DETERMINATION CAN GET YOU THROUGH, BUT IS IT WORTH IT? – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Determined

I can relate to determined.

It was that kind of day. We needed some food, but no money comes in until next Thursday, so we are flat broke … but prescriptions still need to be filled. I sent Garry to the store with a list and a reminder that we are seriously broke, so ONLY get what’s on the list.

Also, I had to reschedule a hospital appointment because they’ve deferred me so often, the original tests are two months old and I don’t even know if I’m still anemic or it has bounced back to normal. I’ve been on the edge of below or slightly above anemic most of my life so it wouldn’t surprise me if I was now back in the normal range.

University of Medicine and roads

I have no complaints about the medical care at UMass Memorial, but getting an appointment in a reasonable amount of time is crazy. Garry got in fast because … well … he knew someone. That’s right. He had an old connection from his working days. I, on the other hand, do not have a connection. Worse, UMass is the kind of place where they don’t listen to you.

I have seizures. Short, limited, with a quick bounce back — but still frightening. I thought, after the last one, I should see a neurologist. Garry, who has the hell scared out of him, agreed. My doctor agreed. We all agreed, but I could not convince any neurologist at UMass to see me without requiring I get a head MRI first.

My doctor and nurse couldn’t convince him either. He was dead set on that MRI, even though I would probably have all my problems solved because following the MRI, I’d be dead.

You see, I have a metal pacemaker in my chest. Even being in the room with MRI equipment would kill me. Literally, would tear the pacemaker out of my chest and leave me gored, bloody, and dead. I can’t prove it because apparently, I’m not mentally equipped to explain my medical problems on my own.

So I never saw a neurologist. Never talked to one. Never heard from anyone. It has been months, maybe close to a year. Every time I get a bit dizzy, I’m terrified I’ll have another seizure, but since I can’t see a neurologist without dying, I figure I’ll have to live with the seizures.

And now, it’s time to change cardiologists because Garry and I are getting too old to haul our asses into Boston. I need a local doctor. Even though I can and did completely describe my heart surgery — all of it — I still have to prove it. PROVE IT?

How do you prove heart surgery? Can’t they just call Beth Israel and get the records from them? I may have the records somewhere, but they aren’t “legal” if they don’t come from the hospital. But we have all these medical privacy laws, so they can’t GET the records without a lot of transferring of paperwork.

Medical Building and ramps

Meanwhile, I still have to go to the lab and get my tests redone and maybe  (MAYBE!) they will be done before I go to the hospital where they will take my entire medical history again and it will be the same as the ones they’ve taken before including all my medications.

ALL of this information — everything that has ever happened to my body — is in their computer including the heart surgery, both replaced heart valves, the bypass, pacemaker, and cardiomyectomy. They have the serial numbers for each implant (I am full of serial numbers) and serial number for both of my breasts that are ALSO implants. I will never be an unidentified corpse on a slab because all of my body parts have their own USB code. Unless they fix that computer, too.

Everything has been put on their computer. But, since they “fixed” their software program, they can’t find anything.

And then there was the telephone which doesn’t work and the ten pounds of mail I have yet to finish sorting.

That’s been my day. How has yours been? You have to admit that only a determined 72-year-old woman could make it through this sort of day.  When I was done, I cooked dinner. Mussels with spices, tomatoes, Worcestershire Sauce on angel hair pasta. And I cleaned up, too.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. I am retired and delighted to be so. May I live long and write frequently.

31 thoughts on “DETERMINATION CAN GET YOU THROUGH, BUT IS IT WORTH IT? – Marilyn Armstrong”

    1. They seem to not believe me when I tell them as if I need an official certificate because I’m too stupid to know what’s going on with my body. This has always been the general position of doctors and it has never ceased to piss me off. I actually DO have a card with the serial number of the pacemaker, as well as a card with the serial number of each of my replaced valves. Somewhere, I’m pretty sure I have a card with the serial numbers of each breast. But apparently, that’s STILL not enough.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. OK, the problem isn’t WordPress of blogging. You’re just going through a lot of shit and the piss-ass shit you might be dealing with with WordPress is just the straw. This is all incredibly depressing and uncertain. It seems and sounds hopeless and frustrating. Add to that winter. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m pulling ticks off my dogs in January and for reasons best known to … I don’t know who … no one believes me when I explain I have a metal pacemaker with a battery, even though you can FEEL the pacemaker because it’s very close to my skin. They tend to fit better in men who have a bigger muscle there. But they can’t send me for an MRI because it will kill me. And I can’t seem to find a competent cardiologist or a neurologist who doesn’t require the MRI (which I can’t have) before talking to me. And the phone AT&T sent me doesn’t work. And I have a book to review that I REALLY think needs to be rewritten because it’s a great book that needs a different introduction. And a lot of this stuff is very personal and no fun at all to write about. I was just looking at the list of things that are officially wrong with me (not counting the stuff that’s wrong with me that didn’t make the charts) and it’s downright discouraging. It’s not the kind of stuff you can “work” your way out of. Exercise won’t do it and the other options require massive and frightening surgery which I might not survive this time.

