Friday, May 27, 2005

It's always something...

My cousin/roomate has had this heinous thing on his back. It is a huge welt-like thing, an abcess of sorts, that is turning black down the middle as if it is rotting. It is enormous and disgusting, and was starting to become painful. So yesterday as I was finishing the day of work here at the World Church of Assimilation, he called me to say that his doctor had recommended he go to the emergency room about it.

I made some calls to his friends, who I have to say are really good friends, the kind of which I wish I had a few. Then I headed down to the hospital in Brooklyn where he had been admitted. Eventually they did some bloodwork and put an antibiotic drip in his arm, and then we waited. And waited. And waited. We were waiting on them to move him to a room upstairs. There were a few times they would kick all the visitors out, seemingly arbitrarily, and when I was leaving I asked the doctor what was up. He said, "Oh, I have no idea how long it will be, there aren't a lot of beds and the hospital is pretty full upstairs too." Very helpful, not.

Hours later, he had had enough. I went to the doctor and said that my cousin just wanted to leave, rather than just lay there being ignored. The emergency room was busy, but it was getting a little rediculous. The doctor, who I will heretofor refer to as Doctor Ass, said that he could sign out "against medical advice" but the thing on his back was "really bad" and he should stay overnight. I told him I agreed, and would try to convince him. But he is the kind of person who likes to do what he likes to do. He then decided that he just wanted to walk around a little and go outside and smoke. I asked the doctor if it were okay if he put his clothes on and moved around a little. He said, "yeah, yeah," and so I said someone needed to remove the thing from his arm. To which Doctor Ass replied: "Just give me a minute, we're very backlogged right now. You just have to be very patient sir."

Now, my cousin and I both were the fucking MODEL of patience in there. I hate, hate, hate being told that I have to be patient when I am being patient. My inquiries where not insisting immediate action and attention, just inquiries of concern. So that really pissed me off. We then broke him free from the drip, with the tube still hanging out of his arm, and went out and smoked a cig.

There were some crazy things going on in there. One man had been shot in the leg. He was pissed. There was a crazy woman who was holding her vagina tight and racking back and forth moaning and screaming obnoxiously at anyone who walked by. Then she would just stop, and be content and peaceful. Then she'd start up again. Another man was handcuffed to a chair with police escorts around him. I have no idea what his medical need was. Then there was a clearly crazy man who had a gauze wrapped around his head. He was yelling at anybody who walked by. They had him strapped into the bed in a strait-jacket-like thing, which he, after careful consideration of his situation, figured out how to break free from. Then he marched his ass right out of there, and only when he was nearly out of the hospital did the security guards even realize that this man in a gown with gauze on his head probably should not be leaving. But they let him go out to smoke at least.

Then there was more resistance to letting me back into the emergency room -- and there was resistance to letting him back in until he showed the fucking needle in his arm and the armbands. So I eventually snuck back, put him back in, and after about eight hours of nothing happening, I told him I was going to go home to feed the starving cat, call his mother, and get some sleep before I had to come to work in the morning.

When I got up this morning, he was there in bed. I woke him up to ask what was going on and he said he waited 'till 3 a.m. and just left. He didn't sign out or anything, just left, and no one noticed. Today he is going to go back to his doctor and he is not going to go to the hospital again until they have arrangments made rather than wait in the emergency room with all the cooks and crazies, and medical professionals throwing their power around.

Like the other assholic doctor who was telling the woman whose daughter was beside my cousing that "everything's fine, you can just leave" and then being pissy when the woman insisted that she would not leave her daughter. HELLO, she's a MOTHER, she's not going to just go home while her daughter is in the EMERGENCY ROOM. And for the doctor to even act like he can't understand WHY she won't do that ... give me a break.

I am writing my thesis on the doctor/patient relationship and autonomy in the coming semester, and I am going to draw on this, which is one of countless experiences I've had with the medical institution, and I'm going to read them to filth. I am beginning to side with sociologists on the issue of medicine being abusive more than caring.

In other news, I'm glad someone is reading Andrea Peyser to filth because I really can't stand her.


Rob Helpy-Chalk said...

Um, fuck. I'm not sure what to say. Your cousin should still have someone look at that think on his back; it sounds nasty. If you have health insurance you can avoid the emergency room and just see a GP or even a dermatologist.

I'm not sure which is a bigger cause of fucked-upedness in American medicine, doctor's arrogance or lack of universal health care.

Use this experience in any paper. Philosophy needs more real world experiences.

Stroll said...

He started with a gp, who referred him to the hospital via the emergency room. Anyway, he went back to the doctor who drained it and now it is as heinous as ever, but I gauzed it up for him this morning so I think it's going to be okay... And thanks for the note on the post about contacting you regarding genetics, but when I posted that it was already too late, really, to do much else to it before turning it in. I'm waiting for it to be mailed to me now so I don't know how I did... I did refer to your paper a lot though.