[Tripping On…] Early Birthday Present?

I went into my appointments with the musculoskeletal doctor and PCP expecting disappointment, which is the baseline for my expectations the American Healthcare System. It is easier to bounce back from being pessimistically disappointed than having my optimism torn further asunder. I can keep my cynic virtues, observe the events as they happen, and react. But today I was so surprised that it seemed like I was getting better – until I moved around; still painful.

The musculoskeletal doctor’s physical examination pointed me in an interesting direction.

It’s unfortunate that more doctors don’t do physicals anymore. This doctor is colleagues with the Overlake Medical musculoskeletal doctor that pulled on my foot, causing pain, and despite also practicing management as a career, couldn’t understand the notion that hurting patients through non-consented touching of a patient, and then not apologizing, isn’t a great way to go. Maybe the foot-pulling doctor is why other doctors don’t do physical examinations in such a way to verify where a patient’s pain points are, or, maybe, the doctors who haven’t done so for me thought I was full of shit. Either way, we did the physical examination and my pain seems to not be from the tailbone so much anymore as the area above that, between the low back[L5] and the tailbone area. This area, the sacrum, is the part of the back that doesn’t have muscle padding on either side, and this was the area that hurt the most.

The resolution for this seems to be nothing other than injections with some possible relief?

This is where Overlake’s doctors have reached their limits of what they know about treating my condition, and this is where UW Medicine has picked up the responsibility of not disappointing me. Despite having an Emergency Department that caused probably the most traumatic events of my life, UW Medicine has surprised me with how decent they’ve treated me. I would almost say that they’re spoiling me. I would almost say that if more healthcare facilities treated me the way that I was treated today, then, well, the American Healthcare System would still be brutal but at least there would be potential for things to work out. Chief among them was a surprise call from someone who, weeks ago, told me without the least amount of empathy that my UW Medicine pain management referral had been denied, and even if I had a referral sent along, the earliest I could be seen was September. What was I to do in the meantime?, I asked. Suffer, wasn’t quite the response, but the response was to go back to the same Emergency Department that had brutalized me so much to leave me screaming for four hours until my body became paralyzed for two full days.

Those are two days of my life I will not get back.

I have yet to receive an apology from UW Medicine about this after I sent them an email and CC’d my insurance company Molina about the events that transpired while I was their patient. Every week now, I think I will add more information or ask them new questions. I will ask them if they think that withholding food from paralyzed patients is a good example of excellent patient care one week. I will ask them if making patient scream out in pain for hours is a human example of patient care. I will do this because if I don’t, I will never receive an apology for these actions inflicted on me. The doctors that oversaw this, the nurses that didn’t prevent this, and everyone else at UW Medicine that allowed this all to happen to me will have “got away with it,” and could – hypothetically, because of how easy it was for them to do so – inflict this same psychic damage onto other patients, including you, if you decided to go to UW Medicine.

UW Medicine is capable of doing good, despite this aforementioned contrary evidence.

Closing the lid on that trauma, that non-empathetic scheduler called me up today, told me there was an opening tomorrow, and said that he would call me back. Maybe this is a convenient way of allowing him the behavior of terminating so many people’s hopes and dreams for pain management through these occasional instances where someone’s pain is outweighed by another responsibility, causing the pain patient to cancel, opening up a rare slot that can be given to these victims of months-long wait times to see doctors that could possibly give disappointing news. Tomorrow will be the true test. If this pain doctor is able to figure out a short-term and long-term pain management route, then, maybe I could return to work sooner rather than later? What if we figure out something so efficiently that I can return to work in the next few months rather than the next few years as the PCPs over at the Overlake Issaquah clinic were content with planning for, because they were trying so hard to figure out as many ways as possible to help me… after helping themselves to delaying my patient care, hearing me say the same thing for weeks and months, all while visibly seeing my declining health, and deciding to keep up that charade.

I hold no optimism for any doctor prior to the appointment anymore.

I have appointments with various other doctors, and this was the ARNP’s biggest contribution to my healthcare – sending along referrals and actually having them stick. There were no extensive arguments about referrals, like I had with Healthpoint’s referral coordinator or Overlake Issaquah’s teams, just… me getting referred along. I would imagine this is how it should be, but maybe if I hadn’t experienced healthcare that didn’t put the patient first, or even fifth, I wouldn’t have appreciated being acknowledged as a human being quite so much. I think most people take that for granted.

I will continue to advocate for my right to be a human being in the eyes of all these doctors, however.

Quotes: None
Sources: My personal hell…?
Inspirations: Summarizing my day and it turns out there’s a lot of trauma still going on. Many more organizations must apologize for the actions their employees did against me before I could have a truly great birthday on August 06.
Related: Sober Living essays and Tripping On [The American Healthcare System] chapters.
Picture: Template
Written On: 2022 June 27 [10:32pm to 10:57pm]
Last Edited: 2022 June 27 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]


My big goal is writing. My most important goal is writing "The Story." All other goals should work toward that central goal. My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame some fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. I'm not better than you and you're not better than me. Let's strive to be better every day.