Saturday, February 28, 2009

Law of Urology and All Thoughts Urological

urinejoke by you.

I left a comment in The Independent Urologist's blog and so I am putting part of it here.

I don't know why exactly..but urine is on my mind. Maybe because the renal scan is coming up soon. Maybe because I am more seriously contemplating the reconstructive surgery .... or... maybe just because I need to go make some pretty whizzie winkles.. not sure. :)

I.U. wrote a post on things physicians could do to to appease the patients who balk at having to come in to the office and pay a copay... to "merely discuss lab results". He had a list of other office requirements that could be done as well so the patient feels they are getting their money's worth while discussing labs. Of course I honed in on the urine... but that has become my forte. Hey... this girl can put out urine. I'm not bragging or anything.. but 2000 ccs during a lasix renal scan..seems to impress the techs. ;)

My competitive nature want to try to out do myself.. beat my previous record. Besides... there is a method to my madness. The more I put out... the better it washes out the radioactive isotopes. Sounds good in theory anyway. ;)

Patients don't realize that doctors don't get paid for phone calls (I didn't know it until I began meandering through the medblogs) and they certainly don't process how many patients a doctor may have to call with results..on top of all the other calls. And you are paying for their expertise when you come in to the office.

It's like at the ED on a busy night. Oblivious to the dynamics of an ED...patients don't understand why the doc can't" just look at them" quickly.. because their complaint is "easy".

This is old news in this blog... but I do have the most amazing urologist. He has taken my calls and always been right there to help me if I had a concern. I have always felt confident with him over my case. They have all been so good to me in that urology office and that is why... I love to treat them with food every so often. :)

I have never hesitated or questioned why I had to come in. I would expect that if I have been asked to come in.. then it is important or they wouldn't ask. Some offices will have the office staff call with good results.. but I always appreciate hearing from the doctor and I usually have a question. Well...only with urology.. because it has been more involved.

Funny thing... prior to May 2004... urology was a foreign concept to me. I didn't know I had a ureter..never mind TWO of them. And I RARELY thought about urine. As a matter of fact... go back 20 years... and the pediatrician suggested that I may want to consult a ..... *UROLOGIST*... if something with our son didn't correct itself in a year. I remember I was all afraid... because we might have to consult with a ...*UROLOGIST*. Boy isn't life ironic sometimes?! Now seeing the *UROLOGIST* seems as natural as breathing. I'm just sayin. :)

Fortunately, I have been blessed to be really healthy for most of my life... and it has only been since the 1st kidney stone (since 04) that I have had some health challenges, primarily urologic.

Anyway... during these last few years... I have observed what is at the crux of universal law in urology..well in the office anyway.

It is a fact that upon entering said urology office ... they will want your urine! Now they are not greedy... they don't want it all... but they will always want at least a token of your champagne of body fluids.

I am sure there are many things required in the practice of urology... but based on personal experience... I am certain that the following is true.

"Please be advised that upon entering the urology office, you will be required to give a urine specimen. No breathing mammal will be exempt from this requirement. Please be further advised that unless said urine specimen has been obtained, you will not be permitted to leave the office.

It is the law."


Remember the part about, "No breathing mammal will be exempt" ? Even the staff and physicians.. give a daily urine sample. They have to. It's only logical. They have stepped foot into the *urology office* and if they want to go home... they will comply with the * the LAW*.

I think I am now a professional urology patient and if I know anything is gonna happen at the urology office... it is that they want my urine and my copay ... and I just go with the flow. ;)

The Perfect Worker -author unknown

1 Bob Smith, my assistant programmer, can always be found
2 hard at work in his cubicle. Bob works independently, without
3 wasting company time talking to colleagues. Bob never
4 thinks twice about assisting fellow employees, and he always
5 finishes given assignments on time. Often he takes extended
6 measures to complete his work, sometimes skipping coffee
7 breaks. Bob is a dedicated individual who has absolutely no
8 vanity in spite of his high accomplishments and profound
9 knowledge in his field. I firmly believe that Bob can be
10 classed as a high-caliber employee, the type which cannot be
11 dispensed with. Consequently, I duly recommend that Bob be
12 promoted to executive management, and a proposal will be
13 executed as soon as possible.

Addendum:

That idiot was standing over my shoulder while I wrote the report
sent to you earlier today. Kindly re-read only the odd numbered
lines.

Things Happen...

http://www.funnyjunkz.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/05/funny-cat-picture-2.jpg

Medical Cartoon

http://images.3d4medical.com/_a/cartoon/EL002-001-10501_H.jpg

Friday, February 27, 2009

Urology Blog - Urology Thoughts

I was looking up urology information when I inadvertently discovered the "Urology Surgery" Blog. I have added this blog to the urology section on my blogroll.

I am particularly interested in information on ureteral strictures and related surgeries. This blogger wrote about ureteral surgeries and it is the most comprehensive urology information on ureteral surgeries that I have found in the last 2 1/2 years. It is the first really informative post I have seen on ureteral strictures and the Psoas hitch surgery.

This surgeon writes about the indications for surgery, planning, the surgery, outcomes-complications, results, success and a whole lot more.

Hopefully this Urology Surgery blog will be helpful to anyone meandering through here who may be in need of some urological care.

I look forward to reading more. Of course it scares me when I see what a big deal it seems to be... the Psoas hitch surgery. Maybe it is as natural as breathing for the surgeon to do... but it seems pretty complicated to me.

I still don't feel the green light in my spirit to do the surgery. I am working on getting healthier through healthier lifestyle choices. I am reconsidering my options..for long term.

I am getting another Mag III renal scan with Lasix in March. I am praying for good results and that my renal function is good.

I am still praying for that miracle so I can once and for all avoid the whole thing.

It is hard to believe that 1 stupid kidney stone caused all this damage and subsequent treatments, etc. and I always tell people...DRINK WATER. DRINK, DRINK, DRINK!

Drink to keep your kidneys flushing out the impurities so they don't crystalize into kidney stones.

Many people pass the stones and aside from the horrendous, worse than childbirth pain... they end up alright. But others like me...end up having to go to the OR to have them removed and then have a ureteral stent placed in them for awhile.

Unfortunately...sometimes the kidney stone causes damage/scarring in the ureter... causing it to constrict..thus causing other complications... which is what happened to me.

So... it is important to drink fluids throughout the day. I recently read that you should even drink water when you wake up at night to keep the kidneys hydrated. Shoot! If I did that... I might as well just sleep in the bathroom, cause I'd be whizzie winkling all night.

Sometimes I get busy and still forget to drink.. but I am usually pretty good about it.

It is such a simple thing to do to help prevent kidney stones.

* This blog has links to other surgical specialties with the same in depth information about specific surgeries.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Thought Processes of a SeaSpray -Abra - Cadaver! and "Oh my God!"

While riding over to see mom tonight, I ended up stopping at a red light..a ridiculously l-o-o-n-g red light... behind a plumbing and heating van.

Feeling bored... I decided to read the sign the plumber had on the back of his van.

ABRA-CADABRA (they split the word apart)
Plumbing, Heating and Air conditioning
phone numbers

I decided I didn't like the name because it reminded me of a cadaver.

ABRA-CADAVER
Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning.
phone numbers

Then it occurred to me that I might be hanging out in the med blogasphere just a little too much,
but then I imagined cadavers in the back of the van. EEEWWWWW!

And then I started to giggle at the thought of doing incantations to deliver a cadaver. Need a cadaver? Call us and we'll conjure one up for you! More than one cadaver? ..GROUP RATES!

"Yay! The light turned green! Go! Go! Go! Go!"

Now next light is less then a block away and for some reason it turns red real fast and so your lucky if you are the 3rd car to get through before it turns red. If there is a pokey person in front of you ..forget it..your sitting at another red light. So...when you manage to get through the ridiculously l-o-o-n-g red light... you basically have to turn left and TEAR out of there like a bat out of you know where! (You just KNOW a sadistic person set the lights up that way!) I am so right on the persons' tail. In this case.. tonight it was the CADAVER van!