      So yeah, it’s hard for me to find light pieces to write on WordPress and they are just another flea biting my ankles. When I actually write about what’s really bothering me, I sound like I’m whining and I really HATE that. And it’s why I try not to write about it, but it was one of those days. Thank you for understanding.

      Liked by 2 people

        1. I have a lineup of books I am reading that need reviewing and I’m too tired to do anything right now. My back has been really bad lately, so by four in the morning, it hurts so much, I can’t find a comfortable way to sleep. So I don’t sleep. I have to do something about this. These three-hour nights are not helping my quality of life issues. But I have your book on Kindle, right? Because I’m probably more likely to read it if I don’t have to hold the book and it comes with a backlight. I really am totally fried.

          Liked by 2 people

            1. I will get to it. I read Kim Harrison’s book first because it’s coming out in a couple of weeks and she isn’t getting any PR from her publisher. You’d think after 13 best sellers, they wouldn’t abandon you because one or two books don’t do well, but they do. Also, Gretchen Archer has a new one coming out in March — and she refused her publisher’s contract, so THEY won’t do anything for her, either. And she’s had 5 best-sellers in a row.

              You fight so hard to GET a publisher, but even if you do, they really don’t care about your work. No nurturing, no support. I think the good old days died around 1950.

              Liked by 2 people

  2. My wife starting having seizures a few years ago. They would give her two milligrams of Ativan by iv. But not until a doctor could see her and maybe a cat scan. I finally asked if she could get a prescription for Ativan. They did. From then on when she felt a seizure coming in she would take a two milligram tablet and go to sleep. That saved trips to the emergency room and works fine.

    Good luck with your health. Hope it gets better.

    My daughter works for one of the agencies that have been shut down. She is glad roger back to work next week. To a month of back log. And for just over two weeks. But she will pick up back pay and maybe one more paycheck. And then another possible shut down unless the two parties both compromise and get a budget psssed.

    You may be able to get your local doctor to proscribe action for anxiety.

    I am not a doctor and this is not medical advice of any kind. Just thinking out loud over the back fence.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have Klonopin and it never occurred to me, but that is also for anxiety, though I don’t think this is caused by anxiety. I think it’s an advanced form of a migraine. It happens for no reason at all, too. I’m fine, then suddenly I’m dizzy and I faint. Or I lose track of where I am and walk into door jambs. I need to see a neurologist.

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      1. I take klonopin, one half gram, every night at bedtime. Sometimes bedtime is three a.m. usually around two. It helps me sleep and reduces my anxiety.
        Both drugs work by reducing brain activity. Seizures involve too much brain activity. That us what I read in the pieces I can find in google or on the books on neurology I read. Nobody really knows a lot about the brain. Too complicated for us to understand.
        I don’t see why your doctors don’t try something to see if it works. That is misty what the practice of medicine us. They are mostly guessing. Seems like the metal pacemaker would show up on a chest x-ray.
        Doctors and getting good medical treatment can be really frustrating. And trying to find old records makes it worse.

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  3. Wow, Marilyn. I started to say unbelievable, but actually all of this Catch 22 of your medical process is all too believable. Our modern-day efficient, seemingly time-saving computerized processes can drive one crazy, and the problems I have are not life-threatening. I don’t know your pain but I can certainly sympathize with it. Stay strong, friend….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Most of the things that could kill me have tried and failed, but my chest never healed after the heart surgery and sooner or later, they are going to want to repair it — at which point they can put in a new pacemaker that isn’t metal and won’t kill me. But meanwhile, I’m finding getting old is rough going!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. You are really almost the bionic woman but not as bionic as you should be unfortunately. Somewhere somehow I hope you find a capable specialist that can help without all this administrative stupidity

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    1. One doctor who could look at ALL of me would be a really BIG help. All these specialists are part of the problem. Everyone looks at a piece of you and no one connects all the parts and realized that you are ONE PERSON. Everything works TOGETHER.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s a good thing you have determination. You would think that medical professionals would be empathetic to your needs. Unfortunately, as we older folks know, we have to rely on doctors, hospitals, and Medicare/health plans even more, and they all seem to make it so complex and overly complicated to get what we need. It takes a great desk of determination just to survive these days.

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