Monday, March 16, 2015

To Everything There is a Season

I’ve read the books.  Having health problems is supposed to teach you patience.  But when you’ve gone to doctors over a period of a year and you still don’t know what’s wrong, patience begins to fly out the window.

I first went to an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) doctor because I was having headaches on the left side of my head, random ringing in the ears, and random hearing blockage.  After a thorough hearing test, he asked if I had Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and said the muscles in my ears weren’t working, indicating MS.  He referred me to a neurologist who specializes in MS.  MRIs lead to CT-scans that showed multiple lesions, an abnormal bone growth at the base of my skull, and tumors and both adrenals.

Whining and grumbling, I was referred to other specialists.  Their tests were negative and they didn’t know who to refer me to. They told me to go back to the MS doctor.  Mind you, with every appointment, months went by.  The MS doctor laughed when I went back to her and said my head symptoms had nothing to do with MS.  She referred me back to the ENT.

Meanwhile, I had to see my primary care doctor (PCP).  She referred me to a rheumatologist.  Pinching the bridge of my nose, I phoned my insurance to find an in-network doctor.  Not that easy as many specialists are going out of business under the new Affordable Health Care Act.  I located a doctor and called their office.  The assistant asked if I had to see that particular doctor.  I told them no, as long as the doctor was a rheumatologist.  I waited two months to see her, only to find out she was an Internal Medicine doctor and couldn’t help me.

She escorted me out to the checkout desk to schedule with the doctor I had originally asked to see.  They were booking appointments for seven months down the road. Clenching my jaw, so as not to say anything I would regret, I took a deep breath and told the assistant that I had better leave before I came unglued. 

Later that day, my youngest son asked, “Mom, why are you breathing that way?  It usually means you’re in pain or you’re really mad.”

Actually, I was both.  During this long fiasco of waiting and appointments, my symptoms had gotten worse, even debilitating.  I’ve barely been functioning to do the basics.  Now, I can’t tip my head back without feeling confused, nauseated, sick, and in pain.

The next week, I called the office manager and explained what had happened.  Instead of having me wait seven months, she scheduled me for an appointment in two months.  Again, my symptoms worsened and it wasn’t the only medical issues I faced during that time.  Flu, bronchitis, kidney infection, tooth extraction, gland infection, dry socket…I had it all, waiting those two more months.

The day came for the appointment.  I had waited over an hour in the outer office.  Fidgeting, door watching, deep sighs, and neck cracking…I waited, hoping that this time I would get some help. Another half-an-hour went by before the doctor came into the room, frowning, rattled, and not letting me complete a sentence.

He kept complaining that my case was too complicated. He examined me.  Scowling, he said, “This doesn’t make sense.  If you hurt here, you should hurt there.” 

I finally asked him if he was mad at me.  His answer was that he didn’t like how the appointment had gotten made and how disorganized the paperwork was.  He told his assistance to write me a prescription for NSAIDS and got angry when I said I couldn’t take them.  He told me to go back to my MS doctor and an ENT.  He told me to make an appointment for early in the morning on the follow up so he could check for swelling.  His nurse refused to make the appointment for then because it was noted in the file.  Really?

As I figured, the ENT does not want to see me.  They referred me to a specialist that isn’t covered by my insurance.  Now I’m waiting for them to allow me to see him because he is a very specialized specialist and the medical assistant said the area that needs to be worked on “is in a sensitive area.”

I’m waiting again.  Waiting and in pain and feeling horrible.  Every day, every hour, every minute.  In reading the cues of acute impatience in the Emotion Thesaurus, I must say, I’ve done most of them:
·       Barking orders
·       Cutting people off
·       Taking over a project
·       Telling someone to get on with it
·       Making demands
·       Hitting things (like the table) in impatience
·       Redirecting the focus to allow things to proceed faster
·       Resorting to the physical

As Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 states:
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

I believe there is a season. The fear for me is: Is this waiting game God’s timing or man’s incompetence? (Or should I say doctor's incompetence?)  Am I waiting when I shouldn’t? After becoming chronically ill because of a doctor’s ineptitude, I’m not trusting.  I am willing to accept God’s timing.  A doctor’s?  Not so much.  

Cindy A. Christiansen
Sweet Romance, Humor, Suspense...and Dogs!
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Copyright of medical dog: / 123RF Stock Photo

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