Getting Hysterical-ectomy

, , | Healthy | December 4, 2017

(I am a lesbian, and I occasionally experience extremely severe symptoms when on my period, for up to 5 days, such as a complete inability to eat without vomiting, severe pain, and on a couple occasions, seizures. After talking it over with my wife, I decide to go in to speak to my gynecologist and ask her about how to go about getting a hysterectomy. The trouble starts right from when I attempt to book an appointment. After getting through hold and basic introductions.)

Me: “I would like to schedule a consultation with [Doctor] about having a hysterectomy.”

Receptionist: “Okay! Just so you know, if you have a hysterectomy, you won’t be able to have children afterwards!”

Me: “I know. That’s fine.”

(The receptionist then schedules the consultation without any more fuss. On the day of the appointment, I arrive with my wife so that we can both talk to the gynecologist.)

Doctor: “I don’t think that this is a bad idea given your symptoms, but you need to understand that if you go through with this you will never, ever be able to have babies. There is no way to undo it if you decide you want kids.”

Me: “I know. That’s fine.”

Doctor: “We could schedule it a year or two out so you could have one last baby before your surgery.”

Me: “I have never had children.”

Doctor: “So you want to wait—”

Me: “Shut up and listen to me. I am gay. The only penises that ever go inside me are made of plastic. I will not be having children either way. I don’t care. We can adopt. [Wife] could have artificial insemination. It doesn’t matter.”

Doctor: “If you say so…”

(My gynecologist continued to flare at me and mention children several times, and even tried to show me pictures of her own kids, while she was recommending surgeons to me and helping me schedule with one of them. With the surgeon, he also listed all the possible side effects, but a simple “I understand” was all it took to convince him, luckily.)

Discharging Hard Truths

, , , | Healthy | December 3, 2017

I was in an ER cubicle patiently waiting for a doctor to be free to treat my migraine, which is considered low-priority in triage. It was a very busy night, but amazingly quiet so my headache wasn’t exacerbated by sounds. And then, HE arrived in an ambulance.

We were able to hear that he had gotten drunk, climbed onto the bar’s roof, and fallen through a skylight.

Though he was at least 40 yards from me, his continual yells were overwhelming, causing me pain, confusion, and dizziness. Because of that, I couldn’t understand most of what he yelled, but did manage to hear him demanding more alcoholic drinks and trying to get out of bed, and that they had to restrain him.

By the time a doctor went to examine him, I was crying from pain and at the end of my ability to cope. The doctor began talking to the drunk: “And what’s going on with you tonight?”

I snapped and yelled, “HE’S DRUNK AND STUPID!”

The entire ward went silent and then we heard giggles. The doctor bustled into my cubicle, followed in minutes by a nurse with a syringe.

Within fifteen minutes of my outburst, I had been medicated and discharged.

Let’s Not Split Hairs About Who It Is For

, , , | Healthy | December 2, 2017

Because of family history, I need a specific medical test every five years. My husband always accompanies me to the pre-test appointments. The doctor is mostly bald and does not like jokes about it.

Please note that my husband has been balding for quite a few years. A few years before this appointment, I had made my husband a baseball hat, which said, “Wish you were hair.” I hadn’t realized he was wearing it.

The doctor took one look at the hat, got a sour face, and said, “Is that meant for me?”

At first we were too startled to say anything. Then my husband removed his hat to show his own balding head. He and I burst out laughing. After his own startled pause, the doctor joined in.

Thyroid Void

, | Healthy | December 1, 2017

(I have hypothyroidism, which has been successfully controlled with medication for several years. Over a couple months, however, I notice that some of my symptoms are returning. I call my doctor, and she says she will do a blood test. I go to her office for the results.)

Doctor: “Okay, so your thyroid level is at 4.9.”

(The maximum is five.)

Me: “Well, no wonder I’ve been feeling sick! That’s very high.”

Doctor: “Oh, no. You’re fine. Five is the top of the normal range. You’re still under that.”

