Thursday, May 07, 2009
Welcome to the VA
Welcome to the VA.
They always say that.
What started as a routine appointment for a hospital stay follow up turned into a nightmare of sorts.
My hubby came down with 'common cold' type symptoms the day before his appointment. So we decided to keep the regular appointment and see the new provider that had been assigned to him. [We came prepared to ask more questions and get more answers regarding COPD]
Out of respect for others, hubby used a mask so that his cough wouldn't be spread.
Doctor: When did this come on?
Hubby: In the past 24 hours. I cancelled the Pulmonary Lung Function Test, I didn't think I could've done it today.
Doctor: What are your symptoms?
Hubby: I feel like crap, I ache all over, sore nasal passages, sore throat, cough...I just feel like royal crap.
Doctor: Are you still on your antibiotics?
We look at her quizzically.
Me: He was here in March for the same thing.
Doctor: [she glances at the computer monitor and then back at us] Tell me, so I don't have to look for it in the notes.
[EXCUSE ME? But I oblige]
Me: Doc, he was admitted on March 20th with the diagnosis of a COPD Exacerbation. He was released on March 23rd with a 7 day supply of antibiotics and prednisone to be weaned off. He has been feeling excellent until 24 hours ago.
No~he isn't on antibiotics now.
We are sent to Xray.
When we come back, I am handed a mask packet. I stuff it in my pocket.
Doctor: Well your lungs are clear. But you have classic signs of the flu so I'm going to nasal swabs. You can pick up your Moxifloxacin at the pharmacy. I'm sending you to the ER as you may be a candidate for Tamiflu.
[I'm thinking ... this is a cold like last time, but okay]
We Wait in the ER waiting room for one hour. One hour passes very slowly. I'm tired of ER waiting rooms.
Suddenly we are whisked into an ER treatment room.
One more wait of 40 minutes. I watch the clock.
A doctor pops in and says to hubby.
Doctor: Well sir what brings you here today?
Hubby: Did you get the message from Dr. McMurray? Did you read her notes?
[by now we are getting very tired, the appt has drawn out to nearly 3 hours]
Doctor: Sure I did, but I want to hear it from you.
Hubby tells him, and answers the questions.
The doctor leaves.
I watch the clock. 30 minutes crawl by. I begin to wonder if I push the button that says 'code blue' if I'll get a reaction. I have an urge to try and play with the Dell computer on the desk. I wonder if I can turn on the IV machine and make it squeal.
Hubby tells me to sit still...and he is miserable.
I am peeved.
The doctor re-enters momentarily and then excuses himself to 'check something' out.
[I think he decided to read Dr. McMurray's notes? And then I ask myself: Why won't any of these people read medical histories?]
20 minutes tick by. I watch the second hand, tick, tick, tick.
A nurse walks in.
She has on gloves a face mask, eye protection and a disposable gown.
[I'd heard someone in the hall talk about 'isolation'...hmmmmm]
She picks up the previous nasal swabs and says they were done incorrectly. She re-swabs hubby and I can see by his face how uncomfortable it is.
Nurse: We'll send this off. You will get a phone call one way or the other. I advise the two of you...[she waves in my direction]...not to be, uh...intimate for a while. No kissing, hugging, sharing of utensils. Don't go out in public, stay at home.
Your Tamiflu will be waiting with your antiobiotics at the pharmacy.
We are sent off.
No questions got answered about COPD or his health. I'm fuming a bit of course and irritated, tired cranky, and very hungry.
And it is Rush Hour in Madison.
Welcome to the VA.