He Said, She Said!

It appears I will be going home today, I think. Modern, American medicine is something that I am still struggling to understand. I have had a doctor called a “hospitalist.” To my knowledge, this doctor is supposed to coordinate the treatment being carried out by a team of doctors. In my case, I have an infectious disease doctor and a podiatrist. To me the lines of communication between all three doctors should be open and collaborative. However, my observations have shown me otherwise.

The entire time I have been hospitalized, podiatry has just walked in whenever they feel like it and does what it needs to do. Infectious disease has been the same way. The hospitalist, on the other hand, doesn’t really seem to know what is happening with either department. I seem to be the middle man between them all. This is apparent when each asks me what the other has said. Isn’t this what a hospitalist is being paid to do? If so, I’d like my first paycheck by next Friday.

This is frustrating when all you want to do is go home. For instance, the hospitalist was in today and said he needed to check on whether antibiotics would be administed at home or if I would need to come in to the hospital each day to have this done. This is infuriating, seeing as how the hospital social worker told me yesterday that home nursing would be by tomorrow to administer my first home dose and then teach Amanda and I how to run it from there.

This all leads me to believe the hospitalist has read none of the notes in my chart, as there is an order in for me to be discharged. Plus, I am positive there is information about the establishment of home nursing care. Fortunately, I have a feisty nurse today that knows what she is doing and has read the notes in my chart. I still can’t figure out why a doctor who is supposed to be coordinating my care has not. Maybe, he just has chosen not to take the time.

I expect a standard of care when I am being treated for an illness. My nursing staff has been exceptional. The doctors on the other hand all have seemed to have checked out on me, which doesn’t instill a lot of confidence. I wish I could say this is my only experience like this, but it isn’t. If a generalist is going to be on staff then they need to have a firmer grasp on the information being provided to the patient. The patient should never have to play a game of “he said, she said” with the doctors. To me that is unacceptable.

It is nearly 1:00 p.m. and I am still waiting to go home, despite the fact that my daily dose of antibiotics have been administered. I’m not ordering any lunch, as I refuse to eat another meal here. I understand the discharge process can take a while. I am trying to be patient. However, as I have noted in past blog posts I am not the most patient of patients. However, am I really the patient anymore when I am being asked to provide the services of a “go-between” with my doctors?

Low Riser

It was a late Sunday afternoon. Amanda and I had just attended the graduation ceremonies at the high school where I was working at the time. It was Memorial Day weekend and neither one of us had to work the next day, so we thought we’d go get some dinner and then see a movie. This was a spur of the moment decision that we made once graduation had come to an end. Both of us were dressed in fairly nice clothing. Therefore, going to a movie in dress pants and a polo was not my ideal outfit for a relaxing evening.

The school where I worked was about a 30-minute drive from home. The movie theater we were planning to go to was nearly 30 minutes in the the other direction. Therefore, instead of going home and changing, I decided we’d just stop at a Target and I’d get a more comfortable pair of pants to wear for the night. Not being one who likes to shop, especially for clothes, I hastily picked out a pair of pants that looked good. The only problem was I did not inspect them thoroughly enough before leaving the store.

After leaving Target, we drove to a Burger King where I went inside to the restroom and changed out of my dress pants in to the new pants I had just purchased. That is when I realized two things. First, these pants had an elastic band around the ankles. I despise pants like this, as they do not hide my leg braces very well. The second thing I noticed immediately is that they were a fairly low rise cut around the waist. I felt like a clown walking out of the bathroom and back to the car in these things. However, I wore them to dinner and then to the movie. I don’t even recall what movie we saw that night because I was so focused on my pants!

Fortunately, they were black, because about nearly halfway through the movie I spilled Coke all over them. There I was in a darkened movie theater with wet, Coke-stained pants, that had ridiculous-looking ruffles around the ankles and a low-rise waist band. The trip back to the car was going to be fantastic! Oh, and I forgot to mention, due to the low-rise waist band I had to stop every few feet on the way into the theater to yank my pants up, as they constantly were falling down. So, that would be another dilemma going out of the theater as well. I often get myself into these types of situations. You would think one day I would learn. Maybe someday I will.

Anyway, the movie finally drew to a close and we waited for everyone else to clear the theater before we made our way back out the car. Again, I had to stop every few feet to pull up my wet, low-rise, ruffled-cuff pants from hell! It was only by the grace of God that these things did not fall down all the way as I was walking back to the car. It was then that I decided that I was either going to take these things off right there in the parking lot and set them on fire, or they were going to back to Target, coke stains and all. I partially came to my senses and asked Amanda if she’d take them back to Target for me. Yes, I know, how could I take a pair of pants back to the store that had been soiled, but doggone it, I did it anyway. Well, Amanda actually did, but I digress.

So, we drove back to Target, I slipped off the pants, they went back in the bag from the store and Amanda got our money back! I rode home that night in my underwear praying that we’d not get pulled over by the police for any reason. Otherwise, I might have some explaining to do.

At this point you might be asking, “why didn’t you just put your dress pants back on that you had worn earlier in the day?” I don’t know why actually, I think it was my way of protesting the low-rise, skinny-jeans fad that plagues America today. Fat men need pants too! Next time, I am just going to pack some sweats and a t-shirt. I don’t know why Amanda loves me, but I am glad that she does. I am not sure if the people at Target have ever figured out what was on those pants, but we have been back to that store since. Fortunately, there are no posters with my face on them banning me from the store. In fact, we were just there yesterday. I kept my distance from the men’s clothing section.

Spina Bifida Blues

Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.” ― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I think it is safe to say that most, if not all of us feel down at times. What do you do when you feel like this? I have to be honest, there have been many times when I have felt despair. This despair is something that has made me feel alone. I have been afraid to share my true feelings, even with those closest to me.

Some of this has been brought about by my feelings of inferiority, which I have touched upon in previous posts. I often feel as if I am not good enough for anything or anyone. These feelings often lead me to doubt myself in almost every facet of life. Many days I go to work worrying that I am going to “screw up” or forget to do something.  I believe one of the things that has fueled these feelings of insecurity is that others have often “talked down” to me as if I am too stupid to communicate just like anyone other person.  My legs don’t work correctly, but my brain functions pretty well.  Just don’t ask me to do math! 

This doubt can be paralyzing. Fortunately, I have reached out to others who have helped me begin to see myself in a more positive light.  Counseling has shown me that I do have things I can contribute to society.  It has been a positive experience sharing my doubts and insecurities in a therapeutic setting.   

Writing this blog has also been a cathartic experience, as it has helped me unleash some of the “demons” that rule my thoughts.  Likewise, the power of prayer has also been very instrumental in helping me get over some of these irrational fears.  I must be honest there have been many times that I have lashed out at God for “placing” me in this body.  

Humor is always good medicine as well.  I have learned over the years that you have to laugh at the circumstances of life.  This helps one move past the bad and appreciate the good things that life has to offer.  I wish I could go back and tell my younger self to shut out the negative thoughts and focus only on the good.  That is a lesson that I am just now learning as a 42 year old man.   

Finally, it is important to keep active.  Now that the weather here in Illinois is getting warmer, I will be outside cycling away my blues.  

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