Just to give you an image. I always feel like I am in that scene with John Candy and Steve Martin in Planes, Trains and Automobiles where they just backed into the motel wall, knocking it down... and then they slipped out of there real fast while slipping and sliding on ice... but they make a fast getaway. I ALWAYS think of that scene, hear the music too... when I am trying to speed through that light.

So..sure enough... I have the same feelings, I hear the same music, I'm tearing through that light on the van's tail... but imagined all the ABRA-CADAVERS flying out... into my windshield and running over them. EWWW!

Fortunately the CADAVER van drove straight and I turned off onto another road.

Admit it...y'all have weird thoughts and imaginations too! :)

But then I had a real SCARE!
************************************************************************************
As I was at the other end of the hall... on my mother's floor, walking toward her room... one of the aides walked out of her room with bedding in her hands. She didn't see me as she was continuing down the hall.

I figured she just put my mother in bed.

I walked in the room.

The light was low and Mom's curtain was drawn out far enough to hide her bed from the hallway. I walked past the curtain to her side of the room...only to see a white sheet pulled up over her face and head!!!!

"Oh NO! It was an OMEN!"

I froze on the spot at a distance from her bed... speechless, but then cautiously said, "M-o-m?"

With my feet still firmly planted to the spot I froze in, I leaned closer toward her, "M-o-m?"

"Nothing! Wait...the aide was just in here. She wouldn't leave the sheet over Mom's head if she was only sleeping... Oh my God! She's DEAD!" And with that thought...I tried to see if she was breathing and I couldn't tell... but I wasn't wearing my glasses. It seemed the sheets were faintly moving by her stomach area. She was sort of on her side. Then I propelled forward and shouted, "MOMMY?!" And with that she answered "What?" under the sheet.

"WHAT do you have a sheet OVER your head for?"

"I'm cold."

I was gonna tell her I thought she was dead but thought better of it because I didn't want to mar the happy visit.

But ... for a couple of minutes after ...I felt like "Oh my GOD!" coursing through my veins.

Even though the room was hotter than an inferno...I covered her with the bedspread and her own large quilt before I left. I tucked her in all the way up and around her chin. She was as snug as a bug in a rug. She was happy about that. :)

I also put her Glen Miller big band tape on. Her eyes were already closed when I kissed her goodnight and told her I loved her.

P. S. This is sad.. but maybe it is common..I don't know.

During these last few years...I would occasionally have thoughts of finding mom..not alive. The thought really scared me. I know these things happen... but I am glad that she is in the nursong home if this is how weak and frail she has become.

You might think I was joking with what I wrote bout her above, especially because I had those inane cadaver thoughts... But I was not. It was actually quite traumatic for me to see the sheet over mom's head like that and I was feeling all the extreme emotion I indicated...not believing it, too frozen with fear to really move.

The humor of it (only because she is very much alive) does not escape me, particularly because I had just imagined all those magic cadavers in the van. I guess you call it black humor. If you don't laugh you cry. Humor helps me cope.

I also checked her lip color and over all skin tone. She seems so small, frail and old to me now. It scares me to see her this way.

I am so grateful we have this time together now.

SeaSpray + 3rd Person = Blogger's Remorse

All SeaSpray is saying is that she was totally into the story and the ending surprised her.. but it's cute. She's already experiencing a bit of blogger's remorse and hope's no one is offended. * When SeaSpray goes into 3rd person..she's usually distancing from an embarrassing/possibly offensive post. :)

Fish and Cat Story

One spring day, a fish was swimming about a foot below the surface of a lake and saw a fly hovering just out of striking distance.

The fish said to itself, "If that fly comes six inches closer, I'll jump up and have myself a meal." Just then, a bear on the shore of the lake looked up and said to itself, “If that fly gets any closer to that fish, the fish will jump up, and I'll catch the fish and have myself a meal."

As luck would have it, a hunter saw what was happening. He thought to himself, "If that fly moves closer to the fish, the fish will jump, the bear will lean over to grab the fish, and I'll shoot the bear."

Just then, a rat was standing behind the hunter saying to itself," If that fly moves closer to the fish, the fish will jump, the bear will lean over to grab the fish, the hunter will lean over to shoot the bear, and I'll grab the sandwich from the back pocket of the hunter.

However, unbeknownst to the rat, a cat was observing everything and thinking, "If that fly moves closer to the fish, the fish will jump, the bear will grab the fish, the hunter will shoot the bear, the rat will grab the sandwich, and I'll snatch the rat."

At that very moment, the fly dropped a few inches, the fish grabbed the fly, the bear grabbed the fish, the hunter shot the bear, the rat grabbed the sandwich, the cat jumped, missed the rat and landed in the lake.

The moral of this story is:

If the fly drops six inches the pussy will get wet.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

"More than an empty apartment with the scent of old age..."

http://www.stinalisa.com/RockingChair.jpg

A few years ago, while working in my LifeLine job at the VNA ...I often had conversations with a nurse that also worked there. We both had elderly mothers and we would share our mutual fears, frustrations and concerns about them. And even though for different reasons... she was also challenged... as I was by her mom's strong personality.

We would talk at our desks if she was at my end of the office or I up at hers or we'd even meet and vent outside or inside the ladies room and chat briefly in passing. :) It felt good to have someone to commiserate with.

I had the privilege of meeting her mother because I went to her lovely town house to set her up with a LifeLine unit. She was delightful! And quite energetic for her age. She bounded up the stairs better than I did with my then torn meniscus.

She proudly showed off her doll collection and family pictures on the walls... which were throughout her home. It was spotless... everything in it's place. She told me she did most of it herself, but her daughter did have someone come in once a week.

She was my last person for the day and so I stayed to have a cup of tea with her.

I scheduled it at the end of the day because we lived in the same town and I could go right home from there. Both the coordinator and I would stay and visit with clients when time allowed because we thought it was important to befriend them and be supportive. Many were shut ins or they were alone often and enjoyed the company. We have even taken out garbage, gotten mail and fixed curtains. Not in our job description, but it felt good to help. It was one of the perks of the job. And of course we fulfilled our main purpose for being there..installed the units and provided instruction with reassurance... as well as encouraging them to call us if they have any questions or concerns.

While sitting at her dining room table as we sipped our tea...she told me her birth certificate had burned in a fire and so there was a discrepancy about her age (she had been adopted), but she went with the younger age. :) And she teared up when she spoke with great love for her husband who had passed on.

As I walked out, I complimented her beautiful garden she had by her front walk. I was fascinated with a certain cactus. She insisted on digging up a piece for me and she told me how to plant it. I thanked her and was on my way.

I did plant it exactly as she said, but it didn't survive the following winter.

I heard she passed away after I had stopped working.

One day while I was sitting at my desk...her daughter, the nurse I worked with stopped by to give me what I am about to share with you. I was instantly moved when I read it and kept it in my files the entire time I worked there.

And now I would like to share it with you.

Since I have gone through these things with my own mother and seeing her the way she is now... I can not read this without crying... but it is sweet... bittersweet for anyone who has experienced these things... and perhaps a reminder to all of us to make the most of our time, keeping our perspectives on what is most important.

In my opinion...what is most important is our faith and the relationships we build. Our memory and example will live on in the minds and hearts of others.
************************************************************************************
Reflections ~ Carol Kehlmeier

What Remains?

She's more than an empty apartment with the scent of old age.

We walk through her tiny apartment deciding what to do with her tiny possessions. No longer independent, she must be moved to assisted living.

One granddaughter will take the bedroom suite. A grandson will take the yellow kitchen stool he climbed on as a toddler.

Her lovely crystal will be divided among the family.

Linens made by ancestors, china painted by a distant relative, silverware hardly used because she wanted to, "keep it for special occasions" and a drawer filled with old photos -- all are reminders of her past.

