Okay, I've been meaning to do this for awhile, but have been too weak to do a long post. I am now well enough, and although a lot of you already know this story, I feel like telling it so that the everyone can learn from my experience. I won't, however, go into all the gory details. I'll just do the cliff notes version.
I got really sick around the beginning of February. This in itself is not unusual. I do believe the vast majority of folks came down with that really nasty respiratory flu that burned through the ranks this winter. I was subject to that as well, and the only difference with me is that I had already had it once and I also became infected with strep throat at the same time. If you've been reading my blogs, this is not new to anyone. I was severely ill for about two weeks. After that, my symptoms went away for awhile, but I didn't recover. I continued to be debilitating fatigued and severely weak for months afterward. I also became infected with anything I came into contact with over those months. I had that horrible flu I counted 3 or 4 times. I got stomach flu no less than three times, and a host of colds. And always, the fatigue and weakness lingered and never ever went away. As time passed, I began to add to those two overarching symptoms. I became short of breath for no reason. I began to have tingling in my extremities for no reason. I was getting light headed and dizzy, again for no reason that I could see. You are probably asking yourself at this point why I hadn't gone to see a doctor. The answer is that I was seeing a doctor almost this entire time, by the name of George Gilbert, and a prompt care physician that I don't know the name of. (I will not credit Gilbert with the respectful title of "Doctor" at this point.) What was my diagnosis? I'll tell you: depression. That's right people. Depression nowadays apparently comes with raging fevers, swollen glands and lymph nodes, sore swollen throats, and flu-like symptoms. At one point, since I have a deadly blood disease that runs in our family, I insisted on having some blood work done to rule this out. I had to not just insist on it, but practically order the doctor to do it. After we had waited for these results for a week, I finally gave in to the urging of my husband and called the office. They had had the results for that whole time, and the doctor had not even looked at them yet, but the nurse told me that everything looked fine. This was the last straw. I had a doctor that would not listen to me, would not even look at blood work he had in his possession, and his staff was interpreting it. We severed our ties, and went looking for greener pastures. We found a new doctor, Dr. Robert Lizer, who's staff not only got us in in a week for a new patient exam, but were kind and compassionate. Dr. Lizer made eye contact and listened, took reams of notes, and pronounced that I didn't look depressed to him, I looked sick. (aside, John came with me to this one. He wasn't about to let another doctor blow me off, and at this point I was incapable of driving or even walking any distance without support) He ordered twelve different blood test, and insisted on having the results to the one we had already had done. Quite a difference from the way I had been treated thus far. He put me on antibiotics right away, and kept me on them for almost a month. He told me in my follow-up visit 10 days later that he had the diagnosis the minute he had the copy of the results from the work I had insisted on. I had Rheumatic Fever, and had been a breath away from heart failure when I came to his office. If I had stayed with Gilbert, I would have died, and the really rum point is that he had the diagnosis in his hands, and did nothing. As it is, I have no permanent damage to my heart (for those of you who don't know what R. Fever is, it is a secondary strep infection that affects your heart, and is extremely deadly, and extremely hard to get. I just happen to be lucky that way) because priesthood blessings work. I will, however, have to make some permanent changes in my life. I have to get my heart as strong as I can get it, which means getting in shape. If I don't, every cold I get will be deadly. Even if I do get in great shape (which I plan on, no worries), I will still have to see the doctor every time I get a cold because there is now a permanent chink in my immune system armour.
The reason I'm telling this recent life experience is because since moving to Peoria IL, we have had many such experiences. Not as life threatening as this last one, but close. With Robert Adams, I put my five week old son in the hospital and was on the point of committing myself to an asylum for no reason beyond his incompetence. With Kindred, I had kidney stones while pregnant, along with all the other hosts of complications I have with pregnancies, and was ignored. Each of these times, we learned a little faster an important moral. I would like to pass that on:
If you don't feel that your doctor is doing his/her very best for you, you are probably right.
If you come to the conclusion that you are right, drop them like a hot potato and find someone new, and better. Your sanity, health and life could depend on it.
If you find, after you have switched to a better doctor, that you were indeed correct about the old doctor, be verbal about it. Tell people, tell that doctor's board of superiors, tell any hospitals they are affiliated with. Do all that you can to get the message to as many people as you can to save them from your experiences and put that doctor out of business. I do believe this does much more damage than a law suit ever could.
But above all, the message I want to send today is to get out. You do not have to put up with incompetence and idiocy. Anyone, everyone is worth more than that.
The Almighty Liz