So, Thursday my leg began throbbing. It's a pain that's been coming and going for a while. Sometimes it hurt to put weight on it and when I moved it around some, the pain would go away so I chalked it up to muscle stiffness and ignored it until this past Thursday when it just wouldn't not go away.
I hesitated to go to the emergency room, because I didn't want the pain to go away and to be considered a hypochondriac or worse, a malingerer since I lived at the Shelter. (To those of you whose first instinct is to say, "Well it's illegal for them to", just stop right there. Being legal or "right" doesn't play into someone's actions. You know that.)
But, after I showed the shelter nurse my leg, she saw the redness and swelling and insisted I go to the emergency room. So lo and behold, the diagnosis was cellulitis. And on the first day they perscribed me some oral antibiotics, which the shelter nurse was kind enough to help me with the co-pay for. (It was that Thursday evening and I wouldn't have money until Friday, when I went for the testing at MIT. The doctor insisted I needed to get on the meds as soon as possible or I wouldn't get better.)
Anyhow, Friday when I got back from Boston, it was too late in the evening. The emergency room line was too long and I didn't feel like waiting hours, so I went back the next morning. And the doctor on staff this time around took a look at the leg and said that it wasn't clearning up as fast as he'd have liked it. So he had me admitted to the hospital. Fun.
I lasted about seven hours into the day. For the record. I've never been happy sitting on my ass all day, just watching TV. And when I got to the ninth floor where the patient rooms were, that was all there was to do. Watch tv in my room, or watch TV in the patient lounge.
Mind you, I've been to the Salem Hospital's psychiatric ward. There were books, magazines, and games with small sharp plastic pieces all in a locked floor where people who thought they were prisoners of President Obama but I can't find so much as a posted wall copy of Patient's Rights on the wall of the supposedly "sane" ward just two floors up.
The point is that after a few hours of watching a James Bond Marathon, I began going a little stir crazy. I asked if I could get outside for some air, but the nurse on duty insisted I wait for the doctor. Fine. I waited.
Finally Doctor Shamylan (yeah, he was Indian, yes M. Night Shamylan is Indian, no I am not comparing the two because I am racist. Hear me out.) gets around to seeing me. And his treatment plan is to give me a series of antibiotics intravenously of the course of two days in addition to my oral medications to see if that cleared it up. Only in the same conversation he said he didn't know how long it would take. Then he gave me a another length of time. Then I asked if I could go out for some fresh air and he looked at me like I asked for a bottle Don Perion and a plate of grapes. Then he told me it was against hospital policy and that it "wasn't his fault" because I could not leave the building without an aid or a nurse. I'll tell you why that was bull**** in a moment.
Everytime I asked him a new question he'd throw me a different plot twist that had little of anything to do with with what he just told me and ended up leaving me more confused and wondering why I would spend my money to partake in his work. Much like Night Shamylan of late. So there.
I finally got sick of the mindgames and the being stuck inside and just signed the AMA. (Against Medical Advice) On my way out of the fourth floor exit, I see not one, but two patients hanging around outside. Both were wearing bathrobes, one in a wheel chair and the other standing with an IV bag dangling from the little pole he was pushing around. Not one nurse or aid to be found, not even in the lobby of the exit. And this was an exit facing the parking lot that opened out onto Highland Avenue, so not very secure at all if someone wanted to orchestrate some kind of escape/kidnapping.
So, after a few hours, I had some fresh air. Calmed down a bit and I went back to the emergency room. I explained to the doctor that I basically panicked because the doctor couldn't seem to give me a straight story. And that I wasn't comfortable staying in the hospital anymore because of it.
We worked out a plan where I would just come in for a couple of days as an outpatient for an IV. So far it's clearing up at least, but honestly that Saturday could have gone better. I don't even feel like going into all of the details about the evening visit, but let me just tell you the conclusion I came to finally.
Every doctor is going to give you a different opinion. Every doctor thinks he or she is the King **** when it comes to their medical opinion. My problem was getting too caught up in the different opinions and thinking, "Why can't they keep the story straight?"
When it comes right down to it, you have to trust your own instincts. Go with the doctor's opinion that's most convenient for you and document everything he says because if he's wrong it's his ass on the line.
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