Is this what remains of a human life when independence is no more?

As a young woman, she gardened. She raised her children. She sang as she washed dishes.

A painting of a smiling Christ hangs above her bed. A worn Bible sits nearby.

A Christmas cactus waits patiently for a sprinkle of water.
The carpet is worn, the paint is chipped and the faucet drips.

There was more to her than a 27- inch TV. She held babies and saw them grow into adults. She rode in horse-drawn carriages as a girl. She saw men walk on the moon in her middle years.

She danced. She rode a donkey in the Rockies. She fished. She laughed. She rolled bandages at church.

She isn't just a shadow on the wall. God knows her. She's a living being with a soul.

There are memories of a daughter who was a homecoming queen and of a son who was a football hero.

There was a front-porch swing where they sipped lemonade and the rose garden in the back yard.

There was the taste of ice cream, the feel of satin and the endless hot white sky on a summer afternoon.

She doesn't hear or see well or even walk steadily, but she's still a person with memories.

She's more than an empty apartment with the scent of old age. She has a heart. And inside her heart... she wants to sing and dance again.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Speaking as a daughter who spent weeks last fall going through her mother's things... these kinds of thoughts went through my mind too.

I felt emotions so powerful..that I have never been able to attach words to them.

It is both profoundly moving and surreal... when you know someone is coming near to the end of their life... and you are then faced with objects that represented who they were. What they liked. What they did.

And it was painful...emotionally painful... because I would immediately be catapulted back in time to when I was a little girl..or a teenager. They weren't always happy times. I spent a lifetime trying to avoid those memories.

But some were sweet memories.

And One of my favorite discoveries was an old discolored candy tin that was filled with buttons. You would've thought I found gold! I immediately called my son over to share in my discovery.

The tin was filled with my grandmother's old buttons she saved! When I was a little girl...I used to love running my fingers through so many buttons. And I also played with them while I was sitting on the living room floor. I used to dump them out, line them up by colors or size or make designs with them. And I admired some of them and thought they were so pretty.

So I will be displaying that tin as a decorative piece and every so often..I will open it and run my fingers through the buttons. :) I am trying to decide if I should clean the tin up or leave it as is.

And it was sad... to have to clean out her things. I think the worst of it for me... was when I came across things I knew nothing about. It represented things she never shared with me. I had this feeling ...I should have known these things. Was that my fault I didn't or was it because she was so private?

I was repeatedly struck with wondering and finally concluding that this is what it comes down to. We live our lives. We hopefully build lasting relationships. We build memories. Hopefully more joyous then sad.

But in the end... we can't take our material things with us. Someday... we will all be surrendering these objects. And someday... we may be surrendering our ability to live independently... to do even the most simple things for ourselves. If we live long enough...it is most likely inevitable.

But no matter what happens... we will always have our experiences in our hearts and in our spirits.

I still can't articulate my feelings when I was cleaning out her apartment. As I went through her personal items... I felt a sense of loss for what could've been. I wondered about her life. And I was struck by..thinking..."This is it? It comes down to this?"

I am still at a loss for words.

I will write more when I understand these feelings better.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Another Surgeon's Blog

I have added another surgeon to my blogroll... Bongi, a general surgeon in South Africa... author of the "Other Things Amanzi" blog.

I highly recommend that you read this recent post, "Orchestrator", in which he writes about the importance of teamwork among the colleagues in the OR and how amidst this dramatically critical case...he also had to orchestrate the rest of the team to get them to do what they needed to do.

Here is a small part of Bongi's post: "i started the repair. then the heart stopped. it was easy to diagnose i could clearly see the heart in front of me. i informed the gas monkey (anaesthetist). he looked at me. i put my hand around the heart and started to squeeze. the gas monkey looked at me. i realised he simply didn't have the beginning of an idea what to do. i realised this was not a team work situation. i needed to take control of everything. i was the gas monkey consultant suddenly. i took control. i orchestrated what needed to be orchestrated.

"you!" to the gas monkey, "give adrenaline now! you" to house doctor floating around like an unwanted fart on the wind, " draw up x ampoules of adrenaline and put it into y ml saline!" all the time i compressed the heart. now i have occasionally compressed a heart against the sternum from inside the abdomen, but seldom have i stood with the heart completely in my hand."

What an awesome post!

Also ...his African wildlife pics are magnificent! :)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Because I Care...

As we get older our doctors
recommend that we have tests
run more often.

So we I am sending these tests out to you to save you time and money.

20 SECOND MEDICAL TEST

CAT SCAN

STARE INTO THE CAT’S EYES FOR 10 SECONDS …
Then Scroll Down

CAT SCAN 1

NOW STARE INTO THE PUPPY’S EYES FOR 10 SECONDS …

CAT SCAN

SCROLL DOWN FOR YOUR TEST RESULTS….

TY

Your CAT SCAN
and LAB’ TESTS
are now complete!

SORRY

Kitten Laughing!

I simply couldn't RESIST! :)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Perspectives



Okay... I am ashamed to say that I typed that thank you note. Dear God..look at all the typos! I never proofed it but just tore it out of the electronic typewriter (remember those?), placed it in a thank you card and left for work. Obviously the whiteout tape wasn't working. I wanted to get it done... but should not have rushed! *sigh* Suffice it to know that I was not a typist. I would n-e-v-e-r give that to anyone now. YIKES! I do type much better... but thank God for word... because seriously.. I am not a typist.

While going through old papers...I came across this copy of a thank you letter I had inserted in a card for the respiratory staff at the hospital I worked in. For years ...each hospital department would choose a needy family...usually a patient's family to adopt for Christmas.

Each family would get a large turkey, food to fill up their cabinets and Christmas presents.

One morning I was awakened by a phone call from an ER nurse who informed me that we were the family being adopted by the respiratory department for Christmas.

I confess that I immediately felt embarrassed, while simultaneously recognizing their kindness.

Still..it was a hard pill to swallow. It's way better to give... or be given something just because, than when you are in a needy position. The latter is humiliating. And perhaps more so for me... because it reminded me of the years that my mother and I were really poor when I was a young teenager... and I had worked hard to try to forget all that.

That being said...it was also heartwarming.

I asked her why us?

She said "Because you and your family are going through a difficult time now. You never complain and you have a positive attitude with everyone."

I thanked her.

They kept all the "Adopt A family food and gifts" in the administration building. I was so surprised to see how much was sitting in piles on the floor for us, including the big turkey. My coworkers were very generous as evidenced by the entire room being filled up with these amazingly abundant Christmas donations for all the adopted families... piles of food and presents everywhere. :)

They gave us so much, that I had to have help carrying it out to my car. When I got home... Jonathan was amazed at how much food and how many wrapped presents kept coming out of the trunk and the inside of the car for us to bring into our house.

And just before Christmas...one of my co-workers came over to visit... with even more Christmas presents! They gave us all presents and lots of toys for the boys... as well as clothing and some other things. They filled our cabinets with food ... and the turkey was huge.

Like most people...I have had to overcome some difficult challenges in my life...and I am grateful that I always have...things have always had a way of working out for the better. It's true...if it doesn't kill you...it does make you stronger... and wiser. Also...hope is greatly wrapped up in the essence of who I am. My faith in God and his faithfulness in my life have been the rock that has steadied me. I am going through the most difficult time in my life now... more than I say in this blog. You know those times in life where you feel like you are being assaulted on all fronts? The medical records DEBACLE is the proverbial last straw... but I will rally through that too and hopefully...the staff WILL find my records.

I am definitely in a personally challenging season in my life... with my mother seemingly deteriorating before my eyes and dealing with the emotions of all that...exacerbated by my regrets for the past...even though.. I know... I do know...it was not an easy situation. And then there are some other significant issues/concerns I have. And I do pray they will find my records or if they aren't going to be found...that at least... my personal information will not be compromised in anyway..thus causing additional harm to me or my family.

