I went to the emergency room Saturday morning, not part of my weekend plans. I had a pain above my ankle that was so severe it made me cry to put weight on it. It started with sort of a soreness and escalated to an actual pain. Bob consulted Dr. Google and decided that it could be a blood clot or thrombosis. Admittedly I didn’t have all the symptoms that were listed, but blood clots sound bad and Bob isn’t one to take these kinds of chances so after some reluctance off we went.
The big city emergency room was not particularly busy as we arrived at 9:30am on a Saturday and a very nice admitting nurse gave me a wheelchair. She took my vitals and told me it wouldn’t be long before a doc saw me. Surprisingly, she was telling the truth. She couldn’t vouch for the kind of the doctor, I suppose.
The resident sent to examine me, however, was a delightfully dismissive and condescending young lad. He explained that I didn’t present with any symptoms that would indicate a blood clot (other than the unexplained pain in my leg, that is). Note to all: do not mention WebMD when dealing with medical professionals. Dr. DBag, as I will refer to him going forward, completely checked out when that website was mentioned. He proceeded to make me feel utterly ridiculous for having sought treatment at all, at one point asking what exactly made me decide to come to the emergency room. In my mind I replied, “I was just jonesing to waste the better part of a beautiful sunny day in a hospital gown being talked down to by an Ivy League punk like you”, but I think I said something about pain and being scared.
When Bob asked about tests to confirm that there was no clot, he said something about “proper use of resources”. Apparently he had already diagnosed me as some hypochondriacal housewife who was looking to refill her Vicodin prescription. Dr. DBag thought I was a waste of “resources” as well as his time. I felt terrible about not having presented with something exponentially more complicated or life threatening. Damn, if only I could have been a hermaphrodite with ovarian cysts and testicular cancer or at least a fancy gun shot wound.
Dr. DBag is the reason people are reluctant to go to the hospital to have things checked out. Well, that and lack of health insurance coverage. Luckily the attending physician was much more inclined to reassure us, even if he had to use some precious “resources” to do so. He ordered an ultrasound as well as an xray. I actually felt the xray might be sort of unnecessary as I hadn’t injured myself, but I was thankful that he was inclined to rule out whatever an xray might rule out.
When all was said and done. I had no blood clot and nor had I broken my ankle. The latter I knew, the former I was relieved to hear. I was not relieved to hear it from Dr. DBag with his patented condescending delivery. I really had hoped to prove him wrong, without having to be diagnosed with ankle cancer of course. Dr. DBag sent me off with instructions on how to care for a sprained ankle. That I don’t have a sprained ankle apparently was not particularly important to him. And by the time I left the hospital my indignation had healed the pain in my leg and I was able to walk on my own, further reinforcing Dr. DBag’s assumption that I was just hysterical and delusional.
Some people are just not suited to patient care. I know I am not. Based upon my observations, the young doctor should probably move into research. His bedside manner is more suited to lab rats and test tubes. Making someone second guess seeking medical advice is never a good idea. If I had been a frequent flyer to the ER, it might explain (not excuse) his indifference, but I think their fancy computers could tell him that I wasn’t. While I was not willing to drop dead to prove my point, I wonder how smug Dr. DBag would have been had his indifference missed a real diagnoses.