Monday, January 18, 2010

LOFT LIFE: I Will Survie

I have made a decision. I will survive. Yes, I saw the pulmonary specialist--more about him in a minute. He said I did NOT have pneumonia, never did have it, that the mold probably kicked off a bronchial thing--definitely infection, but not pneumonia.

Also I did not have a mold infection, though my spraying mold cleaner and getting tons of mold droplets in my face (my words) probably did create the infection. His real concern, and I use that word clinically, not personally, was this “nodule” the radiologist at the clinic--that does’t know what pneumonia looks like--found.

My daughter accompanied me to Dr. G’s and she was not pleased at all with him. I’m kind of numb to this kind of non-personal medical type, but she isn’t. She expected a: “Hi, I’m Dr. G and how are you feeling.” In fact, he didn’t even look at me but sat down at his desk, while I sat on the end of the examination table, and as I talked about my symptoms, he typed.

Now, let me tell you I know about doctors. In California most of my PR clients were doctors and hospitals. In Illinois, my best friend is a marriage-family therapist. i know about the hours of transcription necessary after consults and all the paperwork burdens HIPAA and insurance create for time-consuming reporting. Privacy acts now even make it illegal to take the reports home to accomplish in the comfort of an easy chair, beer and soft music. Anyway, Dr. G. wasn’t going to waste any time being personal, looking up from his typing, or saying “Hi.” He got right to typing, and continued, only pausing, my daughter said, to smirk (laugh) at some of my questions, which by the way he did not bother to answer. His answer to everything was that he would tell me what was wrong when he knew. Finding out I didn't have pneumonia or a mold-infection weren't things he volunteered. I gleaned this during the back and forth--mostly back, conversation.

I explained I wasn’t asking for his diagnosis yet, merely input for my extremely analytical data-base of a brain. (OK, maybe that does deserve a chuckle, even though it is dead seriously true) and that I wanted to know what he was doing, why, what he was hoping or not hoping to see, and what logic-tree of possibilities there were for a “nodule” on the lung of the smallish size and shape of mine. Nada. No response at all. Instead, he continued typing, then examined me with no explanation whatsoever, except to say that the finger-impression oxygen machine showed I was at 98% which seemed to make him very happy. I got the feeling after that that he felt I was taking up time and space that could have belonged to his really sick (dying) patients, which should have made me feel better, but didn’t. His elation at my high oxygen level, felt more like an indictment than a relief.

He scheduled CAT scan in the same building for a few days later.

I have been saying that Dr. G. has the beside (ok, office) manner of a turnip. My husband says I am defaming Dr. G’s character with this statement, to which I reply that beside manner is hardly a statement of character. Even though my daughter was most upset at him, wanted me to leave, and said she didn’t trust him, I remained loyal, and didn’t leave, and gave him the benefit of the doubt. I defended that he kind of viewed me as a lung instead of a person, and perhaps he was an expert in lungs, if not in people. I hope that analysis is correct and that it isn’t that: 1) I remind him of his mother or 2) he has really sick patients and thinks I am wasting his time, or 3) that he just doesn’t care and is thinking about playing racquetball with the hour he saved typing instead of relating to me.

Upon taking my usual surveys of almost everyone i know and even some I don’t know well--my dentist, for instance, on whether being a turnip is a question of character, it is about 50-50. Some see it as a lack of kindness, others as simply that some specialists are just not people-persons, even with all the research about how much treating a patient as a whole person counts in the healing process.

Suffice to say that i will stop calling him a turnip, and try to evaluate whether I can continue with someone so non-verbal, so unwilling to answer questions. I did tell him to his face that I needed a doctor who talks. He just smiled. I also told him that most of my California doctor clients were like him, and that I translated them to the public so well that I made them lots of money, and therefore, he might want to call me. I made it quite clear to his office manager, that if it were not for her kind and caring personality, he probably wouldn’t have many patients.

Well, I will have to weigh the pros and cons of remaining with Dr. G until after the CAT scan.