Due primarily to a lack of news, i haven’t written much about The Park lately. This is just the quiet before the storm.  The Clampett’s shall ride again…

Mom’s bypass surgery is scheduled in three weeks.  In the meantime, she has exceeded all expectations in her quest to quit the demon tobacco!  i’m very proud of her, and although she hasn’t completely quit, she’s only smoking about 5 cigarettes a day.  Given that she has been chain-smoking for 65 years, this is remarkable*!

i’m even more proud of her for finally standing up to her quack family physician, Dr. Bonehead**.  In the past, this man has misdiagnosed many a malady.  Among other things, he prescribed arthritis medication for “leg trouble” which was due to circulation problems, and an early indicator of heart failure.  His office staff is equally incompetent, and excel at finding ways to charge Mom for unnecessary procedures.  A recent example:  Because they used the wrong code for lab tests, which the insurance company then refused to pay, Mom was forced to drop an unexpected $200 on lab work.

Mom was scheduled for an annual check up with Dr. Bonehead, and decided to proceed despite upcoming pre-surgical testing orchestrated by her heart surgeon, Robo-Doc.   Upon arrival at Comedy Central Dr. Bonehead’s office, Mom was informed that he would have to order the pre-surgical testing.  When Mom explained that Robo-Doc had already taken care of it, the nurse-like-object informed her that Dr. Bonehead would simply not “approve”, and would thus prevent Mom from having her double bypass.  Her rationale?  If something went wrong with the bypass surgery, Mom could sue the doctor if he hadn’t done the pre-surgical physical. 

And apparently she said this with a straight face.

i wasn’t there, but know pretty much what happened next.  Mom popped a gonad.  She’s pretty feisty under normal conditions, but given the fact that she’s been off her smokes for a couple weeks, i’m guessing there were some pyrotechnics as Mom handed the nurse-like-object her officious ass on a phlebotomy tray!

Dr. Bonehead, hearing the ruckus from the hallway, entered the room.  In an attempt to calm her down, the Doc agreed to call Robo-Doc’s office and coordinate the necessary tests.  After a bit of back and forth last week, Robo-Doc conceded to let Dr. Bonehead handle the pre-surgical work.  Much to Mom’s annoyance.

As a result, Mom is now finally pissed off enough to switch to a different general practitioner – but will wait until after the surgery.   In the meantime, i’m amusing myself by drafting the reproachful letters she’s going to hand to Dr. Bonehead and company once the tough stuff is behind her…

It’s just a shame she didn’t whack him with her cane.  Don’t you earn that right sometime after you turn 75?


* She generally lights one cigarette from another.  When bored, i’ve considered doing a study to determine what percentage of her waking breaths are smoke-free.  Guess?  Less than 20%… 

** Not his real name.

10 thoughts on “Braveheart

  1. Rob’s late wife had similar issues with Rob’s GP, an old Chinese man who likes to dispense ancillary info with his medicine. She went the rounds with his office staff trying to get copies of her own medical records (its not like the U.S., Canadians can’t access records for their own files or even to transfer them to another doctor easily if at all).

    My mom had a GP who wasn’t all that on the ball and we had a heck of a time getting her to switch. Interesting I have no problems at all switching DR’s when I feel they are talking down to me or find their manner not deferential enough (I am paying them for a service after which many of them would do well to remember).

    Great to hear that your mom is doing so well with the quitting smoking thing. It’s a difficult addiction to beat especially after so long.

  2. Over the years I’ve had numerous battles with physicians that thought they knew my mother and father better than I did.
    My dad’s neurologist really pissed me off one day after insisting my father continue taking these insane “mini-mental” quizzes.
    Got to the point where I just stopped taking him there. There was just no point, something the Doc just didn’t want to admit.

  3. annie – we spend more time researching the purchase of a car, a TV or a washing machine than we do researching our medical options! our parents generation had a great deal of respect for the medical profession – my mom is a retired nurse, so even more so believes that what a doctor says is the law. UGH!

    ~m – Mom told me a few years ago (when i first started talking to her about getting a better GP) that she was afraid of hurting his feelings! i agree with your approach – i ditched an OB/GYN when he laughed at a question i asked (regarding artificial sweetner consumption during pregnancy) and said “what are you? a chemist? don’t worry about it!” Should have reported the toad to the medical board for being a condescending and arrogant fart-knocker, too!

  4. I don’t do doctors well. I’m always saying, “What? What? Is that bad?”, “Can I live without that?”, “How long have I got Doc?”, or the ever popular “Will I still be able to get an erection?”

  5. A “fart-knocker“? Is that akin to a fudge-packer? Just wondering…

    While I concur that members of older generations are less likely to question anything a doctor says, (Did you know that 50% of doctors graduate in the bottom half of their class?), I’ve found that the universal health care here in Canada (aka socialized medicine) has propagated the tendency to bestow god-like status on physicians and surgeons. And, boy, do they hate it when you question them or call them on anything.

    During my late wife’s illness (malignant melanoma) we encountered what seemed like more than our fair share of turds in the punch bowl.

    Uncle Keith: You are a funny guy!

  6. uncle keith – if i were a doc, i’d kill for a patient like you!

    rob – “Fart-knocker” relates to my “Beavis & Butthead” obsession from a few years back… i’ve been fortunate with my docs – i expect them to treat me like an adult, and will return the favor! i often work hard to get them to laugh from time to time… makes the process more bearable! And yes, it would be easy if i could have uncle keith as my gag writer!

  7. I was trained by my GP Extraordinaire back in Toronto 25 years ago to always ask questions and never take a doctor’s word as if they are god on the throne, thereby transforming me into the patient from hell. This has served me well over the years but I think it has made for more than a few disgruntled doctors. To which I say – tough shit.

  8. “Not his real name” *snort*
    Doctors generally don’t take kindly to having their omniscience questioned. I suspect the medical profession activey recruits condescending and arrogant fart-knockers.

  9. Nursing has changed. At least the schools I went to told us we could question a doctor’s wisdom. Even as a very young nurse in a one-doctor town, I learned to question his orders, especially if he ordered something crazy when I called him in the middle of the night. (Don’t all young nurses get to work the night shift first?) I also used to go behind his back to let the new babies feed before 24 hours were up, and various other civil disobedience where I knew he was working with old knowledge, and not new research.
    My father’s doctors have learned to fear me, because I will call from 1500 miles away and demand they see my father instanter! It was only my nagging that got my dad’s gallbladder infection diagnosed a couple of years ago. It took a month. Apparently no doctors could imagine that an 85 year old man could have gallbladder disease, symptoms be damned.
    And then there were the good doctors, the ones who would ask me what the patient needed, or at least listen to me if I thought something else was wrong. After all, I see the patient 8 hours a day, they see them for five minutes a day.
    I may be disabled and retired now, but I can still strike fear in the hearts of some doctors. And “nurse-like object” is right, most “nurses” in doctor’s offices these days are poorly trained “medical assistants”.

  10. silverstar – welcome to The Park! There were always spectacular nurses along the way – and i learned to worship them when we were caring for Dad. Mom is a retired phych nurse, and she describes a very similar situation – she used to stay on the docs, and most really respected her! Even now, i was encouraged to see her stand up to some bad practices with her doc!

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