Friday, March 13, 2009


I was still feeling a bit off on Thursday, and I made the (mistake) of telling Lynda about it. She wanted me to call my doctor and talk to a nurse, describe my symptoms and see if they were concerned.

Now, I really dislike being a stereotypical male in most any circumstances, but I'll admit that here is (at least) one area where I meet the expectation. I don't like doctors all that much. I guess I don't seek them out unless I am in obvious distress. But if symptoms are vague or seem inconsequential, I'll probably just keep my mouth shut and wait.

Now, long time readers of WWYG?! will remember that the last time I shut up and let symptoms lie, I ended up in the hospital for three days after (semi?) emergency abdominal surgery. You can re-read that saga here, here, and here.) But before I went under the knife, I spent half a weekend in pretty severe abdominal stress. (Hey, I thought I was just constipated!)

Well . . . I told Lynda that I was still feeling "not quite right" this afternoon and she quickly reminded me of the story I just told you. She pretty much demanded that I call the doctor's office and talk to a nurse. Perhaps the nurse could identify a severe problem from a minor inconvenience?

And so, with much reluctance, I did call about 4 o'clock Thursday afternoon. I went through the phone tree of keypad choices and finally got through to the receptionist (or nurse?) assigned to my doctor. I tried to begin explaining the start of my symptoms--sort of a fullness of the stomach, but not painful. And before I could get much further, she asked me (again) for my name, in a pretty curt fashion. She then put me on hold and I waited, trying to frame my symptom description and be honest without downplaying anything. I honestly would like to know if there is something wrong that DEMANDS attention . . . but I don't want to be a hypochondriac about it either.

She got back on the line and asked me for my birthday (I guess to verify that I was a patient there) and asked me again for my symptoms. I started to tell her and she kind of cut me off to say that I needed to go the the ER or the urgent care facility.

I was taken aback by this, since I'd barely described that there was anything wrong with me at all. How did SHE know what I needed to do? And it was all done in this condescending voice that made me regret even more the decision to call in the first place. I tried to clarify that I didn't think the ER was necessary . . . I just wanted to describe my feelings and get an opinion. But she cut me off quickly again and said something to the effect that if I'd called earlier (again, with disdain) I could have seen a doctor today, but as it was now . . . it was too late. So I should just go to the hospital. What I'd described (a grand total of three sentences and maybe 34 words?) could be anything and I should just go to the ER or the urgent care to have it resolved.

She was pretty much done with me--and not any too soon, based on her tone of voice--and wasn't I stupid for not dealing with things sooner!?!

Needless to say, I got her message and ended the conversation. She wasn't at all concerned with my well being or trying to listen to my concerns. She only wanted to emphasize that I had made poor decisions, and she wasn't responsible (or liable . . . absolutely not liable) for whatever happened next.

So, I've gone on my merry way. I'm certainly not calling HER office back.

1 comment:

Papa said...

Well, if we'd have asked you "how are you feeling David" at church camp, the stock answer would have been "I feel good! Oh, I feel so good - uh!" Maybe that's what the health (unpresssional) was expecting.