Friday, November 09, 2007

Adventures in Medicine

Yesterday was FNA Day, aka Biopsy Day. Hoo did not turn out like I was thinking. We'd waltz into Johns Hopkins, they'd stick me a couple of times with a really skinny needle, say everything is great, and a little while later Tom and I would be lunching at one of Baltimore's wonderful eating establishments.

The best laid plans...

The first snag of the day was parking. The parking garage was almost filled to capacity, even the very top. There were a couple of spots that Tom deemed to have insufficient space. He finally took one of those and we waltzed into the Outpatient Center. And then we proceeded to walk, and walk, and walk some more to get to the Nelson basement.

After we reached our destination, I registered. Or rather attempted to. I presented my Johns Hopkins id card, and then my insurance card. The nice registrar was clearly puzzled. "Do I use the ID number or the card number?" she asked me. I suggested the ID number. "Do you have a referral?" "No," I replied, "I thought everything was done internally through Johns Hopkins." "It's asking me for an authorization number." At this point, I could feel my blood pressure rise. I sighed. "I didn't know I needed an authorization." She asked who made the appointment and I told her. It eventually got all straightened out, but it was very frustrating.

Eventually we made it back to the exam room, or rather, the procedure room. A doctor came in and explained, step-by-step, the procedure. Then she left, followed by Tom, who was at this point feel a bit woozy (he doesn't like needles, or the thought of them, at all). The ultrasound tech came in to map my thyroid and the best spot for the needles. She was followed by a nurse who set out all the tools. The first doctor reappeared and prepped my neck, numbing it (thankfully) with lidocaine. Then the procedure began. All in all, they took five samples, at least one of which had enough material to work with. The actual biopsy didn't take all that long (thankfully). I'll have results in about a week.

The nurse cleaned up my neck and bandaged it, then proceeded to describe aftercare: no hot foods or beverages for two hours, don't let your head go below your waist, no strenuous activity, don't remove the bandage for 24 hours, don't shower for 24 hours. Oops...guess that means I can't go to the office. He then rolled me out to "recovery," which was the waiting room. Ick. It felt very strange laying on gurney in plain sight of everyone. He eventually moved me to one of the curtained cubicles but neglected to draw the curtains.

And then the workmen arrived.

So here I am, laying on a gurney in a hospital gown, with an ice pack on my neck and feeling a bit light-headed when two workmen come into the little cubicle without so much as a "by your leave" and stare at the door two inches from the foot of the gurney. "Need the combination" one says. They stare at the ceiling tiles and point and indicate that these need to come out, too. Then they wandered off to get the combination to the door, reappeared, and proceeded to unlock and open the door (which had a big sign on it that read "Asbestos project in progress.") It was odd, very odd.

Yesterday's hospital visit reinforced the fact that, even though I find medicine to be fascinating, I really don't want to spend time in a hospital. When I registered, there were several patients laying on gurneys, with multiple IVs and wearing surgical masks. It was distressing, and sad.

Knitting Progress
I've turned the heel and completed three (out of seven) pattern repeats on the foot. I should finish the first sock this weekend. Woo hoo!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to rest my neck. It's still a bit sore.

Happy Friday!


Anonymous said...

Oh, that sounds really unpleasant. I have so many friends who work in the medical profession, and after time, they stop thinking of the patients as people, but just as procedures or tasks that need to be completed. Sometimes this distance helps them be more objective and make decisions easier, but it also makes them forget how uncomfortable it must be to be the patient, and don't remember to keep you comfortable and private. I hope everything turns out alright.

Chris said...

Awww, I'm sorry to hear you had such a stressful and uncomfortable experience . . . if they don't do patient surveys at JH, I would at least write a letter to the head of the dept and let them know. Like toni said, a lot of times the staff don't stop to think about what it's like to be the patient laying on the gurney in the waiting room.

Unknown said...

But you soldiered on! Glad you just got it DONE with. Nothing worse than hospitals/procedures/needles/doctors, you name it.

Sheepish Annie said...

Good lord!! That sound crazy! I mean, really...making someone "recover" in the middle of the waiting room or an asbestos removal area? I'd have thought JH was a bit more upscale than that!!!

I'm glad it's over, though and that you are resting. Take a nice break this weekend and knit to your heart's content! And Nap!!!

PurlingPirate said...

Geez, that just plain sucks. At least it is over and hopefully you can just move on from there. Makes me sad to think of all those people just laying around and waiting.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad the needle part didn't hurt very bad. Rest a lot and I will keep my fingers crossed!

Jen Da Purse Ho said...

at least the procedure itself wasn't TOO bad. I always hated all that waiting in plain a bed/gurney...everyone staring at you. it's embarrassing to an extent. :)

but hopefully nothing is wrong and this was all in vain! :)

Mia said...

That sounds like Hopkins. Construction is always a problem there. I hope the results come back with good results.