Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Paging Doctor Howard, Doctor Fine, Doctor Kafka

I shouldn't write today because I'm sick, and I'm tired. In every sense of the words. And ranting isn't really going to help anybody, you included. But I got a glimpse, as I do from time to time, of the world gone mad that the average person inhabits, and I don't like it.

I spent the night in the hospital. You can't have a fever for 30 days with a few precious breaks in it and not go. My son was still in school the last time I felt well. So I went.

Everybody yelled at me. They talked endlessly about Health Insurance. The laws of supply, demand, arithmetic, physics, chemistry, and several other disciplines have been not only suspended, but have entered a sort of Bizarro Universe where no one cares about anything except we all sit there clutching a scrap of paper with mystical healing powers. It must be the insurance card that does it. There's not a lot of medicine going on.

The doctor, who I recognize from a trip to the ER with my wife, is younger than I. And yet he feels comfortable berating me about how foolish I was not to immediately go to a doctor if I was ill. I drank water and took aspirin. That's it. He assumed that since I wouldn't go to a doctor, it must be because it wasn't paid for by others. In his bizarre universe you go to the doctor whether he can help you or not, or never go if you have to pay for it yourself. Doctor, most people used to be like me. You've all flown off into the ether.

I am a criminal in the hospital now. The former governor made Health Insurance mandatory, and then the legislature made catastrophic insurance illegal in this state five minutes later. It's over a thousand dollars a month if I got it, and it covers nothing, so I'd pay, the same as I'm doing anyway. I will have to pay a fine on my state taxes of $1000 dollars for being uninsured. That should make it easier to afford taking my children to the pediatricians, starting a G spot in the hole. And I cannot seem to make these people understand that the problem is that I'm sick and cannot work properly and there is no magic bag of money. If I don't work, my children starve. Help me you bastards.

He ordered tests for dozens of maladies I assured him I could not have. He ordered a chest x-ray I manifestly did not need. I entered feverish and exhausted, and I was made as uncomfortable as Torquemada could devise for the convenience of the staff. I cannot grok how imperious they will become when they all work for the government.

The hospital seems to think I wish to watch disturbing loud things on television while freezing externally and boiling internally in a waiting room wearing a dwarf's nightdress, backwards. I don't watch TV, so I see it with fresh eyes. I watched an immensely obese person of indeterminate sex, waiting also for an x-ray, watch some sort of show that consisted of hiring dullards for menial jobs, setting up a camera, and pretending to horribly maim their co-workers. The idea was that this was somehow "spooky" or amusing or something. The dirigible person watched it like it was Henry Fonda in Twelve Angry Men. Sick or not, I could have killed the host and everyone involved with my hands, but they were not handy. Perhaps tomorrow they'll strap a hunchback down and have Paris Hilton throw vegetables at him for sport. It's all that's left.

The doctor would ask me questions, over and over, trying to determine some great secret I was hiding. He could not ken the existence of a person that generally cares for themselves, or is cared for by their family, has no medical problems, eats properly, does not smoke at all or drink more than one beer at a time. He kept asking me if I was a junkie or I had sat next to an A-hole lawyer that coughed a lot on a plane and so forth. The truth wasn't good enough for him. If I was normal, I'd have the precious card; I saw the wheels turning in his head. He didn't want to find anything mundane, and help me; he wanted me to be exotically sick, to amuse him.

And after six hours of this misery, the doctor turned into a jailhouse lawyer for the bugs that manifestly are hiding in my body, but he couldn't prove it with his off-topic tests, so there would be no course of treatment offered. He who had literally raised his voice to me to berate me for not visiting him sooner, told me to go home and drink water and take Advil.

I was too tired to strike him.


Jim said...

Sorry you continue to be ill.

Considering the length of the illness and the fact you've posted about your yard bordering timber, etc., were tick-borne diseases considered? Just curious, not trying to be an armchair doctor.

Wolf Flywheel said...

Wow. Has Michael Moore called to offer you some insight into this?

You seem to have my luck. I went to the dentist this morning for a scheduled appointment to receive a simple filling. I waited forever and once they were working on my tooth, they had to follow up with more anesthetic as I felt very twist of the drill. Then I heard the dentist say "Uh-oh." Next thing you know, I was receiving a partial root canal, setting up an appointment to have it finished and paying almost $1000 for my trouble. My day hit a new low when I was informed that my insurance would pay a grand total of $98 of my bill. Meanwhile, one of our non-English speaking brethren paid in full for his work with his government provided medicare card.

I guess high fees are my punishment for being a government employee.

In closing, I want to say that I marked you down for an extra 10 points today in my bloggers score-book for the Three Stooges reference. They were nominated for an academy award for the short that your title hinted at. I bet the B.S. was a foot more shallow at the oscars back then.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

So...basically Mitt-care is a P.O.S.?

I don't know the patron saint of fever sufferers, so I'll hail these:

St. Joseph: another carpenter/father.

St. Francis de Sales: writers.

St. Gregory the Great: musicians [and your personal patron].

St. Anne: housewives [Mrs. Sippican no doubt needs a break].

St. John of God: the sick.

St. Vitus: comedians.

Mother Mary, intercede for all those at the Swamp.

Anonymous said...

Pay attention to what your wife thinks that you should do to get better. She knows, she married you...That said, hope you get better soon.
-Deb in Madison

(Ruth Ann,
St. Joseph's is a fine aspirin-very fitting as a patron saint of fever sufferers.)

