Wednesday, June 22, 2011

What ever happened to HIPPA?

A couple days ago I started experiencing heart palpitations and tingliness in my arms and legs and it kept getting worse to the point I wrote a goodbye letter to my children because I was certain I was going to die.

On Monday morning I thought the end was near and I didn't want to spend my last moments at my cramped desk area mostly because I was afraid that if I did die at work I would soil myself because I heard that happens when you die, and it's bad enough being known eternally as the chick who kicked the bucket at her desk and there was no way I wanted to add and she crapped her pants so I called the doctor and made an appointment for 2:00pm.

But then the doctor turned out to be a hater and cancelled my appointment because I'm technically a new patient because I don't have a primary care physician picked out at their 200 doctors clinic. I used to. But that doctor left. Probably because they suck. Anyway, since I have a blank where my primary physician is supposed to be listed they told me they couldn't see me at the 2:00 open spot. Then I pick this doctor to be my primary care physician! "That would be great! We have availability this Friday afternoon." But what about today? I know you have an open spot today at two! "Oh, that slot is for patient emergencies." Like me! I have an emergency! "But we realize that your insurance with us will cover absolutely everything for your regular appointment; however, if you are required to go to the Emergency Room located in the same damn building you would have had you regular appointment in, then you have a $60 co-pay and we all know sixty is more than zero, right?"

Okay, so she didn't say that... but it felt like she wanted to.

So, I went to the Emergency Room.

And it was filled to the top with crazy people. Some guy kept complaining because his kid needed to go to work by 4:00 and so someone should see about his wrist to see if it's broken, because if it is broken then the kid should just call in for work and if it wasn't then they could leave and the kid could get to work. There was an elderly woman who kept asking everyone if they were next. Are you next? Are you before me or after me? He was here before me. Is he next? Her elderly husband was busy watching the waiting room TV, repeating every word he heard, just like a parrot. But with less wing flutter. Then there was some girl, regardless of the  in a heavy hooded sweatshirt, thick pajama pants and a purse full of Dr. Pepper who kept muttering to herself. Meanwhile, I'm pretty sure the entire room is about to witness my heart exploding from my chest and it's gonna be messy. I kind of felt bad for the old lady in her white pants.

All I wanted was to be saved. And to be away from all these loud, crazy people.

One by one they were all called in. The waiting room cleared out and I felt like I could focus on my breathing in private.

Then they called me back.

And because they hate me they put me in a "shared" exam room. A woman lay on the other side of the flimsy, drawn curtain moaning. Next to her sat Dr. Pepper Mutterer.

Avoiding eye contact I moved to my side of the curtain and hopped on my bed, ready to lay my head down.

Suddenly the curtain flew open: "Are you here all by yourself?"  Uh... yeah.... I closed my eyes.

And thus began a lively one-sided conversation between Andrea, the bed moaner, Kathryn (with a "y" - not "ine") the Dr. Pepper Mutter and myself.

See, Andrea has been on disability for most of her life (mental disabilities) although she does have health problems. She had a complete hysterectomy when she was 18 and has two siblings and 5 nieces and nephews (the oldest being 13, the youngest being 1). She also has a hernia which is the size of a softball. She like Fruity Pebbles and Nerds candy. Kathryn is a recovering alcohol and drug addict, has a 4-year old named Addison and was in a coma for about a month. (I even got to see the tracheotomy scar.) She has a husband who is now 24 and just got out of jail but he's trying to get his life in order but no one will hire him because of his criminal record. He's six years younger than she is and they've been together for forever and contrary to what people say she did too wait until he turned 18 before they had sex.

No amount of closing my eyes, ignoring, telling them I didn't feel good and wanted to rest would convince them to cease talking. Every time a nurse would come in to check on the Bed Moaner she would close the curtain. As soon as the nurse walked out they'd open the curtain back up again. It made fearing death for a week until a Friday afternoon appointment seem not so bad after all.

Thankfully, I was saved by the doctor who closed the curtain divider and diagnosed me with Allergy Medication Overdose. He adjusted my med levels, and told me that in about 24 hours I'd feel more like myself. And, since he was there I also pointed out a dry patch rash thing I had on my arm. He suggested staying away from perfumed soap.... and from the other side of the curtain we hear, "Phisoderm! She should try Phisoderm!"

7 comments:

Muddy Road said...

I hope that you're going to keep in touch with your new friends. Perhaps through Facebook. It's not every day that you find people that open and willing to share with someone they just met.

I wonder if their familiarity with Phisoderm has anything to do with it being an OTC treatment for scabies.

Phoenix Rising said...

BAHHHAAA!!! Ew. You said scabies. I forgot to mention they were currently without a vehicle. The distributer went out on their Honda. They had no idea how they were going to get home (they had called an ambulance for the ride in) ... maybe they were just going to have to walk all the way home... man, they just don't know how they were going to get home... if only they knew someone... Thankfully, I was released WAY before them and was able to sprint to my car and drive quickly away!

Tina, said...

I love going places where crazy people are!

Yeah, doctor's offices have the worst customer service. I feel like shooting myself in the foot everytime I have to deal with my doctor's office's front desk people.

ficoma

Becca said...

Awesome look at a cross section of society. I like to be reminded how normal I am periodically. Glad you are healthy.

lunchat1130 said...

oh lordy. are you sure you don't live in baltimore? i'm sure i saw the sweatpants/hoody/dr. pepper girl hookin on the corner around here somewhere... (p.s. that entire thing *so* would have happened to me) (p.p.s. allergy medication overdose??)

Brenna said...

Your story reminds me of the shared NICU my sister's 3rd baby was in for a week with a thin-curtain, heroin-addict neighbor who, though not talking to my sister, would not shut up about her addiction, her boyfriend, her baby's dad, her father, her baby. My poor sister was already so stressed out with a kid in the NICU and then had to bunk with the Maine version of your Dr. Pepper girl.

HeatherB said...

When Z and I were in the car accident a few months back - we actually had 3 separate people approach our stretcher (that was located in the Hallway - thank you very much - even though we had been brought in by ambulance)to ask us for cab fare or gas money.

It was an interesting night. Aside from the co-pay I also went home about 30 bucks cheaper. Hubs swears that I have a tattoo on my forehead that only crazy people can see.