A Healthy Rant, Part One: Is There A Doctor In The House?

I Salute You, FailPuppet!

I swear to God if we don’t start getting some good help here by way of doctors soon I’m going to go on a six state killing spree.  By now regular readers know of Di’s recent gymnastic fail (The Cartwheel Incident), but what you don’t probably realize (unless you’re related) is that 2011 has been a mighty sucky year for her health-wise.  Suffice it to say there has been ongoing healthcare (their term) since I returned from Afghanistan last July.  Ok, technically that’s also 2010.  Let’s ignore that technicality.  This issue has enough history and I have enough rage to necessitate pouring this dose of Hateorade into two cups.  Stay tuned because sometime in the next week I’ll empty my spleen into a warm mug of Part 2.

This isn’t a political rant, but I can’t not take a free poke at Obamacare.  If you’re in the military, you’re under a thing called Tricare (use air quotes when pronouncing the “care” syllable), and it is probably the equivalent of whatever this retarded experiment toward expanded Socialism we had to pass to find out what it was about.  Tricare and its regional Inquisition Board, TriWest, flat out suck.  Period.  If I had a nickel for all the administrivial, amateur-hour, B-team bullshit mistakes they’ve made, I could retire to my dream woodshop.  They’ll approve an MRI but spent a week deliberating – and ultimately denying – a $50 shower chair.

As if this piss-poor version of Socialist Heathcare isn’t bad enough to deal with, layer incompetent, distracted, and risk-averse doctors on that cake and serve it up a la mode with a steaming turd on the side.  To be clear here up front, the studs and studettes overseas saving lives are awesome and get a personal “rock on” from me.  I’ve seen them in action.  My complaint is with the backwater Army hospital guys still here, mainly civilians, who generally fail miserably at holding up this end of the system.  I also include the nonmilitary doctors Di has been referred to off post who have all the personality and warmth of a doorknob.  For military spouses, this is a routine occurrence since apparently the system is set up to get the spouse out of the hospital as soon as possible at least cost to the government.  Note: Josh, you are an exception and thank you.

Here are some gems from past experiences in the ongoing drama of Di’s medical adventures.  Keep in mind there are more catalogued in reality than I have room to put up here:

When suffering from persistent pain in her legs, mainly calves, we explored shin splints, stress fractures, gout, and a couple other possibilities.  Each dead end had a unique medication, and nobody was checking the drug interactions.  A pain specialist finally did and was shocked because some of the interacting chemicals were causing the pain.  Effin’ genius.

After religiously completing annual checkups for the usual suspects in, you know, the feminine-issue category, Di gets increasingly depressed and distraught while I’m 8700 miles away in Afghanistan.  This was not due to either my absence or Daughter Unit The Second’s amazingly self-absorbed and entitled attitude.  We find out later she’s post-menopausal.  Emphasis on the “post” here.  Isn’t that something you’d think to check in a forty-something woman in between the boob-smash Polaroid and the junk spelunking?  Menopause, as I understand it, isn’t some kind of earthquake or tornado event that can’t be planned for.  It’s more like a hurricane, but worse.

Tune in later for Part Two and more exciting tales of failure and ineptitude…

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31 Responses to “A Healthy Rant, Part One: Is There A Doctor In The House?”

  1. Thank you for your service. It takes a true adult to willingly stand between my home and war’s desolation. Its a crying shame that we haven’t done a better job caring for our veterans and their families.

  2. John Erickson Says:

    Oh man, you ever want to have a bitch session, just open fire on me. My headaches, which cost me my job AND house back in Chicago, used to only come once every few years, stay for a handful of months, then leave. The most recent stint started in 1999 and are still here. Why? How about the doctor that started throwing drugs at me at random, after all his testing (you name it, they’ve pitched it at me) showed nothing he could figure out. Add in the neurologist, who spent 10 minutes talking to (or more appropriately, AT) me, then decided that Depakote – a heavy-duty anti-psychotic that helps A LITTLE in migraines (mine aren’t migraines – see the problem?) would help me, in MASSIVE doses. I will be able to see the first symptoms of the Zombie Apocalypse, ’cause I’ve been one myself! When we moved down here, I was on 3 pain meds, a muscle relaxant, an anti-psychotic, Ambien (catch The Simpsons episode for reference), plus blood-pressure and cholesterol drugs with plentiful side-effects.
    I feel for you, my friend. Go ahead and gripe, it’s good for ya! 😀

  3. Sorry for laughing at your pain, but you’re just too damn funny. 🙂

  4. Here’s to brighter days ahead! 😀

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Well Di sure has been through it and you have as well! Every since last April it has been a constant battle…April of 2010 that is! Being interested in the natural side of healthcare…massage therapy, I just cringe at all the drugs that are so easily handed out and the damage they alone can cause! If I were there I would be whipping out all my books on essential oils and pressure point therapy! If you email me a list of current problems aside from her neck injury then I will look into it for you guys!

    Reading your comments and seeing the issues that John has faced and is currently facing…I would recommend he go see a licensed massage practioner

  6. Uggh… I wasn’t finished and it entered my last comment. Anyways, for John… He should find someone who knows trigger point therapy…tis amazing the results I get when I use it on people! Just a thought…and what would it hurt?

    Love to you and Di…. I Keep praying she is on the mend!

    • … into that; might pursue it later.

