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Sunday, May 31, 2009


So I am fast losing my patience with being a patient.

Pre-IVF, I cut doctor's offices a lot of slack. "You forgot to call me back? No problem, you were probably really busy." "You didn't order x, y, or z for me? That's OK. I'm sure a couple of days behind schedule is perfectly OK."

Now? My patience grows thin. Even when some of the problem is my fault. Let me demonstrate.

With this latest bladder infection, I paged the doctor-on-call after hours, and she was kind enough to call in a prescription for me without waiting for a urine sample. She did call back a few minutes after I spoke with her and said that after discussing it with her superior, they really did need a urine sample to confirm that the antibiotic was going to work on the infection that I had. That seemed fair enough. She said I could come by the next day (May 22nd, a Friday) if that was more convenient.

Indeed it was more convenient. I planned to go in Friday afternoon. However, I was sidelined by the fact that I got very nauseous at work. I won't go into details, but let's just say that I didn't quite make it to the bathroom receptacle and maintenance needed to be called. I needed to go home and shower. It was not pretty. So, the bottom line was that I didn't have a urine specimen taken. I thought that the antibiotic would probably do the trick, so no harm, no foul.

Yeah....By Tuesday, May 26th, when I had taken more than half of the antibiotics and I still felt crappy (and via an over the counter UTI testing kit still had loads of white blood cells in my urine), I thought I should call the doctor's office again. The nurse insisted that I come in for a urine sample. Yes, I thought, fair enough. My bad. If I have to suffer with this thing longer because I didn't follow the rules, then I got what was coming to me.

So off I went, pawning a duty at work onto a generous co-worker, and took the bus across town to give them my pee. I returned to work confident in the knowledge that I had done my part, albeit late. And, according to the nurse, I should hear back from the office the next day regarding my results.

So the next day came and went. I had a poster session that took up most of my day, so I didn't have a chance to call the office. Thursday came and went as well. So on Friday, I called and asked if there was any news on my urinalysis. I had been starting to feel better by that time, but I wanted to be sure that this wasn't a temporary fix, only to have any residual bacteria in my bladder start to take over again. I didn't get a hold of a nurse right away, so I opted for leaving a message. The office called me back 30 minutes before they closed to inform me that there was a problem with my sample and that the microbiology lab needed another one. I should go to the triage unit, since it would be after hours.

Excuse me?

Now, the rational side of my brain says, mistakes happen. Perhaps I didn't give them enough pee or something and so I need to give them more. The I'm-so-sick-of-all-this-BS part of my brain was all, "hell no! You waited until I called you before you told me that I needed to give another sample. Just like you waited until I came into the office for an appointment before you could finally dig up the results on the amniocentesis on both the babies, or give me the results of my glucose tolerance test! Or that I saw the nurse write down the wrong weight on my chart." And then, because I was all ratcheted up by this time, I immediately started pulling my IVF doctors' "failings" into my mind. "Oh, just like the IVF doc to failed to mention that he deliberately left one of the fibroids in after the surgery. Thus prompting the transfer doctor (during the only IVF cycle to go to retrieval with my own eggs) to accuse me of not giving her all the facts that I had a fibroid near my ovaries, which would make retrieval difficult. Yes, let's bring THAT up when I'm nervous, in stirrups and naked from the waist down. Or when I couldn't get a hold of the doctor for multiple weeks who mentioned I shouldn't carry twins after we found out we were pregnant with twins." Yes, my sanity and my patience. Gone. Gone. Gone.

I then started to work myself up into a bigger snit. My OB's office was all snarky about the urgent care medical facility that I went to when I had my last bladder infection. They told me that for anything related to my health care while I was pregnant I should see them, because the urgent care center I went to was (in so many words) incompetent. They made this assessment based on at least two facts: the urgent care center didn't send my urine results off for culture so when I came back and pulled my let's-vomit-in-the-urgent-care-center trick, they immediately sent me to the hospital where my OB's office is located because the urgent care facility didn't have the resources to get my blood tested that same day. The OB triage units' doctors were both snarky to the urgent care facility (I overheard them on the phone) and kind of snarky to me about it, acting like their practice was so far superior.

What made me laugh after I was released from the hospital that long and fateful day, is that they gave me the SAME D@MN antibiotic that the urgent care facility had given me, just prescribed for one day longer. They KNEW what the urgent care facility had prescribed for me, because I told them no less than 3 times and even brought the empty pill bottle with me and showed to everyone who asked. Pardon me, but yes, that does seem like sound reasoning. And did they send my culture out? I will never know, because they never called me back to tell me.

So when the OB's office said I needed to drive downtown, through traffic on a Friday night and go to their triage unit to give them another urine sample, I walked my butt right across the road to the urgent care center. I told them what happened and asked for them to check my urine; which they did. The answer? Trace white blood cells in my urine. I need to call Sunday or Monday to see if they could culture any bacteria out of it.

Why I felt like I was "sticking it to the man" I'm not sure. But somehow it felt good.....

Yes, I know, I am losing my mind...

Darn it, why does it always seem like we are the only ones who are taking care of us in the health system. Rationally I know this is not true, but I think of all the people who don't know that they need to be an advocate for their own health and they just slip through the cracks. It makes me very happy to know that my Grandparents still have eachother to act as advocates for eachother and that my hubby's Grandmother has her two sons and a daughter-in-law to make sure all the calls that are needed are made....


Sprogblogger said...

I always get pissed off because it's just so damned scary turning over your health to someone else. Yeah, I know they're human, but this is their job. If I did such a crappy job at my place of employment I'd be, er, unemployed.

Glad you stuck it to 'em. That kind of bullshit response should not be rewarded.

Dora said...

Totally infuriating. You're absolutely right about those who can't or won't advocate for themselves. Screwed. Sometimes it's not a matter of not being capable. I know many capable people who don't think of questioning their drs. Makes me feel like my head will explode!

Hope you're feeling better soon!

Riley said...

What a nightmare - good for you for going back to the urgent care! I totally agree that you have to be an advocate for yourself - if we don't stay on top of all the details and tell them how to do their job and when, it's amazing how they just drop the ball. My eyes have been completely opened through this whole experience. I hope your level of care improves for the remainder of your pregnancy.

KS said...

Love the rant! It is soooo true! I've caught myself making excuses for my RE and IVF nurses... I love the 'sticking it to the man' made me laugh! I really hope you are feeling better soon!

Anonymous said...

Grrr - incompetent medicos! What a load - making you schlep all over town when you could go across the street! You are so right about advocating yourself - I was just blogging about how my first IVF I had no clue what was going on and was really at the mercy of the clinic. I wonder if I had known more, would I be pregnant now? Probably not, but I wonder.