Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Tuesday Afternoon: Drafty Hospital Gowns and An Encounter with Dr. Snark, a Vitriolic ER Physician

It's 2:58 a.m. and this HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) is still seething from my experience at the ER. So, instead of tossing and turning in bed and risk awakening Steve and Moshi, I quietly descend down the stairs, turn on my trusty and over-used Hewlitt-Packard laptop, and start drafting this post. Sakura and Java greet me in the living room; Java, my eldest Lady Cat and home supervisor, settled down on the couch near me.

Yesterday-- since this is technically Wednesday-- I wearily woke up and dragged myself  to campus to teach class. (I teach part-time at a community college.)  I gave students additional time to prepare their speeches. In that time span, I increasingly felt disoriented and woozy, managed the long walk to the restroom and proceeded to be sick. (I'll spare you the details. You're welcome. :))

I returned back to the room, attempted to push my luck, listened to three speeches,started experiencing wooziness, and could not think clearly. Previously, I sent my supervisor (love her!) an email explaining the problem and that I might not be able to make it through the entire morning.  Eventually, I apologized to my students and informed them that I wasn't going to make it through the morning. A student rushed downstairs and brought in my supervisor. I wasn't forming coherent sentences; the room was getting fuzzy. My supervisor kindly asked if I should call an ambulance or call Steve. My pride wouldn't accept an ambulance or a wheelchair, so I recommended that she call Steve. She did, and then my supervisor and students assisted in every way possible: carrying my bag and purse, and walking near me in case I passed out. Their compassion and kindness was comforting and humbling.

Steve arrived in record time and off we went to the local ER. We checked in, waited, checked back in, waited with an ugly pink tray (just in case), and then finally got a room. I couldn't wait to dive into the bed, burrow under the warmed blankets, and sleep. I had to put on the ugly Hospital gown first, and hoped that my pedicure was up-to-par.

I have to say that The medical assistants, lab technician,x-ray technician, and the nurses were nice. Everything was okay until the male, fifty or sixty something ER physican walked in. I'll be blunt: he acted like a pompus asshat from the first minute he pulled back the curtain, so I christen him as Dr. Snark (as in snarky. Of course, I didn't know his real name.)  I had a bad headache, so the nurses kindly kept the light off. Not Dr. Snark, he switched those lights back on and asserted his authority.

Dr. Snark then proceeded to drill me about the details of my symptoms and proceeded to correct me and  stated in a snarky tone, "Do you have a headache or a face-ache? The head is up here (he pointed at his head) and the face is here." 

(My occuring thoughts are in italics.) 

Sorry, next time I'll borrow one of the skeletons from campus and brush up on my cranial anatomy. I was so woozy that I could hardly talk, let alone describe my symptoms. Dr. Snark kept asking me to repeat myself. Have you ever heard of hearing aids? I do know where they are located. Then, he proceeded, in a saracastic drill-sargeant manner, to ask about the extent of my dizziness. "Was I dizzy? How dizzy? Was I woozy? How woozy? Like faint? Like vertigo?"  Look, if you would have read the chart, I already told the nurse my symptoms and that my pain was a four on the pain chart. Next time, I'll bring in a thesaurus to enlighten you with descriptive vocabulary. Right now I am only in the mood to adorn you with colorful vocabulary. I may not know my anatomy, but I am a wordsmith, Doctor Snark.

Dr. Snark was dismissive; He acted like I had no business taking up his time in his precious ER.  Perhaps I should have vomited on his shoes; perhaps that would have convinced him otherwise. After ordering the CT scan and bloodwork, a nurse came in and overheard the conversation. She told me she couldn't believe what she had heard; I informed her that I wanted another physician. The nurse must have told the head nurse, because the next time he reappeared, his disposition had changed. Too late. I told every professional  how rudely he had treated me. Oh, the patient can recommend a new physician, but it's up to the physician to make that call. Dr. Snark wouldn't dare. (One of the reasons I am calling the patient advocate number.)

It turns out my sinuses are sparkling clean and needed prednisone for my rhinitis and asthma. The antibiotic I was taking was exacerbating my symptoms. A script of prednisone and I was off, off, far away from Dr. Snark's medical mancave.

Afterwards, another employee came in and gave me a telephone number for a patient advocate. I am going to call. Perhaps I will draft a letter to the head of the hospital.  The fact that Dr. Snark was an older man and treated me as an inferior woman fueled my ire. I appreciate and respect all the members of the medical community, but simply won't tolerate condescension by members of the hospital staff.  If this happens to you, tell someone, call the advocate number, or write a letter to top administrators. The lack of bedside manners in the medical community, especially with physicians, needs to be addressed.

Saturday Chez Sigety

It's a quiet Saturday afternoon chez Sigety. I'm curled up on a wicker couch on the front porch, surrounded by books and comfy p...