Friday, May 01, 2009

The Never-Ending Story 2: Arm-ageddon

So yesterday I went to see neurosurgeon "Dr B" (actually Dr L, but he was B in The Circle Game and so he shall remain), for the first time since November.

Within 30 seconds, the truth was revealed to me in a blinding flash: Most surgeons are arrogant boors.

I told Dr B that I'd been passed along from one crony to another in his medical center, with no resolution.

"Why do you think that is?" he shot back.

"Because they don't have any answers, so they send me along to the next guy?"

"Why do you think that is?" he said again.

"Um...because they can't figure it out?"

"Did you ever think that maybe it's because your case is very complicated, and there are no easy answers?"

He had the same patronizing tone as Dr Schmuck. What the hell is it with these guys?

"So you're saying that nothing can be done?"

"No, I'm not saying that. Surgery can be done, but I'm not waving any magic lollipops. So if you're in horrible pain afterwards, don't say I made you any promises. And don't call me begging for more pain medicine, because I won't prescribe any."

(Note: Back in November, Dr B insisted that I take Elavil, "whether you want to or not!" I lasted all of a day on it.)

Let us draw a discreet veil over the rest of Dr B's speechifying, which brought me to tears yet again.

In summary:
  1. My fingers are unlikely to regain feeling without surgery.
  2. The pain in my arm is unlikely to go away without surgery.
  3. Odds are 50-50: surgery may make my arm feel a lot better, or a lot worse.
  4. I don't want to give my money to doctors who are mean to me.
  5. I don't want mean doctors poking around inside my body.
  6. I shouldn't have to see my shrink after every doctor appointment.
  7. I hope that Dr M (I see her next week) is nicer and has some bright ideas.
Meanwhile, Darling Husband and I are running away from home for the day. The aptly named Fairplay is on our itinerary.


Jena said...

I think your Drs. Schmuck and Boor must be related to Dr. Jerk, who treated me with the same lack of respect and compassion. I hope that Dr. M will be warm and human, and will have some intelligent ideas as to how to offer you some relief.

Stick to your guns. If Dr. M doesn't feel like someone you trust, then just keep checking different doctors. You have a right to be treated like a human being in pain, someone who needs a doctor's skill and concern.

Wishing you all the best.

Gina Black said...

I have a friend who is an anesthesiologist and she concurs with your assessment of surgeons.

I'd keep looking until I found one who treated me with respect.

#1 Dinosaur said...

Geez. Is it any wonder I'm embarrassed to tell anyone I'm a doctor?

Keep looking. I know it's frustrating and disheartening, but there really are non-asshole surgeons out there. Our thoughts are with you in your search.

Bella Stander said...

Thanks, everyone! Your support means all the world to me.

Anonymous said...

I read your blog all the time but I have never commented until now. I have been there--to that land of as*&oles in white coats. And no matter how much self confidence you have, being treated this way by a medical professional can make you think you are the crazy one.

You are not the crazy one. Keep looking until you find a human doctor. Some of them just seem to have lost sight of what that means.

I am so sorry you have going through this.

Teri Hall

Bella Stander said...

"And no matter how much self confidence you have, being treated this way by a medical professional can make you think you are the crazy one."

Or the obnoxious one. Amen, Teri! I have an appt next week with the Denver Broncos' arm specialist. Yesterday I left a message for extremely kind Dr C (not a surgeon, obviously), asking if he could refer me to a neurosurgeon who isn't arrogant & condescending. His office mgr phoned back with the name of someone who's supposed to be nice, so I may try him as well.

5007 Morello Road said...

Having been the spouse of a doctor, and met many a doctor, I still think this Dr. Boor is unacceptable. I agree with the other advice: keep looking, don't accept anything less, and keep hope there is a solution.

I don't mind plain talk from doctors, but when it's intended for non collaboration, then no. Hope your day was a tonic even just for a bit.

Bella Stander said...

Nope, not going back to Dr. Boor, nor any of the others in the Rogues Gallery. I'm listening to my inner 5-year-old, and avoiding doctors who are mean to me.

Had a wonderful 8-hour vacation on Friday. Sooner or later I'll post pics. (Probably later; still haven't posted the ones from VaBook in March.)

Christine Fletcher said...

My mom broke her arm in a fall many years ago. Conversation at her final recheck exam, after the arm was healed:

MD: Any questions?

Mom: Yes, will I ever be able to reach behind my back again?

MD: Here's a tip to fasten your bra: fasten it in front then rotate it around.

Mom: So you're saying I'll never be able to reach behind my back.

MD: Well, if you had physical therapy, you probably would.

Mom: I see. So, can I have physical therapy?

MD (surprised): Do you want physical therapy?

News flash: a middle-aged woman wants a fully functioning arm! Mom got her PT and her range of motion back. And I never forgot: Don't ever assume a doctor knows what your best interests are--even if HE thinks he knows.

I echo everyone else: keep looking. Life is too short to put up with a$$holes. Nobody's that good.