Monday, September 12, 2011

Disc/Sciatica Showdown

Ugh.  Sciatic pain is not fun.  While sitting, walking, or running, I have pain that travels down both legs (mostly the right), into my calves, and into my feet (where it bothers me the most). 

I ran 16 Saturday and 12 on Sunday.  Neither run was enjoyable (except for the company).  The nerve pain makes my legs feel tight and tired.  I've been on the steroids long enough now that I'd expect to see a result--but I don't.  I've had one traction treatment, and have another today.  I'm hoping something works soon.

I can run.  But it's just not very fun.  I'll continue to do it and hope that this issue is totally resolved by Oct. 9 (race day).  Even if it's not, I could still run...just not at my best.

So I'm trying to be proactive.  I'm seeing Penny for the traction, but I'm also thinking that I may need to have an epidural injection in my back.  This would have to be done at the Pain Center.  Remember that place?  I'm a patient there--and they kept telling me my abdominal stuff was all muscular.  Dr. Lysandrou would not listen to me and just kept injecting my abdominal muscles...with zero results.

There is another doctor who works there--Dr. Gettelfinger.  I've met him, and he even came in the room once to help Dr. Lysandrou with me.  So I called today to make an appointment a couple of weeks out assuming I'll need an injection.  I requested Dr. Gettelfinger.  I was told that I couldn't see him because I'd only seen Dr. Lysandrou.  I told her that wasn't true.  She, in not so many words, called me a liar.  And again told me I had no choice and that I'd have to see Dr. Lysandrou.

Um, really?  I have no say in the matter regarding who gets my money?  Who will be injecting something into my spinal column?  I asked her (politely) how I would go about getting an appointment with Dr. Gettelfinger.  She told me that Dr. Gettelfinger would have to authorize that--and followed that up by saying "But he's not going to do that."   I explained to her that I was not satisfied with the care offered by Dr. Lysandrou, and that I am a documented patient at the center, and wanted to see a different physician--I asked her what she suggested I do.  She told me there was no way I could have ever even met Dr. Gettelfinger, that I must have been confused, and that my only option was to make an appointment with Dr. Lysandrou.  She would write a note to Dr. Gettelfinger, but was sure he would not want to see me.

It's amazing how much power administrative assistants like that one have in our health care system.  She was making a decision for a physician without even asking him.  I explained to her that I didn't appreciate being called a liar (because I wasn't lying about having seen Dr. Gettelfinger once) and that I'd go ahead and make an appointment with Dr. Lysandrou.  When I see Dr. Lysandrou, I suppose I will have to tell him that I don't care much for the way in which he practices medicine, and I need him to transfer me to the care of Dr. Gettelfinger.  What's he going to do then?  Tell me no?

Here's the are allowed, as a consumer, to fire your doctor.  I've already done it with several.  I have a new GP.  I have private insurance...and I ought to have a choice in the matter of who oversees my care.  I had a horrible experience with Lysandrou, and I don't want him touching me again.  But I'm being told that it's IMPOSSIBLE for me to see someone else there.

It's not, of course, impossible.  It's just that systems tend to often treat patients like dirt.  Even if the administrative assistant didn't think it was possible, she should have said something like "I'll have to see if that is possible and I'll call you back."  Instead she degraded me, called me a liar, and forced me to schedule an appointment with a provider with whom I'm very uncomfortable.  This from a system that touts "patient satisfaction" as a major outcome.  I will, of course, be sending a letter to that system.  And will also ask to be sent, by my sports doctor, to a different group of pain physicians.  People like that simply will not get my business.

1 comment:

  1. It's a broken system and patients (customers) have no say so. Maybe enough people will get upset to actually do something.