Wednesday, June 01, 2005

My ridiculous health condition

I tell ya. My crazy Tuesday absolutely obliterated every ounce of energy left in my little frame. (Yes, I have small bones....that's why it's so hard for me to carry around all this body!) When I first woke up this morning, I made myself get out of bed so that I could go to my charity knitting group. I really enjoy being there, even though I usually am in bed at that time of day. I'm a night owl, and I stay up knitting until 2 or 3 in the I usually wake up at about 11 or 12. The charity knitting group meets at 9 in the morning! Gah!

So, I made myself get up and stretch my sore muscles. I'm always aching, it seems. My left knee bothers me constantly, almost like a toothache. Actually, my entire left side bothers me. My left hip feels like it has been twisted out of joint, and my left foot never seems to fall on the floor right when I'm walking. I think the rest of my left side compensates for this by "drawing up" or something. I must have damaged my spine during childbirth, because it's been hurting like this since my middle son was born 17 years ago. And my weight gain started then too. I used to be a trim, beautiful girl, weighing about 120. Those were the days. I had so much energy then!

But, ever since I delivered my middle son, my weight has gradually increased. I used to go for walks all the time, and really enjoyed it! But, now the pain has gotten to the point that walking hurts too much. I try to do workout videos sometimes, but the pain just always gets in the way. I guess I should try a chiropractor or something. Maybe I have a slipped disc? or a pinched nerve?

I mentioned my pain to my doctor, and she did lots of tests. They found out that I have a thyroid disorder called hypothyroidism, which means that I don't have enough thyroid. :P So, I take Synthroid for that. But....silly me.....I still haven't gone back to have my thyroid level checked. So, I might not be taking the right dosage. I just need to make myself go back to the doctor again.

My doctor also said that I am ANA positive, which means I could possibly have Lupus. Bummer! She sent me to an arthritis doctor, so that he could determine if I have lupus. My experience at that doctor's office was AWFUL! I was anxious already, you know, since I was afraid that I might have some really bad health condition. So, there I was....nervous and waiting. I was kind of looking forward to getting some answers, though.

I filled out all their questionnaires, and waited for my appointment. When my name was called, I winced as I lifted myself from my chair, and then hobbled over to the nurse. She wisked off down the hall, and expected me to just take off after her. I followed as best I could, and then finally caught up with her as she was impatiently waiting at the examination room. As I went into the room, she said, "You look like you don't feel too good." Hmm...I wonder why I came to the doctor?

Well, this lady had a motive it make me feel absolutely worthless. She said with a very nasty voice, "You know you wouldn't feel so bad if you lost that weight!" - she paused - "I'm just saying it like it is. The doctor will say the same thing." I just looked at her and said, "Listen, you can't talk to me like that. I didn't come here to be belittled and criticized. If I wanted that, I would call my mother!" She just kept up her tirade, without once glancing at my chart. I was quite insulted, and my feelings were hurt, so I said, "Quit being so mean to me! I can't believe you're talking to me this way!" She tried to make things all better by trying to give me a hug. I immediately bristled and waited out her hug while rolling my eyes to the ceiling. I mean, who does she think she is, treating me like this?

When the doctor came in, I was drying my tears. He said, "Do you cry often like this?" I said, "No, your nurse was very rude to me. She hurt my feelings." He then commenced to interrogate me about my mental health, asking things like, "Have you ever seen a therapist about your depression? You show classic signs of needing medication." I was so shocked to see the conversation turning this way. I wanted to say, "My mental condition has nothing to do with the way your nurse just treated me!" Instead, I said, "Listen, I came here about my arthritis....not about any MENTAL condition."

He then continued asking about my mental history, and was taking lots of notes. I grudgingly answered his questions, and then asked, "What about my arthritis? Do I have lupus?" He then FINALLY looked at my chart and started asking me his usual spill of arthritis questions. He didn't pay much attention to my answers, either, which really ticked me off. What happened to the furious notetaking he was doing when we were talking about my mental condition? He hardly wrote a thing now, and flew through the questions too fast for me to properly respond.

Apparently, he was finished talking to me, so he rose from his seat and showed me about 3 exercises to do for my arthritis. He said that they would do some x-rays and other tests. He then said, "You really need to lose weight to help your condition." I just looked at him and said, "Yes, I know that. Do you realize that I have a thyroid disorder?" He looked at my chart and said, "Oh yes. you do, don't you? Well, maybe that has something to do with your weight problem." Exactly. Finally someone had brains enough to look at the responses I filled in during the 1 hour questionnaire process in the waiting room.

He handed me a prescription for depression medication, then told me to go down the hall for my tests. After he left, I promptly tore up the depression prescription and just shook my head. I went down the hall and did all the x-rays and tests they requested, then I high-tailed it out of there. What a jerk! I was so mad, I was shaking.

I called my husband and told him all about my experience. He told me that I should call my primary care physician and let her know how they treated I did. She was so nice and listened to my whole story. I asked her if she could recommend a different doctor to me, and she said that she would.

About a week later, I called the arthritis doctor's office to see if I could get the results of my tests, since they never called me to report them. They said, "You need to come in for another appointment to talk to the doctor. The doctor will go over your tests with you then." Well, I refuse to be in the same building with that doctor or his assistant again, so I said, "I refuse to be in the same building with that doctor or his assistant again." She said, "Maybe another doctor here can help you." I said that I was treated very badly by the doctor I saw, and if that's the way they do business, I don't want to go there anymore. I asked her if someone could please discuss my test results over the phone. I also recommended that they contact my primary care physician to discuss the results with her.

Well, they never called me back, and they never told my primary doctor anything either. But I DID get a bill in the mail for the remaining balance on my x-rays and tests. Well, I refuse to pay that bill until they tell me my results.

So, now I'm in a Catch 22 situation, I guess. I have xrays that I can't see, and tests that I don't know the results of. I still have the same problem I started with, and I'm nervous about going to a different doctor. What if the same thing happens again? I just don't know which way to go.

Oh well, at least I can get my thyroid level checked by a nice doctor. I think I'll try to do that one day this week. I'll eventually find another arthritis doctor who knows how to treat patients. But right now, I'm just too shell-shocked.

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