PTS*

cn: ptss, chronic pain, gender stuff (inc. references to surgery)

 

I had an appointment with previous-doctor last week. He somehow got hold of my test results, and despite trumpeting himself as a super-duper in-demand expert, said “well you have reasons to feel like crap”, “that doesn’t make sense you’re not fat and you don’t drink”, and walked out. He likes to walk out when he’s done talking and talk over me typing so I don’t get to actually ask questions. So I followed him out, signed the Medicare form, and the receptionist didn’t ask if I needed a new appointment so I didn’t make one.

 

Apart from that, I haven’t left the house in two weeks. I only just, two days ago, convinced myself to do the washing and wash the clothes I wore to the test. I didn’t check my email for over a week and I still have some that I can’t make myself read.

 

This would be a classic PTSS episode, but for one thing. I don’t know if it was the test that triggered it or not.

Continue reading PTS*

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Should’ve seen that one coming

CN: discussion surrounding surgery, discrimination

 

Well, the test went ahead. I ended up fighting for it simply because I didn’t want to have to go through the process again, and that was before everything really kicked off.

Continue reading Should’ve seen that one coming

Not My Problem

CN: disability, discrimination, consent, assault

 

So I have to go to the hospital tomorrow, and it’s, at best, 50/50, whether I get sent home, based on all the ‘mandatory’ things I don’t have because of the very thing I’m there for. I’ve pretty much decided that if they give me any trouble I’ll walk out and complain, again, because stuff is building up there and I’m rather over it all.

 

The key thing in all of these is a lack of  common sense/awareness of consent.

 

Continue reading Not My Problem

Project New Doctor, part 3

CN: privacy, discrimination

 

Let me remind you that for a few years, I worked at a law firm – specifically in an area where I frequently had to deal with doctors and medical records. I do not think things have radically changed since then, and if they have it certainly hasn’t been publicised.

 

So, I went to check my mail today and had a letter from the hospital.

 

In this letter, they said they had been notified that I had changed GPs so they had sent my records to “facilitate [my] ongoing care” and when I was next in the hospital I had to tell them who I wanted to notify in future so that the correct GP was informed.

Here’s the problem – I haven’t changed GPs.

Continue reading Project New Doctor, part 3

Project New Doctor, part 2

CN: codeine drama, discrmination

 

Yeah, so, today was the first appointment with Potential New Doctor #1.

 

Receptionist presented me with a new patient form and insisted I fill it out, while holding my typed version. “But I have to scan it!!!” was said.

Then…

“Can’t you write?”

Well, sure, but not if you want to read it.

 

Cue huffing and heading out to the back to, as I discovered, gossip about it.

Continue reading Project New Doctor, part 2

Project New Doctor, part 1

CN: moar codeine drama, discrimination

 

Project New Doctor officially started today.

 

It actually started last Friday, because after stuffing around with the hospital for two days (including planting myself at the outpatient clinic desk and refusing to leave until they unlost my test appointment, them admitting they sent it to the wrong address, and also put the wrong day on the notification letter and gave me two different times this is not a joke) I had to have the pre-test blood test.

I ended up coming home after that because the nurse was nasty – I had written out all my correct contact details and the nurse left that on the front desk, took me into the back room, then asked me to confirm my contact details.

“Is it written down? Can you give me something with it on?”

I facepalmed and it was “I’ll do that later”… the same thing that last time resulted in me receiving a bill in the mail because my contact information didn’t match that held by Medicare, and which I had expressly asked them to attend to this time since I wouldn’t be able, to, you know, get the bill and send it back, what with surgery and being unable to walk and all.

Then, I walked outside… and found all my IDs gone, and my binding ring (my second, because I still haven’t found the original!! This happens when you lose so much weight since you got it and it’s cold so your fingers are half the size they used to be…). I went back in to sit on a chair and check in my bag, because usually when my binding ring is gone it was caught in my bag when I reached for something. The courier, however, sent me into the back room, where I tried to explain to the nurse that things were missing.

“It’s not here,” I was told, and forced back out without being able to search. I refused to leave, even when they were yelling “it’s in your bag because you didn’t bring anything in with you!” (which, since I definitely did take my bag in with me, and my jacket and…) and “It’s green, I would see it!” and then…

“Oh, and I wanted to answer your question about billing!” when I’d never asked one, and apparently in the like, one minute I’d been outside they’d discovered that I received a bill because the form wasn’t signed last time and if I bring the bill in they can show me how to sign it and send it back! …

I managed to get in to search in the end, though, and was holding my card in my hand while they continued yelling at me about how it wasn’t there.

My binding ring? On the ground, outside.

Did I mention the yelling? And lecturing me about billing? Kind of not appropriate when someone’s having a panic attack.

So I came home.

 

Then I meant to do it on Saturday, but I slept for fourteen hours and then didn’t have time to get there.

Then I was like ‘I’ll do it Sunday’, and I woke up and wasn’t able to balance, so that put paid to that.

 

So, today. Monday. I woke up and then I woke up again and it was already 4pm, and by the time the aura faded enough to drive it was 6:30pm. That gave me time for two doctors and to check my mail (and, still, no sign of the promised script).

