Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Okay, here it is: Is it me?

(In which I rant and whine and bitch and moan.)

Can I bitch for a minute here?

So, I went in to my GP's office this morning with a (another) UTI/kidney infection. I was there at the end of the last cycle that went so splendidly. Unfortunately, they were so busy, that I couldn't get a quick appointment to see my regular GP, who, really, is the only doctor-type person I trust at all there.

So, I go in this morning, extremely uncomfortable, in a lot of pain. I used to get utis all the time, but it's been a while and they were never this bad. There's (low) fever, there's even some blood. OTC pain relievers made specifically for this (which I've used before with success) are not really helping at all.

This time, like last time, I settled for the NP, figuring she was better than no one. She's sort of frazzled and, forgive me, dumpy-looking. I know I am often not well put together, but she exudes this sort of, I don't know, ineffective vibe.

Last time I was there, she asked me if I know about microbid, an antibiotic. "Um, macr.obid?" Yeah (did I rant about this already? sorry). Since I'm allergic to sulfa and hasn't helped me in the past, and makes me sick, there's nothing else at this level to give me. She said this like I was purposely making problems for her: "Well, since you're going to be so difficult..." Of course she didn't say that, but it was in her tone. All. Over. the Tone.

So, I go in today, feeling worse than I did a month ago. Knowing what a charmer I was going to meet. On my way out of the bathroom, of the corner of my eye, I see a classmate/friend waiting in an exam room. Way to ensure privacy, keeping the door open like that, huh? I can hear them chat, and my classmate/friend is a great laugher, an all around great person, so the convo is (from what I can tell from the tone) pleasant and congenial.

She comes in and says, well, you have another infection. She opens up the computer (instead of paper charts -- very high tech this practice, ahem) and looks through, and says, sighing, annoyed, unpleasant, "Well, we can't give you, and you're allergic to sulfa, and you can't take au.gmenti.n and you just had macr.obid (mb), so let's try lev.aquin." Honestly, I was just expecting her to up the dose of the mb, and maybe give it to me for 10 or 14 days instead of trying something new. Silly me.

So, knowing that the mb was safe for pregnancy, and not knowing about any others, I said, "There is a very, very, very small chance that I'm pregnant." she looks at me, exasperated, and says, okay, we'll do a dip with your urine. I started to say something about how that wasn't going to show anything, as it didn't yesterday (yes, I took an old, expired digital before taking the otc stuff) and how I have a beta coming up tomorrow...and she looks at me. And I just stopped myself and said, never mind, go ahead, do the dip.

We sat there in silence while she waited for the result, doing stuff on her computer. No chit chat. I wound up texting a fb status. Seriously, I have never been so rude. I just didn't care anymore.

So, when the nurse calls from the hallway, saying "negative," NP continues to write the script and says she's giving me a referral to see a uro.logist. Looks up the guy to see when he'll be in our local hospital, and tells me his name. Umm, I thought he was just for men, I said. (C had one appointment with him way back when we were trying. Ass.hole. And the office was filled with old men. So, silly me, I thought he was just for men. Seeing as I was so clear in my thinking, you know, with all the fever and blood and PAIN.)

"He's a *urol.ogist*" she says, practically rolling her eyes and furrowing her brow, sighing. "If you have someone you'd rather go to..."

No, I don't know anyone, that's fine. Just give me the referral.

I have never had a conversation like this with a medical professional in my life. Well, except the OB saying that he would help me understand the placental pathology report because he "went to medical school and knows all those big words."

So, she must have been reacting to me. My scowl. Low voice. But she never even tried with me.

Am I off-putting? I consider myself to be a pleasant person, nice to strangers, good with the small talk. I like to put people at their ease. But maybe I don't. Maybe I"m just angry and intimidating and off-putting. Asking hard questions. Bringing a complicated case.

My RE has said recently that he didn't know how to read me at first. He thought I didn't like him the first several cycles. Really?? I was just being me, or so I thought. Or maybe me isn't as likable as I thought.

I rationalized that the NP was nice to my friend because she could feel superior to her. See, my friend is black and this is a small, generally racist town. Generally. But then I thought, how ungenerous is that? Of me? Maybe she just likes my friend. Maybe I rub her the wrong way.

At CVS I called the RE's office to make sure that the drugs were okay for where I am in my cycle. I told her that I didn't feel pregnant, my tests all came back negative so far and that I was assuming I wasn't pregnant. She said, "don't assume you aren't, dear. you never know." sigh. so, she kindly looked up the meds I was prescribed and said they'd be okay for now. Beta is tomorrow morning. I still have to call and make the appointment. Awesome.

I ranted at the nurse (who I love) about my interaction with the NP. I said that I had expected a higher dose of the mb for longer, and she said, "yes, that's what I would have thought you'd be prescribed, too." This is a nurse who once, when I apologized for something (when I was pregnant and puking and dehydrated), said to me, "honey, I wish all our patients were like you." This isn't even the nurse who got all teary and excited for us as we began this stuff all over again, saying that I was in such a great place, doing so much better, etc.

Am I off-putting? Do I ask questions in a way that is pushy or inappropriate?

Someone else in my doc program (a student a year or so ahead of me) once said to me that hearing the first words out of my mouth, he knew that I'd be successful in the program. That I was *smart.* Huh? Umm, we are all here because we have something to offer. Someone else told me that, too, in one of my master's program classes.

What the hell? I'm not a smarty-pants. I don't use big words. I try to smile and be considerate. Ask people how they are doing, ask them about themselves. I try. So?

Is it that I talk to medical professionals as if they are my equals instead of, I don't know, someone far above me with all the answers?

Must have been a pretty big scowl on my face this morning.


Anonymous said...

it's this weird part of the country. THEY are the ones who are strange and impossible to read. but of course they have no idea about that. they just think they're nice. and really? i think they're not.

grumpy with you.


Anonymous said...

You have every right to rant away! That NP sounds like a complete bitch, and I am so sorry that you had to deal with her. Her attitude sounds completely unprofessional. I really don't think it's you.

I have had so many bad experiences with doctors and nurses throughout this infertility ordeal, and I am so sick and tired of being treated like a pain in the ass patient. I think they get intimidated when people come in who are well informed and may have a little more complicated issues than a typical patient. That's all I can figure.

I hope that you never have to see that mean, frumpy, stupid lady again! I also hope you start getting some relief from your infection soon.

K said...

If you try to understand a treatment or a thought process, most docs don't take it well. The gyn that did my first endo surgery (when I was still naive) didn't know what to think of me asking about the mechanism of action for a drug he wanted to give me so I could feel more comfortable.

Screw them. It's them, not you.

Sara said...

You know, one thing I can say about my old "college town?" Most of the medical professionals just assumed they had to talk to you like you knew what was going on until you told them you didn't. Much better to start out as an equal and have the opportunity to expose ignorance later than vice versa.

Betty M said...

She's an NP with an attitude issue. She probably wanted a nice easy day when she handed out her usual UTI solution and didn't need to think too much. Sounds like you got in the way of that so instead of stretching herself and finding a patient out of the norm interesting she got grumpy on you.