This is a nice Christmas story...but I am putting it up now because it is reminding me of the blessings, the good things that can and do happen during tough times.

Despite some of the challenges... I know I have many blessings to be grateful for..and I am. Also...there has been some good that has come out of the difficult situations. I know these are times for learning and emotional growth, i.e., character building.

And I am very grateful to God for his unconditional love... that despite my often being the prodigal daughter... going off on her own ... he still helps things to work out for good in the end...and for my family, friends and all the special people who have been there for me in different ways.

When I came across that old thank you note... the memory of their kindness warmed my heart all over again. And in remembering their generosity and how it gave us a better Christmas... it also reminded me.. how difficult that time was. There was a legal case going on... and it was a WRONGFUL one that was costing our family dearly... for twenty l-o-n-g months. And so many people in our personal lives rallied around us with letters, financial gifts and encouragement.

With each kind gesture... I would tell my husband... "Look... this is God working through this person, these people ..saying "Hold on, I'm working on this" and I think everything will be alright." And he did win... and the victory was oh so sweet! :)

But we had days, weeks, months where we did have our challenges... but we rose up and moved forward. I think it is good for me to remember this. It ALL worked out... and better than we had thought. And remembering how we got through that difficult time when most people thought it was hopeless and knowing how well things turned out in the end with all the blessings in life that have followed since that time... it gives me hope...with some joyful anticipation for the good things ahead.

I would say that going through this sad journey with my mother... while it has taken it's toll on me..perhaps because I have let it... has also been an opportunity for healing of emotional hurts between us. As sad as it is for me to see her this way... it was inevitable that she would come to this stage in her life. I am just glad we still have time together...without all the things that got in the way before. It was complicated.

So ...reading that Thank You note... reminded me to look at these things from another perspective and to know...that things do have a way of working out... even better than if the challenges never came in the first place.

It's interesting how reflecting on your past can give you a better perspective on the present and hope for the future and new beginnings.

Perspectives.

* Perhaps in these difficult economic times we all may encounter someone in need and have the opportunity to help them in some way. Then hopefully..they will do the same for others when they remember how they were helped and are in a position to help someone else ...keeping the ripple of good going forward.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

This is Clever LOL! :)

I saw this over at the Happy Hospitalist's blog and just HAD to post it. Too funny! :)

(BTW... Happy's remark "Italians are great kissers" on his header is funny. Well I'm sure they are... but I think he is referring to his Italian Greyhound. Go check it out.... so CUTE! :)
*************************************************************************************

Doctors' Opinion of Financial Bail Out Package

The Allergists voted to scratch it, and the Dermatologists advised not to make any rash moves.

The Gastroenterologists had sort of a gut feeling about it, but the Neurologists thought the Administration had a lot of nerve, and the Obstetricians felt they were all laboring under a misconception.

The Ophthalmologists considered the idea shortsighted; the Pathologists yelled, 'Over my dead body!' while the Pediatricians said, 'Oh, Grow up!'

The Psychiatrists thought the whole idea was madness, the Radiologists could see right through it, and the Surgeons decided to wash their hands of the whole thing.

The Internists thought it was a bitter pill to swallow, and the Plastic Surgeons said, 'This puts a whole new face on the matter.'

The Podiatrists thought it was a step forward, but the Urologists felt the scheme wouldn't hold water.

The Anesthesiologists thought the whole idea was a gas, and the Cardiologists didn't have the heart to say no.

In the end, the Proctologists left the decision up to some ******** in Washington.

(source unknown)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Political Blogging, About Today and Happy Valentine's Day! :)



I suggested Dr S and readers may want to watch this YouTube where republicans back in 2004 tried to challenge/warn the dems about Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac. President Clinton did as well. I didn't know that.

It is mind boggling to me that the spinmeisters were able to put this all on the republicans when everything hit the fan back in September. Then again...McCain did not run an effective campaign and he came out and said there wasn't any financial problem before he flew back to DC to correct the problem!



And it is mind boggling to me how the average voter apparently does not do the research but merely parrots the spinmeister rhetoric before morphing into the voting lemming jumping over the cliff down into the abyss of reaping what they have sown.

How Barney Frank holds any position of power after this huge financial debacle/travesty...is beyond me! ??

And I have been naive too. I did not know about any of this until September. Why weren't the republicans shouting this from the roof tops?

And now this bill that is being passed on President's day without being read or debated? Mind boggling I tell you ...MIND BOGGLING!

I was doing a little political blogging today at Dr Schwab's "Cutting Through the Crap" political blog.

Of course when I go there I know my stomach is gonna feel like it is tied up in a knot by the time I leave... and so I take breaks from it.

But because I like his writing...I am drawn back... like a moth to flame. I try to stay away... but I can't... he's just that good...even though I do disagree ... not always.. but often.

I do wish he'd also come back to post in his AWESOME "Surgeon'sblog"...cause let me tell you...this doctor can write.

I have also been enjoying Throckmorton's clever political/medical analogies over at his blog "Throckmorton's Other Signs" and of course am a kindred spirit with his political views.

Interesting how opinions affect us... for those of us who are politically minded. We really take things to heart and sometimes it downright hurts to read dissenting opinions...particularly if cruel.

I have been feeling so jaded of late, with both the political arena and medical. Jaded is the antitheses of how I would describe myself...and I know I can not give in to these feelings.
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Devan will be coming over soon and we will be visiting mom in the nursing home. She is staying over night and we will be baking a Valentine's day cake. White cake, strawberry icing with little heart sprinkles for the top.

She is staying over night and we will be watching "Planes, Trains and Automobiles"... One of my most favorite comedic movies ever. Of course I will fast forward through the airport scene where the F**K word is used non stop by Steve Martin. I am not one for major profanity in movies...but in this context..I think it was HILARIOUS and I did not blame him. :)

I have seen this movie many times but not in a few years now. I am really gonna enjoy the much needed laughing tonight! And it will be fun to watch through her eyes too. :)

I am trying to remember if there is any other questionable scene..but I don't think so.

Happy Valentine's Day! :)

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I think it should be a prerequisite that politicians responsible for creating stimulus packages visit the Reality Theme Park too. They can easily find their part of the theme park by going to the gigantic pig. They can't miss the pig. It is so huge...it holds 787 billion dollars inside!

I hope I haven't offended anyone. I am just venting. Opposing opinions are always welcome.

Sometimes... great minds just have to agree to disagree.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Angel Girl's Letter



I love this!

We are so proud of our little granddaughter. And a bright one she is. She is in the advanced extra curricular class where they give additional assignments, etc.

She is only 7 and I think this letter has good content and advanced spelling abilities for her age. She was reading adult things during the summer before she began 1st grade. She also has terrific printing skills...something that has never been my strong suit. She also has her mother and maternal grandmother's artistic ability. She was drawing amazing pictures when she was only 2.

She is also an avid reader and goes through book series quickly, books with 200 and 300 pages. Child books but I think more advanced for her age.

She also has the sweetest most thoughtful spirit and is so polite and well behaved.

Devan is the poster child for having more children. We look forward to her soon to be born baby sister. :)

I hope you don't mind me braggin on her... but she is one of the best blessings in our lives... ever.

I love how she calls me Mum - Mum. :)

She's my Angel Girl. :)

Warpath! (2 posts in 1)-Med Records and Mom yelling "Help ME"!



SeaSpray's Rorschach test. :)

This is a picture of a sunset I took in December. I think it looks neat upside down like on another planet and I am putting it in this post because it ties in with how I was feeling today with my frustration with a couple of situations. I guess you could say I was seeing red. The upside down trees are symbolic of how upside down some things feel to me right now and the golden light symbolic of hope. This picture reminds me that even though I have to walk through a difficult path, don't allow myself to be swallowed up in the anger and pitfalls I have to navigate through... but rather hold on to hope, keep an eye on my goals, and believe for better days ahead.

