I Just Love the Medical System

I want to write this while it’s still fresh in my mind. I think my give-a-damn is busted.

Last week, Little Man had an X-ray of his hand, and blood drawn for some organ disease panels. We still haven’t heard anything back from them.

We also tried to get an MRI set up for Little Man. No go, he’s too small. “We can’t do an MRI on a child that size, you need to try Winnie Palmer.”

Okay, call Winnie Palmer. No openings until DECEMBER.

Call another hospital, manage to get an appointment for today. On Friday I preregister and somehow pull 80 bucks out of my ass to cover our portion of payment. Give the nurse all the info, yes we have a prescription, it says “Brain MRI, spasticity in the lower extremities.” Yes, his birthday is 1/2/08.

Get there today, check in. Oops, forgot the scrip. No worries, the nurse calls my doctor’s office to get a copy.

Twice.

No scrip. “Well they can’t do it without the scrip.”

Okay, I can understand that. But then this happens, “Did it say quick flash or brain MRI?”

*blink blink* Quickawha?

The nurse says “He’s too little for the brain MRI. The doctor should have written for a quick flash because it takes less time, or else he’s going to have to be under anesthesia.”

So, not only could they not do it because I didn’t have the scrip, they couldn’t do it even if I DID have it, and even if Little Man’s doctor’s office got off their butts and faxed over a copy. Why didn’t they tell me this on Friday, instead of making me drive down there on $3.75 a gallon gasoline for a wasted trip?

Now I have to call Little Man’s doctor tomorrow, set up another appointment when I can go down and get ANOTHER prescription AND hopefully find out what the heck is going on with his hand, not to mention the results of the blood test. If someone is going to stick needles in my son, I want it to be worthwhile!

Yet despite all this I really can’t muster up the energy to be angry or anything else. Should I be raising a fuss? I know some women who raise hell when their children are involved. I guess my give-a-damn is just taking this as another stupid part of the stupid way America’s stupid medical system works.

PS – I started to wonder if maybe I -should- have done the cord blood thing.

A Riddle Solved, or, How to Lose Weight by Fear of Pain

Well, it’s been a bit since I had opportunity to update here. I’m still unpacking the new apartment and feeling the press of time as we only have a week to vacate the old apartment completely. There are some random odds and ends still there, mostly books and the like. We were going to work on it this weekend but we had the kids for all three days, and time was, of course, very limited.

We’ve decided to do some nightly moving after Hottie gets home from work. It’s too hot in the daytime for me to worry about packing up the Snugglebug and driving to the new place while I try to pack things and then haul it all back. Summer. Florida. Humidity. Enough said. Of course, since the Snugglebug is sleeping through the night, there is that anxiety I have about leaving him sleeping alone anywhere for any length of time. However, I came upon the bright idea of using our cell phones as a baby monitor. I’d call Hottie’s phone, and we’d leave it next to Snugglebug on the bed, while we used mine on speaker to hear anything.

Since our new apartment and old apartment are in the same complex, it would take us less than 2 or 3 minutes to get from one to the other if he did happen to wake up. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

I’ve lost five pounds. After the horrible experiences of the previous week, including the aftermath of Texas de Brazil and Red Lobster, which I’ll elaborate on in a moment, I’ve been afraid to eat anything more serious than french toast. But I’m getting a little ahead of myself.

Thursday before last (15th) I woke up shortly after I went to bed in the worst pain of my life. This was worse than labor pain, because at least with labor pain I could threaten bodily harm on a nurse if she did not get me some pain killers RIGHT FUCKING NOW! Oh no. This was agony without relief. The pain was centered right below my breastbone, and I truly thought it was only heartburn, or MAYBE an ulcer, and revenge for the ketchup and tomatoes I had eaten earlier. I should be so lucky. For a couple hours I writhed on the floor, crying, with Hottie worriedly hovering over me and asking me if I wanted to go to the hospital. He looked up home remedies for ulcers and went to the store, returning with more Pepto, this time in liquid form, and bananas. But nothing helped. About half an hour after the Pepto, my stomach rebelled. After that, the pain too-slowly receeded to a manageable ache, something I’ve been living with since then.

