Tuesday, October 07, 2008

A trip to the doctor

I'm sad that I'm back in the cycle of trying to figure out what's wrong with me. Just sticking to the physical....not even touching on the rest of it. :P

Today I went to the Gastroenterologist. The build up to here is (quick run-down):

4/30 - went to my General Practitioner because my throat had been hurting for a few months. Hurts to swallow. Can't sing. Can't talk (that's a killer!) or at least limited capacity. Indication was "Acid Reflux". He sent me to an ENT.
5/1 - went to ENT. He ran optical scope down my throat for a look-see. He diagnosed "Acid Reflux" and unrelated "severely deviated septum" (because apparently only one nostril was open for the scope). Since he's an ENT, he volunteered to correct my septum. I started taking Zegerid for the acid reflux, and scheduled the surgery to correct my septum.
5/16 - Septoplasty. I don't regret the Septoplasty because I quit being a mouth-breather after the surgery. I had been waking up in the middle of the night with a screaming sore throat. Now, I breathe through my nose again.
9/18 - my last follow-up with ENT. OK, great...but my throat still hurts.
9/24 - barium swallow at Radiology.
9/26 - diagnosis "Hiatal Hernia".
10/7 - meet with GI guy (aka Gastroenterologist). Afterwards, I ask to see my folder. I discover ENT reported that I was complaining of heartburn???? and that the radiology report was ~inconclusive. I have had zero heartburn (and have said so repeatedly). 6 months after going to the doctor, I'm no closer to understanding why my throat hurts. all. of. the. time.

Today's visit to the GI office was a reminder of all painful aspects of dealing with the medical community. Because I'd been to a different arm of the practice 6 YEARS AGO!!! they had old info on file. Of course I'd given them all of my latest info when I made the new appointment... new address, new insurance, etc. But today, they told my insurance had been terminated (yes, a few years ago my employer quit offering the other company and so I had to change) and the office had NOT gotten the report from the ENT (had I realized the report was only going to be the "I didn't listen to my patient" report from my last visit I wouldn't have bothered).

My loving husband and I spent almost 2 hours at the GI office, with a total of ~5 minutes with the GI physician. We have an endoscopy scheduled for 10/21 ... wait let me tell you that story.

We were sent to schedule the endoscopy and we were asked which facility, A or B? A, we said, it's more convenient. OK, next available appointment is 11/26 (Wednesday before Thanksgiving). I commented on the proximity to the holiday and they told me not to worry - I'd have to fast on Wednesday, but should be OK for Thursday. I've heard from other sources my throat might be sore for a day or so after the procedure). I asked about appointments at facility B.... As I mentioned, we have an appointment for 10/21. 2 weeks from today vs. 6 weeks. Silly to think I might want a diagnosis sooner, or even to think my throat might stop hurting a whole month earlier! Why on earth should they even consider this???!!!! Oy-vay! But goodness, they were quick to offer excuses explanations for why they were out of control regarding appointments. "None of the charts are right!" "We have two doctors today!"

It was enough to make a girl think life is better with a chronic sore throat.

Perspective: We have friends with cancer, bone disease, Down's....I have a stupid chronic sore throat. I am sorry to complain and to abuse this forum for a ranting vent. Consider it sympathy in that in the last 8 years I have had 2 biopsies, 3 major surgeries and I'm familiar to the point of contempt for the medical practice. I've had good experiences (my new OB/GYN, my GP) to balance situations like today. I hold out hope that the diagnosis will be something that is easy to correct.

Lesson: We are each responsible for managing our (and our children's) medical course. Keep track of the history, medications, etc. I hate to say it, but - don't trust the doctors to know what's best for you (or your child). Most of the doctors are not listening to what you're saying - they're hearing what is coming through their filter of pre-conceived expectations. Keep it in prayer.

My GP is awesome because he really listens. I was appalled to see the ENT documented "she reported heartburn" when I've repeatedly said "no heartburn". It just shows me he thinks I should be having heartburn.

My prayers go out to everyone who is engaged in the process of medical diagnosis.


1 comment:

dallasdiva said...

Good grief, I didn't even know you went to the doctor the last time. I'm so sorry you are having so much trouble. It's weird though, because I look at, admittedly the few, interactions I've had with doctors, and it has always gone well. . . although I did learn from my time in the emergency room the importance of having someone with you and not going alone. Advocates are good.