ALL BARK & NO BITE: I JUST NEED A SPINAL X-RAY!

Photo Source: http://www.petsbest.com

I live in a weird city with weird people.  I also live in the ‘hood, which is an ethnically diverse mix of undesirables and makes it even more interesting.  It’s not the South Side of Chicago by any means.  The Southwestern U.S. was largely developed in the latter-half of the 20th century, so imagine rows of mid century, rundown strip malls filled with liquor stores, pupuserías, laundromats, payday loan shops, and taquerías jammed between big box stores and junkies roaming around every parking lot trying to hustle a buck off you.  Due to my low vision, lack of rides, and the sun setting later, I’m stuck attempting to drive during the day, which has forced me to access the medical care in this stellar part of town whenever possible.

I have needed an X-ray of my spine since I got sick 12 years ago, as I have a bizarre vertebra jutting out to the right in my lower cervical spine and mild scoliosis in my thoracic region, combined with unrelenting back pain from Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS).  I finally got my new PM&R doctor to refer me to an imaging center and I found one within a mile of where I stay.  It is also the only place that takes appointments, so I wouldn’t have to sit for 3 hours, which really hurts.  I called and asked for the latest appointment, which was at 4 pm and the receptionist told me the X-rays would be taken at 4:30 pm—typical of how imaging centers work so that everything runs on schedule.

As I have difficulty filling out forms due to my vision, I picked them up a week prior so I could take my time and fill them out in the best light.  It took me about 1 hour to find the place as I can’t read building numbers or the signs that say what is in the buildings.  Just trying to drive is enough of a nightmare. After numerous attempts and driving in circles, I eventually went into the right building and found the center, but it was closed.  I tried another day and finally got the forms.  It’s part of life with keratoconus, so I didn’t make a big deal about it, although my low vision made me rather depressed that day.

This Friday, I had my appointment for the spinal X-ray.  I was running almost-on-time, but got there 1 minute late and had all the forms filled out already.  I gave the front desk woman the forms, with a brief explanation as to why I already had them, handed over the necessary cards, and was told I was after Barbie Big Boobs—a typical look in the ‘hood due to all the strippers and hookers—I mean escorts, and that it would just be 15 minutes or so.  Wonderful!  I didn’t have to wait 3 hours like I do at the eye doctor or would be doing at the walk-in imaging center across the street.

I wasn’t feeling well as I’d pulled several muscles that go from my ear down to my shoulder joint in my sleep (again) and my whole body aches chronically in general.  It’s all a typical day with EDS.  I just wanted to get the X-rays over with as I had to get my brake light fixed and then go to the pharmacy and blow more cash (again).  I also hadn’t slept much due to the steroids I’m on (again), which doesn’t help anyone out.  Yet, I complained to no one and had my smiley face on while I took my seat.

There was a woman in the waiting room I’ll call Misty, a creative, white-girl name like her real one, who was blabbing with her friend on her cell phone in a very loud and annoying voice and using words that were definitely not appropriate in a small, public place.  I could sort of make out her face and she looked like the dog above.  As a disclaimer, if your name is Misty, don’t take offense.  I know a woman named Tiffani—that is an i at the end—who is nothing like her name.

Suddenly, Misty got off her cell and began to yell at the front desk woman from her seat.  It appeared her complaint was that she had an appointment on Sunday for an MRI, but they had called to let her know there was an opening on Friday if she would like to reschedule.  Obviously she rescheduled, as she was sitting a few seats to my right.  She went on and on about how she was told her appointment was at 4 pm, not 4:30 pm. She told the front desk woman to, “tell the guy in the back to hurry up,” which the front desk woman stated she couldn’t do. She also added that the MRI of her back would take 2 hours and she couldn’t be there all day.  That’s amazing as I’ve had an MRI of my back done in 30 minutes or so.

She demanded to know who had told her to come in at 4 pm as she had stuff to do.  The woman calmly told her it was someone in scheduling.  Misty demanded she give her the phone number and she whipped out her cell phone again. She seemed to think her cell phone was akin to a Glock 9.

Someone must have answered in scheduling and Misty said she wanted the supervisor.  She abruptly had a calm, quasi-professional voice, aside from her confusion of past participles as she stated, “I wouldn’t have drove all the way over here to wait 30 minutes.”  It’s driven, Misty, driven!  She went on and on again about her predicament and was so infuriated that her appointment was really at 4:30 pm. She told the supervisor how the front desk woman would do nothing and wouldn’t even go to the back and tell the imaging guy to hurry up, despite her asking.  She had a fondness for ending every sentence with, “You know what I’m saying?” and there were a lot of uh-huhs on Misty’s part as the supervisor must have been trying to appease her. She just felt so special that someone was listening to her sob story.  Did it ever occur to her that she would be waiting 30 minutes on Sunday, as well, if she hadn’t rescheduled?

