Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Iatric Odyssey

It was just a twist to the right while bending over four weeks ago which caused an ambulance ride to the ER for relief from the stabbing pain in my right hip/kidney area. Two days before, a similar but lesser pain took me to my Primary Care Physician who thought "kidney stones" and ordered a CT scan which showed no such. Then came the following over time:

five X-rays
two CT scans
one MRI
one colonoscopy
six doctors and specialists
two hundred and sixty pain meds (mostly not used because of side effects)
fifteen muscle relaxing meds
one hundred eighty nerve meds
thirty anti-inflammatory meds (not taken)
six mg morphine in the ambulance to ER
♫♪ and a partridge in a pear tree ♫ ♫

I sat in 5 waiting rooms with inner-sanctum exam rooms to match, waited for 3 hours max in one such room and learned to take something to read--preferably a novel since magazines may not be long enough for the wait. Household tip on those medical "gowns" you are asked to strip down and wear: tie all of the bows first and then put the gown on over your head with the bows in the back. This saves you having to tie a bow in the middle of your back, or have the nurse do it-- which is worse.

This, the last place to visit, should have been the first since my problem was orthopedic in nature. A lower spinal-column interference between the bones causing them to pinch nerve when the positioning is just right.
A procedure with four needles to inject some cortisone, with another CT to guide the needles was done. It's been a minimal solution at best.
This facility sees 500 patients on some days and is apparently central Missouri's place to go if you have any bone/joint problems --it is chock full of the walking wounded, like myself.
One of my problems with health-care in this experience (besides the fact that the offices cannot schedule patients very well) is that the record keeping is not ready for prime time. I had to three times pick up CD copies of CT scan and X rays from the local hospital and carry them to specialists I was to see--- fill out a form and sign for my records and physically carry them to the appointment. Instead of a regional or even national data base of patient records which can be accessed as necessary by physicians, there are small collections of records at each doctor's office (usually paper) not available to any other doctor unless hoops are jumped through and luck is yours. My doctor will not give me some records but will fax them to another doctor at my request (I have recently found out (HIPAA requirements) that I can request all records from any doctor who has my records, and I plan to request such to build my own medical file so that it is available as needed). A lot of these procedures and tests are not likely to produce any helpful results but done as CYA by the doctor .
I am in hopes that the present Congress can update and modernize this system.

The Hieronymus Bosch painting above is called "The Stone Operation" . In15th century northern European times montebanks (quacks) would propose cutting out stones from those suffering from stupidity or headaches or any number of cranial problems. They would make a little cut on the patient, present some bloody stones, and charge to rid him of the malady. Bosch, maybe the first surrealist, is making fun of this practice by showing tulip blossoms being taken from the patient as witnessed by odd people --I really like the inverted funnel on the "doctor" and the book on the woman's head. The text above and below the painting says: "Master cut the stone out. My name is Lubbert Das"

Years from now our medical system will seem just as antique to those, as the painting does to us now!!


  1. Yikes.... you went through a lot. Hope you recover quickly.

    When I have to go through the whole hospital gown thing, I wear one with the ribbons in the back and then put another one on backwards with the ribbons in front so my butt doesn't show. Those gowns otherwise make me feel very self-conscious.

    If things don't get better, I guess they'll next recommend some physical therapy?

  2. It sounds as though you have been through the mill, Goatman and hope you are feeling better. Cortisone injections can work amazingly well and so does ice. I am glad that what you have is orthopedic and treatable.

    Here are two thumbs up to health care reform.

    Later on, PT, yoga and life style changes come into play. I have had to deal with health issues too and feel welcome to stop by for moral support whenever it will help.

    Thanks for visiting and leaving comments.

  3. Ouch. This sounds painful and serious, and it's been going on a long time, as well.

    In my experience, test results, x-rays, etc. are all on computer for the doctors to access. Many years ago, I had to pick up x-rays and test results from other doctors, but now the system is much better.

    Since I can't read (no concentration) in those waiting rooms, I take my sketchbook/journal with me. There are some great subjects to draw or write about in those rooms.

    I hope this won't take too long to settle down. I'm glad the cortisone worked.

  4. I work in a hospital and while I'm not in record keeping I've seen enough to know its a nightmare. I really hope President Obama gets the high paid suits to go along with some sort of national modernization.

    As for waiting for doctors, I figure that is one of the lower circles of Hell.

    Take care and get well!

  5. Bloody hell, I dont know if your hospital system is worse then ours lol....

    I do know our record keeping though is tip top especially now our super hospital the QA at Cosham is now open for business..

    It all sounds pretty harrowing for you :(

    I think between your post and mine we make a right proper pair lol... ((((Goatman)))) hugs and snogs to for a quick recovery for you... lets hope it aint kidney stones cos dont you have to piddle them out ya JohnThomas? and if they be the size of golfballs your gonna scream :)


  6. ps..... at first I thought it was the TinMan from the Wizard of Oz in that painting lol....

