Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Cranky Goes A-Ranting

Alternately titled: Here, She With the Perfect Damn Life, whines.

Sometimes you just wake up out of sorts and, instead of life recognizing that what you need to gently kiss yourself out of your funk is for life to be even more wonderful and all, life (perverse thing that it is) hands you a day of minor annoyances instead.

So was my Monday. The very fact that I have no right to feel whiny makes me feel crabbier.

Some of the highlights:

1) The compulsory meetings we have had to attend each week for the foreseeable future (say about a year, although they are to be less and less frequent, supposedly) are held at 7am on Mondays. This puts the clinic out of sorts, as well. As misery loves company, this should have made me a bit less crabby, but didn't. I really hate meetings, especially meetings with no meaningful purpose to me. Which would really be essentially all meetings. Can you see why I didn't pursue a career in business?

2) For some reason, I was freaky-jittery on caffeine after ONLY ONE CUP OF COFFEE. That's just crazy. I have no idea. I felt that I couldn't put a cohesive thought together for the entire morning. Not a good thing for what turned out to be a ...

3) Freaky busy day. Schedule crammed with nothing that was straight forward. I am an internist. A plodder if you will. I love to mull. I delight in dragging out the 5" thick textbooks (that's 13cm for the entire civilized world) and ponder the differential diagnosis of the multitude of symptoms. A frail elderly person with a complaint of dizziness, 20 problems on her problem list and 20 meds to boot, (all of which have multiple interactions) IF I HAVE AN HOUR OF TIME is mother's milk to the likes of me. Sadly, this person never comes on a slow Tuesday afternoon but a psycho Monday when I am already an hour behind and my assistant sticks her head in the door to say that someone just walked in with shortness of breath and he "doesn't look very good". I really hate being late. I really hate feeling not in control (no, don't laugh, don't look shocked). I really, REALLY hate feeling that I am missing something and am dropping balls.

4) If you tell me something, as a patient, I will likely believe you. If you tell me you pulled over to the side of the road and passed out in your car and, after I grill you that this was not falling asleep and not something else and you stick to your assertion that it was truly passing out, and then I notify the Motor Vehicles Division of a loss of consciousness, AS I AM REQUIRED TO DO BY LAW, regardless if most physicians do not do this (What, are they nuts? The liability! The guilt if someone died!), please do not get mad at me. If you then change your story and assert that you really just fell asleep because you were so sick, and then do not follow up with your primary doctor, as I strongly urged you (and documented in the chart) to do, when this happened, many months ago, please do not call me, furious that now your license is being pulled due to lack of documentation of further evaluation. You had many months to attend to this. I realize you are angry and frightened and your livelihood depends on your driving. Please ignore the forehead sized dents in the desk, next to the phone.

5) Please tell me if you took something not prescribed to you. I am not the police. I am not your mother. I need to know. This also goes for starting on antibiotics that you had lying around the house that you did not finish from the last time you had an infection. I NEED TO KNOW!

6) The pain scale helps us judge how you are feeling. The numbers go from 1-10. There is no pain higher than 10. You can't have an 11 or a 25 or a 100. By telling me this I will automatically downgrade everything accordingly to fit the 1-10 scale. I can't help it, I am human. Did I mention that I will believe you? A pain rating of 8-10 really gets my attention, much more so than trying to impress me with a 72. Just the facts, ma'am (or sir).

7) To the guy with the bad arm, THANK YOU for the nice, spur of the moment compliment at the end of our visit. You really made my day better. That was even better than chocolate.

All right. That's enough of the bug-eyed rant. I feel ever-so-much better for getting that off my chest. You are the best. I will de-bulge my eyes and the pulsing vein at my temple.

I just need a break. I had a few days at Christmas and some time off last summer and as I work part time, I really don't need the vacations like I used to, but I really need one now. I need some fun and laughing and stuff like on the resort commercials.

And what luck, I am getting a break and some fun and laughing and stuff like that. Even though there will be no going to resorts, I will bring some resorting to us. Dad and Cathy are coming to visit for a week, arriving tomorrow night. I have made essentially no plans, aside from some menu sketching-out. I plan to buy a bottle of bourbon for juleps ( I planted a chocolate mint plant and it must be used!) and a bottle of good scotch for sipping and chatting while watching the fireflys. I have wine in the pantry / bomb shelter / storm cellar. I have plans for a day at the Milwaukee zoo and that's it. I figure we can decide what fun things we want to do when they get here. We have squirt guns, small inflatable pool, hoses, swing set, 2 sand boxes, 8 acres of yard and the state of Wisconsin. Colin has a new bike to learn to ride (his old one had pedals that were so hard to push, he couldn't really get them to go). Well, currently it is in a box needing assembly, but that is a minor point. I have off from Thursday until the 5th of July!

