Monday, December 22, 2008

A Day In The Life of Maureen

Happy Holidays all! I have had a rough couple of days, so I haven't posted in a bit. It seems no matter how long you have been ill, and no matter how many times you think you've learned your lessons, there are always new ones to learn.

I had a very frustrating Friday. My internist is not good, and I really need to find someone else, but I have been putting it off. I had a physical scheduled for Friday, and despite the bad weather here I headed off for it. My doctor was running late (so what else is new, right?), her office staff has been at war with one another for a few months now, I am not sure why, but it makes the whole experience really miserable. When I finally got back into a room, the nurse asked about my voice. Now I have been complaining about my this problem with my voice/breathing/throat for almost 2 years. No one will listen. Because my voice was particularly bad then the nurse seemed all interested. Of course she was unable to get a blood pressure reading on me (blamed it on the equipment), then she couldn't get a complete EKG (again, it MUST be the equipment). During all this the doctor came in and out twice and left to take cell phone calls without a word. Now I have been sitting there in just a robe for about an hour with basically nothing done. The doctor comes in and gives me a speech about exercising. She doesn't take any history on MY health problems, takes some general background on family, and listens to my heart and looks at my ears. Then she says something to the effect of "I know you want to get going because it is getting bad out there", as if I had asked her to rush. I have been hearing the staff discussing the fact that she was leaving for an hour to head to the hospital, so I guess I am being rushed out so she can get going. She wants me back in 2 weeks, so she can decide what blood work to run (which should have been done BEFORE I came for this appointment, it WAS a scheduled physical!), but of course she makes more money if she keeps having me back in. Can you tell I was less than pleased?

The roads were treacherous coming home and we had to make a few stops because we knew we probably weren't going to be able to get out again anytime soon. By the time we got in and got lunch it was late and I was exhausted physically and emotionally. I tried to nap, but the snow kept falling and I knew I had better try to get some of it cleared off the car, as well as a path to the car cleared and some de-icer down. Last year my mother fell two days before Christmas on ice and broke her shoulder. She is terrified of it happening again (who can blame her) and I feel responsible for making sure things are safe for her. Now you would think I would realize that I am not healthy enough to shovel snow. Especially heavy, wet, deep snow. But out I trouped with a shovel. After a half hour I was almost dead. I came in an immediately realized I had made a BIG mistake. I had trouble breathing, was hurting so badly the narcotics didn't even ease the pain and started running fever. Later on as I lay weeping on the couch, it all hit me - I am so much sicker than I was just a few years ago. I know it intellectually, I certainly feel it physically, but when I get treated like I did at the doctors that day, it makes me realize that people have absolutely no comprehension of what life is really like for me. Most of my doctors don't even care. When you try to explain you get looks like your crazy, lazy or making things up. It's exhausting to deal with. Then I go and do something stupid to myself, like trying to shovel, and I compound the problem.

Most of the time I am pretty good at setting limits on myself. I know fairly well what I can and cannot do at this point. Every once in a while, like Friday, I have to learn the hard way. I was in bed all weekend, fevers, pain and fatigue wracking my body and regret wracking my spirit. I like to think I am smarter than this, and most of the time I am. It is time for me to admit, once again, that there are more things I cannot do. I HATE admitting it, especially out loud, but I am not doing myself any favors by pretending it is different.

So this is a melancholy Christmas for me. I am grateful for all the blessings I do have, for the parts of my body that still work, for people who do understand and love me anyway - but I feel sad and angry for all I have lost, for what I continue to lose and mostly for the people (especially the doctors and medical professionals, but others as well) who just don't get it. I am sick of using my precious energy trying to make them understand. So my goal between now and the New Year is to have as little to do with them as I can. I am taking a break. I do have to go to the dentist today, still having a bad problem with swollen ligaments in my jaw that has to be addressed. I also have an appointment with a urologist tomorrow about the nephritis finding on my CAT scan. Other than those appointments, I am not dealing with the doctors until after Jan. 1st. My spirit needs a break and needs to be refreshed by the joy of Christmas. Then I will deal with the naysayers again. . .

My best wishes to all my readers for a happy holiday season and a new year filled with health, peace and joy!


Anonymous said...

My heart goes out to you. It's hard enough to suffer, but to also suffer a doctor's neglect is too much. I wish you peace and pain-free days.

Daisy said...

I'm so sorry you had such a hard time, especially during this time of year which is supposed to be happy. Your doctor does not sound very good at all! I hope you can find someone more understanding and nicer.

I wish you could spend a day in bed with hot chocolate and cartoons and Christmas classics on TV.

Renee said...

Oh, Maureen
I am so sorry you had such a challenging Friday and bad weekend.
Boy, I understand what you mean about doctors who just don't get it...but I am going to be bold here and tell you this doctor is not only "not getting it" but she has big problems. If the staff is not happy then something is going on. ANyway, enough caring thoughts for you are giving me the courage to say...get a new doctor deserve someone who cares...who takes time with you and who wants to help you. Enough now on my advice :)
I often make a choice to do something I know deep inside I can no longer do without a major body shut down....I guess it is because we are so.....human :)
I also have been having melancholy thoughts about Christmas with my relapse and hopes for recovery from Lyme long gone. I read something at CFS Warrior's site that helped me today and put me on a new path...once again. I have been going to Tom Oates Jr's site and his 12 steps to healing are very good for me right now...maybe they will encourge you too.
I hope you have a very Merry Christmas, friend. I am so thankful this year to have 'met" you and look forward to your posts, comments, etc.
God bless

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry that your doctor treated you so badly. I hope that you are able to find a better, more caring doctor in the near future. About your voice, have you researched, Sjogren's Sydrome? There are many other symptoms, but it just has me wondering.

If I don't "talk" to you before Christmas, have a special day with your Mom. Do something special for yourself!

One Mom said...

Sweet Maureen, so very sorry to hear of your challenges. I agree with your other commenters that you deserve a better, more compassionate doctor who is truly interested in treating you.

I know it is hard to slow down and not do what you want or need to do. Perhaps there is someone in your neighborhood who can help with the snow removal. Sometimes you just have to ask.

Blessings to you and your mother this Christmas.

Mojo said...

Your "break" from the medical profession still involves more appointments than I'll make (voluntarily) in a year. I'm not sure what keeps you going, but I'm glad it does -- whatever it is.

Here's hoping the next year is kinder to you than the last.

Ailurophile said...

I'm so sorry about your negative experiences with that physicians. Most doctors are better than that. I hope you'll find a good one soon who'll take better care of your health.

I know how you must feel right now but I hope your health improves soon and you enjoy some happy, comfortable holidays and a good start to the new year..all the best :)