Me, this time. I've been having problems with a depression medication that, combined with a natural sleep aid, because said medication was giving me insomnia, apparently made me very ill, including anxiety attacks, racing heart, high blood pressure, muscle aches and cramps, severe joint pain, etc. I stopped the meds, then saw my GP's PA because I was still so miserable as the symptoms were wearing off and my psychiatrist is out of the country enjoying the holidays. She kindly gave me a prescription for a few days of Valium, then called me a bit later suggesting I go to the ER. I didn't go until the next day, after calling the PA, who notified the ER. And the usual bumfuckery occurred.
The doctor ignores my medical history, immediately assuming that my age has caused me to enter menopause and develop hypertension overnight. Yeah, I don't think so. She doesn't appreciate being disagreed with. Female doctors often don't handle disagreement from female patients well. They tend to react like male surgeons, which is badly.
I had a male nurse, who, surprise, was straight, married with children. We seemed to hit it off, and he chatted a bit while we waited for all the blood work and such to come back. He had at one time played drums, doing studio work in LA. Cool. Both hubs have played the drums, although I didn't know it before I married them. I might have rethought the whole marriage thing if I had known, but water under the bridge. He congratulates me on planning ahead by bringing a book to read. I had also brought in a bottle of drinking water, because getting anything at this hospital seems to require at least three levels of approval. He says he's pretty straightforward and I seem that way. I agree with him and start the freezing my ass off in a hospital gown and thin blanket for three hours phase. Blood is drawn and sent off. Unfortunately, the recurring headaches have recurred and the pain is so bad that I'm nauseated and there's no way I can read, so I'm lying there thinking about what a complete waste of time this is and I really wish I were home.
Then things started going sideways. The nurse comes back in and tells me about his great kids and how he made sure they understood he was in charge when they were still small by pulling over and spanking them both by the side of the road when they started kicking the seats. I do a mental, "Whoa," and think about what is lying about that I can brain him with if he decides that I need to be shown who's in control. (I always develop personal exit strategies for buildings and situations. I have walked out of hospitals when doctors have tried to coerce me into doing things their way. Security at most hospitals is pretty lame. If you want info on the easiest way to do it, just let me know.)
I mention that the doctor had said I was to have an EKG, but no one has shown up. He tells me he will check on it. I have learned that, "I will check on it," actually means, "I'm going to go take a break and if I happen to bump into the doctor I might remember to mention your comment, but don't hold your breath." Which is exactly what happened. I could hear the staff at the desk outside my room keep saying that my nurse was on break whenever anyone asked about him. The doctor came in a bit later, a bit nicer, as none of the tests are indicating hypertension or menopause, but she can't admit she was wrong, so we play the game. She asks about the EKG, I tell her no one has shown, and about five minutes after she leaves (I hear her ask about my nurse and be told that he is on break) another nurse shows up with the EKG.
Doctor reappears, we play the game, she is going to discharge me with recommendations, which I will mostly ignore because they're just face saving crap for her ego. She says she will have copies made of the test results to take with me, all of which were negative, so another waste of a good tree. I start changing back into my clothes. The nurse comes in to discharge the patient in the next bed, separated from me only by a curtain. I've heard the woman while I've been waiting. She's made comments about God's will and prayer and her pastor several times, so I assume she's some version of evangelical Christian. The nurse goes over her discharge papers. It's semi-good news that she did not have a heart attack, but the pain was related to stomach issues that she already is being treated for. Good. She's not going to die on Christmas Eve. He goes through the discharge papers with her, then suddenly brings up her "spirituality." I choke slightly. Then I tell myself that he's being nice, he knows she's Christian and is trying to help her cope with her issues.
About 20 minutes later, he appears in my section with the discharge papers. We're sitting down and he gives me the papers to review and sign and runs through the recommendations. Then he starts asking about my depression and coping methods and such. I tell him that I have chronic depression, I've done therapy and there are limits. He keeps pushing, I give him the look. He stops. (I am inordinately proud of "the look." I've worked hard to develop it, and it works amazingly.) Then he brings up my spirituality. Well, damn. I now understand fully why this guy, at a time when the one growth industry seems to be medical care, is working through temp agencies and can't get a full-time job. His disappearances on breaks, his insistence on discussing medical matters that are not his purview, and his bringing up religion are a trifecta that no halfway sane HR department is going to risk. I don't even bother with the look. I say, "Can I just get my discharge papers?" He hands them over, forgetting to give me the useless test results and I am out of that room before he can open his mouth again. The staff at the desk look at me with pity as I roll my eyes back toward the room.
Well, if you've gotten this far, I'm sure you're thinking, "What the heck does this have to do with her very cool kid?" Not a lot directly, but I always worry for him in these kinds of situations. He can have trouble communicating issues plainly, and I prefer to be with him when dealing with doctors and hospitals. What if he had been the one in the bed with a nurse asking about his mental health and spirituality? I'll walk out; I know I have the right to do that and I exercise that right. Most people don't, bowing to their social training to accept what is told to them by authority figures. I keep working with my children to understand that they have rights. If they are having problems with a teacher or anyone in authority and can't handle it, they need to tell me so that I can help them.
I have to talk to him about what happened to me this time. He needs to know what to do when things like this happen, especially since he's still a minor. And that's just one more lesson on dealing with the real world.