Category Archives: doctor

Unlikely Places to Sustain Injury

Yep. I have gotten hurt at all of these places.

  • The gym
  • The supermarket
  • On 6th Avenue in Manhattan, twice
  • Work
  • Home
  • On a glacier

I had the bullets of my injury-sustaining locales saved as a draft post for some time. And I sustained injury over the weekend. So perfect. Here goes.

You know you have a tendency for injuries when your orthopedist says ‘what now?’ as he walks into the examination room.

Here’s my criteria to see if you have a tendency for injuries:

1. You must have a go-to orthopedist (check)
2. The reception desk staff knows your first name when you call to make a same-day appointment using your last name (check)
3. You get that same-day appointment (check)

I may not be able to get a table at the hottest restaurant in Manhattan, but damn, I can get a same-day appointment with my orthopedist.

As a recovering hypochondriac (RH) it’s kind of a bummer to hear the doctor tell you everything is fine because as a RH I only go to the doctor now when I am 90% certain there is a problem. Today’s visit, I was 100% sure there was a problem because the range of motion in my right arm wouldn’t even allow me to get dressed and wash my hair using both of my upper extremities.

Number 4: you use phrases like ‘range of motion’ and ‘upper extremities’ as part of your regular vocabulary because you have been injured so much. This one I realized today when I told the doctor that I had limited range of motion as part of my injury description.

There was an issue once he took a look at the x-rays. It’s sort of my ‘I told you so’ when he found something wrong (a busted fluid sack in my shoulder).

At the end of the visit, my orthopedist sent me to my regular doctor. You may think I did this backwards, but my shoulder was in such agonizing pain that I just skipped the regular doctor step because I had gone to the orthopedist thinking that I would need emergency shoulder surgery in order to reattach it to my body – and who better to do it, than an orthopedic surgeon.

My regular doctor wound up sending me for another round of x-rays, of the chest this time. I went into this second round of x-rays thinking he would find something like a punctured or collapsed lung or internal bleeding — okay, maybe I am not a completely recovered hypochondriac, but I do have a very good imagination.

When I went for this next round of x-rays, I basically forced this tech to agree that if he found something seriously wrong that he wouldn’t let me leave the office. He wouldn’t commit to this fully (insurance and legal obligations I am sure) but he didn’t stop me from leaving so I felt pretty darn relieved walking out of medical facility number three today.

While the injury I needed to tend to today was more about bad luck, at least my injury on the glacier makes for a better story.


Making an awkward situation even more awkward

I admit I make grammar and spelling mistakes. But I also admit I am one of those people who circles errors in take out menus. There are more of us, I hope?

So the other day I was in a doctor’s office, and the name of the facility was spelled wrong on one of the five forms I had to fill out. So because I was terribly nervous, and clearly this is when I am a comedienne, I kindly told the receptionist that the facility was spelled wrong. Not so quick on the uptake, she replied ‘That is the name of our facility.’

I replied, ‘It is but it is missing the letter c’ – and then, because now I couldn’t stop making an awkward moment even more awkward at this point, I pointed to the correctly spelled form to show her the difference on the incorrect form (Yes, I really did this and thankfully the waiting room was empty). She said ‘Oh’ and clearly didn’t care at all.

To lighten the mood (the extremely awkward mood I had just created) I told her that I am, in fact, someone who circles typos in take out menus so don’t worry about me finding a typo. I said something along the lines of, I’m sure most people don’t notice. I think this made it a little more awkward and finally secured my spot in the ‘She’s a wacko’ file. I was super nice and friendly to offset the freak factor so hopefully I am not totally written off as some kind of proofreading lunatic.

Are You Feeling Short of Breath?

The past few days I was feeling fine except for this pesky cough that had me hocking up a lung. So I went to the nurse’s office (yes, we have one at work) to make sure everything was okay.

She did the requisite temperature check and the tongue depressor check, and then out came the stethoscope. I always think I breathe too fast for this to work, and I have my doubts.

But this time, she asked me to breathe in and out, in and out, in and out. Yes, this actually went on about ten times until she asked me if I was feeling short of breath?

You’re asking me to basically pant like a dog over and over and over. Um…YES! Of course I am short of breath!

WHY must you send me ten bills?

For a $250 emergency room visit, WHY must I get eight bills?

First, let me just say I am happy to have the luxury of health insurance. I know there are many people who are without it right now and I know I am fortunate to have it.

Couldn’t the billing process be streamlined a bit?

I have already received a bill for $161.20 from the actual hospital , $44.20 from the doctor IN the hospital and $3.57 for a variety of blood work. According to my health insurance website I’m still waiting for a variety of bills for people who helped treat me. Clearly I’ve just touched the surface. I only received these three bills so far. Looks like I can expect another four, and those are just the ones who have submitted the claim. The woman at my health insurance told me I can probably expect close to ten bills in the end. FOR ONE VISIT?

Couldn’t the hospital compile all the bills so I can just make one payment, in one shot? Some of the bills I am waiting for are $2.57 and $3.87. Seriously? It can’t be consolidated into one bill?  This is 2011. The system is this inefficient?

For all I know I am paying $4 to the guy who wheeled me around for tests and $6 for a technician to read results. These people are needed for the process, but don’t they work for the hospital that already sent me a bill?! Is there no way to streamline bills so the hospital can distribute payment to the appropriate parties? At this rate, I’m waiting to see if I owe any money to the woman who checked me in at the front desk or the man who gave me the CDs of my results.

