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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

And, so it begins...medical tests

I just returned from a doctor's visit, a gastroenterologist. He agreed to do ONLY the endoscopy--tube going down my throat without the colonoscopy. He was slightly amused at my reluctance to have the colonoscopy until I figured out what was wrong in mid area. But, when I told him this pain in my side had been there on and off for thirty plus years, his eyebrows went up. As I told him, over the years it hurts worse and for longer, happens more frequently and is now accompanied by extreme nausea that causes me to not want to eat.

He seemed eager to see tests from the rheumatologist (for fibromyalgia) and wanted to see the CT scan results from the urologist. I handed him the first and the second set of test results is being faxed over right now.

Thirty years ago, several times I was told it was just a pulled muscle.

Ten years ago, on my first visit to a doctor, he declared after five minutes that I just needed psychiatric help. I guess you can tell a woman is nuts when she is bent in pain.

Last fall, a snip of a doctor would not listen to anything of my condition (fibromyalgia, last vertebrae sitting on bone, two herniated discs, L5 out of place, and torn meniscus and torn rotator cuff) when he demanded, yes demanded, I walk twenty minutes a day and lose 15 lbs. before I returned in two months.  He became angry because I refused to take high blood pressure medicine. My blood pressure was 198/140...forgot the lower number, actually, but it was also high. I insisted that I had walked too far, gone in the wrong building, was at a new doctor, and hurried so I would not be late. I asked several times for him to take my blood pressure again. He refused like a petulant child.  The nurse took my blood pressure without asking him and it was something like 135/72. I have never gone back.

The gastro nurse took my blood pressure today and said it was "very good." Today, my blood pressure was 135/70?--also declared "excellent."  Yes, for an old, fat woman, it is good.

Tomorrow, I will have an ultrasound of my gall bladder. Then, the down-the-throat test in another week or two, depending when I can get someone to go with me and when the lab can schedule me.

And, so it begins--my quest to finally figure out what is happening and take appropriate steps to "fix" it. I really think my esophagus has narrowed. The CT scan from the urologist showed I had a "very small hiatal hernia."  We will see. This is a very nice doctor. Oh, the urologist was a friend before I first went to him for care in 1982.

I have had some great doctors in the past, not many doctors at all, but some were just plain incompetent, mean, and uninterested in listening. I have used the same urologist for 32 years and ob/gyn for 35 years until he retired and now see his son in the same offices for the last 3 years. I don't go from doctor to doctor, looking for someone to agree with me, but I refuse to accept abuse and disrespect.

About Patsy Cline
Since I have had to carry her to bed for two weeks, she seems less terrified of me when I go out to feed them. I suppose that it was good to hold her close, pet her head and neck and talk sweetly to her as I carried her along. She is actually becoming more like Fancy, seeking me out and talking to me all the time I am out. She following me to the car yesterday. I wonder if she would have jumped in if I had showed her popcorn.

It is 10:30 pm and I never heard from the doctor's office since I went to sleep at 2 pm and took a I will just get up in the morning and call to see when the test is scheduled.

Thelma and Patsy Cline put themselves to bed in their pen tonight instead of on the porch rail.  Yay girls!

My friend says that I am a hypochondriac because I am not actually having a gall bladder attack that is putting me in the ER. I don't want an emergency on my hands. It would be nice to control when if I do need surgery. She has a cadre of specialists that she sees regularly visits.


  1. I am concerned for you and hope they ( the doctors) can get it sorted out. No one can know how you feel except you. I am not so sure a person who calls you a hypochondriac is a friend. That would make me very angry. Anyway, stay calm if you can and take care of yourself. You are in my thoughts. the rat

    1. Rat,
      Thanks. I was very, very angry and more than that, hurt deeply. I tend to move away from people like that in my life.

    2. Sometimes what a physician thinks is hypochondriasis is a simple and uncomplicated less than ideal function without a dire result. However, we were taught in nursing school that just because the patient does not have a diagnosis yet, does not mean that there isn't one. Most of the time people know when something is wrong. They just don;t know what to call it, and how it ought to be treated.

