Tuesday, November 29, 2005

never ever going back to a doctor

i have to share my story. i've had a really shitty day and i just have to get this off my chest.

i have chronic pain in my back and hips resulting from an infection in my spine a couple of years ago. it's bone pain rather than the electrical nerve pain most people have some time in their lives. i've done plenty fine on going to the creepy pain clinic up until today. retrograde mercury -- i don't know what -- but my doc told me he was going to need some urine for a liver test and next thing i know railroaded me into a RANDOM DRUG TEST. pain clinics are already creepy places -- but to have a pimply teenager take your purse away from you and are escorted to a non-private piss test room WHEN YOU WERE TOLD YOU WERE DOING LIVER PANELS is enough to make anyone a little angry.

you sign a paper when you go into treatment about drug testing. i signed it -- i have no problem with them keeping their books straight. plus, i'm a tea-totaller. had addicts in the family and i'm thankfully not one. never intend to become one.

BUT when my doctor LIED to me about the test and then required me to sign a paper saying i knew what it was for -- which i didn't -- he was asking ME TO LIE about something that i thought i ought not. that was my REAL DRUG TEST. how bad do i really the 45-minute drive once a month to hell's suburb... the dirty rooms... the insane turnover of techs and nurses... the altogether science-fiction-esque role of post-modern healthcare... the real question is: are the meds worth your dignity?

the lies got bigger as i asked my doctor to explain what just happened. i said, "you told me i was getting liver panels and i was asked to sign a paper that I KNEW i was being drug tested and what for."

charmingly, first he responded that the test would just look for opiods. makes sense b/c you don't want someone taking the meds except as prescribed. it's just as bad to have too little morphine in your blood than to have too much, because you might be selling it.

but then he said it would also test for "everything else." and i wanted to know what that "everything else" was at this point, to save face. i also wanted to underscore the fact that he should never have to trick me into any test -- but especially this one.

then, very seriously, i said "i feel incredibly violated that i was LIED to. you can have the sample and continue on, once i get to see the paperwork, but you have me feel like a criminal today. i'm already not feeling well, or else i wouldn't be here and i need to expect a level of professionalism."

so, that was supposed to be fine and the assistant came back with the form to sign and still no list of what the test is for. i felt like, you have to be kidding.

so i to talk to my husband on the cell, i was so angry at this point b/c none of my concerns had been met and they still wanted me to sign the waiver without seeing the list.

so i call hubby again, hoping he'll talk some sense into me. i'm not in any danger of being busted for anything, so what's the damn big deal? alright, you're right. i returned to sign the paperwork, they told me to "leave the premises." i had been discharged for refusing a drug test.

on the 45 minute drive home i had plenty of time to sort thru some of the emotions i was feeling. i was kicking myself for being such a troublemaker. it's who i am. i ask questions and expect answers. i expect fair treatment.

The Drug Test tells people more than what's in your piss. it tells them what's in your soul. "if you want the pills bad enough, you'll suffer any humiliation to get them." if that isn't the dictionary definition of addiction, i don't know what is. i consented to a drug test by accepting their therapy -- not a SHAKEDOWN. they literally acted as if had i KNOWN they were going to give me a test, that i might have not taken it.

so, i come home and call my primary care physician to let her know that i'd be going cold turkey on the morphine and that i probably needed to see her to get that liver test. well, she refused. flat out. said she "doesn't do chronic pain." and went on to say that she wouldn't even help me detox.

the worst part is i'm kicking myself for having such a kneejerk reaction to the whole situation. i made clear how specific my concern was -- I DON'T WANT MY DOCTOR LYING TO ME. i have to believe they are on 'my side.' whatever that means. today, in this situation, it would have simply meant letting me know what they were doing and not tricking me. it felt militaristic. it felt like i fell down the rabbit hole.

driving home i felt the dull ache running from my back down my legs and turned up The Sweet (into the night) real loud to go with my New Freedom Pain.

why am i writing this here?

i'm going to be mentally torturing myself over this forever. it makes absolutely no sense at all that i reacted this way -- except that maybe something in the fiber of my being just went into complete danger mode. i felt attacked in the worst way. it was all emotional. if he hadn't lied i would have been fine with it. i want to believe that this is the manifestation of some sixth sense.

and the larger thing -- i want no doctors at all -- ever. i got sick in the first place from a hospital. while i was in the hospital i got sicker and sicker as i was fed chemicals that my liver didn't like, and poked in my pancreas and nearly fucking died. all from the treatments. $240,000 in hospital bills.

we need NEW FREEDOM HEALTHCARE. we need doctors working for us and not the FRISTS or the damn DEA. i was in perfect health 2 years ago. now i walk around like Egor. my face is twisting into a permanent grimace. where's the fucking hippies? where's the alternative medicine? how do you get out of the system. i want to disappear and never ever go back. i don't want to be on anyone's records. or have to buy their expensive drugs -- i just want out of ALL OF IT. forever. i'm done.

