23 March, 2011

Diagnosis: Ridiculous

Where do I begin?

About this time last night, my throat started hurting oh-so-badly. I tried everything I could think of (except for taking a shot of tequila because I didn't have any) to get it to stop hurting. Nothing worked. As usual when I'm hurting, I drugged myself before I went to bed. Pain = no sleep for Sarah. Pain killers = deep sleep for Sarah. Win! ;-)

Well, this morning it really wasn't any better. Sure, I could swallow, but it hurt. My chest was still tight from whatever asthma flare-up I'm having, so I decided to take my booty to the ACC (acute care clinic) as soon as I could muster up the energy to shower. I got there around 11 and the parking lot didn't look too crowded, so I was hopeful. Ha. There were quite a few more people than I expected. Maybe some of them live in walking distance? *shrug* 

Anyway, I took my number, filled out ridiculous paperwork (I mean, seriously, I'm already in their system...) and waited to be checked in. 30 minutes later, I handed Mr. Couldn't be More Quiet my paperwork, he checked me in, and I took my folder to the "triage" area. 30 more minutes, I get triaged. I give CPT RN my spill about how I've been having whatever this is for the past week. She swabs my throat twice and tells me it'll be about an hour before I can see the doctor. *sigh* Great.

1 hour and 15 minutes later, I get called back to a room. 15 minutes later, doctor comes in. The extent of his exam? Look in both ears, glance at my throat twice, listen to me take ONE breath and listen to my heart for 10 seconds. "Nope, doesn't look like strep. Looks like a virus that's "going around" and is hard to get rid of. We'll do a breathing treatment and then you can go to the pharmacy for your meds. " 

As soon as the door closed behind him, I groaned. A breathing treatment?! I've had a nebulizer since I was a teenager. I have the meds for it. I can freakin' do that at home! I was really hoping for some decent meds at the pharmacy. Meanwhile, the PA comes in and tells me what a breathing treatment is. Hello?! I'm 24 and have asthma. Chances are I've had it for a while and know what a breathing treatment is. I sit there and not-so-patiently wait while inhaling the medicine. I texted a friend here because just last week, she and her son were diagnosed with this "virus." I told her I wasn't sure I was buying the "virus" diagnosis.

I walked to the pharmacy where I waited another 30 minutes to get my medicine. The pharmacy technician walks back, with a bottle in her hand. You gotta be kidding me. It's freakin' lidocaine!!! I'm supposed to gargle with it. That's it. That's all he gave me. Here I've been struggling to breathe the last 5-6 days, and my throat is sore enough that I don't really want to talk and he gives me lidocaine?! Seriously, I could pick up some throat spray at the PX that would probably be just as helpful. Nevermind that my bronchial tubes are inflamed and swollen. Nah, I can handle that. If they call me tomorrow and tell me that my 2nd throat swab came back positive for strep, I am so going to be pissed.

I honestly felt like he diagnosed me with "a virus" because he wanted to get me the heck out of there since they were so busy. You know, I know that it's free for me to go there and I do appreciate that it doesn't cost me a dime. However, I don't appreciate being examined for 2 whole minutes and being immediately diagnosed with a virus because it seems like that's what it could be. I'm extremely frustrated. I had something similar in December '09 and saw a civilian doctor. Wanna know what I got? Allergy meds, a steroid shot, steroids in pill form and an antibiotic. That is what I call treatment.

I almost hope that I have to go back in a few days so that I can prove their diagnosis was ridiculous. Almost. I just want to feel better.


New Girl on Post said...

Is this a military run clinic? I ask, because I'm not really surprised. As a whole, I don't think the military does a very good job when it comes to providing good quality care for soldiers and their family. The good ones are few and far between. Sorry you wasted all that time on a very unsuccessful trip. I know how frustrating that must be.

Amanda said...

feel better soon!!!

ACUs and ABCs said...

I'm hurting for you! I just got over a horrrrrrrible sore throat. Didn't want to eat, didn't want to drink, couldn't sleep. At first I was thankful to be given amoxicillin because I was worried they would tell me it was just a virus...but I was immune to it and I didn't get any better. It was horrible. I went back to the doctor and got a penicillin shot and a zpack and was better within 24 hours. One of the times I went to civilian urgent care. Tricare covered most of it...I think I got a bill for about $30, but maybe you'll have a better experience. Feel better!!

Brooke said...

We are military also. My daughter recently had a fever and was obviously miserable...and we were given the "it's just a virus" diagnosis as well. In fact, our appointment for her sounded much like your appointment. Then we had to take her to the E.R. and get some antibiotics that quite honestly didn't do anything for her.

I agree with your assessment that while the appointments and meds are free, the service received is less than stellar and you almost always walk away not feeling much better and with a generic diagnosis.

Hope you feel better soon.

Erin said...

I hate it when docs just glance over you and declare it virus. It seems like he barely gave it enough time to see if anything was wrong at all!

hmb said...

The mil clinic here is the same exact way--especially when they are busy!

Make yourself a nice hot toddy!