Monday, February 23, 2009

Dear Nurse Miss Kelly

If you aren't in the mood to read a rant, than I suggest you file this post under "to be read at a later date."

I work in healthcare. I'm going to graduate school for public health. I understand the healthcare crisis. I have money taken out of my paycheck every cycle to pay for my health insurance. I don't have complex medical issues. SO WHY CAN'T I GET A DOCTORS APPOINTMENT?!?!?!?!

Last year I found a GREAT internist/gynecologist. I also found a great dermatologist. After much angst I did find a dentist, but after my visit, I decided that I wouldn't be going back there ever again. In December, amongst holiday cards and holiday bills, I get a letter from the dermatologist:

Dear Nurse Miss Kelly,

It is with deep regret that we tell you that as of Jan. 1, 2009 Dr. N will no longer be with the practice. She has decided to relocate to Florida. Please call xxx-xxx-xxxx to book an appointment with the doctor who will be taking over her patient load.

Noted. Due for my annual checkup at the end of January, I called to book an appointment "with the doctor who will be taking over her patient load." What does the secretary tell me? Our conversation went something like this:

"Hi. This is Nurse Miss Kelly. I'm a patient of Dr. N's. I'm aware that she has left the practice, so I was hoping to book an appointment with whoever took over her patient load."

"Oh, well you see, you are going to have to wait. It's a four month wait to be seen as a new patient."

"But I'm not a new patient, I've been to the office before! I have records there. I just need to change doctors."

"Yes. But you are new to the replacement doctor and she will need to do a workup. What do you need an appointment for?"

"Just my annual skin check. I'm sorry, I'm confused. All patients of a doctor who left must now wait to be seen as new patients?"

"Correct. You can be seen in four months. How does April 29th sound?"

I concluded our call with, "Let me check my schedule and I'll call you back."

I was pissed. Not only did that not make any sense, but also this lady was clearly very misinformed. What did I do? First I looked to see the names of the other physicians in the practice to book an appointment with them. Then I called back, spoke with a muffled voice, what if the same wacko picked up, and booked an appointment with another doctor. Yes the wait was two months, but that was much more reasonable.

Crisis averted.

Not even two days later, I get another letter in the mail.

Dear Nurse Miss Kelly:

As of January 1, 2009, Dr. JW will be leaving WCIMA and joining a private practice. She will continue to admit her patients to xx hospital. Dr. PC will join WCIMA in February 2009 and will be responsible for your care. It is expected that she will participate in the same insurance plans that Dr. JW has participated in. Please contact us at xxx-xxx-xxxx to arrange to see our new physician.
If you wish to continue your care with Dr. JW here information is listed below..

Great, I'll call and book an appointment with her new practice. I mean, I never thought that she wouldn't take my insurance, after al it's expensive to be in private practice, so the more patients the merrier, right? WRONG.

Since I fractured my pelvis last summer, my lifestyle has been chaotic, at best. I broke up with a boyfriend, was studying for the GRE's, worked ALL the holidays, had a fight with my best friend, applied to grad school, etc. Through it all, I continue to work nights, sleeping less than four hours a night. My energy levels have bottomed out. It takes all my will power to get out of bed. I have no stamina and my workouts, once my sanity saver and favorite pastime, are awful and I hate the thought of the gym. My runs have dwindled down to nothing. I haven't run in over three weeks.

I've continued to eat my vegetarian, almost vegan diet and be very conscious of what and how much food I put in my body. So I was concerned that I started gaining weight and more and some more. I don't weigh myself, I go by how my clothes fit, but I'd estimate that I've gained 15 pounds since I graduated from college. And that freaks me the hell out!

Recently, I've began having some other symptoms:
-dry scalp and skin
-swelling of the hands and face
-gas and bloating
-thinning hair
-increased exhaustion

When I woke up the other morning and my hands were so swollen I couldn't get my rings off, and I also didn’t fit into any of my pants, I knew I had to go to the doctor. Something isn't right.

I pulled the letter out of my files and dialed the number of my old doctors new private practice. After explaining that I had been a former patient of Dr. JW's, I asked the secretary if she was taking my insurance plan.
"Um, No. I'm sorry. She's not accepting any managed care. But she will gladly see you for a physical. Would you like to come in today?"

"Hmm, well. How much is a physical? I would like to continue my care with her if possible."

"A physical would be $1000. And lab work is about $400."
I cough and scoop my jaw off the floor

"I think I'll pass. Thanks though."

No way in hell was I going to pay $1400 out-of-pocket when I have insurance! Guess I'll call the old office. After being hung up on twice, transferred twice, and then on hold for 15 minutes I finally managed to speak with someone. I told her that I needed to make an appointment with Dr. PC. And then, like something out of a sitcom, she tells me, "Well. Right now we don't have a doctor covering. Dr. PC's joining the practice has been delayed, twice. In the meantime you can be seen by a resident until we get an attending on staff."

A resident? A resident?!?! No way, lady. I get that this is a teaching hospital, and I'm all about higher learning, but this is serious. It's my health we are talking about and I want an attending!

Frustrated beyond belief, I agreed to see a resident at 2:30 that day; nevertheless, I did insist on the name of the resident's attending to have for reference.

Two hours and four vials of blood later, I walked out.

Hopefully they can figure out what's wrong with me.

Hopefully I can figure out what's wrong with our healthcare system.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Four Foods- Salty!