I called my doctor the next morning and begged to be seen ASAP. She fortunately was able to see me the following day. She thought it was ulcers as well, and handed me a box of Prilosec. However, I was unable to start taking them as nursing while taking that kind of medication is a HUGE no-no. So the Prilosec sits unopened, which actually works out, because I end up not needing it anyway.

She gives me a referral to have an abdominal ultrasound and a barium swallow. I’ve heard things about barium, so I’m a little concerned but I make the appointment. Anything is better than the pain. They also draw my blood to check for the bacteria that causes ulcers. The nurse was amazingly gentle, and despite the huge bruise I had later, the draw went easy for me. Fast forward to the other diagnostics.

I could TELL when the tech was doing my ultrasound that she’d found something. You just know. They keep going over the same spot and measuring things, have you roll around a bit, go back to the same spot and measure some more. Yeah, I was suspecting something. The barium was a lot easier than I expected. They stand you against a large machine, have you drink some fizzy, THEN have you drink the barium. Now, the fizzy is typical carbonate that tastes vagely of orange and isn’t so bad. The barium, though… I could tell they TRIED to make it taste … well, I hesitate to use the word “good” so I’ll settle for “not bad”. They tried to make it taste it not bad. It was thick like a bad smoothie and tasted like… well I can’t remember, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. They watched everything go down, had me turn, took x-rays, had me turn some more. Then they told me to lean my head against the back of the contraption, whereupon they FLIPPED the whole thing backwards so instead of standing, I was laying on my back. They sloshed me around a little more and took more pictures.

The blood tests came back perfectly fine, everything normal on that end. But I KNEW that the technician had found something. Sure enough, the next day, the nurse calls me and says my ultrasound came back positive for gallstones and mild reflux.

Well! The reflux I’m not worried about. I tend to watch what I eat anyway, drink low acid orange juice and whatnot, but I’m glad it wasn’t ulcers. But gallstones? Oy. I called my mom with the news and she says “Oh yeah! Your brother and aunt both had theirs removed.” Oh, so there’s precedent! Well that makes me feel better. My doctor refers me to a surgeon to have things explained to me.

Today I went to see that surgeon. He’s the type of guy who blinks with his whole face, I’m sure you’ve seen that. He explains laparoscopy for me, even though I knew what it was already, and went over the reports with me. Turns out I have a 2cm gallstone sitting at the top of the gallbladder. 2cm, for those not well-versed in metrics, is a little less than an inch… about the size of a quarter. Doesn’t seem TOO big, but when you consider that the gallblader is about the size of a thumb… no WONDER I was in pain.

He then says there’s no rush, relieving one of my biggest worries. Obviously I cannot nurse the Snugglebug if I’m to be doped up and put under for a surgery, then spend an overnight in the hospital for observation. However, if I can wait a few weeks or a couple months, Snugglebug will be on his way to being weaned a bit and eating cereal. Recovery takes about a week on average. I’m hoping that someone other than Hottie will be able to stay here and help me for that period of time.

I’ve never had surgery in my entire life, but I can think of worse things to need removed. Maybe I’ll have surgery for my birthday in August!

I Love Being A Woman, and then some.

This post is going to be mostly complaining about my bodily functions. If you don’t care to read about a stranger’s bathroom habits, then just click here. If you’re willing to put up with it while I vent, then feel free to continue. It’s my blog, and I’ll complain about my poop if I want to.

As I said previously, this weekend was an adventure and a half, with my 9-year-old daughter and 6-year-old son visiting me for the first time. Both my son and my daughter are very bright, but I can see little quirks of their psyche that I can’t help feel guilty for. Hopefully with the help of my Hottie we’ll be able to give them a firmer foundation and help smooth some of those odd spots a little. We’re starting by letting them pick out their own beds and decorate their side of the room how they want.

Moving on.

