I am so sick. Sick, literally, and even more sick of those that call themselves doctors, nurse practitioners, physician's assistants, etc. I have not been sick in a year - with the exception of woman's issues and migraines - I have not been to the doctor since exactly this time last year (during the ice storm) to be diagnosed with all but pneumonia.(And it took TWO trips to finally get some help - more on that in a minute...) And here we are again. I would like to humor myself to think I know a little bit more than the average bear when it comes to anything that ails the human body because I've had a lot of them. I was a relatively sick little child and I was fortunate to have a great doc that explained everything when I would go see him growing up. I know how a cold differs from a sinus infection because of his highly sophisticated narrative of each. I know the difference in a viral and a bacterial infection. I know what happens to the blood vessels in my brain when I have a migraine because of his simple yet technical diagrams. I know I am 95% more likely to get an ear infection than most people because my tonsils stay 95% more inflamed than most. In so many words, I'm relatively well-versed in medicinal knowlege, at least for my own body. Since moving from Glasgow, I am not able to visit afore-mentioned doctor for obvious reasons. I didn't have much trouble adjusting to other doctors while I was in Bowling Green, but since moving to Elizabethtown, I've literally had nothing but trouble.
I have learned that I am hyper-sensitive to barometric changes, weather fluxuations, and temperature variations. Such weather phenomenons can trigger migraines, endless sinus and allergy problems, mood swings, and even affect my lovely battle with IBS. I've learned to deal. I have plenty of homeopathic, prescription and over the counter remedies to help just about any ailment, so I've got my bag of tricks ready for whatever hits, for whatever reason, but especially when the weather changes. I know my body very well and listen to what it tells me. I know to rest when the seasons change. I know to drink more than enough fluids to stay hydrated during weather episodes to help prevent anything from getting clogged, inflamed, or blocked. And I know to move around enough to get my blood flowing and promote my body's natural health defenses. I am a great hand-washer. All in all, I know what I need to do to stay healthy and usually do a darn good job of it. But when I need help, I need help and I need it fast. Elizabethtown health care providers just don't get this. They don't understand that I know what I'm doing - that it's my body and I take pride in it, flaws and all. That it takes a lot for me to even GO to the doctor for the risk of catching something worse while in the waiting room. That when I begin showing signs of a real illness, I'm going to need help fast. They just don't get it. Case in point: Right after Michael and I got married, I came down with a sinus infection, went to the doctor after 4 days of self treatment, and the doctor was already writing a prescription while he walked into the room. Had Michael not been with me, he wouldn't have believed me. He didn't examine me. He didn't ask me any questions. Just handed me the slip and left. Shockingly, a week later, I was forced to go to an urgent clinic for diagnosis of a terrible sinus infection, double ear infection AND bronchitis. Being the nosy posy I am, I decided I would ask if this could have been prevented and this doc said, "absolutely - if you had been given a steriod shot and the correct prescription." SHOCKING. Now hear this: this has happened to me 7 more times in the last five years; 5 times with upper respiratory issues, 2 times with kidney/bladder issues. I'm not even kidding. I have tried different doctors, with hope that this craziness would end. I've tried naturalists, nurse practitioners (I had good luck with them in BG), and specialists. Nothing. They all do the same thing, and I wind up on the phone crying to my mother a day or two later because I'm still sick and no one will help me and I end up either having to trekk to Glasgow to see the only real doctor still alive or I go to the hospital and wait 17 hours to at least get some decent drugs. And it's happening AGAIN.
It doesn't take a genius to notice the major changes in the weather over the last couple of weeks. Well, this past weekend, I noticed I was little more phlegm-y than usual so I rested, took a few more vitamins, and hoped for the best. Monday I lost my voice, but still didn't feel terrible and had no temp, so I kept truckin'. Tuesday morning I had NO voice, started feeling run down, so I came home from work to rest, figuring I had a cold (virus) that had settled in my throat and I just needed to give my body time to heal. No dice. By Tues. night, I was running a low temp and feeling pretty rotten, even with all the phlegm-fighting drugs I had been using. Wednesday when I called into work, I was instructed to go to the doctor (you know, because it is not allowed to miss work just to rest or when you're contagious with a nasty cough...) So, like a good little employee, I haul off to the doctor in 20degree weather just to be told I have a cold virus causing pharyngitis, to take Advil and to keep taking Mucinex-D (even though it's clearly not doing it's job, a topic that was discussed at the beginning of the visit) and (here's the kicker) to come back on Monday if I didn't feel better by the weekend. I even asked about getting a shot, which got me this response: "If I felt like you needed a shot, I would give you one. You don't need it." Nice. Intimidation achieved, Ms. Physician's Assistant, you're clearly the boss. It gets better. I was released to go back to work TODAY (again, contagious) and the note that I got has the wrong name - the check-out lady wrote the PA's name as the patient name. Really? Did I come to the Twilight Zone society or a doctor's office...
So here I sit tonight, completely unable to breathe from my nose, with a horrible sore throat and excrutiatingly painful cough, sick to my stomach from all the draining phlegm (sorry, gross) and I'm expected back at work tomorrow. Great.
Does all of this seem ridiculous to anyone else??? I'm so fed up! Because I'm a nice person and do respect those who are there to "take care of the sick" I can't just walk in to every appointment and be like, "Look, I'm not doing this run around again. Here's what I've been doing that isn't working, here's what YOU need to do, and we'll all be happy." I just can't do that. But I'm getting close. I can't afford two copays every time I get sick. I can't afford to continually buy useless meds, just to have to buy more meds when I finally get a valid diagnosis. I can't continue to miss several days of work when I'm just trying to get better!!! Why is this so hard to understand?!
Forgive my rantings - but this has gone too far. I'm not a stupid person, even though out of respect, I play the idiot at my doctor's visits. I just don't know what to do. I feel like Elaine on that episode of Seinfeld when she keeps going from doctor to doctor and they all write "Crazy" at the top of her chart. That's me. Crazy Elaine.
March Highland Hero
5 days ago