11 Comments:

Blogger julieannette66 said...

Brook:

what a fucking mess. you should expect fair treatment and, no, it doesn't exist anymore---though I'm not sure it ever did. I'm so sorry. I don't blame you at all for being pissed off. I would be. And am for you.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 6:24:00 PM  
Blogger Brook said...

thanks julie. :) whatta day.

i called all my docs when i got home to let them know what was going on, and my only trusted guy called me back personally to sift thru what happened. he was worried about the cold turkey thing, but i assured him i was ready-freddy. i'm going to get an accupuncturist and maybe even go to massage school or absorb myself in herbalism. whatever it takes. i need this energy out of my life. i want to be healthy, not medicated -- and i certainly don't need my health condition criminalized.

and i just don't understand what they get out of treating the drug test this way. do they use subterfuge on everyone? or was that just special for me? my suspicion is that they are lazy and unprofessional which gives me great pause given the fact that they regularly stick large needles in my back. remember -- it was a dirty needle that got me here in the first place. they've messed up everything you can imagine since i've been there. had a typo in my prescription... 15mg BID per month, and then had 30 as the quantity of pills. B-I-D. twice a day in doctor-speak. yet the quan was 30. should have been 60. the interpretation of the pharmacist changed every month. i finally asked him last month why it was that. oh, typo. their techs were the bottom of the barrel. the kind you're afraid to be alone in the room with. couldn't remember how to take blood pressure. one guy just plain creeped me out. they'd forget to give me appointments and i'd be a week without meds and they'd STILL try to have me wait days for a slot. so, i know i can kick -- i've done it every so often just by virtue of being one of their good little patients with lots of patience.

the whole operation had penal overtones: NO DRINKS. NO CHILDREN. NO PAY - NO SERVICE. i'm surprised they didn't have NO VIDEO. jeez. and the place had never been cleaned. the floors in the exam rooms were covered in grime and short curly hairs. drug company swag was hung with TAPE to cover flaws in the drywall. nasty.

Simpsonian.

another funny observation. whenever i'm in my regular doc's office (the one who doesn't treat payne), the drug reps parade in and out like perfect local television personalities. dressed to the nines. crisp and coiffed. the drug reps in this place always seemed hungover -- guys a year out of college in their first sales work. unsure. wrinkled pants.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 6:55:00 PM  
Blogger Brook said...

writer's block is gone tho.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 6:57:00 PM  
Blogger elizabeth said...

I think some people need reporting to appropiate boards of review. Your doctor can't ethically (I don't know about legally) just can't decide she's just not going to treat you anymore and leave you hanging, especially when there are well known consequences looming. And it basically sounds like she did it just because she didn't like the fact that you questioned someone. And if those people are as filthy as you say, they need to be investigated just for THAT.

Thursday, December 01, 2005 1:17:00 PM  
Blogger Brook said...

i thought i'd be writing those letter today, but i'm really not feeling well.

i think you hit the nail on the head with my primary care physician -- DR. ROSE PAYNE OF HERITAGE MEDICAL ASSOCIATES. yes, Dr. Payne.

she doesn't like migraines either. keeps me way under prescribed for Imitrex. won't do refills. made me get ANOTHER FUCKING MRI which cost me 1200 out of pocket. and STILL won't prescribe fucking imitrex in a manner that allows me to control my headaches.

have to go vomit now.

Thursday, December 01, 2005 2:16:00 PM  
Blogger Brook said...

here's a fun DR ROSE PAYNE OF HERITAGE MEDICAL ASSOCIATES story -- i had been sick with a migraine for days vomiting like crazy. i called to get something for the puking because i wasn't able to keep the Imitrex pill form down. she said to go to the drug store and get some of that over the counter syrup. i can't remember if it was me or John who freaked out first. she bascially said, "tough shit."

i have never understood her. she took over for a physician who i had seen for many years and left the group. she's a little brittle young thing who acts like she's known me in another life and has decided that i'm of the wrong social class for her to bother with.

