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

I Salute You, Dr. FailWagon

The 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 through all this silliness, my only medical issues involved routine preventative checkups and an abortive investigation of my snoring, which was elective. To me the ominous implication here is this: God forbid something bad happen to me and cause both of us have to deal with this bullshit we’re shoveling.

One over-arching aspect of this ineptitude that really feels like wiping my ass with four-ought steel wool is the notion that military medicine – Tricare – basically treats spouses as second-tier efforts. While I can see the business logic behind that, I’m pissed nonetheless. In truth, Army Spouses (in general) and my Army Wife (in particular) do so much to facilitate my ongoing excuse for a career that without them, we’d have to get out of the Service. Therefore, by my logic, their medical treatment ought to be Priority One.

And so, without further delay, please enjoy the rest of the list of DocTard Greatest Hits:

Later, with other leg pain different than described in Part 1, we explored sciatica and other notions. After months of tests and referrals, we finally get an MRI we were asking for and discover bulging discs and an associated degenerative condition. The proposed solution? “Let them be until they get really, really bad and at that point probably have a few months of consults to decide to fix. In the meantime we’ll give you medieval shots in your spine and medicate you with this Motrin.” Jury still out on this issue.

Five months of increasingly severe and embarrassing gastrointestinal problems pass before discovering gallstones. However, the kickoff event was a trip to the civilian emergency room because the military hospital couldn’t treat her. This occurring while I was on the road no less. Di gets left in a corner for hours, in pain, only to be told that she would get no free drugs and should take her junkie ass home. An x-ray, I.V., and insult later, she’s standing outside the ER miles from home with no ride and me 500 miles farther away. We didn’t even bother trying to put in a claim for the taxi fare.

Following this circus of error and fail, I draft two pointed letters of complaint. One went to the hospital and named names. The other went to Tricare and named the hospital. The hospital did an investigation and reprimanded the doctor. Tricare ignored me, other than the letter I got acknowledging reciept of my complaint. The doctor never apologized in person as I asked… ok, fine, demanded would be a better word.

Three more months and a new specialist DocTard later we now have esophigeal erosion and Crohn’s… we think. Confirming that would require surgery. One painful night after an invasive procedure I personally hope to never endure, I find Di in a fetal pain-ball on the bed. Bloated and near tears, she looks pregnant (which at this point would not surprise me one bit though I know the OBGYN on that would likely ask us how that happened). Having the cell number to this gastro “doctor” on hand, I call. Conversation ensues:

    • ME: [Describes symptoms, notes extreme pain and bloating] “So is this a typical reaction to a (the procedure’s name)?”
    • DOCTARD: “No, not typical at all.”
    • SILENCE DURING LONG, AWKWARD PAUSE
    • ME: “Ok, so what should we do?”
    • DOCTARD: “Well you can either wait until morning to see what happens, or possibly go to an emergency room.”
    • ME: “Look, I’m a tanker, not a doctor. That’s what you do. That’s why I called you.”
    • DOCTARD: “Well, what do you want to do?”
    • ME: [Supremely pissed because you can’t slam a cell phone down for a soul-jarring hang-up effect] * click *

The latest, greatest, and scariest episode was part of the Great Cartwheel Incident that I have related here. Once again at the terminus of an ambulance ride into Kansas City, and yet again while I am on the road, this time 1500 miles distant, Di gets admitted and then has a full-body x-ray. Sounding familiar here? So this time, she can’t move her leg or arms, and rates her pain as a “15” on the one to ten scale. The piece-of-shit excuse for a doctor that night in the ER decides to let her hang out until morning, when they do an MRI and discover the crushed disk that of course wouldn’t show up on an x-ray. At least they avoided accidentally facilitating some addict’s problem.  Recurring theme here and recurring fail.  That’s what tests are for, jackwagon.

Ok, so that rant complete, I will now go update my “People To Kill in a Dark Alley” list.

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

  1. Wow…that is absolutely horrible! I literally have no words to express what shitty service your poor wife got. I don’t blame you at all if you started brain-checking doctors with a pistol grip. (No shooting, too long of a jail sentence.)

  2. That is unbelievable. I wish there was something that could be done for her. I have a friend who is a nurse, and she said if at all possible never go to the ER at night, because that’s where they staff all the just-out-of-med-school doctors and the ones who pissed off upper management. Fake an early Monday morning illness if you have to.

  3. Yeesch, I can’t count the number of ways this experience sounds like it sucked. Hope things take a turn for the better.

  4. John Erickson Says:

    I know this doesn’t really help, but “been there, done that”. More than once. One time, the ER doc was actually doing good, but for some odd reason called my regular doctor to let him know he was giving me a pain shot, whereupon my doctor bawled the ER doc out, then got ME on the phone and SCREAMED at me, telling me I should be ashamed for using the ER as “my personal pharmacy”.
    It ain’t much, but I’ll wish you and Di good luck, and hopes you get everything worked out. And if you ever want to make “Doctard” disappear – we’re talking Argentinian or Soviet disappear – let me know, there’s plenty of acreage out here where somebody would NEVER be found. And I know a few tricks to make SURE they’re never found. Just sayin’.

  5. Make that list and check it twice. Those people are effing retards. I feel your pain.

  6. You ever see that seinfeld routine about the doctors checking the tube and the circle?
    I used to think it was a joke until I had a stomach problem and went to 6 or 7 doctors and specialists who each did different tests and came up conclusively with vastly different diagnoses. Now I know they have no clue what they’re talking about.
    Thanks doc. Shit. I can make a guess without a $900 tube up my ass.

  7. doctorblue Says:

    Just yet again another who has the same tee-shirt. I got out alive but not fully intact. I’m disabled due to med error – failure to diagnose and treat. Dig, it’s no consolation. It’s absolutely criminal what too many docs get away with. First part of my quest is at http://doctorblue.wordpress.com. Stopped posting (at least for now) when I found a few knowledgeable, empathic docs who are helping me heal. This work in progress cost every penny I had as well as your tax dollars. I’m now on Medicare to pick up the pieces my private insurer, Cigna, encouraged. Can’t wait to see how the story ends.

  8. shit man, no one should have to go through this kind of crap! I’m sorry u guys (especially your dear wife) had to endure this. continue…

  9. Ugh … I really feel for both of you. I’m so not a fan of Western Medicine. My hubby is learning to come to me before and after visits to the doc. If nothing else to have me check any meds they want to give him against what he is already taking, ’cause they sure as hell don’t.

    My chiropractor told me that they had the option to audit some of the MD classes in med school and one that he sat in on (just out of morbid curiosity) was “Bedside Manner” … which was basically a course on how to bully patients into doing what the doc wants, not what’s best for them. Assholes. And no, they don’t like me much. I call ’em on too many things. We’ve been fortunate enough to find a decent DO who actually gives a shit. It totally sucks that you folks can’t get some decent docs.

    I hope you are able to get somewhere with the jackasses and get your wife feeling better soon. *hugs*

  10. I feel your pain with dealing with Tricare and doctards, lol. I’ve yet to meet a soldier or another spouse who didn’t have a complaint about either.

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