Also when I look at this... it reminds me of being held back... a struggle forward to freedom and sunny days ahead... once I break free.




Missing Med Records

I think I am beginning to sound like a bitch... and I am not..really.. I am not.

I came home tonight feeling on the warpath. Anyone that knows me in my personal life would not associate that word with me. I wouldn't either... but I am becoming jaded.

I often say I don't understand how people sue the way they do and I never would. I still believe that I would never ever want to sue people to get rich-easy money at someone else's expense and reputation... take advantage and all that dishonest stuff. I loathe that mentality.

But I have to say... that I called that office (that lost my records) twice and have not gotten them. Maybe they are doing half days. But today...I left a long message (2 min?) until cut off on voice mail and sent it through as urgent.

I was polite... even apologetic and empathetic and conveyed I understood it was a mistake, that people make mistakes and that I could make it too ... but... that it was an EGREGIOUS mistake and now I am worried about identity theft, insurance fraud and *my* PERSONAL information is out there. I mentioned HIPAA, state and federal laws are in place to protect a patient's identity/info and that corporations are expected to protect a person's personal information and not put them at risk for identity theft. I stated that the records HAVE to be found. I requested speaking or meeting with the office manager.

I said that since they had a few things to give my other doctor..that tells me they HAD my records and probably mixed my medical records with someone else's when they were making copies for the patients and that there was a good chance that someone else or many people have parts of my records.

I also thanked them for sending what they had to my other doctor. And I told them that I appreciated that they were always good with and sweet to me as a patient.

I was trying to convey that I knew it was a mistake, appreciated how they treated me during my visits there and even identify with them that anyone could make a mistake..including me... BUT I wanted them to know how serious this was. I mentioned that my bp was high when I saw my doctor the day I found out and that I have been upset about this.

When I listened to my message... I could hear the authoritative serious tone in my voice.

That's the gist of what I said. Maybe I shouldn't have said all that but I could've said a lot more.

I did not hear from them.

I expect that I will hear from them tomorrow.

I BETTER hear from them tomorrow!

I have been talking to people in my personal life. One friend didn't seem to understand the seriousness of it... but the others said they would be mad too and one person said they'd be furious. That helped me to feel better.

I had to call the cable company today and told a woman about it that works there. I know her from when I used to go to church and she is a woman of real strong faith. She told me she would be right on their doorstep demanding they find her records. It helped to hear her say that because I don't want to hurt them in any way and I am a forgiving person and feel guilty for being angry...although I know it is justified.

So...as the day went on and I did not get a call...I admit I began to think they were avoiding me.

Then I began to think they might not be trying or even care.

I began to get angry all over again.

And then I began to identify with how a patient who was treated poorly might feel... and then I thought how some pt/DR lawsuits could be avoided if they handled the patients better... depending upon the situation of course.

If a person feels unheard, blown off and is not treated respectfully... they are going to get angry.

I have decided 2 things. I will go over there if I don't hear from them and that will be real AWKWARD for me and should not be put in that position... to go there unannounced.

The 2nd thing is I am now considering getting an agency involved. I don't know who... but someone to act on my behalf. Someone that will demand my files be found. I am sorry to do this. I really am.

A friend recommended that I look in the phone book or google recovering lost medical records. I do have someone in the law profession I was thinking of getting advice from... because my concern is if they don't find them before they close up... how will I ever have an opportunity to get them again. Some new doctor buying the practice won't want to be bothered with that.

And another thing... if I get someone else involved to help insure that someone will pursue finding my records after the practice closes for good... will that affect the sale in any way? Of course I don't want to do that either!

The only thing with doing that... is that opening up a can of worms for them... assuming someone can help that is? I do not want to cause harm in any way.

My doctor died. I don't want to cause a problem. But I now have a problem because of someone's carelessness! ALL I WANT is my medical records to be found. And if they find out where they ended up...to call the person or people that may have received them to get them back and also so they would know they were identified with possibly having the info.

This is a perfect example of why you should not leave your patients dangling, feeling hopeless, and uncared for. Their seeming hands off and ignoring me is is only fueling my distress over this.

If I were the office mgr... I would be calling to connect and reassure. And I would certainly call asap after getting my message. I think I said if they have to start over with the a's to z's.. they needed to do that.

It would be easy for them to lie and say they just found them mixed in and never have to say copies went out.

I feel so powerless about this.

It is imperative that they find them!

I did inform my insurance company today and no claims other than my own have come in.

On the one hand I feel bad to be adding to their stress... but on the other hand...I am glad I let them know how I really feel about this.

And maybe I am overreacting because they didn't call me back yet. You know what it is? I feel shut out. They are no longer taking calls at the office. They direct you to call 911 for an emergency, the covering doctor or leave a message for them.

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Help Me!

Tonight, as I neared my mother's room (about 2 doors away) at the nursing home... I heard some one yelling "Help Me! Help me! Help me! Help Me!" I thought it was my mother's voice just before I got to her door.

It WAS my mother!

She was COMPLETELY slumped down in her wheelchair! She was horizontal with her head scrunched up on the back and her butt almost halfway off and she was only still on the chair because her feet were planted squarely on the floor. And her call bell was not attached to the arm of her chair but was on the other side of her bed...on the FLOOR! The foot rests were not on her wheel chair.

I ran over to her exclaiming "MOM!" and then said "I'm getting help!"

I knew the nurse was at the desk and the aides must've all been in with other patients. I bolted to the door and just shouted down the hall " MY MOTHER HAS BEEN YELLING HELP ME AND I NEED SOMEONE TO HELP HER NOW!"

I know it wasn't life and death ... but seeing my mother so HELPLESS (not knowing how long) and in that position alarmed me greatly and I KNOW how difficult it is to get help there sometimes and I wasn't about to let her stay like that. I also needed assistance to get her back up into her chair. We were just lucky the nurse was at the desk. Sometimes she is nowhere to be found either and the bells are going off non stop.

The nurse came right down and together on the count of 3, we lifted her back up by grabbing the back of her pants and and under her arms. She seemed alright ... just looked tired.

I pointed out where the call button was and I asked why she didn't have her leg rests on the chair. They help keep her from sliding. And they put a pillow under her legs so they don't drop down through the leg rests.

And I asked about a wedge ..kind of like a saddle they used to keep her from falling out but they decided against that. I don't know how comfortable that is. Also... Mom unbuckles her belt.

The nurse told me that my mother does that...slides down. Well then...shouldn't they be checking on her more?

The nurse told me her aide was attending to the patient in the next room. I like her night aide. She seems very responsible and caring.

Then while the nurse was there... I said she had an open wound Friday night that I thought needed some attention because blood was transferring to her stocking but the aide didn't think it was necessary because it seemed closed already. (It bothered me but I let it go.)

I picked her leg up and it was open, bleeding and a larger opening. It almost looked like a small crater...smaller as going down in depth. It was like her skin was split and widened compared to Friday. It seemed with pressure, blood transferred to these stockings too. Not much... but indicative of an open wound.

I said this needs to be cleaned out and needs a dressing. The nurse didn't comment. Then I said that with her poor circulation (both legs are almost black and ice cold), an open wound in a facility like this... she is at risk for a staph or super bug infection. I couldn't think of the medical terms for the infections other than staph.

I went on to say that a podiatrist had told us that she should always wear support stockings to help protect her legs from open wounds because the elderly population is more at risk for infection, particularly someone like her with the vascular issues she has. He said he has seen time and again where these infections are hard to get rid of and sometimes they never do and they can die from them. Then I asked...who cleans and dresses this? She said she would.

As she was putting the 3 in 1 antibiotic ointment in my mother complained of it hurting. More proof that it was an open wound.

Then I asked who would take care of the wound in the daytime? She said they have a wound doctor that comes in once a week. I commented that I thought this should be checked, cleaned and dressed in the morning and everyday. Not only does she have severely compromised circulation..but she is diabetic! Shouldn't this be done every day? Am I right about this? She said I was right.

