The saga continues:
Exhibit E: I Hate Clinicians (also featuring Return of the G Word).
I told the triage nurse about my gluten-intolerance. I also told the attending doctor at the ER, two Physician’s Assistants, and all of the nurses. I am therefore still unclear on why they chose to give me broth made with gluten as part of the mandated “clear liquid diet.” Cue the return of dry-heaves. And another day in the ER. That’s right, folks, I spent 2 days in the ER/ICU because nobody listened to me, (as well as due to a debate between different doctors over whether and/or when to admit me). This is not hard folks: don't give something to a patient who is allergic to it. Period. End of lesson.
Exhibit F: Did I Mention I Find Rheumatologists Frustrating?
Ok, so they finally gave me enough steroids/anti-nausea drugs/liquids/etc. to make it so that my leaving the ER would not result in an immediate malpractice lawsuit. And my rheumatologist won the debate over whether or not to admit me…so I get to go home! Yay! I was ordered to “follow up” with various doctors, so I dutifully sent a note to my rheumatologist. I got a note back that, and I swear that I’m not making this up, expressed her displeasure with the fact that I went to the ER at all. (Remember, I was unable to keep down water, and had both dangerously low platelets and extreme dehydration). No, apparently the correct protocol was for me to email her because, and I quote, “there are no rheumatologists there!” Really. Well, from where I stand, that seems like a pretty convincing argument to go to the ER.
I found this puzzeling, so I wrote back the following email:
“Just to be clear, considering that my platelets were at [dangerously low levels] and I wasn't able to keep water down, would you still want me to email you in the future, or was the ER the appropriate choice this time?
…and got the response “Please always email me?” Next time I can’t stand up and am vomiting the first thing I will do is sit down at my laptop and send an email. I’m still shaking my head in disbelief at this one, honestly.
Exhibit G: Incompetence Chez Hopkins.
Hopkins has the number one hospital in the country. It is indisputably the best place to go if you have a weird mix of autoimmune diseases. That being said, their administrative branch sucks. I had an appointment with a GI doctor scheduled for October. The day before the appointment (after I had made arrangements to leave classes early, etc.), I got a phone call that said the doctor would not be available. I was, they said, to be put on the “cancellation” list, and told that it shouldn’t take more than a couple weeks. Well, after this whole incident I thought that maybe I ought to go in and formally get a diagnosis of celiac disease so at least it’s on my chart. I rang the office, only to find that apparently I have an appointment at the end of January (news to me), but I’m still on the cancellation list. Lovely.
So there you have it, the story of my “winter break.” I’m thinking of submitting it as a mini-series to Comedy Central. After being forced to watch early morning TV in the ER for several hours, I’m thinking I may have a shot. If what I saw was any indication, the screenwriters could use a little help.