    3. Jane,
      Thank you! When a doctor has told me, "Nothing is wrong", I tell the doctor, "No, that is not correct. You have just not found what is wrong." Sometimes, the doctor sighs and continues until he finds the problem. Sometimes, I am just dismissed to go on my way.

      The doctor who told me "let's watch your thyroid" finally took out half of my thyroid ten days later, finding a one-inch sphere that would become cancerous. She initially told me it was so tiny and probably nothing. I can be assertive. But, why should a person have to insist? I think I may have saved my life.

      I pushed for tests NOW and surgery NOW because my insurance was running out. I was younger then, and wonder if my resolve will hold up to fight for what I need, medically.

  2. If they do the endoscopy and the colonoscopy together, they can use the same tubing, which is good because it saves the environment and doesn't cost as much. The tricky part is being sure they do the endoscopy first, which isn't easy when you're high on drugs (I mean when the patient is high, not the doctor).

    1. Snowbrush,
      Thanks for increasing my anxiety, if only momentarily. LOL For right now, the environment takes a back seat. I hope to be passed out, not just high! It is very early and I almost did not get it.

  3. I think calling someone a hypochondriac is rather unkind. I haven't walked a mile in your shoes. When I worked in a clinic and a patient's blood pressure was high, we always took it a second time. If it was still high, then we'd turn off the lights and ask the person to relax for about 20 minutes. We'd also try using a larger cuff. A doctor who won't take someone's BP a second time is ridiculous.


    1. Janie,
      Thank you so much for telling me how you took blood pressure! Ridiculous! And, for that one word, I am now sure I will never return to that doctor.

      The friend who called me a hypochondriac is the one person I have shared ALL my health issues, fears, or the results from routine exams. She has more money than God, yet takes all in the system meant for those with few resources can give her. AND, she looks down on welfare recipients.

    2. The haves don't want the have nots to get what they need, even if the haves don't lose anything because of it. It's pure selfishness.

    3. I should have added that we followed that procedure with blood pressure because some people had to have a certain BP low enough so they could keep their jobs (it was an occupational medicine clinic). If they lost their jobs, then they couldn't get their BP meds. We did everything we could to help people keep their jobs and insurance, unless they were on illegal drugs.

    4. Janie,
      Oh, but she thinks she is paying for my care.

      I understand. I don't have a job I need to keep, but you would think pressing bp meds on a person who does not need bp meds is just not a good medical practice.

      Exbf takes bp meds because he is diabetic and might get high bp. That one I don't understand.

  4. Some people can't help but make rash assumptions based on their personal prejudices. It's too bad and says more about them than it says about you. Thankfully, your new specialist does not sound like one of those people. Good luck with the procedure. I pray it leads to some helpful answers.

    1. Sue,
      I just love him. When I said something he thought was foolish, he just gave a wry smile and a sarcastic response. He was not at all unkind when he said what he did. I laughed at his remark and shrugged my shoulders and agreed with him.

      I make a good impression for a medicaid I have great diction, dress well, am educated. In short, I do not appear as most people who are poor. I present myself well. I cannot imagine how those people who have not had advantages are treated. Of course, if they think doctor is god, they may get along even if he is not helpful.

  5. Hope you get to feeling better. Medical issues can really drag a person down.

    1. Harry,
      That is so true. My friend who said I was a hypochondriac now tells me she has no time to listen to a monologue. Hmmm, do I have one less friend? She keeps saying she wants to know when I am in the hospital for back and knee surgery. Don't think so.

  6. I have a friend, who after being dismissed by a doctor who told her she had stomach flu, found a doctor who listened to her and said "Let's get to the bottom of this.", sat in tears. She had an intestinal blockage and was just hours away from death. I am so happy you are finding doctors who are listening to you. Pain is nature's way of telling us something is wrong. My prayers are with you. They will find the problem, fix it, and you will be amazed at what living without pain feels like!

