Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Good News, Bad News, Good News

Walter's idiot local cardiologist is history. OH, he is SO FIRED. kdad found a new cardiologist that sounds great, and Walter sees him tomorrow. We got in early on a cancellation.

When he came home from Deaconess in Indiana, he had all sorts of follow-up instructions for cardiotherapy exercise and diet. He also had a lab requisition for some blood tests. The local idiot cardiologist Walter went to didn't discuss much of this - except to say that everyone quits smoking after a heart attack, and then they all start up again.

Oh - he did take the time to look at Walter's blood test request and throw it away, calling it Unnecessary. I'm curious to find out what that request was for, especially considering what happened afterwards. Were there liver and kidney functions to check? A cholesterol test? The idiot said cholesterol testing was only necessary once a year.

Huh? Even for a recent triple bypass patient on statins? Who has a history of really bad cholesterol readings?

Yup. Until we forced the issue, the idiot hadn't done a single EKG or liver and kidney functions or cholesterol test or anything but an ultrasound and chest x-ray since Walter got home. This despite:
--Walter's worsened chest pain, requiring two trips to the ER - yeah, he went again
--The known and dangerous side effects of Vytorin, one of which Walter got in a very bad way
--An emergency page to the on-call cardiologist - which was returned immediately, on New Year's Day
--An emergency message to the idiot cardiologist on 1/2 - which was never returned
--The requirements of Walter's health insurance company, which wants lots and lots of cholesterol tests and blood pressure checks and all that stuff that kinda sounds like it would be a good idea after a triple bypass.

The Vytorin reaction, which took place over New Year's weekend, had Walter sick to death. I awoke from a nap to find him curled up in a fetal ball of pain, even after taking a significant amount of pain meds. Which is NOT a *Walter* thing to do, partly because those things make him puke.

This terrible, painful muscle reaction can indicate liver damage. Per our own google info, and then the instructions of the on-call doc, Walter's off the Vytorin now.

After never hearing back from the emergency message we left the idiot on Tuesday, 1/2, Walter had a previously scheduled follow-up appointment on 1/5. So he saw the idiot in person. The idiot finally ordered some blood tests, although they were unfortunately far after the fact, because that urgent phone call wasn't returned.

Those tests revealed A Problem, so a new test was ordered.

The Problem? We heard in a phone message that the results came in as *elevated liver,* an unspecific term from the idiot medical assistant who left the message. Who also said she *can't* fax the follow-up blood test request form to the lab (bull! - you just use a different kind of form) so we were supposed to drive a fair distance to pick the form up IN PERSON, then take it to the lab.

We're both a bit feeble here, so this meant the new test would be delayed until one of us is well enough to drive out to pick up the form, and Walter's well enough to actually go to the lab.

Well, since I was out and about doing my own Doctor Day on Friday, the 19th, I drove out and picked the damn thing up.

For what it's worth.

See, I looked at it and I saw it had only one request on it: Fractionated Alkaline Phosphatase.

It would have been nice to have the results ready for the new cardiologist to see tomorrow. But, considering how sick Walter's been and how much it would take out of him to do this test, it didn't seem worth the extra trip.

Extra trip? Maybe not. But probably. Because I think there's a good chance the new doc will want to have some other things looked at, too. Like, maybe, Walter's cholesterol level.

So...the good news? The new cardiologist.

And!!! Walter's short term disability insurance was FINALLY approved, and they expedited the check, which should arrive by tomorrow. We hope.

After no paycheck since 11/19/06...how do YOU spell *relief*?

Oh...and, BTW, Mr. Idiot Doctor...Walter's still not smoking. Of course, only time will tell for sure. But it looks to me like he's quit for real, after being a smoker for 33 years.

Now THAT is some seriously good news.


Cindi said...

Good to hear that Walter is going to a different cardiologist. I wonder if the idiot doctor throws all lab requisitions away if they were ordered by a different doctor? If you were wondering what the order was for, you would be able to get a copy of it from medical records from the other doctor I am sure.

I am going to have to get a different doctor myself. My family practitioner has really changed for the worse. I am not sure what the problem is with him.
He just acts like he doesn't care anymore about anything. I know he is upset with the new computer system in his office but he has been inept in more ways than one. My father used to go to him and he kept insisting that Dad's blood sugar levels which were in the high 200's was nothing to worry about. (Sometimes it would get up to the 300's) With all of Dad's other problems with cancer, he didn't need more problems on top of that. Now that he is going to a diabetes specialist, she has him all ironed out. He found a new family practice doctor too and things are going better.

It sounds like your ID doctor is a gem.

k said...

Cindi, you're right. And Walter found a separate paper, too, an *rx* for the tests. Unfortunately that one got wet and now we can't read it!!! But Deaconess, responsive and efficient as usual, sent us 33 pages of his medical records from there. So when I get nosy again I'll go a hunting for that info.

The right doc is EVERYTHING. Worth the hunt.