Sunday, March 22, 2009

Just Stumbling Through

How often do you have the thought, "If I can just get through _____, everything will be better."? And, how often has this premise proved true? Duh... never. Yet, I still delude myself with this false thought.
Moreover, I have been having that thought frequently as of late. This week I came down with the flu. It's the type of flu that makes you wish you would have paid that stupid co-pay and got that wretched flu shot. It's the type of flu that has every joint and muscle ACHING in your body. It's the type of flu that makes you spike a fever of 103.2. It's the type of flu that SUCKS!
Monday I knew something was up when my legs hurt just climbing the stairs to put laundry away, my back hurt... it hurt everywhere. I called and made an appointment with our doctor who will remain nameless.
Tuesday when I saw the doctor, he said that I indeed had the flu. The night before my fever reached 101.7 and then 102.1. I figured I would get better soon. And, usually it does. During my doctor's visit, I asked the doctor if he had received the results of my hip x-ray. He said he hadn't, but they would call me when they did. I had the x-rays taken almost a month earlier.
Later that day, an office staffer called and said they had located the x-rays and they wanted to refer me out to an orthopedic (bone) doctor. They gave me a name and a number and said the doctor would call me with results later. The next 2 days I spent waiting by the phone. That type of response had me worried. Did something abnormal come up in my x-ray? That's the last thing my family needs. When I called on Wednesday, his office staff said he had tried unsuccessfully on Tuesday to get a hold of me, even though someone was home all day long. Thursday I called again twice, and the second time I asked his staffer if there was any chance that when the doctor called, he would call in a prescription for cough medicine with codeine because I had a cough that wouldn't quit and I was wheezing. The incompetent nurse or receptionist took my pharmacy number and made a very inadequate notation.
After waiting all day AGAIN, I finally had enough and called his after hours phone. He apologized and assumed that I was calling about my x-ray results. No, I wouldn't waste his valuable time to call after hours for JUST x-ray results. By this time, I felt beyond terrible. I felt like walking death.
Have you ever had a slight fever? You know the kind that makes you feel clammy and sweaty and all the thermometer reveals is that your temperature is elevated by one degree. Well, for me, when I have a serious temperature of 101 or higher, I stop feeling hot and just feel terrible. My face feels like is on fire! The thought had occurred to me on Monday that maybe I had a fever, and when I checked, I had a fever of 102.1.
By Thursday afternoon, my fever was 102.7 and I couldn't stop coughing. So, when I talked to the doctor and asked him for some cough syrup with codeine, you can imagine my shock when he told me he didn't feel comfortable calling that in. I guess when I am calling with a request, I need to be much more forceful. Instead of being polite, I should be demanding and rude and surly. Even when in the midst of an all natural childbirth with Ethan (no pain meds because he came too fast- they literally yanked a Dr. from the hallway to deliver him!) I was nice to the staff and didn't scream when they made me wait for 20 minutes to get checked to make sure I was in labor. I am a nice person, what can I say?
I am not a person who enjoys repeatedly making calls - I am NOT a nag! I like manners, they make life a little more bearable and pleasant. I do not like to go on and on about how terrible I feel and how sick I am (like I am doing right now- now that's irony for you). I am precise with my words. I don't have a lot of time to spend on the phone and I do NOT like to wait - on the phone or in a patient room. I have too many people to care for during the daylight hours and too much to do. Furthermore, I know what works and what doesn't. I have been on the earth long enough to know that when I am that sick and other over the counter medications haven't worked, something stronger is generally called for.
I apologize for that rant. I rarely get that worked up. But, I am angry at the care or lack of care that I received. So, after the doctor told me he didn't feel comfortable calling in a prescription for cough syrup with codeine to my pharmacy, he asked me why I hadn't come in earlier in the day, if I was truly that sick? Oh my gosh!! I couldn't believe my ears. One other time I tried going into his office with my children in tow for his "walk-in" hours. That time, his receptionist informed me that he didn't have any space that day and that I should just go on over to urgent care. I have called other times and found out that he didn't have any openings for a week. So, I have gone over to urgent care. So, I was in a state of utter disbelief when he asked me that. I was saintly. I held my tongue. I was too sick to argue.
The doctor went on to add that if I was truly that sick, I should go over to urgent care or wait until the next day and get an appointment with his brother, who is also a physician in his practice. He wouldn't be in the office the next day.
He intimated that I could be asking for codeine to treat my hip pain. My hip x-ray ended up coming out normal, thank goodness. He felt that maybe an ortho doctor might be able to perform another diagnostic type test that might reveal what is going on and the reason why I have been daily feeling pain in that area. I appreciate his diligence in that area.
