The Joys of Health Care

Yesterday, my mom had surgery on her ankle. She’s doing fine so far, but the whole experience yesterday was quite frustrating. She had to go in to the ER for a re-check and while we were there, I decided to have the ER check my ankle. Well, she got the good end of the ER where they actually care about the patient. I was taken (walking) to the furthest end of the ER, which is about a street block away from the waiting room. I was placed in a community room with other Medicaid patients. Our insurance wasn’t the only thing we had in common, we were each being treated and streeted. (It was not busy yesterday morning either.) That might have been fine for the guy who was drug seeking (every hospital employee was asked for Lortab), but one elderly man was suffering from a bad respiratory problem and I was trying to get help for a problem that should be getting better NOT worse at this point. The nurse spent more time getting my history than the doctor did in the room with the three of us.

I told the doctor that I’d twisted my ankle 3 weeks ago, it was getting worse every day, it was swelling and discolored, and now it was starting to lose feeling in it for periods at a time. She determined that since I could walk on it, the best course of action would be to wrap it and send me home. But, she also decided that for medicine (which I didn’t want), she would give me: Mobic (an NSAID, which I SPECIFICALLY mentioned the allergy) and Reglan (which I SPECIFICALLY mentioned being on Risperdal). I’m not a doctor, but I know that:

  1. When a patient comes in and says they are having numbness in an extremity after an injury, you’re supposed to do actual diagnostic tests.
  2. People CAN walk on broken bones and other injuries.
  3. When an individual mentions an allergy, you don’t proceed to prescribe something that they are allergic to.
  4. Reglan + antipsychotics is a no-no, especially in people who have previously had a dyskinetic reaction (Geodon a couple of years ago caused pseudo-Parkinson’s
  5. If you are going to immobilize an ankle joint, you take into account what length of time it has been injured and how it is progressing. A new one MIGHT get wrapped if the severity is small. One that has been going on for weeks and getting worse is more likely to end up in a boot.

The lovely doctor did tell me that I could call my family doctor. (How nice of her to give me permission.) So, I called the UAB people. They weren’t in when I called, and the answering service told me that if my pain was really severe to go to the ER. This was kind of funny since I was calling from my mom’s ER room.

I tried calling again after I knew they would be in, but the line went busy. I couldn’t call any other time during the day because of the surgery and plans for it.

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Janet Morris

I'm from Huntsville, Alabama. I've got as many college credits as a doctorate candidate, and the GPA of some of them, too. I have a boss by the name of Amy Pond. She's a dachshund. My parents both grew up in Alabama.