First one – passed over my letter: “That’s fine, can I have your name? Oh, your Medicare card is fine. Do you have a phone number? Oh! I’ll just make a note then. Thank you!”

Second one – huge sign NO DRUGS OF ADDICTION OR DEPENDENCE PRESCRIBED HERE and then a big note about how police action will be taken against anyone who isn’t pliantly cooperative (okay, it said raised voice or violence or other antisocial behaviour, but we all know what it really means). I’ve also had run-ins with their doctors in the context of WorkCover claims, so it made me even more dubious. However, while I wanted to quietly slip away, the struggle I had just to open the door and the fact that it was entirely silent in the waiting room meant that I was noticed, and an exit would not have been unobtrusive.

I handed over my letter.

“Have you been here before?” No.

“Can you fill this out?” No. I handed over my contact details form, complete with list of specialists and gender identity and etc etc.

It’s hard to convey tone, sometimes. “How will you communicate with the doctor?” can be a valid question and also a tool of discrimination and an indicator of things not going to go very well.

“How do you communicate?” became a loud, whiny “Well I don’t know what to do!” followed by “The doctor has a medical file on the computer. A ME-DI-CAL FILE.” after I mimed typing, and pointed at a computer because that didn’t work. It was made expressly clear that this was an inconvenience when, despite this statement not requiring a response from me, there was eye-rolling, huffing, and “I’ll have to find someone to help me”.

Because that wasn’t enough…

“Have you seen someone else? You have to write down who. I have to get your medical records.” An appointment hadn’t been made at this time, btw. I just stared.

So the receptionist went off to find someone to help, went two computers away, and made an appointment. Thankfully, it’s after the first one, so while I can’t cancel (not without incurring a fee), if I don’t need it I can simply torpedo it. But if I do… well, clearly that won’t go well.

 

I have one chance left, which is a walk-in clinic. They have one trans-friendly doctor, but I’m not guaranteed to be able to see him, and even then…

 

I did write to the Minister for Health and copied it to my local representative, who is on the Committee for Health Services. It might be too late to help me, though.

update

cn: codeine drama, discrimination, doctor drama

Real brief, because bawling fit:

  • Facebook reader asked me whether the gynaecologist in my last post was okay with the codeine or whether the reaction was because I was taking codeine.
    I interpreted the whole thing as ‘wow the pain is real’ because the ‘you just need a better x!’ stopped and the ‘your pain needs to be controlled I’mma make sure you get through to your next appointment’ started, and while, yes, there was a bit of “that’s because codeine makes the pain worse!” and “we’re giving you an addiction!”, (both real quotes, not my best recollection or paraphrasing), the focus was very clearly on keeping the pain under control and not changing anything until something definitely better was in place.
  • I managed to ask at the chemist if they could recommend a doctor. The pharmacist and the counter person went out the back and discussed it – I overheard them saying “why didn’t her doctor just refer her?” (yes, because they totally refuse to use my pronouns as well) and when they came back, it was “have you been referred to a pain clinic? they’re cracking down, you know, and i can’t influence anyone and we’ve seen a decrease in scripts as a result, did the doctor say anything about where you could go?” I told them he told me to see a female doctor because they saw fewer patients and while the pharmacist realised it was sexist and wtf-y, the counter person then only recommended female doctors, and all too far away for me to get to without the pain under control. It takes me ten minutes to get the 800m to the GP now – the one they ended up deciding on was 6km away, and in traffic is more like half an hour. The only takeaway was that I could still see the same person there every time, and one I tried before has a nice doctor, but they recommended not going back there as trying again wouldn’t look good for me. Fine, w/e.
  • I received two letters when I checked my mail – the GP sent me a letter to say when my test is, but nothing else. It was sent before the gynaecologist appointment, so I don’t know whether they talked or if I should still expect a script in the mail or what. Now, here’s a thing – without even bothering to check with me, the GP asked one of the reception people to call the hospital for me to find out when, you know, because I can’t talk so clearly there’s no way I can, you know, communicate with the hospital by myself. Except I will, now, but an entire week later. And if I had not gone to the GP last week to try to get him to put me on a chronic pain management plan (“what you mean mobility allowance? Centrelink don’t do that and you’re not eligible for NDIS and you’d have to have a label for the rest of your life” ) I wouldn’t have even known at all.
  • Oh, and the pain specialist cancelled. Sorry, “is not consulting that day please ring to make a new appointment”. Remember how they wouldn’t talk to me because it was too hard?

 

Clearly, I was stupid to think that other-gynaecologist would at least come through with the script so I’d have time to do all this with less impending doom. I mean, yeah, I have more time to sort out the pain specialist. Maybe. But if I do -nothing else- I can attend both the test and the gynaecologist. I can’t do -nothing else- because I don’t have a script to make that nothing else restful enough.

 

This is what the Australian government’s all-or-nothing, zero-to-sixty influence against opiates has done. And yes, I’ve heard the “you don’t really need it you’re just panicking because you’re addicted and you’re being cut off” drama spiel before, so stop sending me addiction clinic spam, kthnx. I have been repeatedly told over the years that this is the best way to manage things, that anything else is too hard, that it’s better not to mess with it while it’s working, that managing the pain is most important.