish for you? – let me know! *hug*

Comment by Mary 05.22.09 @ 2:34 pm

So sorry to hear you are in pain again. Can you maybe get Dr. R to call on your behalf? Sometimes a Doctor will respond to another doctor faster.

Comment by Eileen 05.22.09 @ 3:45 pm

That’s the thing, he’s not here, he’s on sabbatical.

Comment by AlisonH 05.22.09 @ 4:01 pm

can we get a bunch of knitters with pointy sticks to go with you and threaten them until the see you — For PETE’S SAKE – THIS IS RIDICULOUS!!!

Comment by rho 05.22.09 @ 4:09 pm

Gah! How frustrating…

Comment by Monica 05.22.09 @ 4:13 pm

Oh btw I figure you won’t yell so I would 🙂

Comment by rho 05.22.09 @ 4:13 pm

Who was that nurse who went to bat for you out there? Call her, now!

Comment by Barbara-Kay 05.22.09 @ 4:25 pm

I spoke to two nurses during my wait. One of them was a tiny black woman with a thick accent and who is very timid.

While I was trying not to be angry, it suddenly occurred to me that I’d read some posts from the blog of one of the few doctors in Zimbabwe who had not, like most of his colleagues, fled that country. The things he’d gone through! Including the violent death of his fiancee at the hands of a mob.

So I thought, I have no idea where this woman is from, but it could be that her eyes have seen far more pain than I could ever begin to imagine. I can’t let my frustrations go out on her.

It helped humble me a little at a moment I needed it.

Comment by AlisonH 05.22.09 @ 4:28 pm

God. What a world we live in.

Hope you feel better soon. And that someone listens!

Comment by ccr in MA 05.22.09 @ 5:13 pm

Gorramit. I third the ideas of a bunch of knitters showing up with pointy sticks, demanding that they take care of you, NOW.

Let me know if there’s anything we can do. Love you.

Comment by Kristine 05.22.09 @ 5:26 pm

Oh my. How frustrating. I’ll be praying you get the help you need, pronto.

Comment by Toni Smoky-Mountains 05.22.09 @ 6:41 pm

I hate it when doctors are wrong, you know they’re wrong and they simply won’t hear you. Last summer Urgent Care told me that I hadn’t done anything serious to my leg, and only after Paul insisted loudly and forcefully did they x-ray it. They didn’t see anything in the x-ray, but my level of pain was so high they (finally) transferred me to Emergency, where it was discovered that I had multiple fractures in my tibia. I ended up in surgery and didn’t walk again for 3 months. I’ll have some serious hardware in my leg the rest of my life. And they said there was nothing seriously wrong and that I should go home and just put ice on it…

Of course you will take care of yourself, but please, please, if you feel worse, get your hubby to go with you to somewhere that will listen. We’ll be waiting to hear how you’re doing.

Comment by Beckett 05.22.09 @ 6:59 pm

Oh no, Alison…you were doing so well…I so hate setbacks – my heart goes out to you. You’re right…doctors can be wrong – thinking along the wrong path. I went to a doctor once who my husband jokes is only proficient when the patient tells him what’s wrong…you go in for laryngitus and come out with a prescription for athlete’s foot otherwise…well, maybe not that bad but, close. 🙂 I hope you don’t have to wait till Tuesday for help…don’t let them do that to you – and in the meantime, I’m praying for you.

Comment by Abby 05.22.09 @ 8:54 pm

I fourth the idea that the knitters attack! I’m aghast that you are not feeling well — again — and horrified that the medical profession won’t take proper care of you.

Several years ago Ifell and injured my ankle. X-rays showed no break, and it was suggested I had a deep bruise. And they sent me home with instructions to try to walbk on it. Arrrgh! Didn’t work. Back to the hospital and more x-rays. I remember my doctor coming in holding the film and saying, “By God, there IS a break!”

Yesterday I goofed and didn’t leave any humor. So today you get two. By Heaven, you deserve ’em!

Life is not about how fast you run, or how high you climb, but how well you bounce.

Several years ago we had an intern who was none too swift. One day he was typing and turned to a secretary and said, “I’m almost out of typing paper. What do I do?” “Just use copier machine paper,” she told him. With that, the intern took his last remaining blank piece of paper, put it on the photocopier and proceeded to make five blank copies.


A man and his wife were having an argument about who should brew the coffee each morning. The wife says, “You should do it, because you get up first, and then we don’t have to wait as long to get our coffee.”

The husband says, ” You are in charge of cooking around here and you should do it, because that is your job, and I can just wait for my coffee.”

Wife replies, “No, you should do it, and besides, it is in the Bible that the man should do the coffee.”

Husband replies, “I can’t believe that, show me.” So she fetches the Bible, opens it, and shows him at the top of several pages, that it indeed says… HEBREWS

Comment by Don Meyer 05.22.09 @ 9:22 pm

It is so easy to ignore pain when you’re not the one in it. You’re right not to take your frustrations out on the nurse who isn’t the one in control anyway. But keep pushing. You know your body better than any of these people, so you KNOW when something is wrong.

Comment by LauraN 05.22.09 @ 9:36 pm

I am so sorry you’re experience a (please)minor(please) setback! I have been there too. When my endo pain came back after a full hysterectomy I had one Dr(Quack & mysogonist)that told me that that was completely impossible, he then proceeded to criticize the care I had received from my preffered Dr – all before examining me. Needless to say he never got to examine me & the whole staff got a good once over from my hubby once I got home in tears. Hang in there:) Prayers for making until Tuesday.

