SO I DRIVE on my day off to Clinic Far, Far Away….
I am ushered in by a nurse who asks about a billion history questions even though I handed her my neatly typed medical summary. Finally Dr. PMR 1 comes in. She is nice, young and I think some what impressed by my medical pedigree both halves. She does an exam, gingerly moves my joints as if she is afraid they might break right there on the table.
Then she drops the bomb. So Dr. PMR 3 does all our complicated injections. I must have done a POOR job of hiding how crestfallen I felt. How much I felt like crying because she followed with I will call him and tell him your story and get you in today or tomorrow. I am impressed but skeptical. Then the nurse comes in with a list a mile long of how I need to be NPO, have a driver, stop all pain medicines. I am so frustrated. This is not major surgery. No one is coming near me with a sedative for this. I just want to be able to go to work….please. I don’t want narcotics, I don’t want acupuncture , I don’t want your pity, I want to be able to do what I love which is take care of sick kids.
I live furious and frustrated. The next four hours were a low point of the saga. I cried. I watched Glee. Then I cried. Then I watched more Glee. Then I cried. Then I changed my shirt, took the dog out and went to see my boss. Without crying, I told them that I need medical leave sooner than planned. I wanted to prepare for the reality that I could not perform the miracle of my third year of medical school again and starve off surgery.
Then I went to lunch, the aquarium and a baseball game and went to bed.Woke up ate pancakes, went shopping.
My roommate is working nights and has been following the saga and came with me as my driver. I mostly stayed NPO. I registered and they asked me if I wanted MD behind my name. I shyed away from flaunting it. I got called in by a nurse in blue scrubs. She took my history, I adamantly refused sedation. She told me I was inspirational (in which I died a little bit on the inside). I changed into a gown. They take my blood pressure…its a 100/60. And they marvel at it, I mention that is normal for a 26 yo who when well exercises regularly. They stare at me as if I am some kind of alien.
They make me sit in a wheelchair to go the 40 feet to the procedure room. Dr. PMR 3 comes out and he shakes my hand. Dr. PMR 1 had called him, he knows the story. He tests the strength of my right leg. I hop out of the wheelchair while four people dive to support me. I brush them off, walk to the table. We talk about my life plans and they refer to me as Dr. My Name. We shoot a couple of pictures with just a probe. There is a silence. I cran my neck to see the pictures. I see nothing but what I expect to see the hip is eating it self. The eyes over me are mixed with disbelief, pity and shock. PMR 3 notes I am craning my neck and breaks our silence by having her move the monitors so I can see. I know I should be scared out of my mind but somehow I am rooting for the dying hip. I whisper internally just 9 months, we just have to get through 9 more months….
The shot is nearly perfect, he does a perfect hip arthogram prior to the injection the magical kenalog that will give me four more months of being just another pediatric resident. It will get me to my 27th birthday. I make a jest as he struggled for a minute to get through my ligament, saying “Well at least some of my connective tissue is working”Dr. PMR 3 says apologizes for all the NPO/Driver/drama, all of that is for epidural spine injections. He says when i am ready for the next shot he can fit me any time and I don’t need to worry about any of that. The MAs and Nurses all look a little shocked that I am going to violate scared protocol.
Then its done. I walk back to the wheelchair, I try to get up as soon as we hit the holding area and am pushed down by two nurses who say they have to take my blood pressure. I am starving and anxious to get back to my day off. My blood pressure is still remarkably low in the eyes of the nurses. They painfully read through every discharge instruction and then finally release me. I drive Amy and me to our favorite mexican place and eat my two missed meals.
6 mons, 3 orthos, 2 PMR docs, 2.5 hours on the phone and so much drama for one silly 5 min procedure. Its so silly. so silly.
And I ask how do Non-MD people get through this system? you wonder why people with chronic pain dont have any semblance of normal lives….this is why.
but it buys me 3-4 more months and I can’t complain.