Suddenly I am no longer cranky.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, I love people who lie to the medical staff. "No, no! I didn't skip dialysis and do cocaine instead! My blood pressure is just naturally 240/120! Really!"

Have a great time on your vacation.


9:55 AM  
Blogger Mojavi said...

I so hope you have a good vacation! It sounds like a dream vacation with the sipping and the firefly's.

10:21 AM  
Anonymous Kismet said...

Lucky girl, a break!!! Sounds like it is well deserved. Enjoy.
I am back to work tomorrow after almost 3 3 weeks off doing not much of anything. I hate work :(

11:01 AM  
Blogger The Lioness said...

A family of alcoholics, really - WINE, BOURBON, SCOTCH?? I'm shocked. (I thought B and S were the same BTW. That's how pathetic I am alcohol-wise. Are B and brandy the same? Help.)

Diana, Diana, Diana... *insert eyeroll* Why, why , WHY do you feel you cannot complain? That was the Monday from hell! Quickly, pull a Garfield! And who the hell meets at 7 am? You people are absolute Barbarians, really you are. And then you wonder why we're scared of YOU! 7 am for God's sake!

Am very happy over the little holiday news and hope you'll still post. Oh you'd better! maybe your dad will want to be a guest blogger and delight us further w his dark sense of humour? Keep pouring him wine dahling! Thank you!

PS - there's NO choc mint plant right? You're just pulling ou leg right? RIGHT?

12:35 PM  
Anonymous stacy moe said...

Hi Diana- please feel free to complain! Sounds like a tough gig. That is why I'm not a doctor- because I might prescribe a "smacking" or a recommendation to "pull their head out" to some people.

Sound like a fun time off- as if you are creating your own Wisconsin resort, complete with cool drinks....take care.

12:52 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

Linda- Really! No, no coke at all. Or crank. Ever. Ok, so I mostly believe people, except in the ER and the ICU. Another favorite (yours, too, I am sure): The person who is an asshole to everyone but the doc. Do they have any idea who has the real power in the office? I just go where they tell me to go.

Mojavi- Thanks. I am just so looking forward to the loafing. Ahhhhhh. (Just getting ready.)

Kismet- So sorry that it's back to work, jiggity, jig for you. 3 weeks is nice, though.

Johnny- Dahling, glad I could shock. I live for it. OK, not at all an expert on the whole bourbon vs scotch thing but as I understand (please anyone, jump in and correct me), bourbon is a type of whiskey for which at least 51% of of the grain that is used to make it must be corn. Most comes from Kentucky and is the key ingredient in mint julips. I actually prefer scotch, a type of whiskey, made as a craft in Scotland from water and barley, sometimes malted with peat. Brandy is very different, distilled from fruit (anything from apples to grapes to apricots). Cognac is a type of brandy, made from grapes from the Cognac region of France. Enough lecture. Yes, the horrible 7am meetings (have been going on for a couple of months now). Much bitterness. Only time we could all be there, would not interfere with as much patient care, and (the only real criteria) that the facilitator had open. Grrrr. There aren't even donuts and it's bring your own coffee. Posting will occur, of course, how could I be without you all? And, YES!!! I have a chocolate flavored mint plant! It is a mint that smells of chocolate. Divine. Check it out if you are bored: http://davesgarden.com/pf/go/56869/
Other mints come flavored, like orange and pineapple. Next time you are at a nursery, go by the herb area, touch the leaves, then smell your fingers.

Stace- I have 2 cartoons on my bulletin board, hidden from patient view. One says "I'd like to slap your face, tell you to stop complaining and send you on your way, but instead, here's something to help you rest. Call me if you're not better by Monday." The second has a guy talking to his doc, saying, "When I touch my tongue to aluminum foil wrapped around a walnut while holding a toaster oven, I feel a peculiar tingling in my toes. What's wrong wiht me?" "You have too much free time," replies his doctor. Just call me Dr Compassion.

2:40 PM  
Blogger Rozanne said...

What do you mean "especially meetings with no meaningful purpose"? There is no other kind.

Last year I had to fly in to Chicago for a two-day nap, I mean, meeting with a client. It was a complete waste of time that I couldn't bill for! And it was cold. And the flight they booked me on had a really long layover in the sterile Phoenix airport. Ugh. Thank god I've only had to go to one meeting in seven years as an independent contract.

Hmmm. I guess I'm hijacking your rant, here, which of course you are entitled to--esp. with all the nutso patients you had to deal with yesterday. Irk!

Your vacation sounds like it will be exceedingly relaxing.

6:46 PM  
Blogger Teri said...

Have a good vacation! You sound like you need it. Those meetings sound evil. What a horrid day/time to have to sit through a meeting. Blech.