Me: “But a lot of my old symptoms are coming back. I can’t sleep at night, I’m tired during the day, I’m freezing cold all the time—”

Doctor: “You’re under stress. It’s normal.”

Me: “I HAVE GAINED 20 POUNDS IN TWO MONTHS!”

Doctor: “Well, you just need to go on a diet.”

Me: “I exercise five days a week, and I eat my fruits and veggies! I don’t feel like myself. I know my body, and I need a medication change!”

Doctor: “Well, I’m not giving you one, because you’re normal.”

(She tells me to exercise more and gives me a vitamin supplement. I fume, but take it. A couple months later, I move to a different state. I go in for an appointment with my new doctor.)

New Doctor: “I’ve been reviewing your test results from your previous doctor, and I noticed your thyroid is at 4.9. That’s very high. Are you feeling okay at that number?”

Me: “Not at all! I tried to tell her, but she wouldn’t listen. She kept saying it was normal.”

New Doctor: “I’m not surprised. Older guidelines allow it to get that high, but I’ve found that my patients feel better when their thyroid is at three or under. I’m going to order some more blood work.”

(The new blood test shows that my number skyrocketed to a six. My new doctor changes my medication immediately. It takes a year and three medicine changes to get it right. It turned out that my thyroid number had been creeping up for a couple years, and my old doctor had just ignored it. I’m happy to report that I’m much better now!)

It Takes More Than Money To Clear A Bill

, , , | Healthy | December 1, 2017

(I get about a $3,000 bill from a doctor I had seen several months prior. I am confused because I know my insurance had paid it. I call the billing dept. but get no answer and leave a message. I forget about it until the next month when the bill comes again. Once again, I call, leave a message, and forget about it. Then I get a letter threatening to send me to a collection agency. I call my insurance company to double check. They tell me that not only have they paid it, but had a duplicate charge under a different account number that was of course denied. I start calling every other day. The office phones aren’t open until 10 am and they shut them down at 3:30 pm. I either get a recording and leave a message or the receptionist tells me everyone is in a meeting. This goes on for over three weeks. Then I get another threatening letter. I even go to the office in person but am told everyone is in a meeting and no one can talk to me. At this point I have had it. I wait until 10 pm at night. I call and get the voicemail system. When it says press “1” for nurse, I do so and leave a detailed, angry message that NO ONE will return my calls, I am being threatened with being sent to a collection agency for a bill that was paid, and someone better call me back or I am filing fraud charges with the insurance company and talking to a lawyer. I hang up and call back and do it again after pressing a number for a different department. I go through the entire employee directory. I do this for almost two hours and leave dozens of messages on EVERY SINGLE EMPLOYEE’S voicemail. I then call the doctor’s emergency after-hours line and leave the same message there. The next morning, at 10:01, I call the office. The receptionist recognizes my voice.)

Receptionist: “Yes, ma’am, I have the office manager here for you” *transfers me*

Manager: “Good morning, Mrs. [My Name]. I was just about to call you.”

Me: “Yeah, I bet you were.”

Manager: *sheepishly* “Yeah, everyone is talking about the messages you left, especially the doctor.”

Me: “Well, it’s not like you left me much choice.”

(She apologizes and explains. The guy who was handling the bills was creating fake patient accounts and double billing the insurance companies. Most didn’t catch it, paid the doctor, and then the guy stole the money. They fired him but have such a paperwork mess to clean up and had to gather the evidence to convict him that they didn’t have time to call the patients.)

Me: “I understand, but that is no excuse. You are sending me letters threatening to send me to a collection agency.”

Manager: “What?! Crap, the computers are printing those out automatically. We didn’t know any had been mailed out.”

Me: “Yeah, well they are and you better start answering these calls because you have some very peeved off patients who, like me, are calling lawyers.”

(She apologized again and told me that my account had been cleared up. I wonder, though, about all the others who just kept calling and getting nowhere.)

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