November 6, 2014
Having MS has provided me with a multitude of doctors and tests over the last 20 years. I have been probed, prodded, diagnosed, misdiagnosed and poked in all areas of my body. I can admit that only a few of the physicians I have seen over the decades have been competent and that’s sad, yet common.
After having my left leg become numb above the knee a year ago, I finally mentioned it to my doctor recently. She told me I should see my neurologist, and I admitted that I don’t see one any longer because my previous neuro retired and my primary care physician’s I had seen prior to my current one, told me that they could follow my care for the MS (and they were RIGHT). She gave me a name to a neurologist and I made the appointment. I recall from the past, those initial consultations can be long and boring but important– so the doctor can learn about my issues. I prepared for a long visit.
Red flag at first appointment: The doctor had the charisma of a head of red cabbage. Seemed like it was a real bother for him to be at the office in the first place. He begins to ask me, maybe 3 questions, spent no more than 4 minutes with me and proceeded to tell me I needed an MRI of the brain, nerve conduction study and evoked potentials testing done. Ok, I have done all these in the past and probably was due. No big deal.
The day of my evoked potentials test was total chaos! No fault on me. I was put in a room, where the tech was flustered because she had no supplies in her sight. She left the room no more than 5 times and each time she would leave, some one else would come in a rifle thru the boxes of things she had piled around the cluttered room. I felt like I was in a storage room and NOT an exam room. There was a tiny sink against the wall with NO counter space. Just a sink basin and a small under-cabinet stuffed with gloves and electrodes, from the looks of it. They had a telephone console ON the sink and the electrical plug was running thru the sink basin itself. (They don’t wash their hands in THAT room, that’s a given). When she left for the 6th time, the door was opened and she was right outside the door at the counter where there were 2 more employees. I’m sitting on a backless stool chair on wheels (not too safe for me) and have electrodes coming out of my scalp and I hear another female voice tell my tech that ‘You, and you, HAVE to take your breaks. Now.” I hear an unfamiliar voice agree, and I hear MY tech mumble something. I quickly glanced at my watch and it was 9:15. I sat there and waited and waited and was ready to rip the adhesive tapes and wires from my scalp, when she came back in, exactly 15 minutes later without any explanation. I KNOW she took a break, I heard them tell her to! She proceeded with the test and I was told to come back the next day at 2:15 (Halloween Day) for my nerve conduction study.
When I arrived on Halloween, there was one other person in the office and I signed in 10 minutes to two. I sat down and waited. And waited some more. Patients were beginning to come in now and the waiting room was filling up. At 3:00 I walked to the counter and asked the one gal who was standing there if the tech doing the testing was running behind. I said I had a 2:15 appointment and was ready to say ‘Adios.’ She told me she would check and I stood at the window until 3:10. Finally another woman from the room behind the front desk saw me, mumbled something to the gal who was supposed to be finding out for me what in the hell was going on (she stayed behind a wall and never showed her face again) and I saw this other woman tell the ‘phantom’ office clerk that “Well, you’ll have to tell him she is next.” By now, I had smoke coming from my nostrils. I knew there was a screw up and was tired of waiting. And tired of being on that end of the stick. The office clerk yelled to me to have a seat and I’d be next.
Red Flag #2: The technician who was going to be doing my test came out and called a name that I can’t even pronounce. He called it 3x and finally the appointment desk girl opened her window and said that the name he was calling, had been there in the morning and that I was to be called. He finally called me and I almost didn’t answer. All I heard was “Louie-Ri-EET.” Oh for the love of God. He takes me to the room which is another storage room looking place. I sit in a recliner that doesn’t recline too far. He hooks me up to the probes and electrodes on my arms and hands and does his thing (even though I am there because of numbness in my left front leg). He then wires me up to the legs and feet and tells me to lie down on my side. Say what? Lay on my side? In a recliner? Uh, bub, this isn’t going to fly. I am 5’8″ and the chair doesn’t go back far. I told him every time I have had this done in the past, I laid on a table, or a lounge type chair that equips a person to actually lie down. He said ‘I know, I have no table.’ Good thing these yokels aren’t doing EKG’s…. I’d be sitting in a sand chair! I was in so much pain due to my sciatica as it was and the way he had me trying to hold my legs still, and straight, was a complete joke. After what seemed like forever and a day, he said something about the doctor coming in with his needles. Oh great, more fun.
In comes Mr. Personality and he is carrying what looks like a mini pitchfork. Three long sharp needles the length of pencils. Now, I have had testing down with needles before, being dragged along the soles of my feet or legs and tiny pin pricks will let me- AND the doctor know that I have feeling in that particular spot. This idiot, sticks the prongs straight, more jabbing than sticking, in to the inside of my calves, the outer sides of my calves, and along the front of my leg on the bone. He then casually looks at the screen where the data is, regarding the nerve conduction test. He glances at me and say’s “the reason you are numb is that you have a pinched nerve.” All the while, he is twisting the prongs in his hands, and then he walks out. The tech then say’s to me “You can go now.” I asked him “Uh, am I to detach myself?” because I had electrodes attached up my thigh. He came back into the room (he had been in the doorway) and just before he gets in, I glanced down at my legs -and they are dripping with blood. All from where the doctor had stuck me with those sharp prongs, like he was testing the Thanksgiving turkey to see if it was done. I had 3 thick, blood-red marks in a row oozing down my legs. Both legs. And a nice blob of blood running down the center of my legs below the knees. Happy Halloween! I look like a part for Fright Night and I hadn’t even put on a costume for crying out loud! I asked the tech if I could please have a tissue to wipe away my bloodied wounds and he looked surprised at my request. He never even acted surprised when he saw the flow of red making their way down to my ankles….maybe it’s an everyday occurrence? He said he had no tissue so he went out and came back with a clump of gauze. He asked if I was diabetic. ‘No.” Or on Coumadin. “No.” Then he turned and left and that was it.
So what am I to do with the pinched nerve? Your guess is as good as mine. I have my MRI on Monday and don’t expect Dr. Usefulness to be all that attentive on the follow up. I will go for my results and then I am high tailing it to a competent physician, because this moron is just that… A class A- moron.
After my final appointment with this person (I can’t even call him “Dr.”), I will be going to Yelp for a much deserved review.