On top of getting multiple bills for a 8 hour stay, there must be a lot of people who don’t pay their ER bills. Three days, THREE, after I got the bill from the hospital, I got another, identical to the first. I didn’t have time to pay it in three days, so they send another bill? Another day or two passed and then I got a call from the hospital billing department asking for payment over the phone. Really? I know I have about 30 days to pay it, but could you at least give me ten days before you send the billing department after me? What’s next – collections at two weeks?

When I lived in London, I had COBRA from my parents and thankfully I never had to visit a hospital or doctor in all the time I was away and traveling. If I was feeling sick, I went to the chemist. I’d tell him or her what was wrong, they’d direct me to an aisle, and I’d get meds…some of which would be considered prescription in the States. There, most everything was available over the counter. Paid for the meds and possibly pick up a few more things (it was like going to CVS or Rite Aid in the States) and I was on my way.

Obviously, when your doctor tells you to go to the emergency room – and he says ‘do not pass go, do not collect $200,’ you go. There was no way around it. But couldn’t the hospital just collect the $200 or $300, or whatever the costs after insurance will ultimately be, and distribute it to everyone that gets a cut?! WHY is this billing system such a waste of time, effort and paper? WHY?

WHY Wednesday.

Pedicure on the Brain

The pedicure I had this past Friday, the color of the rented Nissan Cube that I want on my toes, and my scalding shower injury brought to mind pedicures and injury. Again, not so common. But for me, and my luck, it happened. 

I have a long, injury filled history with pedicures, and I can’t find the write up for “The Pedicure that Required a Tetanus Shot.” Instead I found this…a saved email exchange between myself, my sister and a friend while I was getting a pedicure. This happened a few years after “The Pedicure that Required a Tetanus Shot.” When I find that story, I will post it (yes I do save these things). In the meantime, happy reading.

me: Am getting a pedi and the woman is pulling the gross dirt out of my toenail and it looks like where she pulled started to bleed under my nail in that crevice with the skin. She doesn’t speak English well but she thinks its the old color. But she already cleaned thre old color off. What do I do? This place is right by work and work peeps go here. Ughhhhhhhhh is my tetanus shot still valid from a few yrs ago?? My foot is soaking in the water so I can’t see if its blood or not.
friend: Tell her its bleeding get some peroxide. I think you need to start getting the expensive pedis. The cheap places aren’t doing well for you — ouch!

sister: Why do you continue to go to those places? I’ve never had anything but problems when I get a pedi from someone I can’t communicate with. It may be pricier to go elsewhere but it’s well worth it in the long run. Also, why do you have so much dirt under your nail?

me: Dirt=Flip flops in the city! And it wasn’t dirt for that incident I think it was skin she pulled from under my toenail. It was long and skin like. It didn’t look like dirt when she pulled but there is dirt elsewhere. I just inspected and I think she pulled some skin off leaving me with a small hole. Nothing drastic. And some of it may have been color.

me: Ok I peeked at my toe. But can’t tell. She’s telling me polish on the skin. Why doesn’t she clean it off then???? I can’t tell and the color I picked is dark so I’m not going to be able to tell once she paints. But when I leaned she was spraying that stuff on my legs and I think it got in my face. I should be banned from pedicures.

sister: I only get dirt on the bottom of my feet from wearing flip flops… Anywho… try to enjoy the rest of the pedi but if you go back to those kinds of places again I love you but I don’t want to hear about it. You need to go to the type of pedi place where they give out sedatives like candy and wake you when they’re done!

Bruised Arms, Black and Blues and Broken Glasses

Judging from the title of this post, you would have thought I got in a fight. I look and feel it but thats’ just not so.

Four days after my ER experience and I now look like a battered woman on both of my arms. The nurse’s needle work  from taking my blood and inserting an IV have caused my arms to look like I got beat up. Like seriously black and blue. And! Oh this is great, I have a wedding on Saturday.

Will need to find some fantastic makeup to cover these bruises up. Oh, what’s that you say? Go into my makeup and find the best cover up? Oh that’s funny. I am probably the only 30 something year old woman whose makeup supply is barely non-existent. Mascara, eye cover up that doesn’t work on plain old eye circles, a couple of lipsticks and an eyeshadow palatte is not going to cut it for these bruises. That will be a fun trip to explain why my arms look the way they do when seeking professional guidance.

And to sweeten the pot, just as I was about to walk out the door for the first of several doctor’s follow up appointments yesterday, I went to wipe off my glasses lenses, and wouldn’t you know it…they snapped in half. The timing is impeccable. Thankfully I already have a prescription for lenses and I did buy frames while in Argentina, so today I had the pleasure of figuring out my vision benefits and where I can get my lenses made. Now I just need to take care of that, oh ASAP, since I can’t see without contacts or glasses. As an added bonus, I have very dry eyes, so I like to take my contacts out as soon as I get home, so I really need to fill that prescription quickly — otherwise, no TV this week.

What also sucks is that I sleep in those frames and they had yet to break. Furthermore, I have had those frames for years, and they were going to be my backup pair for times like these. And that plan went haywire.

I know in the scheme of things, this is hardly a crisis. I think it’s G-D’s way of making me laugh.

Pain Poem

I have unexplained pain
Does it mean that it will rain
Poked and prodded with more than one test
I need to know what’s wrong, alas I cannot protest
There’s been no one to explain
I wish my medicine was champagne.