Wednesday, January 04, 2006

My Nightmare Continues

I have been counting down the days to when I would be done with my treatment next week and I could just return to a normal diet and a normal life. But today’s visit to the Nuclear Med Dept of WHC left me in a pool of angry suspicious tears.

I went in today simply to take a pill that tomorrow would allow them to scan my body to determine exactly what cells they have to destroy next week. I pictured being out of there in about 5 minutes. I arrived only to be told by my latest foreign doctor – this time a Russian, let’s call him Yuri – that my Th hormone level was at 8.92 and it had to be at least 30 before they could proceed. This was not ever even mentioned to me before. I mean, I had been religiously following the diet, I quit taking my thyroid meds 2 weeks ago on schedule. What could possibly have gone wrong? But furthermore, why had I driven across town in rush hour to find this out? Here’s my exchange with Yuri:

Yuri: Mrs. Driskin (a strange approximation of my name), your Th level is far too low to allow us to give you the pill that will let us do the scan tomorrow.
Me: Are you telling me that this thing I have been dreading has to be postponed even further? That I am going to feel even shittier than I do now by the time it happens? (That my birthday which is really tomorrow can’t happen a week late?)
Yuri: Yes, we don’t do inferior work.
Me: How long will I need to wait?
Yuri: Maybe one or two more weeks.
Me: Well, this really SUCKS! I just can’t take the mental and physical strain of this any longer. (Yuri looks at me like he doesn’t understand SUCKS, like he doesn’t understand in the least what I am feeling, and I start to SOB. Not just a tear or two, but a whole flood of them. For those of you who know me, you’ve probably never seen me cry like this, but I just fell apart. Yuri continues to stare at me.)

Then I started to get really angry in addition to feeling sorry for myself.
Me: Why didn’t you call me earlier to tell me this? I drove a long way to find this out, having just finished making arrangements to be out of the office next week.
Yuri: We tried, but couldn’t reach you.
Me: Where and when did you call?
Yuri: We called your home around 12 noon. (And why not my office? I’m sure I have written the number down on every FUCKING form I have filled out.)
Me: And talked to my husband?
Yuri: Yes.
Me: I’m sure he would have let me know. And why didn’t you call before today? My internist had the results on Monday. (My friend Deborah, who is also my internist, did not know about the 30 requirement.)
Yuri: That couldn’t be because they were only preliminary in the lab yesterday morning.
Me: Let’s call my husband and my doctor and check this out.
Husband to Yuri’s boss, who has now been called in, probably because he at least speaks English better: They called at 4:30 (my appt was at 4:30 – didn’t exactly give me the warning that I needed not to come in).
Deborah to Yuri’s boss: Yep, had the results on Monday AM. (She proceeded to tell him how to get them online from his own lab.)

The bottom line is that they are not budging on the schedule and they have not only lied to me, but they have shown real incompetence. These are the people who are going to load me up with radioactive iodine and stick me in solitary confinement? I’m starting to get more worried than ever. I just have this feeling of being in an infinite loop of test and wait and test and wait some more. I feel helpless in a huge medical machine that sees me as a laboratory rat instead of a person who has emotions and physical and mental needs. Without Deborah, I see myself being consumed by this machine and spit out the end in little pieces, with only a faint radioactive trace left behind. I am bitter and angry and more than ready to close this chapter of my life. I’m sure some day it will not be significant, but it is driving me crazy right now.

So for those of you who have so graciously offered to think about me next week, wait awhile for the big thoughts...


Blogger Velvet said...

These doctors are the reason why people who are having an operation or an amputation, say on the left arm, will write in marker, "NOT THIS ARM" on the right. I don't know who's giving away med school degrees, but, there seem to be a lot of icompetent doctors out there.

I'm sorry. Did they at least take more blood today to see where you are now?

11:43 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

I will think about you this week and next week and the week after and, really, 'most every second in between. Somebody needs to, if not the doctors.

12:49 AM  
Blogger A Unique Alias said...

That's a real bust, B. You could always stab him.

9:04 AM  
Blogger Reya Mellicker said...

My roommate has talked about using a magic marker if he ever has to have surgery, too. The medical profession is in a shambles. The day has passed when you could call your doctor and ask for advice which you could then depend on. I believe with all my heart that this period of time will be looked back on with horror by future medical practitioners.

You know how I feel about this procedure, so I'll stop now. Just want you to know that I'm thinking of you with love.

9:22 AM  
Blogger Jamy said...

So frustrating! So wrong.

I meant to tell you I have a box of light-weight, entertaining novels at you disposal when/if you have to go into isolation.

9:51 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

You guys are all great to rally 'round me like this! It's like all of a sudden I have this extended family (which I never had as an only child). Seriously, it really means the world to me to read your comments and know that multiple people out there in the Blogosphere are making up for the blank seemingly uncaring reaction of the medical professionals at WHC! Stay tuned... Believe it or not my verification word was "COOOL" -- maybe a good omen!

10:55 AM  
Anonymous John said...

I was going to remark that this was just freakishly horrible, except after I thought about it some more I realized that terrible experiences getting medical care are increasingly such un-freakish, such all-too-expected, occurances.

So let me just offer an empathetic ARGH! and Yuck! It's bad enough to be fighting to get well, and I'm sorry to hear you had to deal with this level of incompetence on top of it.

4:32 PM  

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