Thursday, December 01, 2005 2:32:00 PM  
Blogger spookygrrrl said...

Your doctor can't refuse to treat you just because you refused or questioned a drug test...that's illegal. However, they can refuse to see you if you've missed to many appointments and things like that. I work for an insurance company and my girl works @ a hospital & used to be a nurse. It's unethical that she lied to you. And you really should report the nasty conditions in that office. Get another doc Brook! You should also call your insurance company & file a complaint.
By the way, what exactly happened to you that you're having these problems with your back & hip?
Oh, btw, docs these days are all about meds, not the "bedside manner"
Hope you get to feeling better soon.

Thursday, December 01, 2005 9:01:00 PM  
Blogger Brook said...

reporting to the insurance company is a good idea. i had not thought of that.

here's what happened:
i had inherited my family house in florida, which was a mess. i had to clear it out, clean it out. on one of my trips to work on it my back started hurting. at first i thought it was a tweak. tried to sleep and the pain got so bad i took myself to the ER in the morn. after a bit of go around, they give me an epidural. the next day i'm running a temp of 103 and they say i've herniated a couple of discs in my back. john flies down and drives me home. i get sicker. suddenly i can't walk. the first thing i'm diagnosed with is a bloodclot in my leg and i'm rushed to the hospital b/c it's up over my knee. we work on the bloodclot, meanwhile my back is getting worse...and then miraculously better. i figure i can go back and work on the house.

so i'm loading the trunk with some cabinets i've fixed up and i feel something squirt inside my back. it was a snapping sensation, then a spray which seemed to radiate out of spine. suddenly i'm having massive spasms. back to the hospital. after a couple of weeks of medieval diagnostics i'm told i have an infection in my spine. gee, wonder how that happened. so they put a picc line in me and start me on Naficillin.

which i'm apparently allergic to. medicinal hep. change to Vancomycin. that seems to work. in the meantime, my liver isn't getting any healthier and they can't figure out why. so they think it's my pancreas and give me and ERPC, wihch causes pancreatitis.

five months in and out of the hospital. mostly in. five more months just getting used to living again. about a year later the residual pain in my back is breathtaking. i can't work it's so bad. so i call all my docs to get an appt to deal with the pain. NO ONE WILL SEE ME. NO ONE "DOES" PAIN. i had no choice but to try one of these nasty pain clinics.

i'm not sure what the official diagnosis is at this point. L3 and L4 discs have disintegrated. gone. bone on bone. they call this fusing. the pain that i'm left with is deep and dull and gets in my hips, sometimes down to the middle of my femur. just constant radiating pain. no nerve pain, so no sudden, electrical pain.

that's the SHORT story if you can believe it.

Thursday, December 01, 2005 9:59:00 PM  
Blogger Brook said...

thought i'd give ya'll a detox update.

yesterday and the day before felt like a migraine without the very special meat-cleaver across-the-forehead sensation. the back pain is much sharper and deeper. tremors. wtf. i get those with migraines.

Astra kicked me in the liver last night while we were all cuddled on the couch watching Robert Evans interviews. it sent me thru the roof. it's not nearly as tender today. been drinking lots of water.

it's nice and sunny and i've been sitting in the spa, which kicked up my 'solidity' a notch or two. much less woosey. we'll see if it sticks.

Friday, December 02, 2005 12:05:00 PM  
Blogger spookygrrrl said...

Sounds pretty gruesome. How come you didn't sue the hospital if they are the ones who "gave" you the infection in your spine from the dirty needle they used for the epidural? I think I would report the hospital too! Sorry you had to go thru that. Let me say also, that a morphine withdrawal isn't pretty but it goes fast. I feel for ya!

Friday, December 02, 2005 7:17:00 PM  
Blogger Brook said...

we tried to, but it happened in florida and i couldn't find a lawyer interested in something that didn't involve a tragic death. they made me feel like my little spinal infection wasn't worth anyone's time. what really sucks is that it made me have to let go of the house. i actually had plans to keep it as a beachside woodshed/studio.

as far as old sickee goes; i'm ALL BETTER. ha! take that morpheous. you can't go up against a migranuer and hope to impress me with your mere tremors. give me a fucking break. where's the hallucinations? where's the bargaining? pshaw! what a let down.

Friday, December 02, 2005 8:40:00 PM  

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