Cloudy Sunday morning writing the morning away………
Flashback September 2010
I live in a part of the country that has some of the best doctors and best hospitals around. People fly in from all over the world to be treated here for different reasons. And here I was with shitty insurance and a diagnosis I knew was a bunch of shit. My doctor’s advice was to see a specialist – a Rheumatologist – and he provided me with a list.
I got on the phone and started calling around. I started with what I believed to be the best hospital around (and the one KK was currently being treated at) and worked my way down the list. The earliest possible appointment I could get was in early December! There was just no way – absolutely no way – I could wait that long – I knew I would kill myself before then. The last hospital I wanted to be affiliated with (it is not exactly one of the best) could provide me with an appointment in mid October. I scheduled appointments with all of them. I had a dozen appointments set up from October to December.
With weeks until my appointment with the specialist with whom I didn’t want to be affiliated with I continued to lose weight. I have NEVER EVER been a size 4 in my life and I was down a 4 and still losing. Every joint in my body continued to kill me and they became more swollen and red. I honestly just wanted to die. But miraculously I survived until my appointment with the Rheumatologist I didn’t want to be affiliated with.
In I walk – which is an understatement – I could barely walk into my appointment with a specialist in a hospital I didn’t want to be affiliated with and what do I see? I swear she had to have been all of 24 – fresh out of school – young – real young and all I thought was, “Fucking great! Can anything else go wrong!” I was my usual Hot Mess as I sobbed uncontrollably and I told her what I had been going through, what had been happening, telling her everything – everything. She looked at me like I was a nut and I know she was thinking I was. She asked me if anyone else was with me – negative. She asked me about my drug use – I told her the truth. She also told me I needed to calm down which I didn’t take too well at all. I didn’t have anything to lose at this point. She proceeded to give me the most thorough exam I had received to date and I noticed she was spending a lot of time – A LOT OF TIME – on my hands and fingers – even putting them under a magnifying glass.
After the exam she tells me she wants to send me for a chest x-ray – that she believes my fingers are starting to club which is a sign on pulmonary problems – heart & lung problems. Of course this doesn’t explain why the rest of the joints in my body are killing me but at this point – seriously – I didn’t care. I would do whatever the doctors wanted. I limp on over to the radiology department where I a quickly have my chest x-ray and return to the young Rheumatologist’s office.
Three minutes later I am sitting in her office as she explains to me that I have two spots on my lungs and they need to be biopsied and chances are it’s not good and chances are I will need to have a portion of my lung removed and chances are ……………… this is where I sort of leave my body – go somewhere else – like I am in the room above the both of us watching but not hearing. I leave her office with a copy of the chest x-ray, a short note explaining how to electronically access my files from her office and instructions to go to my Primary Care Physician for pain management.
I drove to my PCP’s office without an appointment again – which was starting to piss them off. By now I am just losing my mind. After a little change of attitude on my part I get in to the office of an associate of my PCP and after looking over what the specialist sent me out of her office with this associate takes a couple of blood samples, hugs me, talks to me about meditation and writes me a prescription for 30 mg. of perocet….thank you very much. She also gives me her cell phone number and we talk about what the next steps will be.
I have never seen my PCP again – I always see the associate now. She is a fucking rock star in my eyes. I also sent a thank you note to that young – very young specialist who might have thought I was a nut but hit the nail on the head as far as a diagnosis.