Sunday, September 26, 2010

A wrinkle in time or "Where Been You?"

Time warp is a quirky thing.
Take, for instance, this week. Where did it go?
Into that parallel universe we call Medical Care, that's where.

This week I was introduced to Massachusetts medical care on the island, otherwise known as the black hole into which even my opinion will land.

I went to the orthopedic guy to recheck my fracture. Since it wasn't getting any less painful, and I had turned over in bed and felt something go SNAP, I figured I needed a recheck.

While on the x-ray table I reached down to show the tech where the pain was, but instead found a new swelling. Huh. Where did that come from? Since I have been losing weight new things pop up, you know, that you didn't know you had... like hip bones and such lol. But no, this wasn't a hip bone.

So the good doctor did what any good doctor would do - he ordered a Medical Test. Which meant navigating the new hospital - talk about uncharted territory. Boldly going to where no man has ever gone before. The new hospital is lovely, but a version of a labyrinth I did not want to play.

I pulled into the parking lot only to find this sign.
 And I will save that for another day. :)

 45 minutes later I was on the gurney getting an ultrasound. The room was impressive, the equipment impressive, the tech impressive, but do you think they could find that lump? Fair enough it was along the crease of the leg/hip, and I have lost weight recently, so things appear and disappear on a whim, but PEOPLE. Perhaps we shouldn't have Jumped To Conclusions.

After another 20 minutes something was found and photographed.

3 hours later the doc was on the phone with me scheduling a visit to the Surgeon. The SURGEON? What the? A swollen lymph node?

24 hours later the surgeon was explaining that I had hit the tri-fecta of possibilities - a swollen lymph node, a benign lipoma, and/or a small hernia. Mostly ruling out the lymph node by location upon examination, we were left with lipoma and hernia. And the declaration "it has to come out".

Now if this had happened anywhere else or at any other time, we would have done the following: orthopedic finds the swelling and refers back family doctor, who goes over findings and then arranges for a consult with a surgeon. If necessary. But ta-da, this is Massachusetts, home of mandatory medical care. We pass Go, we pay $200 out-of-network pocket, we skip the GP, we head straight to the specialist.

All because I "have no GP". I quickly hobbled over to the GP offices to register so I could at least talk it over with a family doc. But no, receptionist after receptionist politely told me their doctor was not taking new patients, or I could be put on a waiting list for many, many months, or the best one - the doctor could not see me till mid- October, but would pass my dilemma on to the doc, and I could see the local "Dr. Feel Good". You know every community has them, the one doctor who is laid back and has a lot of prescription pain seeking patients. Uh no, I don't think so. Or I could go to the walk-in clinic for a consult. Ok the last time I went there, I waited 3 and 1/2 hours to see someone about a rash/lymne disease scare that ended up being nothing.  Apparently, they can't get enough GP physicians to practice on the island. Low pay, overworked, wrangles with medical insurance companies. You get the picture?

Now I do like the swiftness of the system - if they feel you have a real issue, they will get you to the right doctor pronto. But since this was, upon an actual physical exam not so clear cut, I would at least like a chance for a second opinion. Which I will get. Come hell or hurricane water.

So. As my son once said sleepily, upon awakening from ear tube surgery when he was 2, "Where been  you?"

I been through Medical Care. :)
Come on Congress we can do better.

Have a good one.

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