Monday, July 31, 2006

Hissy Fit

I don't know if I'm throwing a fit because I didn't get my way or if I have a valid point.

Today Gary's commander called him in and told him if he could get a letter from my surgeon detailing the complications I've had and the chance of any future possible complications, they could do one of two things. They could either make sure Gary left two weeks later than scheduled, or not even go at all. They haven't purchased the plane tickets yet and want to cover all bases. For the Army, that's a VERY considerate thing to do. I was pretty psyched when I heard that. I figured Dr. Barnes would be helpful.

So, I call his office. I left a detailed message with his receptionist explaining the letter that was needed. Since she was new, I explained to her about having the infected incision, the stricture (which by the way was smaller than a ballpoint pen head and is now the size of a pea), the bleeding ulcer, etc. I told her how Dr. Barnes had said that I would most likely need another EGD to stretch the stricture. How he had told me at my last appointment that he'd never seen a bleeding ulcer so soon after surgery, and was fairly sure I would have a few problems with it in the future. I reminded her that I have a two year old son. I stressed to her at least three times that I was not asking Dr. Barnes to lie, stretch the truth or anything. I did say anything he felt he could say that might keep my husband home would be great, but I would never ask a doctor to lie. She said she'd give the info to Dr. Barnes as soon as he was done with his current patient. I hung up feeling fine.

About 20 minutes later I get a call from his nurse, Linda. Linda said they couldn't write the letter from a medical stand point!!! WHAT?!!! I asked for a fact-based letter. Not a fairytale. She then said that their office couldn't legally keep my husband home. No shit!! The only person that could legally do that would be ... oh I don't know.. CONGRESS maybe?! I admit I went off on her. I have felt that they just don't care about me now that they have the big money -- the surgery money. I have tried to get over that fact. But today, I just let it all out. Linda, of course, said that wasn't true. She said I was fine. Uhm, yeah... FOR NOW. I hope to remain fine, but when the doctor himself says that he expects future complications, well you sort of have to wonder what the hell he was thinking. I told her I wanted a new doctor. She said she'd talk to Dr. Jackass and get back to me. She called back and said that Dr. Barnes was willing to dictate a letter stating the facts (uhm, yeah just what I asked for) and fax it. I have a feeling his letter is going to be a shitty one.

Now, I'm not thinking he should've lied. I do know, though, that there are ways of taking the truth and wording it one way or the other to put a sort of"spin" on it. What would it have hurt Dr. Barnes to write a letter that might have kept my husband home. Or even kept him home for two weeks?

I tried calling around for other surgeons. None would take me. Why? Professional courtesy was their excuse. To me, it's because I'm not a money maker now. The big money is in the $20K surgery. Now I'm worth only about $100 a visit.

I'm so angry. So hurt and feel like my doctor's an ass. In addition, my stomach is killing me -- ironically right where my ulcer is. Hmmmm.. isn't stress a cause of ulcers? Yes, yes it is.

Dr. James Barnes in Shreveport, LA --- do not get your surgery there. Not if you want compassionate follow up.

So... am I being a baby because I didn't get what I wanted?


Susan Davis said...


And you're right for wanting that letter. If what you say is true, then you deserve to have Gary home with you to help you through the tough times. You'd be stupid not to demand that letter. If it's not what you want, I'd call and ask for the doctor himself, not a nurse or a receptionist, to call you back. What's it going to hurt them if they write one measley letter in the 'direction' that you may be hospitalized again... dude, if he told you then he needs to tell the Cmdr!

I wish I could get a letter like that. :-D GOOD LUCK! That would be so totally awesome.

And KUDOS to his commander who is willing to let him stay back. I love him/her whoever they are!

On The Losing Side said...

Susan, he's the Capt for Rear D for 4/10. I'll email you his name. I'm not really comfy w/throwing names out on the

Gary's calling my doctor tomorrow and asking why he is being so difficult about this.