We Have a Diagnosis!
Posted by thedarwinexception on March 7, 2007
The doctor from the clinic called last night. At like 10:00 last night, no less. Seems some of Paul’s test results were finally available to the doctor, and he wanted to let us know right away what the results were. He was very apologetic about the late hour, and he said he wouldn’t normally call at that time of night, but he wanted to let us know that Paul needed to get to a regular physician right away.
Apparently, Paul doesn’t have a thyroid anymore. At least, not a working one. The doctor said that his thyroid levels were so low in his blood sample that they didn’t even register levels. The doctor also said that this would explain a lot of his symptoms – the weight loss, the low blood pressure, the joint pain, the spitting up blood, the fatigue. And the doctor also said he had never seen anyone with such low levels walking around in the wild.
He said that I needed to make an appointment right away, and that if I couldn’t get in to see a regular doctor before Friday, that we were to go back to the clinic and he would give us an emergency prescription until we were able to get an appointment. But he said that Paul would still need to see a regular doctor immediately, since the medication has to be closely monitored and regulated until the right dosage is established. He said that with levels as low as Paul’s, it may even require a hospital stay of a few days to get the levels up quickly. The doctor then said that without the medication, and if we had waited much longer for a diagnosis, that Paul’s blood pressure would have just continued to plummet until he had a heart attack or fell out. Which was good information for me, since now I can add “Fuck you, I saved your life” to my list of “phrases to use when Paul gets on my ass about something”.
So, armed with a list of “Family Practitioners” given to me by the triage nurse at the clinic, I started making phone calls, looking for a doctor that would be able to give me an appointment right away. No such luck. Seems that when you live in an area that is full up with people on disability, it’s not that easy to get a doctor who is “taking new patients”. None of the people on the list were. And I guess it’s even worse when you are on Medicaid, since a couple of the places I called immediately offered that if I had Medicaid they couldn’t see Paul, as “they were capped”. Paul finally called his boss to explain why he wasn’t going in to work today, and his boss said “Well, call my doctor, he sees new people”. So I called him, and yes, he is taking new patients, but the soonest I can get in to see him is 12 days from now. And I don’t really want to wait 12 days for an appointment. I’m afraid he’ll be dead by then.
So, I called the “Ask a Nurse” line the local hospital offers. I basically wanted to know if it was OK to wait the 12 days for my appointment, or if Paul needed the medicine before then and if I should go back to the clinic for a prescription. She suggested that “yes”, I should, and that if I couldn’t get to the clinic (which doesn’t open until 1 pm), I should go to the emergency room and that they would write the prescription. After they get him started, of course, I would still need to go tot eh regular doctor just to regulate the medication, but he did need to be on the medicine right way.
So I guess we’ll be headed back to the clinic today for the afternoon. I won’t go to the emergency room for anything but a dire emergency. I think that’s silly and a waste of money and resources unless it is a real emergency.
But, all in all, I’m quite glad we got a diagnosis, and that it wasn’t anything more dire than a bad thyroid. Even though the doctor was quite convinced that the condition is hereditary, and Paul’s mother was just as convinced that no one in the family ever had a bad thyroid. And I’m glad we went to the doctor’s before Paul had a stroke and had to be diagnosed as a result of that. And I think it sucks that we live in an area where everyone is on disability and taking up needed space in the doctor’s offices.