In the meantime the Aide came in her room, apologized and said she put the buzzer there and had taken my mother's foot rests off because she was about to put her in bed and pointed to the fresh linens and gown on the bed. I like that she took responsibility. I respect that.

She was the one who told me my mother's leg didn't need attention because it closed. I did attempt to get her to get some care for it a second time and she said it stopped bleeding and was closed. I let it go. But when I got home it bothered me because I started thinking of the possibility of infection, was going to call the next day... but let it go. And now it looks bigger.

The nurse did not seem thrilled that I wanted this checked again or that she had to do a dressing for it. If I did not practically insist... she would have let it go too. Was I wrong about this?

They just had an inspection last week and now they are waiting for a state infection any day now. I wonder...if their now having to take care of this wound tonight...showing up in the documentation will affect their scores with the state? I have no idea how these things work. i just don't understand why it was like pulling teeth to get her to take care of this. She again stated she didn't know anything about this.

My mother had 2 other injuries via wheel chair to her legs and both times the nurse called me to tell me. It is some protocol they have to inform the family of even the tiniest injury and yet this time they were bypassing it.

I also brought up the fact that my mother had a rash and was complaining that her skin was burning on Friday night and wanted to know if she is on a bathroom schedule so she is not sitting in urine. The aide said mom didn't have a rash that it was from sitting. (Well if she is red from sitting that long in the wheel chair...shouldn't she be moved sometimes?) I said but you put the white cream that looked like Desitin all over her private areas.

She said she tries to get her patients to the bathroom twice during her shift so they aren't sitting in urine but she can't always do it when she is busy.

I told both women I know they work hard and I appreciate the care they give my mother. (I just wrote them a nice thank you note and left a big bag of chocolate candy at the desk on Friday for everyone who has been helping my mother) I feel I have developed a nice relationship with the staff.

I admit though that tonight...while I certainly wasn't yelling... I was a tigress with my barrage of questions and wanting to get things done for mom. And to think I almost didn't go tonight!

I asked them if they were short staffed and they both looked at each other and then the nurse said "We can't say that." So they are and we talked about it. I asked if I complain about this to the social worker will you hear about it because I don't want anyone to get in trouble but they need more staff. She said they probably would.

They have to do one on one with a patient now and they don't call in extra help, but instead more work is placed on the remaining aids. The nurse told me they are told the census matters but not how difficult patients are.

So they staff based on census not the demands/needs of the patients. Is that the norm for nursing homes? I know budget matters and providers cut where they can.

I will say...that everyone seems to be busy working when I am there.

The aid told me she loves her work and helping the patients but that her blood pressure is going up because of all they are expected to do with short staffing. She told me I should ask to speak with the director of nursing but that she didn't say it.

So... I don't know if I should report what happened to mom..or trust that they will be more attentive. ??? I don't want to hurt them though.

Okay...can someone please give me a cyber slap in the face to stop this nonsense of worrying about hurting other people? If I am not an advocate for my elderly mother...who will be?

Perhaps I could just ask to speak with the social worker and director of nursing and ask what their staff to patient ratio is because it seems my mother has to wait a long time for help sometimes...and I notice the call bells are ringing for long periods of time without anyone being at the desk. Or I am waiting at the desk and no one is there or when I call the phone usually rings and rings until it goes back to the operator. Some nights.. I can't get staff on the phone.

I am sure they care about PR... but I don't think they will care that staff can't do it all and they probably just think they have to work harder.

I am also wondering if I should look at other nursing homes. I didn't because I wanted mom to have the continuity of her own doctor and she was familiar with the staff, etc... but maybe I was mistaken.

Do the ratings count or anything? They actually got a good rating when I looked them up... better than a home that I thought was supposed to have a better reputation. Doctors will tell you that certain types of hospital ratings don't really mean anything... and the way they arrive at their stats are flawed.

I was talking with a friend earlier today and she was telling me about her mother's bad experiences in a new assisted living facility that she was paying $4,000.00 a month for. She was a retired college professor who had all her mental faculties. My friends mother was left to sit on a toilet for over an hour, even though she kept ringing the call bell for help. When the aide on the next shift came down, she told her mother that the previous shift had turned her light and bell off!

Both of my friend's brothers got involved and one of them is a lawyer. They took matters into their own hands and also withheld payment until things were straightened out.

So...you can have the supposedly top notch facilities... but the patient care is only going to be as good as the staff that works there. And you can't be with your relative 24/7 and can only hope and pray that they are not being neglected and are being treated well.

I will just add...that a provider's under staffing must contribute to the poorer quality of care and putting the patients at risk.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Good Vampires Wear Gloves

http://images.inmagine.com/168nwm/thinkstock/ts0662/e00010655.jpg

I was supposed to get lab work done yesterday... to rule out urology concerns, but didn't realize they closed at 3pm. I had been there in December and they closed at 6. I wasn't fasting and so I elected to get other things done first before going out.

And so I ended up going this morning.

*Mental note made...NEVER EVER GO TO THAT LAB ON A SATURDAY MORNING... NEVER!

I called early this morning to confirm the time with what I looked up on the computer. She told me they had a line to the door or out the door, not sure and there were no seats left.

Okay. I asked if it would be any better if I meandered through at 11am. She said no.

But I waited and got there at 11:40. They were packed! But at least there were 3 empty chairs. The receptionist was somewhat gruff and said if I am staying ...it would be an hour's wait. I smiled, said I was and that I had a good book. She didn't smile back. Okay.

So I sat down to wait my turn. More people came in. Only one tech.

Instead of reading, I decided to people watch instead. People were all pretty upbeat and friendly. That would be highly unusual for the an equivalently packed Emergency waiting room.

There was the chatty 20 something guy talking with the 30ish something couple, the mother and teenage daughter who seemed to get along well, other older people...some couples all chatting in the next section of face to face chairs. At least the chairs were comfortable.

Then I got through a couple of chapters in my book, but got distracted when the mom with her 2ish little boy began reading out loud to him. He was sooo cute! She was reading interactively with him, asking him questions. He would proudly blurt out the answers with his little husky voice pronouncing his Ls like Ws. He stole the show. :)

Then I was starting to get bored and so I counted the number of people in the room. 18 before me. That wasn't good. But then I started trying to match up people who were coupled together and it wasn't so bad. I wasn't sure on some of them but with the criteria I was using...it turns out I was right.

Then the receptionist got up and closed the blinds on all the windows, and the door and locked the door.

That just seemed so funny to me. No doubt an act of learned desperation on her part.

I was facing the door which you could see through. I wondered what I would do if faced with a pleading last minute patient? You know...knocking, making pleading eye contact with me and yelling S-T-E-L-L-A as they dropped to their knees.

I decided I too was glad she dropped the blinds. I might have cracked and bolted to open the door... or looked away in shame, yet secretly happy I was part of the special people that got to stay inside... the privileged few. Yep..we were the in crowd.

And I wasn't so nice that I would give up my place. "Hey.. come in. you can have my seat. I'll do this another day."

Also...I quickly learned that I never would've made it to the door anyway.

Sweet teenage girl got a call on her cell and so promptly got up and walked over to the door, just about to put her hand on the door nob ...when the receptionist...who seemed to be lying in wait for just that moment verbally pounced on her with a SHOUT, "You CAN'T go out THAT door!" She scared the girl and made me jump a little too.

Geez I wondered? WHAT happened in the past that is causing her to react so strongly? Was there a patient stampede for the phlebotomist once upon a time??? Do people actually plaster themselves against the glass windows like mushed fish faces while pleading to come in?

But people were leaving out the door. Maybe there is some Labcorp universal law that if one waiting patient opens the locked door... mayhem will result.

So teenage girl came back to sit down and talked in hushed tones on her phone.