Now, I am one who often jumps into weird situations in this weird city in a “What Would You Do?” scenario, but I just decided to sit there with my finger in my ear in attempts to block out Misty’s ranting and hope the tech would soon be done with Barbie Big Boobs, who was also there for a spinal X-ray, presumably due to her Super Size implants causing an achy back or possibly her 6″ stripper boots throwing her off balance.  Poor thing.

I couldn’t help but take stock of my situation at that moment. How many hours of frustration did it take for me to get and fill out the forms due to my low vision?  While sitting in the waiting room, I wasn’t able to see the TV or read a magazine or do much of anything.  I still had a racing heart from driving there in daylight and pulling a U-turn on a major thoroughfare and praying there weren’t any oncoming cars that I couldn’t see.  I kept rubbing deep into the knots in my neck and shoulders and wishing that for once in 12 years the pain would stop.  I was worried about what else the X-rays might reveal, as I already have 2 troublesome spinal issues.  I spent over $13,000 USD on medical bills last year.  I live in a motel due to being broke, on disability, and other factors.  Unlike Misty, I have no friends to call on my cell phone, which is actually good as I don’t have many minutes. It’s not a smarty-pants phone and I don’t pretend it’s a Glock 9.  I wasn’t complaining to anyone about anything.  I just sat there in the distorted-looking room while forced to listen to Misty’s temper tantrum over nothing.

Finally, my name was called and I got changed and went into the X-ray room.  I had to pose in bizarre and uncomfortable positions over and over and then lie on a hard table that hurt my whole body while the tech continued to manhandle my achy self in order to straighten me out while my barely 100 lb, skin-and-bones body tried to stay covered in an XXL gown, which was all they provided.

If your female body is half-exposed due to being underweight from a genetic disorder that takes away your ability to eat and digest food and the gown doesn’t stay on because you’re 1/3 the size of the average American male, then that’s your own fault I guess, but I didn’t complain and I just kept trying to cover myself up while making a joke about it.  I am quite sure the imaging guy was disappointed he got stuck with short Olive Oyl after X-raying flirty Barbie Big Boobs with her head of platinum extensions and perky bustline.  I could be legally blind and spot all that.

I was finally done after 20 minutes or so and as I headed out, I could see that Misty was gone, unless she gave up the corner seat to go have a slim n’ sassy Misty cigarette. Apparently, the important stuff she had to do really was top priority.  I could only imagine what choice words she said on her way out.  The front desk woman was now blabbing on her own cell phone—such professionals here, but I needed to make sure the report was going to my referring doctor. She looked up my name and said it would be sent—all while her friend was on hold.  I told her I hoped she had a better day and was sorry she had to deal with Misty, which she appreciated, so I did my good deed for the day.

Here’s what I would love to know.  What was so tragic about Misty’s life that she had to throw a barking, hissy fit over something so idiotic and ruin everyone’s day?  Who doesn’t wait a minimum of 30 minutes for anything in the U.S.—especially when dealing with our healthcare system?  What gives anyone the right to talk to an innocent party in such a demeaning way and disturb an entire waiting room due to their need for attention?  This is not appropriate behavior and makes it harder for cordial patients, like me, to get treated with respect when I finally do find functional healthcare.  There are standards that are followed in any medical center and this issue didn’t warrant any complaints. Of course, there are times when it is necessary to take a firm stance to get things done, but this didn’t fit the bill and it’s not how a decent person takes care of business, regardless.

If the Mistys of the world really want something to complain about, they should walk in my shoes for a day.  I can only wear flats due to EDS, which may make it a little easier, but I doubt they would last even 10 minutes.  Bark, Misty, bark—it isn’t going to get you out of this one, either.

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16 thoughts on “ALL BARK & NO BITE: I JUST NEED A SPINAL X-RAY!

