Friday, February 16, 2007

The Angry Wife

Allow me, if you will, a chronicling rant:

Wednesday, February 7th – With the impending surgery, all anti-inflammatories are out, and the Tylenol is definitely not doing it. I call the doctor’s office to ask they prescribe something to alleviate J’s pain, which seems to be rapidly increasing. The woman on the phone tells me that the doctor has already left for the day and that she will have him take a look at it tomorrow. A few minutes pass, I realize that this is clearly not going to work, and I call the doctors office and have him paged. This is shortly before five o’clock. He calls back and we’re in business. I go to pick up his prescription.

Friday, February 8th – Early Morning - Still taking the prescribed 10-mg of Hydrocodone, it is clear that it is not bridging the 4-hour dosage span, and J calls the doctor to see what they can do. The same woman tells him to go ahead and take an additional 5-mg pill at the in-between two-hour intervals.

Afternoon – Woman calls back and said that she spoke with the doctor and he has agreed to prescribe a 15-mg dose.

Evening – I go to pick up the prescription at our (former) local pharmacy. Apparently the dosage prescribed (7.5-mg per pill) is fairly uncommon, and not widely stocked. They do not have them, nor do any other nearby pharmacies, I am told. At this point, it seems my only course of action to get the ol’ boy through the night is to refill the weaker prescription. Not optimal, but I figure he can do as instructed previously and take a mid-way pill. I request to pick up this prescription, and the pharmacist, in his most surly I-am-a-pharmacist-and-know-more-than-you voice, tells me that he will not release the refill, as it has only been two days, rather than four. I explain to him that J has been taking the dosage as recommended by his doctor, and that if no other pharmacies have the new dose, that is my only option and just GIVE ME THE DAMN PILLS!

He then goes on to explain, and I am quoting here:

“Let me explain this to you in the simplest possible terms.”

Oh yes, he did.

His kindergarten version had to be further dumbed down to reach my horribly deficient level of understanding, but he finally managed to explain to me, and again I quote:

“Taking that much acetaminophen will cause his liver to explode and I am not going to lose my license over it.”

Okay, fair enough. So then the question becomes “is this doctor trying to kill my husband?” By this point, I am in no mood. I go home, have the doctor paged again to let him know that the dosage he prescribed was causing issues, and that I couldn’t get anything filled. He said that he would call it in to a 24-hour pharmacy that he was sure would have it. I go pick it up, and we’re back in business. Right? Nope.

The caring local pharmacist had us both freaked out about J’s liver exploding, and as anyone who has been present at any of the blogger gatherings knows, he needs that for processing liquor. So he decided to wait until the next morning to take any of the new pills. Luckily, after screaming and writhing in pain the previous night, the paramedics were there to help administer them.

Saturday, February 10 – The paramedics offer to take him in, but as he is currently rendered immobile by extreme pain and muscle spasms, they acknowledge that this will likely cause more harm before it can actually help. They recommend I call his doctor to see what he can do for him. I have the doctor paged again, as it is 9:30 AM and I do not think it and unreasonable hour or an unreasonable call regarding a patient he is set to operate on in less than 48 hours. After explaining the current situation, he proceeds to say the following:

“I don’t know if he has a low pain threshold, or if he is having emotional problems, but he certainly isn’t handling this very well.”

Why do I suddenly feel like Lou Ferrigno?

I explain to him that it is none of the above, but that issue seems fairly moot to me. As far as I’m concerned, the patient’s pain tolerance or lack thereof is not a gauge for the amount of care said patient deserves. I guess I’m old fashioned that way and believe that doctors should give a flying fuck.

Monday, February 12th – The day is finally here and we arrive at the surgery center at 7:30 AM. J’s appointment is at 8:00, and in keeping with the current trend, surgery gets underway promptly at 11:30.

Interesting note: He is instructed that, prior to surgery he must cover his head with the provided cap. I am sure this is pretty standard for surgical procedures, but in this instance is a shining example of how there is no common sense left in this world. J is a very hairy man. He does not, however, possess any of that hair on his head.

So now we are in the mending phase, which seems to be going pretty well. That is if you don’t count the ongoing problems with the doctor’s office, the fact that they have a 72-hour window policy to fill any prescriptions and the inability of this doctor to write prescriptions for medications that EXIST, everything is going swimmingly.

Thanks for listening.