Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Murphy's Law Kind Of Day

Part 1

What a weird day! Nothing bad, just annoying - some positives, but mostly negative - just stupid stuff. Sigh!!

( Today, this is just a post for venting-a rant here, a rave there, nothing of any particular interest. Just me frustrated with my ineptitude to communicate, insurance companies and stupid stuff or gushing with gratitude for the good and did "I" shout at my doctor??)

Lately, I have been contemplating some significant decisions I have to make. In the grand scheme of things, I know that I will look back and see how everything worked out just fine. It's just the getting there sometimes. I initially was letting it get me down, but then rallied back and got back into the Christmas spirit.

Last night I was happily baking for a Christmas food basket I was putting together for a doctor's office I have been going to this year. Large office staff - large basket of goodies. Today, I ended up being in the doctor's office a lot longer than I would've normally been, because I had to have an unexpected x-ray and office procedure. Since I was there so long, I got to see the ladies there enjoy the goodies and they were all so appreciative. That warms my heart as I know they have spent a lot of time with phone calls for and to me, faxing test results, scheduling and who knows what else. They have consistently been compassionate, patient and professional throughout the year. Of course, there must be a special place in heaven for my amazing doctor in that group as HE is the one that ANSWERS all the questions and just follows up on everything even tho he is so busy. (I have had some great doctors but none of them as thorough as this guy.) Not only is he on top of everything, but he "listens" to me when I have had a complaint that goes against the clincal results. The other doctors are nice too, but I have only seen them if my Doc is away. Anyway, suffice it to know that it felt good to do something for them and even tho I know they are only doing their jobs, they have gone the extra mile and more and they have been a blessing to this girl.

I will start with last nite - which was fun in a Christmassy way.

The Christmas music was playing and in between getting the cookies out of the oven I was also putting the finishing touches on decorating the Christmas tree. I love doing things for people and as I have said before , I would feed the world if I could. Actually, there are so many people that I would like to bake for , but I haven't been feeling real good lately (ureteral stent is helping, but bothering me) and so I got behind on some of my Christmas agenda. I finally finished the last of the cookies for the doctor's office at 12:30 a.m. and had just finished the tree when I got the tiniest sliver of a glass ornament embedded into my foot.
It took a long time to get out as it was hard to reach and so far in - but I did it and then went to bed.

I got up early and immediately started packing up the basket, which took longer than I thought. Finally, a fait accompli - I took my shower.

Unfortunately, I nicked myself with the shaver (a raised capillary?) and blood poured out from this little hole like from a spigot. I did this about 4 years ago and it took a couple of hrs to stop the bleeding, even after elevation, ice and pressure.

(Here is a perfect example of how stubborn I can be when it comes to medical things - Even tho I worked closely with the ED and I knew they could've done SOMETHING simple to stop it (the Bleeding), I get stubborn and refuse to go to doctors sometimes. I did that last New Years Eve when I had a fever with chills x3 that caused symptoms that are beyond description. The 1st one hit at 2am New Years Day and my husband begged me to let him take me to the hospital. I had gotten meds for a UTI from the ED Doc I worked with the nite before and so I said "NO - the meds just need time to work." By the 3rd time it happened New Years nite, I actually thought I WAS dying and that maybe it was too late. I presented to the ED with a 124 heart rate, 104 temp and the Dx was sepsis among other things.)

So, back to the 1st time I nicked a capillary, every time I took the bandage off, it would bleed again and then eventually stopped. So, this time of course my shower got cut short, (my tub looked like the scene in Psycho) because now I had to attend to this and thought for sure I would have to cancel the appointment. However, after a bit, it MIRACULOUSLY stopped. There wasn't even a hole or anything! I guess it just clotted or ran out of blood from the source?

Now, I was going to run late, so I called the office to let them know what happened and that I would have the Christmas parade of traffic to contend with and this big basket to carry. (Thankfully, I was only 10 late and they were very busy! I actually had time to talk and show them pictures.)

Part 2

Fortunately, I ran into a nice, young girl (a stranger,with a beautiful smile - Jamie) in the parking lot who graciously helped me carry the basket up to the doctor's office. (it was a big Christmas Longaberger basket filled with home made and store bought goodies and it had leather loops on each side for us to hold) While in the elevator, she is the one who said I was having a Murphy's law day. I really am not at all superstitious, but it just seemed like nothing flowed the way it should. Except, that I did enjoy my conversations with the front office staff and had fun showing them pics of my granddaughter and the newly decorated Christmas tree.

I went there knowing I wasn't prepared for the consult. I have been so busy (and maybe in a bit of denial) that I just haven't focused on the questions I wanted to ask and info I needed to gather and so only brought a few questions. I am usually very detail oriented. Also, I am not at all familiar with NY hospitals or Cornell doctors or the criteria on which to base my decisions. So, even though I knew I wasn't ready for a consult, I still wanted to see the doc because my stent is causing a lot of discomfort and I was wondering if something was wrong. I haven't even felt comfortable enough to go out Christmas shopping.