  1. cissyblue says:

    At first I was a little stunned when I began to read this one about X-Ray Day You totally nailed it all. The waiting room dramas, the weird, painful positions, impossibly hard table, the total banal indifference of the front-desk girl. Everything you mentioned, I have also gone through. It really kills me to sit upright in a hard chair for hour after hour, without “incident” I might add… But what I really liked is that you aren’t just “trying to act polite,” down deep you really are kind and have a big heart. I found myself laughing at times because I can totally relate and you have a great wit and sense of humor. I will be a regular reader from now on, so thank you so much for your honesty. I feel a little different suddenly just knowing that you also face such challenges and can still make such very funny observations about it.

    • Hey Cissy,

      Glad you dropped by and that I finally figured out that you’re the beans and halal one! Lard or no lard? I’ll bookmark the blog I found you on as it appears that’s where you are now (too hard to follow people due to all the above that I wrote on). I do check back–promise! I appreciate your comments very much (all of them) and there are more of us on here who deal with our health issues/crappy healthcare every day. You’re not alone, sister. Deep down, I really am a kind person with a big heart (I really, really am), but in these parts, you keep to yourself and don’t show that side too much. Well, just know you’re not alone if you can relate to most of this and do try to find the humor! It’s my saving grace.

      The beginning of all my posts start in an odd fashion and I was worried I might come across as an elitist or some Archie Bunker (yikes!) in this one. Archie hates my people, too! I think that’s what you were referring to? I’m a very visual person (who now can’t see well and a big judger–won’t deny it!). I’m having to write all these disclaimers as my posts are very open and honest and I just tell it like it is at this point, but I would never say all poor people are X (I’m poor!). This city is full of undesirables in general! I do have an issue with the hookers, pimps, strippers, junkies, and dope dealers because they are all part of the seedy underbelly in this town. They live where I live–literally–and I hate it. Why lie?

      Rest assured that I’m a minority myself, a flaming liberal as I was born and raised in Seattle, and always had ethnically diverse friends from all socioeconomic groups. Not a fan of the homogeneous 1%! I saw you’re from Tejas (with the Spanish spelling). I speak Spanish from being an expat in Mexico, as this is post 2 with a Latino reference (sort of?). I just spoke Spanish tonight to my buddy (the cook) at the cheap, kabob place I mentioned and it’s the best part of being in the ‘hood (or anywhere around here). However, this is the neighborhood I live in and what I deal with daily and it is pretty bad and I’m picking on everyone–it’s how I find the humor. I make fun of my own culture, too (see previous post). The defense now rests… Lol.

      Hope to see you again over here. Will be back to find out about “Larry.”

      A 🙂

  2. I know this is mean but sometimes I find myself thinking or hoping that one day “Misty” wakes up with my daughter’s symptoms. Honestly, that’s where I’m at now.

    • I got you, Sheep. There are a lot of insensitive people in my life (oh, the family) who need the 10 minutes in my shoes to finally get it! The Mistys are just the noise in the background making everything worse. Would the world be a better place if everyone got dealt a bad hand once in a while?

      A

      • Yes, I honestly think so. Go another one yesterday from school for my daughter and I shot right back. MAYBE i’ll post about it today. Been way too quiet on my blog.

      • There you go! Be a kvetcher or whatever it takes! Good for you! Be a self-righteous reality TV star (like Jody) and give ’em hell! Get the fur coat and Russian hat for added affect. Then (maybe) write a post about it so I don’t look like such a meany. That was the other point of my post–the comparison of informed kvetching vs. being a barking dog. Lol. 🙂

        A (off to bed as the sun is out now–I have a day off tomorrow/today so sleeping it away)

      • Have a good sunnight!

      • Sunnight! Lol! Good one, Sheep. I slept like a log and I have blackout shades in here so all the better. I hate this schedule as it interferes with the rest of the week when I have chronic jet lag, but if I could sleep like a normal person, I would. I even take Ambien CR. I was always a night owl, but this is crazy–think I have a circadian rhythm disorder or ?. I forced myself to get up at 9 am for 1 mo years ago with dire results! I give up. One of my brothers is up really late too (hear from him at 4 am usually), but his lifestyle allows it. Well, sunnights it is!
        🙂

      • cissyblue says:

        I read a fairly interesting book recently, that posed the idea that possibly, in this world, there are “background people.” I have been trying to get her drift ever since, but I think she meant that there are most likely people/images in passing that well… here’s where it gets fuzzy for me, but I think it’s very likely that people like “Misty” are suddenly in our “field” because it’s like a test or something… what will we do, how will we react… idk, at least it feels like that A LOT to me as I encounter numerous questionable characters IF/When I might go out… haha – I am a huge minority where I live, with several strikes… I am white, I am old, I am single, and I have a voice and do tend to use it. My town of Elgin, Texas is primarily Hispanic people, and the ones here express Major Attitude toward people like me, or they completely ignore us. The shocking and sad part, is that they teach fear and mistrust of white people to their children and to me, that is very sad. I can’t speak much Spanish, at all, but I’ve been exposed to it/taught it, all my life. A native Texan, but I was born in east Texas, where it is whites/blacks, at least that was the deal when I was young. I came to Austin for University, but couldn’t afford to live there. Now I live about 25 miles east in a rural community, and I call it Tejas because I enjoy other cultures, even if they are mean to me. 🙂 So glad to find you and look forward to more funny stories, the kind that really seem to help!