    1. tana50,
      That is scary. I drove 50 miles to an ER instead of the one 4 miles from me. I drove throwing up with diarrhea and a temperature through the rain on a dark night. I had an inflamed lymph node in mesentery. This ER would have given me something for the diarrhea and throwing up and would have sent me home.

      This pain has been more frequent and more severe lately. I will be glad to be rid of it. Thanks.

  7. This makes me so livid. When a doctor isn't smart enough to know what's wrong, you need a psychiatrist. One Gastro told my wasbund I was a hypochondriac looking for attention. It seems I wanted attention SO BAD that I gave myself crohns disease and ended up in the ER with an emergency Ileostomy surgery. (they don't give those to hypochondriacs)

    And with friends like those, you have all the enemies you need. I can't wait for THEM to experience debilitating pain.

    My doctor is waiting to do the same test to me, but she can't just yet because I have a bleeding problem. In a way, I'm glad for it.

  8. I was livid, too. Oh, don't you know? We hypochondriacs have amazing powers of persuasion with doctors, causing them to do all sorts of drastic and irreversible procedures!

    If other friends think so, they at least keep it to themselves. Funny thing, this friend has end stage renal failure, never walked again after a knee replacement gone bad. I have listened to every word of her traumas. Today, she said she did not have time to listen to a monologue.

    I had my stomach pumped out when I was three, and I still remember it none too fondly.

  9. Recently, I experienced all the symptoms of being anemic. When I was finally able to get in to see someone it cost me a $186 (after discount) to basically be told - how could I be anemic I had color in my face, basically I was anxious and my major complaint was I was fatigued. When I was finally able to get him to listen a little more he said that they didn't do anything for my problem I just had to live with it. He was more interested in talking Body Mass Index - based on height and weight (I think there is more to it then that). He wasn't interested in doing the tests I and a nurse friend wanted - he only wanted to do the tests he wanted and he wanted to review them in six weeks (that marker is still two weeks away).

    The results were back by Friday, I did my own research - guess what I'm anemic. Oh, his nurse also wanted me to fill out a form that would put me in their mental health system. Why is it when someone is sick and knows what they need they are then considered to be in need of mental health services. The guy made me so mad I was almost in tears. The balance of the test results were basically normal and most of them were unnecessary.

    I really need one more blood test to see if the protocol my nurse friend sent me is really working (by the time I saw the jerk I had been following the protocol for about 2 weeks - hemoglobin and hematocrit were still below the low normal range) but I'm not sure I want to go back to that office even for a follow-up blood test.

    I thought those attitudes (poor woman she just doesn't understand her own body) went out in the 70's when women stood up for themselves and said those attitudes were not appropriate and needed to change. By the way I hadn't seen a doctor for myself in probably 20 years - why bother going back with these attitudes? (I do however, see my dentist and my eye care specialist on a regular basis)

    Linda - keep fighting for your health - no one knows better than you how you are feeling.


    1. Sarah,
      I have been dealing with that outdated attitude with some doctors, not all, for years. I know the feeling of being close to tears. It would be so much better if all us women just cried and were declared mentally ill. Doctors could medicate us and ignore the real problems.

      It is sad that when I read the stories/novels about women in the 19th century written by women and about women, I recognize what they are going through. With some doctors nothing has changed except their lip service.

      Thanks for the encouragement. I do believe this doctor will find whatever is happening to my body. He told me an ultrasound will find gall stones better than other tests I have had. He listens.

      I am interested in the story of your anemia. I was always anemic when I was an infant and young child. I was the brown, little baby who tanned after a 20 minutes walk in the stroller. My brothers and sisters took after my platinum blond mother. They were pale and sickly looking alongside me--so said my mother. She could never understand how this could be.

      Doctors have said with hesitancy that my blood test/levels were okay. They are looking at a tanned brunette who shows no outward signs of illness. Can you tell me more? Just look at the top of the page under the blog title and you will see my email.

      Oh, here it is;

      Thanks for sharing. I really need all the "backup" I can


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