Another visit with Lap Band Doc

(sigh) Warning: This is a rant as well as a report on my latest visit to the surgeon.

Lately, I began to resent the weeks or months of time I spend jumping through hoops like a circus poodle. ("Arf! Jump through the fiery hoop? Arf! Are you nuts? Arf? Okay, okay! Arf! Arf! Shit! My tail's on fire again!")

Today was another doctor visit with the surgeon's office on the other side of town at 10:30 AM. Thank goodness I'd already gone through the hassle of finding out they moved so I had the correct address this time. Yes, I'm still pissed off about them forgetting the new patients' seminar folks. Made me feel oh-so-very-unwanted.

Today wasn't much better. I filled out the paperwork in the waiting room. Good name, waiting room, but wasting room would be better. Waste of time is more like it. I did balk at the idea of their using my photos for their website. Yes, I object to that. Gimme a break. If I don't like the way I look so much I'm willing to go through all this hell and humiliation to change my appearance, what reason would I have for wanting my lard butt up on a website? Uh...NO.

Naturally, as with all doctor's offices, they were running behind. Not surprising in the slightest. I tried to be patient. I even brought my PDA so I could read an ebook I'm judging for the EPPIES. Darn good book, too. This is one of those times when a PDA really shines. Sleek, private, and stores a pile of ebooks. Ah, bliss. If one must wait, then reading great ebooks definitely helps pass the time best. No one could see what I read. (secret smile)

Finally, a beautiful young black female teetering on the cutest high heels I've seen in awhile called me back. Oh, yippee...time to weigh in and get my vitals. Exciting, no? No. Hey, I lost two pounds. Cool. My BMI-- a massive 45.9. Not so cool. Oh, well. That's why I'm there, right?

Sandra, the pretty young lady in high heels, hands me a blue folder with a pile of papers. Wow, what a pile of info inside. A fact sheet, my prescription for my bloodwork, chest x-ray, and EKG, a checklist for "predetermination" I am responsible for seeing to checking off, a URL to my very own EMMI program, the fee disclosure ("Stick 'em up! Hand over all your cash!) and the program outline.

Oh, lookie! A new person I must visit before I'm allowed to get my surgery! Now I have to see a fitness counselor and trainer named Deb. This is in addition to a dietician, a shrink, a lab for blood work, an imaging center for x-rays and EKG, and another visit with the doc to confirm that I've been a good girl and have done all that.

Then and only then will they discuss the actual surgery with me. Final dietary preparations will include a day or two on a liquid diet. That makes perfect sense, though I may be a raging bitch by the day of surgery. I'll also have to schedule a visit with Dr. M****** at that time to make sure I get on the (gulp!) shots a week before the surgery.

Next, I get to meet the PA, who is a lovely lady named Janet. What a sweetheart. I trust PA's much, much more than I trust doctors. To me, PA's are doctors who haven't gone through the sleep-deprivation of internship, and to me that's a recommendation. I've been misdiagnosed by arrogant doctors with a god complex, and my life has been saved twice by PA's. Guess whose alphabet soup after their name (MD or PA) wins my respect? I'd rather be seen by a PA than the doc any old day of the week.

Janet took down my medication list and my surgery list. Then we discussed in great detail every allergy and medical issue I've ever had and what issues my family has had. It's a shock to list it all, from the scoliosis in my spine from my birth defects all the way to my recent diagnosis of sleep apnea, and everything in between -- forty-nine years of pain, most of which was caused by obesity. Janet notes it all in the computer and leaves.

By this point, my patience is wearing thin. It's after 1 PM, and I'm hungry. I had no breakfast, and obviously no lunch. Gimme a break. Fat people need some sustenance too. Did I want MacDonald's? No, I wanted a tuna wrap and a yogurt, so don't get smug.

Still, I have my pal the PDA. I've been reading steadily, and...what? Low Battery?? Nooo! I'd dutifully turned it off every time the medical pros wanted me. I'd just been reading off and on for over three hours. The poor thing had a right to need a recharge. Grumble! Chanting my mantra, "Privacy is worth it, privacy is worth it..." I shut off the PDA before it lost all memory.

The minutes ticked by.

I studied the cans of different protein drinks obviously left there to instruct the patients about the liquid diet and noted websites for further study.

My bladder got full and I waited for a young male to finish his business in the bathroom. Before I sat down, I gagged and sprayed the room with the deodorizer. Did something crawl up that boy's butt and die three days ago? What is it about men and their bowel movements? Sucker was probably laughing at my coughs and the sound of the spray.

Still no doc.

I'm vowing to bring a picnic basket half full of books and the other half food. I open the blinds and try to soothe myself by watching the ducks play in the pond across the street. Not good. I'd fall asleep if my stomach wasn't growling louder by the minute. That disgustingly warm can of protein drink is now in serious danger...

The doc enters. Dr. B is a short, brown man with soulful whiskey brown eyes. Before he can do more than log on the computer and ask me a few questions about the info on the screen, his cell rings and he runs back out the door.

Did I mention that Randy and I often argue whether or not socialized medicine might be better for America? One of his classic arguments is how everyone isn't an individual there, just a number. Is our system much better? It seems that ever since I became a helpless "lifetime patient" because of my weight and DVT, I've felt demeaned, dismissed, and humiliated. Waiting hours beyond my appointment time for a doctor is standard. I've had the doctor who supposedly cares for my DVT situation touch me perhaps four times in the past twenty months. I've seen my primary care physician twice in the past three years.

I've actually had doctors diagnose me without ever meeting me before they pronounce their verdict, and often they're wrong. For example, the same doctor who treats my DVT stood at my hospital bedside and pronounced that I simply must have COPD emphysema because I smoked. She did not bother to talk to me, simply made her pronouncement and left before I could protest that I'd quit smoking some six months before and another doctor had decided I'd had a minor pulmonary embolism from the clot being dissolved in my leg.

Why do I stay with her after this? Only because her clinic is one of only two in my hometown that uses the finger stick test to check my blood clotting level instead of full blood draws. Believe me honey, if there were another clinic that did finger sticks within a reasonable distance, I'd be gone in a heartbeat.

Perhaps there is the real reason I'll continue to support privatized medicine-- capitalism. I have the right to leave and find services that I like better.

More tomorrow. I'm tired.


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