    • John Erickson Says:

      Thanks for the ideas, Robyn. Unfortunately, we lack insurance AND live in the middle of nowhere, so massage options are EXTREMELY limited. (The respectable kind, anyway.) I do have a friend who makes her own oils, elixirs, and extracts. I’ve got some money coming shortly, and when we get it, we’re gonna order a mess of the stuff. My wife has some massage and manipulation experience (the respectable kind!) from a brother and a roommate who has nerve-muscle issues (MS in her brother), so she can do some of the “routine” work. We’ll find a good person (Amish, most likely) to get the first few treatments, then proceed from there. (I know the dangers from ignorance – we lived with a DO who specialised in massage therapy for 4 years.)
      Once again, thanks for the info, and thanks for caring enough to post something! 🙂

  7. Anonymous Says:

    I’d keep looking for answers, I’d go to UCLA, or wherever necessary. If I wasnt so stubborn, I would not have found the wonderful doctor @ Childrens Hospital LA for Nick, head of rheumatology. I found out that both diseases he has (one rare) supposedly go together, and are not seen together in medical text as of yet. But this doc sees kids like Nick, with both diseases every day. Nick has been suffering with this since he was in 3rd grade. He will be 18 next week…its been years of misery. At one point he could not eat, and was literally, starving to death his weight was so low. This happened while his pediatricians, the top group in Agoura, were telling us “It was all in his head” and that “he was making up the pain” Yep. Thats what they teach them….when they cant find something. If I had not fought so hard, he may have a feeding tube in place today.
    Keep going, even if that means going further, even the mayo clinic. its worth it, I think.

  8. Anonymous Says:

    that anonymous above is cathy jesse

  9. Cathy Jesse Says:

    And I wanted to mention that all of the pediatricians said he was making up this illness to get attention! This went on for a long time. One day, I had enough, after weeks of no sleep staying up with nick crying and suffering. I told that doctor to send us to a specialist, and that I would not stop until we figured it out. He sent us to a pediatric gastro doc that was a total jerk. Later I found out the group doesnt use him because he’s difficult. So this jerk pediatrician sent Nick to this guy because he thought I was ridiculous, hysterical mother. I went out on my own, found a pediatric gastroenterologist. He was scoped, and found to have ulcers all through his esophagus, and high counts of eosinophils. At that time EE, the rare disease was not yet discovered. Anyhow, if I didnt fight these stupid doctors, who knows what would have happened to Nick??? KEEP FIGHTING!

    • It does sometimes seem like the patient is always forced to make the doctor believe him/her. We’re doing this drill here as well, over and over.

    • John Erickson Says:

      Cathy, my doc in Illinois did the same thing with me – tested until he ran through the script, then declared me psycho-somatic. I have a great doc down here in Ohio, who actually listened to what I had to say. He’s cut my pain meds by 60%, and gotten me off several of the drugs I didn’t need. I’m not cured, but I’m doing much better, which is good enough for now. (And down over 35 pounds in the last 5 years, due to feeling better, so that’s progress! 🙂 )
      Hang in there – YOU are your best health advocate. Don’t let ’em BS you or bury you in medical terminology. It’s amazing how much medical terminology I’ve picked up in the last 5 years! Good luck.

      • Advice we’re in the process of learning now as well.

      • Those pain meds and anti-psychotics can cause major weight gain. I was once in a year long medical trial for Pregabalin (now called Lyrica and used for nerve pain in diabetics legs) I was told it was non-addictive. A complete COMPLETE lie. It was so addictiv e, like oxycontin, and I went thru harsh withdrawl several times during a trial blind-study part. Assholes. Later to learn, this drug was being tested as a treatment for: 1. Migraines 2. Bi-polar disorder 3. Nerve Pain 4. Generalized Anxiety and 5. death.
        ALso found out, years later, from a drug rep at a drs. office, that I was on 10x the dose they now prescribe for diabetics. TEN TIMES! I was a human monkey in a cage. A Rat A Mouse a Guinea Pig. Screwed up my brain for life. I now have very little self controll for certain things.

      • John Erickson Says:

        Spectra- I’ve been fortunate in that the pain meds haven’t worked their addiction on me (I’m on Vicodin/hydrocodone, Oxycontin’s little brother). My weight gain was due to depression and sitting on my butt for four years, quite literally.
        I’ve heard bad things about Lyrica. You might want to check around online, see if there’s any class-action suits going on – not for monetary gain, but as ammo for arguments with your doctor.
        Sorry to hear you’ve been so abysmally used in your treatment. My doctor in Illinois, for good or ill, stuck with the HMO script, and my HMO didn’t like experimental drugs. (Except the “triptan” family – he tried EVERY variant, despite the fact I proved moderately but strongly allergic to sumitriptan.) If you need any help with investigation of medicines, I’ve gotten pretty good at digging up information, and will be glad to help you any way I can. If you just want to chat offline, let our magnanimous host know, and he can pass on my Email. Good luck!

      • John Erickson Says:

        Oh, trust me, my friend, a few Lortabs and a bottle of iced tea can cure just about anything. Well, actually, it doesn’t cure diddly, but you just don’t give a hoot anymore! 😀

  10. […] undoubtedly highly-anticipated follow-up to Part One of the Grand Rant on doctors is here. One thing I failed to mention in Part 1 was the fact that […]

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