Thursday, December 20, 2007

My number came up.

For those of you who've been around a while, you know that the military has been playing musical doctors with me. And that I've been joking that statistically I was due to get assigned to some asshole doctor with a bad attitude. The statistics bit me in the ass Tuesday.

I went to the 437th Medical Group on the Charleston Air Force Base (yes, I'm naming names - mostly in the hope someone in charge over there will get bored, do a Google, and be horrified) Tuesday afternoon. My appointment was for one. I got to see a physician's assistant at three. Since October, I've been trying to change my chronic pain meds from narcotics and tranquilizers to an anti-depressant and an anti-inflammatory. It's been going all right, but the anti-inflammatory was making me sick and causing bruising, so Tuesday I bopped over for what I thought was a quick visit to get some refills and shift the anti-inflammatory to something new.

The PA refilled my blood pressure medication and told me to take Tylenol until I could get in to see another doctor in mid-January. When I said that was unacceptable, she perscribed Naproxen, another over-the-counter drug that I told her wouldn't work (and didn't when I took it that night). When I asked her what I was supposed to do for break-through pain, she said "Let's stick with the Naproxen." I pointed out the Naproxen was everyday pain control and I needed something for breakthrough, like when my two-year-old grabs my hand and throws herself on the floor. She kept repeating "Let's stick with the Naproxen" like a brain dead zombie, until I got mad and walked out.

After thinking about it overnight, I went back to the base yesterday, demanded to speak to someone in charge, and explained what was going on. They went back and the physician's assistant refused to budge on perscribing me medication. But the story had changed. Now she was concerned about my liver function, because I was bruising, and so I couldn't take any medication until I saw a new doctor and had tests run.

If my liver's falling out, why did she perscribe the Naproxen the day before?

So I went to the Commanding Officer. He sent me to the Flight Commander. I explained it all to her. She went and had a word with the physician's assistant and pressured the PA into writing me a perscription for narcotics that's supposed to get me through until January 9, when I see a new doctor - the idiot PA is still insisting I have liver problems. She gave me five day's worth of drugs, that I'm supposed to somehow get to January 9 with.

So my options are either be in debilitating pain for the holiday, take a drug I know is making me sick (Mobic - the anti-inflammatory that prompted the visit to try to get a new variety), or go back and bother the stupid bitch PA again, for more narcotics, and stay doped up for the holiday.

I think I'm going to just take the Mobic. And maybe write my congressman.

Near as I can figure, this stupid bitch arbitrarily decided I was a drug addict and tried to cut me off. She was determined to not give me any medication, from the moment she walked in the door. She never asked me why I was there, never asked me about the source of the chronic pain or what drugs I've taken in the past for it. Just barked orders at me about getting my blood pressure under control (it's high because I'm in pain - as long as I'm in pain, the BP is high; it's documented in my medical records; I told her that three times and she kept barking about how I need to exercise) and having my cholesterol checked. She never looked at my medical records. And then fell back to the liver problems as an excuse for her behavior, when I called her on it. It's not about my liver. It's about her blowing me off and then covering her ass.

It's been a while since I dealt with an asshole like this. No wonder I was nuts the last time it happened.

Now I'm gonna go try to knit something.


Amy Lane said...

Someday, when I'm drunk, I'll blog about the visit I had to the proctologist... it sounds almost as much fun as your visit w/ dumbitch the zombie PA. Sorry you're in pain...I sooooooo hate it when members of the medical community refuse to treat us like human beings. And the more information is available on the internet and the more educated patients are becoming about their own situations, the less excusable it is for them to be so elitist. Did you point out to dumbitch that you've been going to the gym for several months--that's how the bruising became an obvious problem?

Laural said...

What a betch!

Sheepish Annie said...

Good God! I mean...seriously???? There is no excuse for treating someone with chronic pain like that. If there is a concern about liver function, you tell them that. If there is a concern about overuse, you discuss it with them. What you don't do is develop an "I know more than you" attitude and take it out on a patient.

I've always had wonderful experiences with PAs and don't believe that this one is an example of the profession in any way shape or form. Not cool. So. Not. Cool.

Anonymous said...

I hate, repeat HATE HATE HATE, the military health "care" system. With a burning passion. Fortunately, I'm no longer subjected to their ass-weaselness, but was so traumatized by them that I still resist getting help for anything, especially anything chronic. If you have the option (Tri-Care?) of going somewhere other than the base, DO. Then try to get a referral to somebody who freaking understands pain management. I fully understand that the holiday season is a bad time for dealing with it, as is anytime you're in debilitating pain. But I highly recommend exploring other options. Yes, there are some great professionals w/i the military system (I've met a couple of them), but they seem to be the rare exceptions.

Thinking good thoughts for you SamKnit.

--Tanya (low-country escapee)

Jolene said...

ACK! I so feel for you, how horrible to have to be in pain during the holidays. I can relate though to the Military doctors though, my dad was in the Navy so I was military brat til I grew up. I even had my first child at Ft Leavenworth because I was 17 and unmarried at the time and a dependent still. They treating me like crap because I was so young and unmarried. This was over 20 years ago and still nothing has changed. It sounds like you know how to work the system though so keep doing what you gotta do. It is just a shame that you have work that hard at getting the proper care for yourself.

Jejune said...

Ugh, what an awful experience :(

Dotter has been on Mobic recently for her ongoing bad joint / muscle pain, but it hasn't really done much - she's trying to manage with plain paracetamol, but that isn't working either - in fact, she hasn't found an anti-inflammatory or pain killer that works well to date. She has a plethora of doctors who keep changing things, and not really talking with each other, and the whole thing is a bit of a mess.

Wishing you as pain-free a holiday season as humanly possible - and a FRIKKIN AWESOME doctor in your Christmas stocking.

(I love I Can Has Cheezburger? Cats too :)

Laural said...

Oh I've so been thinking about this! If she was SO concerned about your liver why didn't she order a blood test? WTF? Betch I say Betch!!

Leanne said...

Wishing you a good pain-free (or at least pain-reduced) holiday.

Alwen said...

My sympathies. Is it safe to say the military medical system is a contributing source of secondary pain?

She probably just went through one of those military drug training programs and is all preening herself that she got to do an "intervention".

This is a country where they have a hard time giving morphine to people in their last days. Meanwhile people who need pain control to get from day to day suffer.

Grrr. I'm trying not to get started about how the "war on drugs" turned into a war on people, but I'm gritting my teeth here.

It's so frustrating when you have a good understanding of your own condition and have to deal with someone who has none.

Did I say I'd shut up now? I'll shut up now.

roz said...

HMM. Bitch is too nice a word for the PA...

But I don't wanna get banned from the board, so ya'll just have to imagine it.

It is a four-letter word, and it starts with a...

Roxie said...

Ah yes, the oxymoron of military efficiency and intelligence. If I win the lottery, I'll buy you a real doctor. Pain management is not an unrealistic goal.

Donna Lee said...

Sounds like the PA needs some education in the latest methods of pain management. There is no reason for you to be in pain without relief. There would be justice if she had to go to the doctor for some pain meds and they refused and told her to get some exercise. What a lame woman.

Carrie S. said...

Lord. Mine's not that bad, thank heaven; I just have an endocrinology N.P. who refuses to treat me for the symptom I came in for (fatigue) because she thinks I'm fat. Keeps asking me about exercise, because apparently "bikes 40 miles a week" isn't enough. This despite the fact that she diagnosed me with the condition that's causing the fatigue and overweight.

But damn. Fatigue is annoying; pain is a whole different thing. It annoys the hell out of me that doctors are so weird about pain meds these days.