Then I began to imagine some disaster happening outside and this was the group of people I'd be trapped with. Hmm... we all seem nice enough... well except for gruff receptionist. And the bathroom is nice, clean and roomy. ( I am always planning for the whizzie winkles :)

Then the receptionist commented they hadn't eaten or taken a break since they got in the door 1st thing in the morning and I knew she wasn't doing sympathy fasting. (try doing that for a whole shift. Sorry.. but day people do expect to get their breaks. ED people get them when they can or never.. no sympathy here.. been there- done that) But then I realized... but if you are a day person who is used to the 10:30 coffee break it is probably more difficult for you to miss it then for people who are used to not getting breaks. All a matter of perspectives. Maybe if you have a cushy schedule all week...you can just never acclimate to the Saturday morning from hell. ?

Then the little boy got called in. They brought him in to a separate room. I was feeling sorry for him. I was expecting to hear his screams... but instead I heard... "Make a fist. WHAT a GOOD boy!" Not a peep out of that brave little guy. I've seen adults whimper like babies before they even get the needle!

Then my name was called. (Gruff receptionist was right. It was about an hour wait.)

Oh GREAT! I've got a tough act to follow! Now I can't even whimper and will have to be brave. Darn kid! ;) Seriously though...I did say, "Well... since that little guy was so brave, I guess this means *I* can't cry." :)

I told her where my guaranteed blood spigot was and she didn't wan't to know. "Okay..great!" I was thinking. "She has an ego about this and I really am going to have to endure multiple needle sticks because she wouldn't listen."

She did ask which arm and I gave her "the" arm... the one with the spigot...which btw...there have been many who still couldn't find the spigot.. no matter how long I clenched my fist or they tapped around.

So she wiped the guestimated spot with an alcohol wipe and proceeded to tap me a couple of times with her glove on after which she announced it was right where it is. THEN she asked me where and I said she was right. She stuck me once and siphoned the blood out.

She actually impressed me because she didn't take her glove off once to feel for a vein and got it on the 1st stick.

I told her I was impressed and then lamented how a lot of medical staff will cleanse you with the alcohol, then take their glove off and tap around with their bare finger which is probably not sterile. Then they will stick you with the needle even though they didn't rewipe your arm with alcohol. That always seemed against protocol to me and put people at risk for infection. She agreed and told me that you could report someone for that. I wouldn't do that but from now on... I will politely ask for another alcohol wipe before inserting the needle.

The tech I had there in December did that and I mentioned it to her after the fact. She didn't seem to appreciate what I was saying. I was nice about it. And I have seen staff do that in hospitals and doctor offices. Some do it with their gloves, but I think more have to have skin to skin contact to find a difficult vein. But really... what is so hard about wiping the spot one more time first after they have found the vein?

Anyway...this woman was quite the proficient lab vampire and is why I have concluded that good vampires wear gloves. :)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

They LOST My Medical Records!!!

http://www.isausa.com/img/medical-records.jpg

I wrote most of this yesterday (Monday) and am leaving it with emotions and all. I did delete some of it though. I hope that anyone reading this who works in the medical field will take this distressed patient's post to heart... and please make sure you and your staff/coworkers ARE careful with your patient's information. I know mistakes happen. It could happen with anyone. It just sucks when it is you! And please...if you have any suggestions to help or opinions to share...they will be most appreciated by this patient. Thank you. :)


*** I put a link at the bottom of my post to an excellent site about all kinds of identity fraud and the videos are good. I highly recommend that you watch them..they are short. The average person is unaware of these things. I think it would be a good idea for employers to review with there staff just how serious an issue this is and what can happen as a result of carelessness.

I am MAD!

PISSED!
UPSET!
PERPLEXED!
FRUSTRATED!

UNNERVED!
SUSPICIOUS!
CONCERNED!
ALARMED!

WORRIED!

VULNERABLE!

EXPOSED!

Slightly amused. Because...WHAT are the odds???

Damn it to heck! I am frickin UPSET!

Upset..covers it ALL I guess.

Believe me...my words DO NOT convey the depth of "UPSET" I am feeling!!

I KNOW mistakes happen... but when it is you they make the mistake with it SUCKS! BIG TIME!

So what am I talking about?

Suffice it to know...I am very particular about confidentiality. If you tell me not to tell someone that their pants are on fire..I won't!

I abhor when confidentiality is broken.

As an employee... I was careful and guarded about patient confidentiality.

If you met me...you might think oh she's so chatty...she will talk about anything. No. I don't. I always respect privacy.

Maybe I was overly sensitive about my privacy... but this demonstrates just how private I am.

I had only been working at the hospital a couple of years. I wanted to have some skin tags removed. No big deal. I had handled hundreds of them by that time because all the labs were dropped off for us to process at the end of the day..after office hours. (This was prior to OSHA standards being implemented. After that specimens were practically gift wrapped!)

I was careful to choose a surgeon I worked around who I knew was particular, demanding and expected everyone to tow the line and he was not one of the doctors that I heard openly discuss his patients, not caring who was within earshot. When I saw that happen...that mortified me as a prospective patient and is ultimately why I chose my doctors outside the hospital system I worked for. I soon realized that patients were discussed by all medical staff at dinner, in various departments, things that as a patient... I would not want to be discussed.

It is difficult enough to be a patient and the patient should at least be able to trust that their dignity and right to privacy is being respected...I don't care who the patient is. It did become better with HIPAA being enacted.

But I never...in all my years working at the hospital ..ever heard that particular surgeon discuss one patient in a way that wasn't appropriate. So I chose him to laser the skin tags. And I know this is ridiculous and I did get over it... but I was so shy about my skin tags being handled/examined by my coworkers in lab that I requested he send them out and he did.

Now I wouldn't do that and I did go on to have some other things done there.

But.. I am not kidding when I say I am particular about privacy. A patient's chart is a legal document that has personal information. No one...other than the people you entrust that information to should ever be privy to it for any reason.

So what the heck has me reeling?

I am going to see my PMD today and so I called the office staff of the doctor who passed away in December. I knew they would send me my files when they got to it and so I wasn't rushing them, but I wanted them to send copies of my most recent labs to my PMD so he would have them when I came in later.

She had me hold for a bit and then came back and informed me that they did not have my records...that they were LOST!!!!!

My thoughts went into breaking the sound barrier speed and I couldn't even make a sentence because so many thoughts were flying through my brain. All I could get out was "Lost?" and she went on to say that... now get this... I am the ONLY patient who has a missing medical record.

It gets better... I am the ONLY patient... of ALL his patients for which he has medical records going back approximatelyTHIRTY YEARS who's MEDICAL RECORDS ARE MISSING!!!

What are the odds of that? If she was telling me the truth...I am the only one. The ONLY patient who has her personal information SOMEWHERE it doesn't belong!

I am LIVID!

I was polite (because I was SPEECHLESS!), no... because I know it was a mistake.

She told me they didn't have my last visit. Or the lab results from the visit before. She will contact the place I had them drawn in and fax them over. She said they have something from 2008.

But I started with him in 2004. She said I hadn't been there that much as if there wouldn't be much to locate anyway... but I have been thinking about this nonstop and he had my file in his arms and it is pretty thick because I have had a lot of things going on. He saw me as an inpatient twice and he did have a good size folder on me. That means there are a lot of papers missing!!!

I never finished writing my post about him, but this doctor was the only doctor to diagnose the autoimmune disorder and I had seen other doctors, including an autoimmune doctor. He saved me from having to have a gallbladder procedure/surgery because he knew it was caused by the urology procedure, etc. There is a lot of important information in my records. Aside from my new urologist group that took my case on in January 06...he was the PMD that also followed my progress. I could go on. The records have a lot of valuable information.

Or am I wrong? Is this not a big deal? Will some other doctor just pick up where he left off? Does it not matter if we don't know all the details?

I thought if you have the FACTS you can better ascertain what treatments may or may not be appropriate. This doctor was thorough and laid a good foundation.

