Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Health Care?

I went to the doctor's last Thursday. Well, it was actually the "after-hours/urgent care" facility. Only, it wasn't after hours nor was it extremely urgent. It was 4:00 and I had a sore throat. However, 2 of my daughters were diagnosed with strep throat earlier in the week and my doctor didn't have any appointments available on Thursday.

Hence, The Facility.

I realized around 2:00 p.m. that they would probably make me stand on a scale once I arrived. Every doctor's favorite thing to do. Next time they tell me to stand on the scale, I'm going to say, "After you." Anyway, I hadn't had breakfast that morning nor had I had time for lunch. Though I was getting hungry, once I realized this fact, I did what any self-respecting female would do.

I starved.

Unfortunately, it ended up being the one and only doctor's appointment I've ever had where the nurse walked right past the scale.


The aforementioned nurse escorted me into an examining room and began the preliminaries. Temperature (normal), blood pressure (102/49), and the questions. We came to the one about drug allergies.

"Are you allergic to any medications?" she asked me in her heavy European accent.

"Yes," I said. "Erythromyecin." I know that's probably spelled wrong. I'm not a doctor. Or a nurse. However, she didn't have a clue what I was saying.

"Could you spell that please?"

Was she serious? Spell it? I never entered the national spelling bee. I wasn't the one who took 4 years of college to be able to spell these types of things. However, Nurse Helga didn't know what medication I was talking about or how to spell it. The one medication I'm severely allergic to. This was not comforting.

After we got that all settled, I sat. For an hour. In a yellow and purple box-like room. With an empty stomach and a sore throat.

Then, the doctor came in. Apparently, she had forgotten to look at my chart because she had no idea why I was there.

"Oh. Strep? Did they do a culture?" Oh yeah, I'm feeling really good at this point.

Nurse Helga comes back to show the doctor where to find the very long Q-tips with which she can choke the innocent patient. Once that's done, Helga rushes down the hall to the lab. I was hoping she could perform a culture better than she could spell.

Meanwhile, the doctor decides to look down my throat, feel for swollen glands, and look in my ears. She informs me I have quite a bit of wax in one ear. Have you ever been told that? It's pretty humiliating. You know they go into their meetings the next day and say, "Hey, you should've seen the patient I had yesterday. She had enough wax in her ear for a whole museum!"

I am then left for 15 minutes to await the result of my culture. It comes back negative. No strep.

Half hour drive - one way - in rush hour traffic, empty stomach, a nurse who could've killed me with her poor spelling, humiliation over wax, and no strep.

"We'll send it in, but there's only a 10% chance it will come back positive. The biggest problem with strep isn't the sore throat but the complications that can come from it - like heart trouble and rheumatic fever." Which is why I came to the Urgent care in the first place.

I signed the paper which disallows me the opportunity to sue for malpractice and the doctor says, "OH! Drink plenty of fluids and get lots of rest. I can't believe I almost forgot that." She quickly writes that on the chart and sends me, my sore throat, and my empty stomach on my way back into rush hour traffic.

The good news: I was in reasonable distance from a Starbucks and was able to pick up a frapp on the way home. While in the parking lot, I heard a driver yelling at a biker - "...you stupid jerk!" The angry man was driving a van with the letters "T.L.C" written on the door. You gotta love the city.

By the way, I'm still sick and my throat hurts more than it did last Thursday. But, I'm taking my chances and staying far away from The Facility. It's not that urgent.


Lisamarie said...

Poor Vicki... that sounds like quite the experience! About the earwax- I was told that about my daughter at one of her last doctor's visits. When you're a busy mom of several, it's totally understandable; when it's your one nad only child? Heh. :-)

Jenna said...

Aww...only you could make a situation like that sound comical! I hope that you feel better soon. I can't imagine being sick with 7 kids...it's bad enough with 1!

heather said...

Maybe you have hand,foot & mouth virus (also called coxsackie)which can make for a very sore throat. It has been "going around" a ton lately!! See if you have white blisters in your throat. If yes, than that is what it is, more than likely. You may also get blisters on your hands & bottom of your feet. Treat the symptoms w/ Motrin & wait for it to go away. I hope you feel better soon. It's no fun when mama is sick!!

Carolee's Corner Canary Islands said...

One of my kids tested negative in the dr.office for strep, but the other "longer" test came back positive. Hope you don't have it though, and are feeling better soon.