We went to Texas de Brazil for Mother’s Day. Briefly, this is a place where you sit at a table and roving servers bring around giant skewers of meat and ask if you want some. It’s all you can eat, and they also have a huge salad bar with lots of things besides salad. The soup of the day was lobster bisque, for example. They also bring you these warm bananas that have sugar and possibly cinnamon on them, to help “clear your palate” between meats. Yeah right. They’re very tasty, I asked for extras of those.

I have, up until this point, been sure I’m more a carnivore than a vegetarian. I love meat, and I love rare meat. I grew up on the tri-tip roadside BBQs of California, and my step-dad used to buy big bags of it to freeze and make roasts and jerky out of. Needless to say, I stuffed myself at the restaurant.

The next day I felt a little queasy, but I chalked it up to nervousness at getting an IUD. What a nightmare that was. I’ve never really liked male gynecologists, for obvious reasons. So while he’s down there doing horrible things to my uterus, I’m writhing in pain and squeezing the nurses hand. Twice the whole thing came out before the IUD stayed. Each time I feel like someone is punching me in the stomach. I find out later I had a good reason to feel this way.

The doctor leaves the room. I can barely get my legs out of the stirrups and onto the table. I roll onto my side and start shaking uncontrollably. I have a hot bowling ball in my uterus. Finally I feel like I can get off the table. As I bend over to put a pad on my underwear, I start getting the feeling of impending doom. I tell the nurse, “I’m going to be sick,” and frantically try to pull my pants on. I grab my shoes and she clears a path to the bathroom for me.

I spend the next several minutes reaquainting myself with dinner. I decide that I need to both chew my food better, and stop eating meat. Finally one of the nurses knocks and asks me if I’m okay. I stagger to the door and tell her yes, I just need a minute or three. Turns out she’s the ultrasound tech who is going to check to make sure the IUD is in the right place. I finish up in the bathroom and shuffle to the room with the ultrasound.

This is a great ultrasound room. If you’ve ever had one, you’ll know that typically the machine is off to your right and you have to break your neck trying to see the screen. This room has a large plasma TV on the opposite wall from the bed, so no neck-breaking is necessary. I see my uterus on the wall, and the shadow of this thing… uh oh. The nurse is frowning. She keeps rechecking the same place!

“Tell me it’s not in the right place.”

“It’s not. I need to get the doctor in here. See this? It’s supposed to be here. It’s actually down here, in the muscle.”

The doctor had impaled the inside of my uterus with the IUD. Fortunately it didn’t go THROUGH, which, as I understand it, is a rare occurance. She fetches the doctor, I tell him to take it out and don’t worry about trying again.

He pulls the thing out, and I immediately start to feel better. Not fantastic, but the hot bowling ball has been reduced to a minor cramp. The doctor wisely writes me a prescription for birth control pills instead, and the nurse fetches me some advil. By now I sense that my snugglebug is getting hungry, and just as I’m about to ask the nurse if I can borrow a room for a while, another nurse brings my Hottie and the Snugglebug to me!

Nursing is a comfort to both of us, and I waste no time. I’m feeling better by the minute, and when we leave 20 minutes later I’m almost feeling human again. An hour later and I feel fine. We head back to the apartment to decompress and let the little man catch a nap, and I try decide where we’re going to dinner. Finally I make a decision I will later come to regret. “Let’s go to Red Lobster.”

Dinner was great. I had crab legs and a potato. Little did I know that the two days of indulging would swiftly come back to haunt me.

Cue this morning. I wake up about 7 with the urgent need to violate the toilet. With no effort at all, I do so. And I continue to do so about every half hour, with little to no warning. Just “GOTTAGONOW!” I’m disgruntled because I had to work today, and it’s hard to type when you have to get up to go to the toilet every 30 minutes. On top of that, someone switched my toilet paper to sandpaper. Fortunately, Boudreaux’s Butt Paste works just as well on bottoms abused with sandpaper every half hour as it does on diaper rash. Dehydrated badly, I send Hottie to the store for Gatorade and Pepto, a sure sign of my desperation because I hate to take any kind of medicine if I can help it. Later I send him back for some cottonelle wipes and chicken noodle soup.

I just finished eating the soup, I’m feeling better, but my butt is still on sandpapery fire. As I keep telling Hottie today, “Never again.”