Friday and My Urgent Care Clinic Experience
I know my body well. In fact, I know it better than most doctors and medical professionals I have visited in many years.
That is not to say that I know it all; nor am I unappreciative of those in the medical community whose goal it is to provide wellness and health care. They have gone through much more education than I have, and many of them are rather intelligent.
However, I wish that there were more who would listen and hear more. I am not talking with their ears, but with their beings.
Friday, I went to the Urgent Care Clinic at the Naval Hospital. I knew I had cellulitis. I knew what antibiotic would be needed to take care of it. I have had this situation twice before and can "feel" it, as it starts to come on and take over my legs. I knew the likelihood of what triggered it, and I had been fighting it for several days, doing what I knew I could--elevating the legs, wearing compression socks, etc.--as I did not want to go to a care clinic in Texas, while trying to work.
Because I had been in an airplane the day before, the doctor insisted on ruling out blood clots. I had already been in the room waiting for her to see me for over an hour, after I had been triaged. Then, when she dismissed my ideas, insisting on the ultrasound of both my legs, and letting me know that I was "prone to clots based on the cancer," I was at the mercy of jumping through the hoops if I wanted to get the antibiotics, should there be no clot.
I was right. There were no blood clots. I have cellulitis. I am now on my second day of antibiotics and my legs are clearing up.
But what did happen was my blood pressure went from 142/82 upon check-in to 198/108 two hours later, because I was upset. I refused to allow them to transport me via wheelchair to the radiology department, or to retake all my vitals at 3:30 p.m. after I had been cleared of having any clots. This is when I dig in my heels, and become a horrible patient.
I also had a talk with the doctor about truly listening to people. I apologized to her for being so angry and explained the reasons my blood pressure when so sky-high, relating my experiences all my life with military doctors dismissing me, my symptoms, and the last issue I had with the surgeon at the Army hospital, who had my insurance referral rescinded so I would not be able to go to have surgery at the University of Washington, taking the surgery out of his hands, after his poorly-executed decisions.
I think she actually did listen to me at the end of the appointment; I hope she thinks about some of the things I said. Though I know she was only trying to be on the safe side, there will be times when she may want to step-back for a moment and truly hear what her patients may say. I am sure that our conversation is one she will remember for a long time.
Once I arrived at the pharmacy, I had to go through the 20-minute initial waiting game to be seen. As I got through it, the pharmacy technician put a push to get the prescription filled quickly, and it was done in about 5 minutes.
I had a 3:45 p.m. appointment scheduled with my oncologist's office for my monthly check-in and Octreotide shot, so I thought that going in at 10:30 a.m. to urgent care would have been enough time. As it turned out, I did not leave the Naval Hospital pharmacy until 4:01, and did not arrive for my afternoon appointment until 4:30.
Thankfully, I was allowed to see my nurse practitioner and get my monthly shot. Ten minutes later, and I would have had to put it off another several days, which can cause some symptomatic issues for me.
I do not have a primary care physician any longer, though I did through the military system for many years. It is because I got tired of them not listening, and sometimes blaming me for my "issues," which years later have been attributed to having this cancer, likely for nearly four decades of my life. Questioning them over the years to try to understand, often resulted in "attitude" for doing so.
Honestly, I trust few medical professionals and am quite a strong self-advocate, only going to a clinic or emergency room if absolutely necessary for me to do so. But there are times that I have to go, and I wish that there were more who did not feel it necessary to exercise their new-found control, simply because they carry the title of "Doctor."
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Copyright © 2015 Coral Levang
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