Friday, February 13, 2009

I'm an expert

Today was a most incredible day!  All I can say is, "What an experience!"  Let's see, where do I begin?  

Last night I decided I had better review the paper work that was sent to me in the mail from the NUERO-ophthalmologist since I had an appointment with him today at 12:30.  As I began reading, I realized I had not done my homework.  The paperwork stated in bold letters; IT IS THE PATIENTS RESPONSIBILITY TO BRING ALL FILMS (MRI, CT SCANS, ETC.) TO THIS APPOINTMENT.  Oops, I didn't check on this.  I assumed since the neurologist referred me to this NUERO-ophthalmologist that their office took care of this for me.  After all, it was their office that mailed me my appointment without even consulting with me, so wouldn't they have sent my test results over also?  I decided I had better call first thing this morning to make sure.  After checking, I realized I had a big problem.  They had no test results and they wanted the actual films, not just a faxed report.  Since I can't drive myself anywhere, this was the first kink in the plans for today.  Rich was planning to get off work to take me to my appointment at noon.  Now we had to leave at 11:00 to drive 30 min. in the wrong direction to pick up my films before turning around to drive another 30 min to Dallas. We did arrive on time, actually 15 min. early to the Southwestern University Medical facility where my appointment with the NUERO-ophthalmologist was.  He is only one of 4 NUERO-ophthalmologist in the area. Why do I keep capitalizing NUERO?  

Well, because the word NUERO in front of Ophthalmologist means this doctor is better, more experienced, highly educated, and I guess, more special of the specialist than a Neurologist or just a plain ol' Ophthalmologist.  It was stated on the walls of the waiting room and he reminded me of this during my 10 min. with him!  He actually said, "I'm an expert".  I'll tell you more about that later.

So. . . when we arrived, we were greeted with valet parking attendants who wanted to park our car for us for $5 plus a tip.  There was no other options so we did this.  Did I mention we took Micah with us?  Olivia had to work today so we found a friend to watch our other 3 children for us and we took off with Micah in tow.  We entered a beautiful building that looked like a hotel.  A woman greeted us in the lobby and began helping us find our way to our destination.  She was very friendly and rode the elevator with us up to the 6th floor, cooing all the time at our cute little guy.   After we checked in we made our way to the Neuro-ophthalmologist's office.  Like I said, we were a little early for my appointment.  We walked into a waiting room full of people.  Surely all these people aren't waiting for the same doctor.  I had heard there were 2 others at this same location.  Wrong!  They were all waiting to see the same doctor and more people kept coming in!  Oh my, this might take awhile.  Well, little did I know.

After waiting an hour, they called us back and asked me a few questions about my condition.  She had me read some letters on the wall to make sure my vision was good in each eye.  Then we were taken to another waiting room where we ran into all the same patients from the first waiting room.  I would estimate about 50 people were in there.  We asked how long it would take and the assistant assured us it would be quick.  We waiting another 45 minutes!  Micah did so well. He entertained and broke the ice with many of the other waiting patients in the room.  Then they called us back and we met the Neuro-ophthalmologist.  He asked me one question.  "Did this come on all at once?"  As I began to explain, he turned away and began writing a few things.  An nurse came in and needed to ask him something so I cut it short.  He ordered a few routine tests be run on me and left the room.  A nurse came in and began testing me for glasses.  She said they wanted to make me some glasses that will help me not see double while I'm waiting for my eyes to get better.  Sounds good to me.  Then she was directed to numb my eyeballs so that she could do a refraction test?  I'm not sure what that was for but it was terrible.  

Kink #2: I hate eye drops and can't cooperate with people messing with my eyes.  She was so frustrated with me. If getting the numbing drops in wasn't bad enough, then she had a tool she was placing on my eye for a few seconds.  After the burning of the drops subsided, I had to let her come at my eye with a plastic looking tool! This took forever and she even needed the help of another nurse. She couldn't get the reading she was hoping for because I kept closing and squeezing my eyes shut. Rich was in the background holding Micah and asking if she needed him to help her open my eye.  She finally got it! I was so relieved.  Next she had to dilate my eyes!  More drops?  Oh, no.  She kept telling me to relax my breathing.  She pried my left eye open and dropped in that cold, burning stuff and then wanted me to calmly sit there and open my right eye for the same procedure while my left eye is still burning and watering like crazy!  I kept saying "Give me a minute" but she had lost all patience with me by this point. She forced my eye open but to her dismay she was out of drops!  This shouldn't be that hard right?  She ripped open another bottle and very frustratedly pried the other eyelid open and practically flushed my eyeball out of my head.  I had dilation drops dribbling down my neck and running down my shirt.  I grabbed a kleenex on the way out as she ushered us out to that waiting room again.  