      • Thanks for your honesty, C! Love the comment and you’ll be among friends here if you speak your mind like most of us. I’ll tackle this in 2 parts. I see a counselor (yes, I said it!) and he’s new at the free clinic that isn’t free. Lol. Might post on that one day. He’s really into mindfulness, which is a foreign concept to me, but I think this may be what he and you (and the author) are talking about. It’s being aware of your surroundings and just taking it in, but without the judging thing that is so endemic in my culture. Well, that’s what I think it is, anyway. I believe I was trying to unintentionally do that at the imaging center, but I was secretly having a screaming match with Misty in my head. She was so volatile and it’s really dangerous here, so I taped my mouth shut.

        I also read something about peripheral people–these are people you see on a regular basis, but aren’t friends. I tried to do an e-mail about it that bombed, but I gave an example of a checker at WalMart (yes, hate that store but broke). I always ended up in the line of an older woman (maybe in her 80s?) who had the same name as my great-grandmother (a dead name we’ll say), so I chatted with her and she always remembered me. I had my corneal surgery and even though my vision was a mess, I could tell I was never in her line. Where was she? Was she OK? I did find her one day and think she may have switched shifts, but I never realized I had any connection to this woman who always called me baby (so sweet). So, I think these random people are there for a reason too, whether for good or for bad.

        On to Tejas. I can see your predicament and I don’t like that one bit. Makes me pretty angry, to tell you the truth! I’ve never been there, but know the lay of the land on a map and I hear Austin is the hippie city in Texas (big music scene and whatnot). Rural is where I get a little lost as a city dweller, but can picture it. You’re the Anglo (who doesn’t sound that old!), which wouldn’t be a big deal here due to the diversity. Yes, I have the advantage of speaking Spanish (didn’t have an accent but it’s all fading now) and passing for Latina and 50 other ethnicities. That’s a tough situation you’re in, but at least it hasn’t make you a bigot, which is rather amazing! Glad you have your land and don’t have to deal with those types daily. Really sorry, though.

        My mother lives primarily in the California desert (Palm Springs area) and it’s a very segregated mix of rich, county club dwellers/snow birds and poor, primarily undocumented Latinos and they don’t mix. The haves and have nots. That’s how I imagine the South to be in general, although my grandparents grew up in restricted Chicago up North. If you were X, you could live in that neighborhood and that’s it! There’s no animosity that I’ve noticed in my mother’s neck of the woods, unlike where you are, but it’s just weird to me. The Latinos make their living off the country club crowd, unless they work in agriculture out by the Salton Sea–could that be it? My mother is in the last town before the valley turns totally Hispanic, so everyone shops at the same stores pretty much. She shops 24/7 and drags me around and I pick up 50 conversations around me in Spanish (like here!). I asked her if she feels left out not understanding what the other 50% are talking about, but she’s totally oblivious, which is how she is in general. She’s very Anglo looking, unlike me, btw. I don’t like that very much. I know about the theories surrounding the melting pot and I’ve seen it happen and seen it not happen. I wonder why sometimes. Why doesn’t it work outside of Austin or in the CA desert and work here more or less? I keep my exact location top secret as I drag my sub par doctors through the mud, but my neighborhood is primarily Latino, but not enough for me to call it a barrio, so I call it the ‘hood. Around here, the Latinos are the most respectful, but that depends on how long they’ve been here. I lived in the barrio down by Palm Springs when I first got sick and no problems, but I get the free pass and all were recent immigrants. Why should I be any different from you?

        Long reply! I’m so glad I randomly found you and happy you found a place to talk on here (and get stuck reading my post-like comments). More people drop by, so hang around. I usually only post 3 x month since it about kills me, but love to chat. Look forward to hearing more about rural Tejas… Very interesting already.

        A 🙂

  3. Dawn says:

    Only you could make that sound comical A. There sure are some hideous people out there!