The doctor was having a VERY busy day and he was actually on vacation which I didn't know and what am I doing at the beginning of the consult? I am wasting his time fumbling with my digital camera because some setting popped up that I didn't know how to get rid of.

(Hmmm THAT is a new complaint for Urostream.blogspot.com Dr keagirl is a female urologist who had a post on annoying things patients do. Patient playing with camera during consult could be added to the list.)

Finally, I shut it off. But I was also really tired, and since I was unprepared with questions, I feel like I wasn't at my best in communicating with him. He did give me some names and places to research. I did tell him the stent was more uncomfortable than I expected. So, I had to get a KUB (which revealed stent is in place the way it should be) and he informed me that he would be doing the procedure to gather the pure urine sample. I can NEVER remember the name of that (must be mental block because I HATE it) and so I think of it as a PUP - pure urine procedure. :) O k, between psycho bloody tub and now urine, I know I have lost a few of my friends reading this. :)

It would've been funny if I went to this doctor's office with my Santa Clause hat on. I like the way I look in it when I am dressed up. Even tho stressed by the shaving incident, I really was in a festive, Christmas spirit. I was wearing 2 Christmas tree pins on my coat and one lights up like a gaudy Los Vegas sign. I thought it would be fun to deliver the treats to them and some other people with my Santa Hat on, but decided against wearing it because I thought he might not be able to take me seriously with the hat on and if I had to take it off, then maybe I would have the dreaded hat hair.

*** I do think it would've been totally weird, yet funny if I were in the exam room, in THAT position - with a Santa hat on! Something surreal about that. :)

So, now I know I have to get undressed waist down for this. Remember shower cut short because of psycho tub? I didn't get to shave all the way up my legs. Thankfully, I wasn't growing trees, but still...sigh. AND my toenails (plum) didn't match my red fingernails (which were starting to chip and I had them PROFESSIONALLY done the day before.) I was going to do the toenails myself after shower, but instead of red nail polish I had to deal with red blood. The blood pours out in a stream and I could envision myself dying from blood loss that way. Obviously, I wouldn't let it happen but I wonder what would happen if I didn't intervene.

I KNOW the doctors DON'T care about these things - they are just there to do their jobs and move on to the next patient. When I got hit with that first big kidney stone (at 4 a.m.), I presented to the ED (at approximately 8a.m.) in a nightgown, and had been unable to brush my teeth, brush my hair or wash in any way and I WAS growing trees on my legs. I remember that particular week - I was really busy with both jobs and other commitments and every a.m. when taking a shower, I would have the thought to shave my legs and I kept saying "No - Tomorrow, no time now." and then that Friday a.m. I was hit with the kidney stone. Murphy's Law!

I do remember an ED Doc commenting on a patient's sexy panties that he had seen on her just before coming to dinner in the cafeteria. Having seen the patient - I can see why the patient and panties didn't jive and could appreciate his very funny comments. BUT *mental note made - Docs DO notice these things* and it is from that point on that I personally have always felt a little more shy in an exam. However, I know I am being silly about matching nail polish - that's a girl thing. Oh - and by the way- I would feel just as embaressed if it was a woman doctor - it's that whole getting undressed, feeling imperfect, vulnerable thing. Yet, I can honestly say, that whenever I was around naked patients in any capacity, I certainly didn't stare at anything and that there is this more professional way of looking at someone in that I would see them, but not be looking - if that makes any sense. And, I honestly don't remember any naked patient or even who they were - o k well, there is one. My M.I.A. ED nurse friend (Marge) knows which one I am referring to. It was back in my early days working around the ED and let's just say" sometimes "I could be a little naive. :) It is one of her favorite stories about me and she gets me laughing any time she brings it up. Wish I could share it... but - I can't! And - let me be clear about this - we are NOT laughing at the patient in any way but rather at me in one of my more "Lucy" moments in conjunction with this case!

There is a blogging urologist (the independent urologist) that says this procedure doesn't hurt. I just left him 2 comments on his xyfactor blog that it DOES HURT! :(

Part 3

So, when I got home, I went in to office mode and began the phone calls to start my research process. I started with my insurance company, which felt like an exercise in futility. I am usually strong in communications but I was definitely having an off day. My generally easy going personality was transforming into a biatch, internally of course, ok, maybe it was leaking out a little. I was making every effort to be patient with an ins. rep who appeared to not want to help with the research! I kept having thoughts of ending the call (or her life! - extreme, I know) and calling back to get someone else, but I persisted. Here is the funny thing (not then, but now), EVERY number she gave me was WRONG! The hospital information and the doctor information! She kept telling me there were 470 urologists on the list. In the end, I decided to go to my insurance site on line. I don't usually do this as I always prefer making that human connection because most people DO their jobs and you can get other questions answered as well, killing 2 birds with 1 stone sort of thing. Now.... the website is taking F-O-R-E-V-E-R- to access!!! I tried several times (our system is very fast so I knew it wasn't my computer) and then FINALLY got through. Then, "I" accessed the urologist's section and DO NOT UNDERSTAND why it was so difficult for her to narrow the choices down to a specific area!?? Then, I went back to the phone. Thankfully, when I called one of the ins rep's wrong hospital numbers, the person on the other end WAS ABLE to direct me to the CORRECT facility and then the next person there WAS ALSO ABLE to direct me to the correct dept and to the actual doctor's office. In the meantime , I scheduled for a consult with a doctor closer to home for Friday who works in a hospital closer to home.