And enjoy the zoo - we were just there. The big cat house renovation isn't done yet, and neither is the train station, but the rest of the zoo is in fine form.

12:07 AM  
Blogger CarpeDM said...

I do not feel the urge to lie to my doctor (she's actually a physician's assistant but you know what, I'm more comfortable with her than I've ever been with my past doctors), she is completely cool and saved my life and I love her. Although I should probably call and ask her why I want to pass out every time I stand up or move my head.

Meetings suck. I don't have to have them that often anymore. Which is good, because I used to fall asleep during them and that really annoyed my boss since I was supposed to help him run the meetings. Oops.

About the coffee thing, I got cut off on Sunday from water. I was acting like a freak and actually licked a girl that hangs out there. It was on her arm and I wasn't feeling good and thought I might have heatstroke but still, that is kind of weird, huh?

If I didn't adore my doctor as much as I did, I would want you to be my doctor. I am sorry you had a horrible day and hope things go better. Which I'm sure they will since you have all of this vacation coming up. Enjoy!

Does the plant taste like chocolate? I've always wanted to try a mint julep but apparently they have alcohol in them and my theory is that liquor is bad unless there is chocolate or fruit or ice cream of some sort involved (mudslides, pina coladas, brandy alexanders).

2:06 AM  
Blogger Diana said...

Rozanne- OK, you caught me. Just trying to be diplomatic about the whole meeting thing. Useless, all. (Although if a large box of donuts are there, it does give something to think about...Which donut? Are there any donuts left? Can I take a 2nd donut? Which 2nd donut would I choose? How about 3rds?... That Chicago trip sounded sucky. Finally, PLEASE don't ever feel that the comments section are hijacked. I figure the comments section are where the party is. Come, chat, rant. Talk among ourselves. Try the hours d'ouvres or a virtual donut. (This morning, I have a Door County cherry almond scone as a treat for myself for having a dentist appt later. Want a bite? It's v.v. good.)

Teri- Thanks. We havn't been to the Milwaukee Zoo for 3 years. (Last time, I was many months preg with Sara and I think it was in August. I swelled.) Why do I think they were working on the big cat exhibit then? It will be fun.

Dana- Poor you, it doesn't sound as though you are perking up yet. I'd give your PA a call (I love working with PAs and NPs. The clinic where I am now has 2 amazing NPs, 2 docs, a chiro, and a PT for providers.), she may be able to help you. If it is inner ear crud, there is a med that usually helps the symptoms so you can do nice things like move your head and stand up. If it is not, best to figure it out. I have yet to taste the plant but will throw some in some tabouli. Julips are basically straight bourbon poured over crushed ice with mint leaves "muddled" (mashed a bit with a spoon) with some powdered sugar. They are not my favorite but, for some reason, I get a hankering for one each summer. Now, I have always been curious abut brandy Alexanders. What is in one? I ordered one once but the bartender had no idea what was in one and the only thing I could contribute what that it probably had brandy in it. Educate me, please. Hang in there!

8:37 AM  
Blogger Teri said...

They probably WERE renovating the cat house three years ago. It's been going on forever. But it really needed to be done. The cat house was like a prison, not a zoo. It made me sad every time I went into it. Tiny cages with cement floors and walls, no vegetation, no habitat... it was a vestige of the dark ages. The cats had outside habitat, but they were stuck in those horrible cages all winter. Yuck.

A Brandy Alexander is brandy, creme de cacao, and either creme or ice cream, sometimes blended with crushed ice, sometimes served with ice cubes.

10:06 AM  
Blogger Diana said...

Teri- Poor cats. That's right, I remember, now. So THAT'S a brandy Alexander. Whoa. Perhaps I should never try one or I might just not put anything else in my mouth, ever. Thanks.

12:31 PM  
Blogger Rozanne said...

You are so right about the donuts. If they happen to be present, they are definitely the most interesting thing at the meeting.

And, yes, I will have a bite of that scone! Door County cherries. I took a solo bike trip through Door County a few years ago and I remember how lovely the cherry trees looked!

2:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's a fun factoid:

Owners lie to technicians. Regularly.

It's actually really funny to be told one thing by the tech (who collected the history) then to go into the room and get a COMPLETELY different story from the owner then to come out of the room and watch the tech's face turn red as she stamps her feet and screams, "But that's not what she SAID!"


12:08 AM  
Blogger Diana said...

Christine- NO! REALLY? (slaps cheek, mouth in an "O") I always feel sorry for the poor med. asst or nurse or med student or, or, or, who that happens to on my end. I always flash back to when it was me who had been lied to and re-assure them. And people wonder why everyone in the profession asks the same damn questions over and over. Irritating, I know, but necessary. Sigh.

12:00 AM  

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