Another week of late posting. Bad me! Check out everyone else's timely posts here.

#1. Potato chips. Flavored? Regular, ridged or stacked?
Baked, anyway they come.

#2. Cheese doodles. Yellow or white? Puffed or crunchy?
Pirate Booty, so white and puffy.

#3. Pretzels? Your favorite shape? Favorite flavor?
Honey Wheat Rods

#4. Share a recipe for salsa or dip.

Chipotle Chickpea Dip

1 large clove garlic, peeled
15 ounces (1 1/2 cups) chickpeas, drained and liquid reserved
2 tbsp. lime juice
1/2-1 tbsp. chopped canned chipotle peppers (adjust according to how spicy you like it)
1 tbsp. chopped red onion
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1/4 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. cumin
salt to taste
more red onion for garnish

With the food processor running, drop in the garlic and process until chopped. Add the chickpeas and lime juice and begin processing. If it's too dry, add 1-2 tablespoons of cooking liquid from chickpeas or, if you're using canned, just use water. Add the remaining ingredients and process until smooth. Adjust salt to taste. Serve garnished with chopped red onions.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


I must admit, I enjoyed a glorious four days/nights off. I did laundry, polished china, cleaned out my closet, filed for financial aid for grad school, caught up on t.v. (oh how I <3 DVR!), and slept. However, yesterday was a blah weather day. Gray skies, cold and windy, with bouts of sleetish (sleetesque?) precipitation and I had a headache. I took a power nap before leaving for work, but my head was still a pounding.

I'm not one to take much medicine, so my "medicine" cabinet is mostly hairproducts, toothpaste, and only two bottles of pills-Tylenol and Tylenol PM. After my powernap, I rushed into the bathroom to grab something to kick my headache before what was sure to be a busy night at work.

I popped open the bottle, grabbed two pills and swallowed them with my water. As I was putting the bottle back in the cabinet I froze... "Tylenol PM". Uh, oh.
Not really sure what to do (I've never been very good at making myself throw up), I sighed, walked out of my apartment, and walked into the first coffee shop I passed on my way to work

6:45 pm......triple shot of espresso
I'm going to tell you all something now, a valuable lesson if you will, espresso does not negate the effects of Tylenol PM.

8:30pm.....cup of coffee from the overpriced starbucks in the hospital lobby

9:30pm.....2 cups of green tea

10:30pm....bottle of diet pepsi (uck, I haven't drank soda in over 2 years!) red bull (man, that stuff is gross) this point in the night, my bladder is ready to explode, my heart is racing, and my eyes are so heavy that I need life preservers to keep them open!

With each hour that passed at work, my eyes got heavier and heavier. Thank God my patient was sick and VERY busy becuse if I had one moment to sit down, I would have been out cold.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Waiting on His Steps

A moment.
A bad accident.
A very tragic injury.
A young life changed forever.
A broken family grasping for hope.

But what can we do for them?
Will faith conquer impending death?
Does modern medicine prevail?
Believe in God?
They do.

To trust.
They must believe.
We will try everything.
It is a long road.
One that many do not survive.

But they sit at bedside vigil.
And sing against the tune
Of the musical alarms.
She will live.
They pray.

We hope.
Our actions suffice
And instincts are wrong
But fear lingers ever present.
Each day brings a new change.

But no more can be done.
We join in their prayer.
Medicine is not God.
We know this.
Trust him.

-KS 2009
I'm not an overly religious person, but lately I've been rocked back into my faith. Life is precious.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Four Foods on Friday 65

Here are this week’s four questions. Check out the FFoF meme for yourself.
Let’s talk about foods that sound funny.

#1. What’s the funniest sounding food or ingredient you know of?
Maybe I'm immature, but I still chuckle when people order the "Pu Pu Platter"

#2. How do you pronounce “cavatelli”?

#3. How do you pronounce “gnocchi”?
(know) (key)

#4. Share a recipe that calls for mozzarella cheese.
Mozzarella Salad
4 ears sweet corn, in the husk
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
Sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
2 ripe avocados, halved, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1/2 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup cooked black beans
10 large fresh basil leaves cut into thin strips
5 cups baby arugula, spinach or romaine lettuce for serving

Preheat oven to 400°F. Soak corn in the sink or a bowl filled with cold water for 10 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare vinaigrette by whisking together oil, vinegar, mustard, garlic, chives, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Once corn has soaked, place on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast for 25 minutes, until kernels are tender. Cool to room temperature, then discard husks and silks. Cut the kernels off the cobs and put them in a large bowl. Add mozzarella, avocados, tomatoes, black beans and basil.

Drizzle the dressing over the salad. Toss gently to combine. Season with salt and pepper and serve over a bed of greens.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

I've worked the last six nights straight.
i had to stay 5 hours late on my last morning becuase a nurse didn't show.
two nights with sickest patient on the unit, four nights as charge nurse
bed census: full! (40 patients)
toal work hours = 82
total sleep hours =24
work to sleep ratio: > 3:1

my eyes are puffy
my ankles are swollen
i have no clean underwear
my refrigerator contents: ketchup, soy sauce, applesauce, soymilk, beer
number of unanswered emails: 35
number of times I've seen my roomate in the last week: 1
my neighbors upon seeing me in the elevator: "Ouh, rough night?"

what I want to do most? sleep
what am I going to do? sleep
why am I still typing this? who knows, goodnight!