    • Thanks, Dawny! I have to find the humor… If I didn’t, I don’t think I’d be around still. What to do with these people? I really am the type who speaks up and puts people in their place, but worried about my aim now with the KC vision. Ha ha.

      A

  4. dyspatient says:

    I can’t believe Misty was losing her s*** over a half hour wait. My god, half hour is practically on time in my book.

    I remember a recent visit at my primary care’s office where I got to witness someone boiling over for having to wait so long. This doc routinely runs way behind, but the office is very up front about this and they say to call in advance so they can let you know how late he is running. I had my appointment, called, and came an hour later than it was scheduled so my waiting room wait would be less. When I got there, I watched a woman (who was much less barky than Misty but pissed off nonetheless) get all bent out of shape that she was waiting so long. She was up and down asking about what was taking so long, back to the seat to huff and puff and tear through the magazines like they’d personally insulted her. She did finally leave, slamming the door on her way out. I’m thankful she wasn’t as overdone as Misty, but it was disturbing anyhow and it put the staff in a bit of a mood. I kept thinking “this lady is not one of us”. If she were, she’d get it. I wanted to say to her “look, he takes a long time with his patients because a lot of his patients have complex health problems and he’s thorough. He’ll take his time with you too if you need it, so if you need to see a good doctor, you really need to simmer down. Otherwise, find a doctor who is less thorough and who pushes patients in and out like customers at a fast food restaurant.”

    • Hey D,

      I like your story. I also like that your good doc has his staff call patients and let them come later if he’s behind and that the wait is worth it. Winning combo? I had a GI doc like that yrs ago. I fired all my sub par docs with the 3 hr waits and you ARE forced to just sit, which is torture for my body, especially as the A/C is always blasting and my muscles tense up even more. Now, I just have the eye clinic and it’s really dumb–one doc is the type who spends time with you (and so funny), but he’s always 3 hrs behind so why can’t I call and say, “Can I just show up in 3 hours?”

      About the Mistys–it’s actually rather common around this city in general and in lots of settings (hence jumping in and getting in a lot of fights for others). I’ve seen it twice at my PM&R’s (he runs so on time you can’t fill out the update form I can barely see!). The staff step in to try to resolve it and get the wackos out of there ASAP, though. Good place. A lot are drug seekers and just need to go! The front desk woman (can I find a better name?) in this case should have made Misty take her Glock 9 cell outside (I thought your can’t use cells inside per office rules?) or called security, as there is a lot of security in the ‘hood (even at the pharmacies and grocery stores). To continue to sound like an elitist here, a little over 10% have a college degree in this town and it shows. Most are the GED crowd at best. Now, neither of my parents graduated from college, either (refer to that post about my dad dropping-out and nearly going to Vietnam as a result) and it’s not a pre-requisite for me as far as being friends w/someone, but it’s this general, ghetto attitude (I said it) that is so obnoxious. “Ghetto” applies to all races/ethnicities (why I mentioned that Misty was a white girl) and I don’t even blame poverty–my mother’s family was poor and would never act like that. OMG!

      People are either raised right or raised wrong and that’s it. It just is more crap to add to our plates when we get stuck in a room with them.

      A 🙂

  5. 1hundredworks says:

    The best thing I like about your posts is the way they look like a direct copy of your thoughts, no manipulation whatsoever 🙂

    I feel that problems make us humble, keep us on our feet. People who are too pampered like our Misty lady end up with a glass half empty their whole life. I understand the problems you face everyday, at least the ones related to vision, but the way you kick them all in the nuts is truly amazing! Keep it up my friend, we are all here with you.

    Akhil.

    P.S. did you happen to accidently take a pic of Ms. Barbie Big Boobs?

    • Yes! Akhil is back from holiday as you say!!! I knew you’d love Barbie Big Boobs and you know I can’t take photos for crap! Ha ha. I’ll work on it as she’s a dime a dozen, but I’m often alone so how to sneak a photo?

      I so appreciate your comments (those pampered people!) and I do kick everyone in the nuts–it’s just my style, literally. My posts are a direct copy of my thoughts, aren’t they? I’m educated but don’t care for big words when I speak or write and I’m so visual (as discussed) and have no patience with the abstract. I get really confused on blogs where titles and images make no sense, hence liking your blog that makes sense (aside from all the tech-geek lingo). Lol. Well, that’s me. I just call a spade a spade and Misty really did look like a barking dog. I don’t care!

      A 🙂

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