Comment by TripletMom 05.22.09 @ 9:52 pm

Can you hear me screaming from here to there?

Comment by Ruth 05.22.09 @ 11:53 pm

Dear Alison, my heart goes out to you. I know exactly how you feel. I just finished a course of radiotherapy and broke out in an itchy and painful rash on my back, underarm and chest. Two doctors and two nurses saw me at the hospital and assured me it was nothing. I finally went to to see my GP who immediately diagnosed shingles (!) and put onto the appropriate medication. She said it was the most classic case she had ever seen and even the nurses should have realised what it was!
I hope you get help soon and don’t have to wait until the end of the holiday weekend.

Comment by Joanne 05.23.09 @ 1:47 am

Oh, Alison, I am so sorry that you are not feeling well again. I feel angry at those medical people that are putting you off. Someone needs to remind those folks that people don’t schedule when they will feel ill. In Vermont, urgent care is merely a place you go to get a band aid. I will keep you in my prayers. A great big hug to you from me in Vermont.

Comment by Joansie 05.23.09 @ 4:17 am

You get better fast, promise?

Comment by afton 05.23.09 @ 5:00 am

Oh, dear, I do hope this is something minor and easily dealt with… meanwhile, prayers as always! And some wooly virtual hugs.

Comment by Pegi 05.23.09 @ 5:15 am

AAARRRGGGHHH! How frustrating! I hate when dr’s don’t respect the patient’s familiarity with her own body! I’m beginning to suspect it’s their way of coping with NOT knowing what to do. Prayers going out for you immediately. Feel better soon.

Comment by Jody M 05.23.09 @ 6:12 am

This brings tears to my eyes. I can’t believe one of the doctors wouldn’t see you, especially after showing up at their offices. So this doesn’t happen again, perhaps Dr. R. can put a note in your files that emergency same-day appointments are imperative if you need one. In the meantime, I hope you get quick, effective, gentle care now. May you feel better soon.

Comment by Madeline 05.23.09 @ 6:45 am

People can do such unbelievable things at times. I’m thinking all my best thoughts for you. I know it’s a long shot but perhaps one of your surgeons could recommend something? It’s only been four months are you due for a visit any time soon?

Comment by Michelle 05.23.09 @ 6:58 am

*hugs* and a little <3, too.

Hope you’re feeling better, and that everyone can communicate better.

Comment by Liz U 05.23.09 @ 7:26 am

Oh, no! I’m overwhelmed with the urge to ask a bunch of questions, but that won’t be helpful. Instead, I’ll send soothing stomach vibes and hope that things improve. Or hold off until Tuesday to get worse.

I once had a pretty high fever with no other main symptoms for several days, went to a walk-in clinic, saw a doctor who told me I had a UTI. But no symptoms, says I. No, it’s a UTI – people in wheelchairs get them all the time. But I’m in my early 30s and have never had one before, I add. Here, take these antibiotics for the UTI, says he. I never filled the script.

Comment by Lene 05.23.09 @ 8:27 am

I read your post earlier and have been thinking about you all day, and also waiting to read more comments. I don’t know what to say and at the same time want to fill pages. I’m so sad and worried about your setback and so angry that the medical system shuts down like the banks, schools and post offices. People don’t just get sick Mon-Fri, 9 to 5 on non-holidays! I hope this comes so late that you have already met a “with-it” doctor who listens and not had to wait to meet an arrogant, condescending and dismissive bad “psychic.” Okay, I’m angry enough to join rho’s pointy sticks brigade.

Comment by LynnM 05.23.09 @ 8:28 am

Was your doctor’s nurse there? She is familiar with your condition isnt she? Well all I have to say is that when your doctor gets back, heads will roll, and I’m sure they will be a whole lot more willing to do what they are being paid to do in the first place, take care of the patient. Sheesh!!! I’ll keep you in my prayers and I’m sorry you are not doing well, I was hoping that the surgery would make it all better. 🙁 Don’t forget to get a blessing, tho I’m sure your husband has already seen to that. Sometimes when we have done all that we can or know to do, it’s just time to hand it over to the Lord and say, help!, and then trust him. I’ve found myself having to do that more than once in the last 4 years. It’s such a sense of peace to know that after all I can do, that he will make up the differnce. You will be in my thoughts as well as my prayers.

Comment by LDSVenus 05.23.09 @ 10:46 am

Oh, drats! I’m so sorry to learn you aren’t feeling well, Alison. I send all positive and healing thoughts your way.

My son injured his hand in a bicycle crash on a Friday afternoon last year. Urgent Care couldn’t get him an appointment until late Saturday morning. Josh said then, “It’s not Urgent Care, it’s just Care.”

The doctor, while seeming to be thorough, decided it didn’t need an emergency x-ray because my son could move his fingers, albeit mimimally and with a lot of pain. The Dr. assured him there were no broken bones, only sprains, deep bruising and swelling. But he did say Josh could have it x-rayed on Monday. That X-ray finally proved he had 3 broken fingers, one of which was completely dislocated. After that, he decided Urgent Care wasn’t even “care.”

Comment by DebbieR 05.23.09 @ 1:07 pm

I better hurry up and read. I want you to be better.

Comment by Sonya 05.27.09 @ 1:34 pm

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