Help for Healing

Bitter & Sweet, living daily with grief


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Minor Frustrations

Last weekend, Frankie took a hit in his last hockey game of the season. I watched his teammates huddle around him, probably so he wouldn’t go after the kid and get suspended or something. It wasn’t necessary because I think it will be a long time before he finds himself in that situation again.

A few minutes later, he skated off the ice. He never does that voluntarily so I knew something was up. His coach told me later that he took that hit to his head and was feeling dizzy, so he removed himself from the ice.

Of course, Frankie said it was no big deal and he didn’t need any followup. The problem is, I’ve been following Dr. Daniel Amen online (see my spect imaging blog) and know just enough to make me dangerous. Head injuries are nothing to mess around with. At the same time, I don’t want to over react either.

I sought out a professional opinion and received the name of a pediatric neurologist. After spending a few days playing phone tag, I spoke to a nurse who wouldn’t say one word to me other than he needs to be a patient before they will talk to me. I get in the age of law suits that docs have to protect themselves. And I get that it’s generally bad practice to say too much without seeing a patient. What I was looking for was general information and protocol. I expected something like, “Well, you know of course it is best to come and be seen personally by the doctor. We think that any time there is a hit to the head, no matter how big or small, it should be followed up with an x-ray.” Or “You know of course it is best to come and be seen personally by the doctor. Generally though, if there are no symptoms such as throwing up or blurry vision, there is no need for an x-ray.” Docs and nurses give that kind of advice all the time. Every time my dad is released from the hospital they say, “Call us if he spikes a fever or vomits.” Is that any different?

I emailed back the first physician and got back a curt reply. I realize that I offended him which I certainly wasn’t trying to do. He said that a doc shouldn’t say anything without a personal evaluation (which I wasn’t asking for specifically, just for some direction about how to know what signs to look for if further followup is needed). He also said that is how law suits happen (which I know would be awful, but then it supports by original complaint, it comes down to money now most of the time).

He also said that I could find generic information online. I thought docs usually hate when patients do that. I wasn’t trying to be lazy. I actually asked the nurse if she could tell me any sources of information that are credible and reliable. She wouldn’t answer that either. His last comment was that this doctor was ethical. I wouldn’t know. I couldn’t talk to him, only his nursing staff.

I don’t want to be a cynic. I don’t want to be part of the problem. But how do you not end up feeling like in the end, it feels more like it’s about getting to bill us for a patient appointment?  And for a specialist like that, I’m sure it would require a referral and more extra steps. I just want to be a good mom. Not over reacting, not under reacting.

I will do my own research, but I stand by my reaction. I’m very disappointed in the response I got. There are ways to give out good information and still cover your ass, but I guess you would have to want to.


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To Err is Human…

Last week I got a call from a nurse at my doctor’s office. She isn’t the nurse I normally like to talk with. I prefer not to. There is another nurse at the office I usually interact with. Now she can actually make me mad, but I don’t mind her because we actually talk to each other and have a dialogue. We have a relationship. The nurse that called me last week? Well, she talks AT me, not TO me. That doesn’t sit well with me.

Out of the blue, she informed me that I had Diabetes. I was in shock. I get my blood tested regularly twice a year, and we don’t even test my sugar because it’s never been an issue. How could this happen? Well, she made it clear that I had better start making drastic changes immediately or the consequences could be dire.

I got talking about it with Summer and we agreed something didn’t quite sound right. For one thing, my doctor Grace would have called me directly herself if it were that serious. I just know she would have. I had called the office before I got my blood test done because I was prepping for a colonoscopy and hadn’t been able to eat anything for 24 hours. I did though, have to drink the prep stuff, plus plenty of ginger ale and gatorade. Wouldn’t that effect my glucose levels?

I called back the doc and asked for a retest. Today I saw her and got my results.  Glucose healthy range is 65-99. My first test came back 163. The second came back 98. Within normal.  Insulin serum healthy range is 2.0-19.6. My first test came back 37.9 (ouch!!). My second test came back 10.2. Well within normal.

Phew.

Now I didn’t appreciate having the crap scared out of me. But I love my doc and here is why. She just apologized. Without having a word said to her, she described the “bucket of mistakes” they made. I should have been told NOT to do the test to begin with. Nurse should not have called and scared the crap out of me. The ridiculous results should have been an automatic red flag to retest. Grace then reminded me that I have her personal cell number (which almost no one has) and that I can call her whenever I need to. She knows I won’t take advantage of her.

And the silver lining? I had to admit, that without the scare I wouldn’t have taken action. But now, I am “doing what Darcy always does” according to doc. I started getting educated. I’m making an appointment with a dietitian. I ordered an exercise bike (triple yuck).  I despise exercising but it is crucial to avoid diabetes. I have a dislocated clavicle which keeps me from doing any repetitive arm movements. I have cuboid syndrome on my feet (following surgery) and I’m unable to do aerobics, running, treadmills or elliptical machines. The only option I have is the bike.

So I am going to try hard to make some changes. Small and steady. But not in a panic, which is a much better place to be in. I prefer less drama, but I did need the kick in the pants.

Remember, we all make mistakes. I make more than my share, and as much as I am out in the public trying to advocate for managing the medical mess of a system that is out here, no one needs to be perfect. I have all the respect in the world for Grace because she just took responsibility and we immediately moved on. Thank you again dear friend and doc!