PatHMV said...

Did you go to the ER?

We haven't achieved socialism in Louisiana yet, thankfully, so I've had more success in the past when I, as you put it, went to bed unemployed every night, and thus lacked health insurance. We have a bunch of walk-in clinics for "urgent care," when you feel like you might die next month, but not this afternoon. I had a sinus infection. I told the doctor (who knew I was paying with Visa, not the magical insurance card) that it might be strep throat, as several siblings had it at the moment. The doctor said if I wanted, he could test for it, but he was going to give me the same antibiotic regardless of how the test came out. I suspect that had I had insurance, the test would have been ordered up automatically.

I sure hope you feel better soon. In the meantime, can you let me in on your secret for writing so well when feeling so bad? I can't concentrate on my legal documents when I have a bad cold for 2 days, let alone several months. The work gets done as necessary, but my writing is certainly not at its peak.

Internet Ronin said...

I had no idea that your fevers had been going on this long. (From afar, I was under the impression that it was a couple of different episodes made worse by probably working too hard.) I'm sorry to hear about the mess in the hospital. One of the reasons having a doctor who is familiar with you, even if you only see him or her once a year, is that you don't get repeats of performances like that, particularly when you are too sick to care. And since the doctor "knows" you, a lot of tests won't get ordered, although some others might. If this doesn't pass quickly, ask your friends for a referral to a good friendly physician. Please. Before you end up inside the hospital for a very long time. And with that, I will butt out. Apologies for even butting in.

Wolf Flywheel said...

Whoa, Vyvyahne. Drink some coffee and take a nap. You'll wake up in a better mood.

Pastor_Jeff said...

Vyvyahne, I don't think the man wanted the doctor to snap his fingers and make him instantly better; he simply wanted the doctor to believe what he said and offer appropriate medical care without being treated like some kind of oddball for paying his own way and taking responsibility for his own life. Perhaps the point was that the doctor was a little jaded after caring for so many irresponsible perpetual adolescents?

And in answer to your questions, see here.

Get better soon, Sip.

PatHMV said...

I often marvel at the insane people who insist on visiting the blogs of people they hate to read a whole bunch of words that they can't stand. Or those who feel so entitled to speak on someone else's blog that they create a meaningless pseudonym after their first insulting rant has been deleted. Some days I think we need a whole new DSM devoted to the varieties of lunacy manifested on these internets.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps commenter vyvyahne would like to go to Las Vegas.

PatHMV said...

Oh, deb, I am so jealous that I didn't think of that line myself!

Wolf Flywheel said...

"Do you save people's lives", "Do you hear people whining about the way you do your job when they know absolutely nothing about it?"

Actually, yes.

SippicanCottage said...

Thank you all for your kind wishes. I wrote very little about my illness itself because it isn't particularly interesting, and I'm afraid of sounding like I desire pity, which I cannot stand. I wrote about the process because it was the only thing worth examining to strangers, I think. And since I'm not doing anything else much, what else can I write about?

I explained to three doctors and countless support persons the exact nature of my malady, the precise point of entrance of the infection into my blood, imploring them to stop wasting my time looking at esoteric variants I could not have. I am lying here sweating, on the precipice of ruination, at risk for all sorts of complications, because I can't find a doctor who will write me a prescription for 10 dollars worth of tetracycline or eurythromycin.

Any medical textbook states unequivocally that under no circumstances should this treatment be withheld until a definitive diagnosis of the blood borne pathogen is made. If the diagnosis proves wrong, there is no harm in early treatment anyway.

The first doctor had the nerve to ask me if I had written a false phone number on my admitting form and would anyone be able to contact me if they wanted to.

Both of my children were born in that hospital; my wife had her broken elbow set by that very doctor in that very same roomless than a year ago, and I've been paying for medical care on the nail there for 13 years, which even predates the current ownership.

But I must be lying. Why would anyone be like me?

SippicanCottage said...

One other thing everybody:
If "I want to go to Las Vegas" enters common usage as a shorthand for lunatic blog commenters, I'll die a happy man.

Wolf Flywheel said...

"If 'I want to go to Las Vegas' enters common usage..."

I'm working on that as we speak....

Jacqueline T Lynch said...

Excellent, and sad post. Sad because such unfortunate experiences as your are disgustingly common. Wishing you the best.

Donald Douglas said...

Did the Advil help? Hope you're getting better!

I wouldn't want to be a medical criminal though.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

I was too tired to strike him.

But did you feign the wind-up and accompany it with a "Why...I youghtta..."?

nyuck. nyuck.

I know the Saints are working for you.

Pastor_Jeff said...

Sip, Wolf,

The other line that has potential was: "I need my inhaler!!!"

"So-and-so needs his inhaler."

Pastor_Jeff said...

And the classic Stooges short "Men in Black" (with drs. Howard, Fine, and Howard) can be seen in all its glory here.

Wolf Flywheel said...

Thanks so much for the link pastor_jeff! I own it on DVD, but with this link I can watch it from work when I'm in the office. This act of kindness makes you a true gentleman in my book. -

"I need my inhaler!!!" will now be typed and spoken by me for years to come. Absolutely priceless.

By the way all, it seems that vyvyahne took a powder. Oh well.... I guess it's back to being nice to one another again.