What I do not appreciate and what absolutely enrages me is the idea that I would abuse a drug. Everyday, I handle my children's medications. Medications that require triplicate forms because the DEA monitors them so closely. There is no way that I could be the mother that I need to be if I was a drug abuser. There are times that Ethan's behavior is enough to drive me to drink - but I abstain. Somehow, with Heavenly help, I get through those rough patches.
I completely understand that physicians have to be careful. They need to screen their patients to make sure they do not abuse drugs. I get it! However, I thought I had developed a relationship of trust with him, sufficient for him to realize I would never ask for anything I didn't absolutely need.
Maybe, it is a pride thing on the doctor's part. I didn't go to medical school. But, I can't help it if I know a little about medicine. I am intelligent. In addition, my mother was a nurse and during college I worked as a CNA (certified nurse's aid). Moreover, I view the patient-doctor relationship as one of equals. Not as one of master and subservient (it should be servant - I am saying it wrong on purpose). Hopefully I have conveyed my meaning here.
So, I angrily drove myself over to the urgent care. You see, I was hoping to avoid paying ANOTHER co-pay by speaking directly with the doctor since he already knew I had the flu and had seen me just 2 days before! I then paid a second co-pay and they saw me. While I was waiting, I was so angry and felt so terrible that I burst into tears in the lobby. I am sure the other waiting patients and the office staff thought I was a loon as I sat there with silent tears streaming down my face.
After waiting 40 minutes, I finally saw a doctor. I told him all the details. He looked and listened and then pronounced that I needed a breathing treatment. He also prescribed cough syrup with codeine and zithromax. After receiving the breathing treatment, I felt much better than I had all day. I then drove to the pharmacy and filled the prescription.
I was so wiped out by all of this that I asked Peter to take Friday off, even though Friday was the last day of school before our spring break. He very lovingly agreed to take it off. I can't tell you what that means. It was so nice of him. He was worried that I would make it home safe from the doctor and pharmacy. What a guy!
Up until this afternoon (Sunday, March 22), I have spent the majority of my time in bed... sleeping. If any of you know me, you know that is something I DO NOT usually do. Even after giving birth, I am usually up and running. You could say I have ants in my pants, I am restless, I am driven, I am crazy! I don't like being sick and don't have time for it, nor do I have the patience for it. I have things to do and people to care for!
This flu knocked me down for the count. Everything else ceased to exist... kids, school, commitments, responsibilites. I would get up and do something innocuous, feel tired and go back to bed. Sleep has never been so therapeutic. Next time, I think I will get that flu shot!
I have stayed in bed most of this weekend until this afternoon when our family travelled down to Lake Elsinore to Dallin Blackmer's baptism. I wanted our family to attend this event. It was nice. It made me feel old. I remember when that kid was born and now he's 8!
During the baptism, I went out to find Peter leaning against the wall in the hallway. He didn't look good. I asked him what was up and he replied that after we were done with the baptism, we needed to go home so he could go to the hospital. He was having another attack of kidney stones. Could this really be happening?I told the people that needed to know that we had to leave and the reason and we left. On the way home, I found a babysitter for the kids.
So, here we sit in the ER waiting for them to call Peter back for pain management. Hopefully they will perform a CT scan and locate the stupid kidney stone. Curse those awful kidney stones!
So, far we've been waiting for 2 hours. San Antonio Community Hospital ER looks like they are hosting a sporting event. Every chair is packed, it is filled with people waiting to be seen. How long will he have to wait? I'm not sure. Oops, scratch that, I just found out... 2 hours and 10 minutes. On the bright side, at least for the most part I have recovered from the flu and can take over the watch while he is down.
That is one of the beauties of marriage. We look out for each other. We take care of each other. He is my champion and I am his. Through all of this, I am grateful for timing. At least, his attack didn't happen while I was so sick. What would we have done had both of us been down?
Thank Heaven for the grace of God. He looks out for us, even when we feel like we are alone in the midst of our trials. Now I feel bad for poor Peter. I was hoping after his last battle with kidney stones we wouldn't see them again. But, I'll have to cover that info in my next entry, this one is long enough. Thanks for reading if you have had the patience to get this far... you're a trooper!


Texas Lisa said...

I hope you recover quickly!!! and Peter too!

Claudia said...

I am so sorry that you've had the flu, Bonnie, and pray the rest of the family will be exempt. I've heard from others who have had it this year that it's a really rough variety. Hopefully you are feeling better and the rest of the family isn't coming down with it. Probably staying in bed and away from them as much as possible is a good idea when you're that ill.

KIDNEY STONES - UGH!!!!! Once was enough for me. I hope to never experience that again. I am sad for Peter to have repeats. What did the doctor do, say, recommend??? We're sending love and prayers your way. Your names are on the prayer roll of the Jordan River Temple.

Love ya!