Trumpets please. The cast came off and a splint went on, my dominant right hand that is. It seems that despite being told there is nothing one can do about a fractured pinky finger, the UVA Hand Clinic has me doing some serious physical therapy. I’m sure that my three week wait to actually see a doctor after the bounce house fall, planting in my garden and mailing 90th birthday party invitations, didn’t help my hand heal. But that’s just me; delay, deny and avoid doctors at all costs since I have so many at home. That’s my problem.
You might think that a doctor’s family has it made in the shade. But I’m here to tell you that’s not the case. It’s pretty well known that anyone involved in health care will be treated differently in a hospital. It’s kind of the opposite of selection bias – once the person treating you finds out you’re in the same field – nurse, doc, therapist or spouse of same, whatever – they may subtly change their strategy. The person treating you may not even realize they are doing this, but by being nicer, kinder and making exceptions to their rules and treating you differently, they are shortchanging you.
Let me find an example. When I came down with West Nile before moving to VA, after a week of unendurable headaches and fever, I finally got to an Opthalmologist who knew what he was doing. I was sent pronto to the nearest hospital’s MRI machine and ended up waiting in the hallway until one became available. I was in such pain and going blind that I hardly registered what Bob was saying to all those people who knew him so well, all I remember is everybody apologizing for me being in a hallway.
I really didn’t care about the hallway at that moment, I wanted the pain to stop.
They didn’t do a lumbar puncture (LP) because well I didn’t see the ER doctor on duty, and they didn’t have an available room, and besides I didn’t want an LP and nobody wanted to question my husband and his wife as to what they wanted in this emergent situation. I hope you’re getting my drift…
If I hadn’t been with Bob, if I’d have been anybody else, the eye doctor probably would have called an ambulance and I would have been whisked away toute suite to a hospital with a bed and an available MRI machine and an ER doc who would have punctured my spine alright, and I would have been admitted to the hospital. Instead I was sent home on steroids.
In the worst of circumstances the very best people in health care will try and make our (meaning everyone else in the health care field) lives easier – thereby putting us at greater risk.
This is why when I went to another state while pregnant with the Rocker for my “older mother” test – the one where they stick a needle in your pregnant belly to get some amniotic fluid – I told the receptionist that my husband was a contractor! Yes sir, I lied because A) this amniocentesis test was fairly new, and 2) I didn’t want anyone to know my husband was a doctor because I was unconsciously already aware of this selection bias.
I know I’m complaining in a sort of ‘poor privileged me’ way – first world problems. And I know this anecdotal bias has probably never been studied, but I’m not the first to notice it. Ask anyone you know in the health care field. Oh, and when my wonderful NP asked me at the UVA Hand Clinic to rate my pain on a scale of 1 to 10, I had to smile.
Because Bob has always said the day he hammered his thumb accidentally putting up a shelf was a BIG 10. He saw stars, he couldn’t speak, and finally when he could, all he could do was swear. When he walks into a room to see a patient and they are texting, he remembers his thumb and knows this is not a 10 on the pain scale. But pain is pretty subjective, your 7 may be my 3?
This is the first time in 2 weeks I’m using more fingers than two thumbs to write. And for that I am grateful. It’s good to start off your day listing two things you’re grateful for, soooo 1) Yay for 9 fingered typing
And B) I’m also happy my 6’3″ son and Ms Cait came to visit this past weekend. That baby who backed away in the womb from the needle in the ultrasound of my amniocentesis test, is going to turn 30 this summer! And his Grandmother Ada just turned 90! Bring on the fanfare!