    Oh us Europeans were good at drilling holes in the skull to get rid of headaches LOL


  7. Hi Goatman, I hope you'll drop by my blog as I'm "celebrating the 4th year of my blog" anniversary! So, hope you'll drop by and leave a comment..share a memory or just to say "hi"...meanwhile back to the comment at hand below..

    Oh I hear ya! And I most certainly hope your feeling much better by now..it's a shame you had to go through all that..hope you have medical insurance. It's so ridicuous isn't it? I've come to the conclusion that most of these "trails" we go through in the medical field has more to do with the professionals "lack of communication" with one another..so we end up doing a lot of their jobs for them..the part "they" don't want to take the time to do! Which would save them and "us' more time and save on money also!

    Did you know you have the right to have copies of all of your medical records? That's the law now.

    I've been through a lot myself when it comes to this "oh we don't seem to have any of your medical records" and all the waiting in the examing room...bull..so I usually always make sure and ask for copies of test and MRI's and such and put them in a file and bring them all with me "just in case".

    I recently set up for a new Dr...I made sure to set the appointment up for a month later to make sure he would have my medical records, so I didn't have to explain "every darn thing". When I had the appt. and waited 45 minutes for him in that examing room..he came in he started asking me so many questions I became so overwhelmed very quickly and once again "I" felt like the Dr. explaining and using all the Medical terms and spelling for him the health problem I have..turns out he didn't have any of my medical records he told me. I said "what a waste of time"!..and he was rude, curt, hurtful with rash remarks when he knew nothing about me or my health. I had another fall and hit my face bad, busted my lip open and my nose and cheeks hurt..I had asked him to look at it just so I would know if I was "okay" or going to be okay. He never touched me never checked anything out! I held it all in until after the appt. and then got angry in my car as if he was in my car and I told him "off" and let off steam. Next day I called that Medical Clinic and made a complaint about his attitude towards me without knowing a thing about me his rude comments and "false" judgements, him not checking me out at all and where were my medical records? I was then told that at that clinic they usually don't "have the medical records at the first appt".. as "quote" "they want to know "where the patient is coming from first"..I said "What? how can you know that when you have nothing on file about them"?..easy to figure out..they made more money this way and want me to come back and maybe "then" they'll have my medical records? Turns out with all the people I talked to to set up for a this new Dr. and "Plan" not one of them told me I had to "sign off" for my medical records to be sent to any medial "professional or Dr."..turns out this new place never asked for them so that's why I never was notified about it..hmm..sounds pretty fishy to me.

    By the way after I made the "complaint call", 10 minutes later, I actually got a call from the Dr. himself "apologizing" to me..he didn't sound happy about doing that or making that call, so I'm sure he must have got his "hand slapped" and that was the only reason he was calling..he had to! I also told them when I called to complain about the Dr. "by the way I'd like to cancel that second appt.I won't be coming back"!

    Feel better,


  8. Its gruesome. The way someone already suffering is made to suffer even more by the medical system. I've had my share of agonies too.

    your condition seems worrying. I hope you are taking good care and recuperating.

    The painting and the information accompaying was very interesting.

    Do take care.. and give updates as soon as you can.
    with good wishes.

  9. :o/ I hope you are recovered now.

    The Bosch painting is great, its new to me. Was this around the time that tulips were extraordinarily valuable? I wonder what difference that makes to how the picture is read?

  10. Thanks for stopping by!

    Wow, you went through a lot to find out about a pinched nerve. Poor thing. And you had side affects? That sucks even more!

    Hey, I've been reading the Bosch series books, and I LOVE him! He talks about the paintings all the time in his book. You know, he was named after the painter! Have you ever read them?

    Hope you are feeling great again!

  11. so happy dear hero you could defeat all those witches and demons to return to us...

    how are you now?
    no updates... this makes us a bit worried...
    think a chiropractor is the one who could help you a lot... they are the best for such problems...

    take care

  12. Ouch, that did hurt. Poor you. I hope that you are feeling better. It seems to me the system sucks big time.

    Take care

  13. PS I was in the Wellcome collection museum yesterday, marvelling and wincing at a collection of medical memorabilia from past centuries.....

    some of it was just excruciating

  14. yes! - there was a trepanned skull at the Wellcome exhibition.

    also a piece of Jeremy Bentham's skin....

    if I remember rightly, trepanning was of significance in the Pullmann Dark Materials books.

  15. Me too I hope to be a girl... I can relate to you too.. I go through anticipation if my baby is alright..there days even getting up from the bed seems a huge task... Hang in there


  16. oh dear that wasn't nice to hear...
    i hope you're in comfort by now.

    you take care always , you're so great that you post about the gruesome experience and get the history still involved.

    have a nice day goatman! :)

  17. You certaintly have been through an ordeal!
    I hope so much you are feeling better!

    Take care!
    Sending healing thoughts your way!