By this point I had a splitting headache.  We had figured out the routine and knew we would be sitting for another half hour at least.  I nursed Micah to sleep and then we were called back for a visual field test.  This was no big deal but by this time I was ready to be done.  We had been there for over 2 1/2 hours. 

We took our place back in the waiting room after this test.

At this point I began to relive my jury duty days.  You know when you sit for days waiting to see if you are picked for the jury or not with a room full of other people.

After another 30 min. we were called back to see the doctor.  I was so ready to ask him all the questions I had written down.  He looked at my eyes with his little light thingy and said the backs of my eyes look good.  Whatever.  He told me he wanted to do a blood test and make me some glasses that will help.  When I asked what the blood test were for, he responded by saying "to rule out possible causes for this condition." I felt like saying, well I KNOW THAT!  This is when I began firing questions at him since I could tell he didn't want to talk and was ready to check out again.  It went something like this:

Me: "How common is this, I mean, do you see many patients with this condition?"
Doc: " I do this all day long and see all kinds of people.  I probably see 20 or so patients a week with this same problem."  Silence.

Me: " I know everyone is different, but what is the general time it takes to correct itself?"
Doc: " 4-6 months"  Silence.

Me: "The Neurologist I saw said I should switch the patch back and forth to exercise my eyes. ."
Doc: He interrupts and says, " I'm an expert. I'm a NUERO-ophthalmologist and you need glasses. I suggest you listen to me.  I'm an expert. Now I want you to get this blood work done and come back next week. I'm going to help you get better."  

Me: "What are you looking for in the blood work?" 
At this point he was really frustrated with all my questions and began spouting off about 10 different things that, of course, I didn't know anything about. I couldn't even understand him, much less catch what he was saying.  He stood up and so we did too.  My consult with him was over.

They ushered us to check out and they wanted to schedule an appointment for next week!  For what! was my question.  "To monitor your progress and go over the results of the blood work."  My next question was "how long will this take"  To my astonishment, she said 2-3 hours!  "To talk about my test results!" came blurting out of my mouth.  

The receptionist responded by saying that they will want to dilate your eyes again and check your glasses.  The doctor will always dilate your eyes at every visit and she chuckled!

We then went down a few floors to get this blood work done and walked into a full waiting room!  It was 4:00.  We were told we would get right in but we sat for another 1/2 hour and then walked out.  Who needs it!

I think we'll have the blood work done somewhere else and even have the results sent to our favorite family practitioner.  At this point we were delirious with sarcasm about this whole experience. We paid our $5 for parking (no tip) and got in rush hour traffic to go home.  Micah fell asleep in the car after a very long day.

How can a doctor call that good patient care?  I guess because he's an expert, it's a privilege to wait 4 hours to get his condescending treatment for 10 min. 

The only positive result is that maybe I'll get some glasses to get me by for the next 4-6 months. Oh, by the way, he never asked for the films we busted our behinds to get for him.


Ellie said...

wow. it sounds like you are frustrated with this doctor! i definitely would be too, if i was in your shoes.

kristin said...

You are so faithful to comment on my blog. Thank you! It's nice to know that someone is reading it and checking it so regularly! Yes, frustrated doesn't even begin to define it!

TJ said...

Sounds like a HUGE test of patience to me. I hope you at least get some good glasses out of it, because that's the worst doctor's office experience I've ever heard. I personally would have been VERY tempted to leave, and would have been sitting there carefully weighing the possible benefits that I MIGHT receive against the lousy treatment that I WAS receiving. :)

TJ said...

I see I'm identified as "TJ". It's actually Lisa. TJ is Travis's first & middle initials. It seems like you have to have one of certain types of accounts, like Google, to be able to comment. I had to use Travis's google account.