Okay...the most serious thing has been the urology issues. I am in good hands with that group and they have all that information. I also am a good historian with my medical history.

But I would think the physician's notes, etc... are important! HE...wanted to know every little bit of minutia because he put all the info together so that if something did go wrong... he could say..this is happening..because that happened, etc. That is what the receptionist told me in the beginning.

And even worse then losing my pertinent medical information is that now MY PERSONAL INFORMATION IS WHERE IT SHOULD NOT BE!

She said she checked with the transcriptionist and in the office. (Where is the transcription done? in office or another location?) I asked if they checked with his family... maybe in his home office? She said they checked. I saw him on December 22nd and it was the last day he worked. I am thinking he must've had it with him. ? Then again why take a patient's chart out of the office on a Christmas break? It is just odd...because that chart should be the most recent he handled and so you would think staff would have it at their finger tips. ???

Did the cleaning person abscond with it? Left in the car? Fall out onto a sidewalk? Misfiled?

She said it was probably misfiled. Well no doubt they were pulling records like crazy.

When I spoke with them in the beginning of January she said I was 80 on the list for getting copies. She said they would do the first 2 years first and then later do the rest. No problem.

But now... I am wondering...does some other patient have MY PERSONAL INFORMATION???

And by that I mean... my husband's social security number, my social security number, home address and phone numbers, employers, medical conditions, treatments, meds and whatever else might be in there.

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And btw...insurance card fraud occurs to and can totally obliterate your coverage if someone gets their hands on your insurance card?

Here is a link to a post written by ED Dr WhiteCoat in which he discusses the rise in medical fraud and has a link to an important article to read. The comments are interesting and now I guess I really should follow through with my own advice in the comment section. :(

Should I be calling my insurance company to alert them and get a new ID number?

Do I need to do something about social security alerts? I have always been squirrelly about giving out ss#'s since I learned how your life can be DESTROYED with ss# fraud!

I feel so violated, vulnerable and upset!

I said well maybe they were accidentally shredded. She said no they don't shred things. Then she said well we do but not medical records. I would've been happier to hear they were shredded!

I know at the hospital and the VNA...if there was personal patient info to be discarded it had to be shredded or there were special bins to throw it away in. I think immediate shredding is best.

If I received another patient's medical information in mine... I would immediately bring it back to the office. I don't know what I expected her to say... but what she said wasn't good enough and I did not get an apology! (They are a nice staff though)

And so she said they might be there another month and then they are done. The practice is still up for sale. They are just getting the loose ends tied up, patient's records and seeing that they follow through with another doctor. Sadly... she said some patients are still refusing to believe it. I do feel for them. He had patients from the beginning of his practice. Those pts must feel horrible and lost!

She said if they don't call me...to call them in 2 weeks. OH I will! I may go in person! And I am not the screaming, irate patient type...but dang...I am so disturbed about this.

I do wonder...would any of you be upset about this?

Does anyone have any knowledge as to what I should do about this?

Am I overly concerned about insurance and social security fraud or safety with my personal info out there?

I am concerned about identity theft!

What would you do?

I have to tell you...this is one of those things that will bother me for the rest of my life every time I think about it and I will wonder who got my info?

And also...and I HOPE I am wrong about this...is there any reason a doctor's office would intentionally NOT be forthcoming with a patient's records? Could there be things they don't want me to see? I can't imagine what... but would/could that happen. That would be so illegal though.

I was one of his last patients. I saw him on 12/22. I saw him holding my folder. As I said...it was a good size.

I am thinking that since they had one thing from 2008...it must have been the staff who mixed up my med recs with another patient's records.

So... then that patient...or...worse..those patients may have info about me that I haven't even read! And would you or anyone want your private diagnoses, meds, docs evaluations/comments, insurance, and personal identity information for you and your SPOUSE just out there ...SOMEWHERE?

At home... I shred anything that has our bank info, ss#s,insurance info...anything like that...BEFORE it goes out in the trash. Will some stranger be as careful?

Also...I do not know the procedure for selling a practice in this circumstance. What happens to all the files/med recs? Are they locked away for the future doctor?

Do I have any recourse in this?

By that I mean...they will be closing up shop soon and then I will never know anything about this again unless a problem occurs because of this.

It just is not fair! I know...life isn't fair. But this is important to me and there should be someway of finding those records.

So...I am wondering... if they don't get rid of the records... does that mean..they probably have my records somewhere in all those records?

If they do...I WANT THEM FOUND! Also...if they find them...then that should tell them who potentially has them and those people should be contacted. I know with HIPAA Iwould never be allowed to know WHO erroneously got my records, but I would want it documented so that if we ever experience any kind of identity theft or any other kind of privacy violation... there is someone on record to check up on. I have a feeling that is a lot to ask. But I think I have a right to this.

And do they give some patients all their records and that is it and even the office doesn't have records anymore? If that could happen then I am potentially SCREWED from ever finding them. But...since they are making copies...i think they must keep all original records. That makes sense because what if they had to look them up for some other reason...although..who does that?

WHAT would any of you do? Please...any ideas... I welcome your comments.

Is there something any of us may be missing?

Is there something I can do to ensure protecting myself?

And here is the thing. I LIKE the staff. I don't know them well at all but they have always been sweet and helpful.

I know they must be grieving, stressed, feeling lost and displaces and perhaps with out a job soon.

I really do not want to add to their burdens in any way. I do not.

But ...this is so important to me.

I did not get the sense that the nurse I spoke with was appreciating how serous this was to me with her suggesting that since I wasn't there much there wouldn't be much anyway. WRONG!

*As patients...we go to a physician's office and we tell them things that we sometimes don't even tell our families or friends. We expect that our information will be safe at the doctor's office.

I am an open, easy going friendly person... but when it comes to my medical things...I have always been particular about where I go, who I see, what I say...and TRUST is important to me.

When you think of it...all of us exercise trust all the time ...that people will guard our private info... but really...it seems more like Russian roulette or a crap shoot. I just can't believe that out of approximately 30 years of patients...MY records are the ones that are lost...and no one else's!

It's like winning the lottery. It should be so wonderful!

I have joked that I was an old fashioned girl who with all this EMR stuff was not comfortable with a totally paperless office.

After this experience...I say bring em on. Of course as long as you have the human component...errors can occur.

Am I overreacting? I want to put this in the right perspective.

Right now...I feel like I have been robbed. I feel vulnerable. I feel exposed.

I went to the PMD yesterday and after thinking about this all day yesterday... my BP was 180/108. That is oh...just a "tad" high and not my norm. And as I was driving home after seeing mom... I felt like my chest was tightening up and kept pulling my bra away from me thinking it was too tight. But I was stressed and thinking about it and I caught my self only shallow breathing.

Am I overreacting? I want to put this in the right perspective.

Right now...I feel like I have been robbed. I feel vulnerable. I feel exposed.

*Last but NOT least...If anyone feels so inclined...please say a prayer that the records will be found and that we will not be at risk for any identity theft.

* I know some of this was repetitive... but I am venting.of this.

I found this excellent site about all kinds of identity theft. All the videos are good and I think should be watched by everyone so they understand just how serious this is... and how it can wreck lives. Employers are at risk for being sued (NO..that is NOT where I am going with this. I just want my records found and assurance that my personal information, health and financial future has not been compromised in any way because of this...tall order..I know) and not just because of HIPAA laws. There are other laws.. state and federal.

I just want to add that having worked in ED registration for 20 years, I can attest to the fact that some patients get irritated when you ask them for ID and insurance cards to copy. And at the hospital...we had to get those cards at EVERY visit to make sure everything is current and still active. Also..now they can verify on line. It is for both the protection of the patient and the provider. And I would think that in this increasingly difficult financial climate, that providers should be even more vigilant to guard against medical identity theft!

I sincerely hope this helps other people who read this post.

I just want peace of mind about this...wouldn't you?

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