Then, I called my doctor's office because it occurred to me that I probably need to go to the new Doc with all kinds of reports/x-rays and who knows what else. ( Now, I DON'T want to do ANY of this!! I want to cancel everything. ) I want my urologist to wave his magic urology wand(Urologists have them, don't they?) over me and make it all go away. Well, in MY perfect world - it could happen. You can't blame a girl for wishing! :)

I spoke with the nurse and told her my plans. (It seemed that all the doctors that my doctor was recommending were NOT on my plan) I, just for the heck of it, had looked up the urologists on my plan who are affiliated with this particular hospital and asked the nurse to ask him if any of these Docs would work. She called me back and told me to hold as he wanted to speak with me.

This nurse is the one who told me he was on vacation, and now I know I must be bothering the heck out of him, if he is having one of those busy days where he is NOT getting out of the office because now I AM ADDING to everything, although - I did need to know what I had to do before I saw this new guy in 2 days. (The only reason I was rushing to do this is that I have hit catastrophic this year and I am trying to save money any way that I can. Seeing a new doctor 3 days before Christmas is NOT my idea of holiday fun!) I am REALLY HAPPY to say he (my current Doctor) did say one of the doctors on my list would be a good choice. That means that maybe I will have surgery, etc. closer to home. Well, maybe same distance but just wouldn't have to deal with all the NYC stuff. I don't know for sure - still have things to sort through.

Anyway, he is talking to me on SPEAKER PHONE! I love/hate speaker phone! When "I" am using it - I love it! When I am the recipient of it - I hate it because it always sounds like I am in a cave and I don't like how the voices seem distorted and I feel weird about my voice being projected out into an unknown (to me) area. When I use it on my end, I tend to speak louder so people can hear me. Well, AFTER speaking with him, I am now thinking that I may have been shouting AT HIM!!! I hope not!

If I did - I do hope he realizes that: a. I DON'T think he's deaf b. that I wouldn't yell at him and c. it was because of the darn speaker phone. I am pretty certain I shouted back - sigh....

After all of this, I tried to go on our ins pharmacy program to order meds for my husband. I don't keep track of his meds and he left one of his bottles out for me to see and it only contained TWO pills! I order meds on line for him quarterly, always goes smoothly and they arrive within a few days. (But now it is the weekend and Christmas coming up)

Well, of course, because I decided to do this today - it did NOT go smoooothly. My fault! I changed the password 3 months ago and didn't remember it. Suffice it to know that I locked myself out! So, I called tech support. Thanks to HIPPA, she could not help me access the account or give the temp password to me. I set up the account. It was my password. It is my e-mail account. I pay all the bills (with his money) and I do all the federal and state taxes, itemizing everything. He has never e-mailed or paid a bill on line in his life. I don't care - I am just stating a fact. She was a lovely person who was truly trying to help me and I was doing my very best to be patient. I kept apologizing to her and warned her that if I snapped in any way it wasn't her, that I was just really, really tired and a bit testy. While waiting for him to come to the phone, I paid the bill with "my" credit card.

My husband comes to the phone gives the info to me and I get him set up.

I asked her about my son's info and of course because HE is now 18, and because of HIPPA laws," he" now has to have his own password to his own account. He is on my husbands plan. There isn't ANY med that he would get that comes thru the insurance plan that we would not
know about.

I do understand the whole privacy act thing and it's importance, but I also think it is over kill and creates a lot of extra paper work.

While our son was talking with this woman, I decided to access husband's account and it indicated that meds still had to be paid for. I questioned this and she reassured me that they were paid for with my credit card and would be sent out. That is key because if everything was done correctly, there is a good chance his meds might get here by Saturday.

So, it wasn't an awful day, just an off day. Maybe the lesson here is, that if it seems like the day is going to be a Murphy's law kind of day, then just try not to do anything you don't want to get screwed up! Too bad I can't collect a salary for the day's work!

Then Devan and I hung everyone's Christmas stockings up. The evening took a turn for the better. It always helps to view Christmas through a child's eyes.

p.s. I slept really well last night and slept in this morning. Also, this morning (Thursday) I got a recorded message from our mail order pharmacy program. The message indicated that the meds WOULD NOT be shipped unless they were paid for! No - please God - NOT another day like yesterday! I called the suggested number and as it turns out the tech support lady did not submit my payment correctly but it was corrected today....ah....bliss and the rest of the day was uneventful - tis a good thing.

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