Why I dislike/distrust doctors and medical establishments Dreamed 4205 days ago | | 1332 words

After reading about The Wait From Hell and leaving a novel-length comment I thought I should write about my own hospital experiences. If for no other reason, to explain why I severely mistrust doctors and medical facilities.

Here are a couple of instances where I got to spend hellacious amounts of time in hospital waiting rooms for a variety of reasons. It also runs down the major hospitalized issues I’ve encountered. Don’t worry, nothing gory of graphic.

Sand in the Eyes

When I was much younger, 12-14 range, I had two hand fulls of sand thrown in my eyes at a playground by a kid (who I saw years later on his bike and used all the restraint I possessed not to run him over in my car).

My mother first took me to the local volunteer fire department in town. They washed my eyes out the best they could but they still had a lot of sand in them, at least I could open them for brief periods so I could walk semi-unattended.

Then I got to the hospital in Winchester. I waited… and waited and waited… for hours I waited, I want to say it was 3-5 hours but my memory is hazy. Finally, I got to see THE eye specialist (there was only one!) and he flushed my eyes some more and gave me some drops to use to help them tear up and get the rest of the sand out.

I have the feeling he did more as I remember laying on a table and having my eyes looked at and things done, but my memory lacks the clarity to recall what was being done. The doctor was excellent though, once we did finally see him.

Sandpaper Lungs

When I was a freshman at VCU, I awoke one night in horrible pain. It felt like there were needles poking me in my lungs whenever I took a breath. I stumbled around and took some painkillers, hoping it would go away. I got online for an hour or so and probably shared what sounded like a terrifying story with whoever had the misfortune of being up at that late hour.

It was probably whoever I was on with who that convinced me to go seek help. I had already called the 24-hour nurse line and was told to take the painkillers and hang tight til 7am if I could and to come see them first thing. Well, this was around 1am and there was no way I was making it another 6 hours without help.

So I went to find my R.A. who was still awake. I needed a ride, turns out he had no car either. Nor did anyone else (as we were all Freshman, a realization I did not have while my lungs were being jabbed my tiny swordsmen).

We went down to the front desk and the VCU Escort Service (no, not that kind of Escort Service) was backed up a few hours so again, it would nearly be dawn by the time I got help. I wasn’t about to hop a bus in my condition, assuming I could even find one at that hour.

So the front desk ended up calling an ambulance. I don’t know how this solution was reached, or why. But I was in serious distress and was not going to argue. So I got taken in an ambulance down to MCV to the emergency room. They treat you really fast when you arrive my ambulance!

I got in, handed over my VCU Insurance (a golden ticket as I would later find out), filled out a few brief forms and got X-rayed. Turns out nothing was seriously wrong. But I had a condition where the lung walls get inflamed. It can happen for a number of reasons and I’ve forgotten the medical term for it. The explanation I was given was “rubbing sandpaper over your lungs each time you inhale” which is what it felt like.

So they gave an IV to get the inflammation down and come more meds to keep it under control. I felt much much better around dawn when they released me. I called the VCU Escort Service to give me a ride to the pharmacy and then to the dorm to collapse into bed, passing my roommate as he was getting up for class asking me what the hell happened to me last night and I looked like hell.

Sciaticant!

When I was a Senior in college I woke up one morning with a nagging back pain. I thought nothing of it being a reformed soccer player I’ve got bad ankles, knees that periodically decide to give way and random aches and pains. So I went about my life. Then it got worse.

I think I can trace the point where it got really bad to being a stupid brawny man trying to hoist a giant cooler full of meat products we were trying to save from our powerless apartment after a hurricane. I probably messed up my back lifting this massively heavy thing to take it to a roommate’s brother’s apartment which has gas, so we could cook it all so it wouldn’t go bad. So take this story as a warning tale. Don’t Be Stupid Like I Was!

I was originally (mis)diagnosed as Sciatica. So I got pain killers from the medical center and went along my way. Well a month later, things were not better, and again I was told it was just Sciatica and would clear up. More pain killers more pain. At the height of my immense pain I was up to about 2000MG of Ibuprofen ever 4 hours, which is probably a bad thing.

After a couple months of this I was able to convince someone I was in real pain and needed proper medical attention. Thank god for college insurance when my school also has one of the leading medical schools (and hospitals) in the country.

Instead of a 3 month wait, I was in to see the specialist later that week. He was the first person to actually listen to what I had to say about the duration of the pain (7+ months at this point) and what sort of pain, the fact that it never went away, etc).

To give you an idea, I had about a 5 block walk to class, I had to sit down after 2 blocks because of the pain. He gave me a prescription for really hardcore muscle relaxers and painkillers (oxycodone, and I don’t remember what else) and a set of crutches that sort of helped take the pressure off my back when I walked. He scheduled an MRI a few weeks later.

When I finally got the MRI it showed I had a slipped disc in my back. Actually, my lowest three discs are all damaged in some way. But the lowest one was pressing on my sciatic nerve and veins on the right side of my back.

Thus causing my considerable, constant pain!

As much as I was initially against surgery, it was really the only thing that could be done. The disc was pushing against the nerve, and the two above it were also out of whack as well.

So I had back surgery. And have felt amazing ever since.

Months before any of this happened, I was literally thrown in a car by my roommates and friends and taken to the hospital where they sat with me overnight as it took about 8 hours until anyone was able to see me.

I will never forget the night. A combination of sitting, standing, and laying on the floor, all trying to find a way to be in less pain, all in vain. I severely bent the arm of the wheelchair I was sitting in trying to break it off out of frustration and pain during my long, long wait. I don’t remember why I had the wheel chair, but it took a beating at my hands.

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