Tag Archives: doctors

My Head’s Not Screwed on Right

25 Aug

Well, anybody who knows me can attest to that, but now it’s official.

Over the last eight work days I have been to five different doctors, and it is getting wearisome. Most of these visits can pass unmentioned for the moment, but among my many complaints is the fact that my neck hurts, from the base of my skull down as far as my shoulder blades. A cervical MRI showed a narrowing between C-5 and C-6 that is obvious to any layperson who even glances at the films. The neurologist recommended surgery, sooner rather than later, so I will put my head on the chopping block on September 28th. A plastic replacement for the disc itself and a titanium plate to hold the entire business together.  All of which is MRI compatible, he assures me.

Recovery time? “Oh, you should be able to drive in about four weeks.” And I’ll bet that includes no strenuous activity, too.  Great.

According to my family history, I should live another fifteen or twenty years or so, and I can’t honestly say I’m really thrilled about the prospect.

Squeaky Wheels

4 Apr

Almost three months ago, I called the local hospital looking for a new doctor, as I wanted to consolidate all of my care in one place. Technically not necessary with all the new computerized technology, but if I ever become ill, I want my doctors to talk to each other face to face.

The nurse navigator gave for four names and a brief bit of info about each doctor. The first two got scratched off the list when I was greeted with a recording asking me to “Please hold on. Your call is important to us.” every fifteen seconds – by the clock. After three minutes, I decided not to hang on, as my sanity was more important than they seemed to think.

So – ended up with a prompt answer on the third call, and a six week wait for an appointment, which I know is not unusual for new patients. No big deal.  Been in the medical world, from both sides of the fence, long enough to know this is SOP.

When I arrived, I told the staff three times that I do not like to be called by my first name. I am old enough to be called Mrs. Rice, thank you very much, especially when other, younger, patients were being addressed by their last names. OK, so I’m a crotchety old lady.

The doctor was lovely. She said that I had been off HRT for so long that it would be dangerous for me to go back on it. I told her I was too old to die young, and the amount of black cohash I was taking posed a very real threat to my liver, which worried me more than a possible heart attack. Very pleasant, and apologized, and explained why I couldn’t go back on HRT and offered me another medication, which serves two purposes, and will do as well.


Her office didn’t have my pharmacy on their automatic list, which rather surprised me. It’s less than ten miles from my home – and my drugstore. However, I called them when I got home and gave them the phone number and waited. And waited. I stopped by the drugstore and the pharmacist said he had a question about the dosage, and had contacted the doctor’s office, but not heard back. This went on for an solid week.

The nurse navigator had sent me a card with her phone and email, so I sent her a message Thursday afternoon – a week after my appointment. When we got home from noon services yesterday, I had two phone calls from the hospital. One from the NN and one from a manager, who left me his direct phone number.

I didn’t expect much to happen late afternoon of Good Friday, but I fully expect the medicine to be ready for pickup on Monday. Totally unacceptable medical practice. Fortunately, this is not dreadfully important stuff, but what if this was cardiac or cancer care? I’ve been a medical receptionist for several practices, including Johns Hopkins cardiac unit, and this is simply beyond incompetent.

I really like this doctor, and I just hope my reporting her staff doesn’t mean she’ll drop me. We shall see.

And they’d better call me Mrs. Rice!

You Can’t Be Good At Everything

6 Mar

I went to the dermatologist this morning to have them take another look at the cancer on my right cheek. I was wearing a sweatshirt given to me by a friend who knows me very well, which reads “I am the grammarian about whom your mother warned you”.

The PA first had trouble pronouncing “grammarian” and then asked me what it meant. I told her it was some one who wanted you to speak English correctly.

“Ooh. Something like a librarian?”

Close enough. Close enough.