I finally have a few minutes to sit down and write about the last few days.
Ever since my wife gave birth, she has been having trouble with a "plugged duct."
Every doctor we have seen since day one has told her that it was a plugged milk duct.
"Don't worry. You just have to keep feeding him."
"Put ice on it."
"Put heat on it."
"Make sure you really press down on it until it's bruised. That will help get it out."
Now my wife and I were very concerned as she was getting worse and worse. We decided to go to the doctor and wouldn't leave until we got a straight answer.
During her pregnancy, we decided the baby would be born at North Memorial Hospital, because it's only five minutes away. To make this easier, we decided to go with the doctors at the Oakdale Clinic, which is part of the same hospital. Now there are seven doctors that, depending what day you go, switch off.
Doctor H is the head of the clinic now, and she is the one we have seen the most often. This is a woman who may be totally brilliant, but has no beside manner. Now my mother always told me that the colder a doctor is, the more brilliant they are likely to be. This woman is an ice queen, so she must be the best doctor ever. Or I would have thought before this.
Back to the point, on the particular day we went, we saw Doctor L. In a total reverse from the normal thinking, the men at this clinic are very nice and competent, while the women at the clinic are stone cold bitches and don't necessarily know what's going on all the time. Doc L told my wife she would need a sonogram.
One trip to the hospital later, the doctors tell her, "We have no idea what's wrong, but it's not a plugged duct. Of that I'm 100% sure."
We return to the clinic. Doctor H looks over our stuff and says, "It's a plugged duct, pure and simple."
When my wife and I protested, she told us that we were, "overreacting." It's never good when a doctor tells you you're overreacting.
"My sister-in-law had an abscess. Could this be an abscess?" my wife asked.
After a giant sigh, we were told, "No. You don't have the symptoms. Please...quit overreacting."
It's NEVER a good idea to have someone, especially a doctor, tell someone not to overreact when they have a burning sensation and a lump.
Twenty-four hours later, my wife can barely move. The pain is too great. She goes to urgent care where the doctor there tells her, "Oh...hmm. That could be an abscess, but the top part is a boil. Take these antibiotics."
My wife asks the doctor, "Can't you lacerate?"
"No," she is told, "We don't do that."
Wait...doctors don't do that...at urgent care? What's that sir? You cut your finger off? We don't fix that at urgent care.
That night my wife cannot do anything but cry. She's in way too much pain. I am already tired, and now I'm pissed off. I call the clinic and, in my not-so-nice voice, say, "Look, my wife is in so much pain she can't stop crying. She needs to see a doctor...NOW!"
I get her an apointment with Dr. K. He's the other guy on the staff. My wife comes in to the office, Dr. K takes one look at her breast and says, "Yup, that's an abscess. Why didn't you get this taken care of?"
She relates the story to this point to him, and he says, "Oh...ummm...yeah...See this doctor (Doc M)."
After another night of taking care of my wife and my son, we go to Doc M for "the procedure." Basically, he's going to lance my wife's breast and drain it.
Now, the first thing he says to her is, "Oh, you went to urgent care...why didn't they drain it?" This causes me to grumble.
He drains the surface and then his face forms a frown. "Wow, this is DEEP! We're going to have to cut this open and drain it."
Doc M goes on to explain that it will be a simple procedure. They will make an incision, drain the breast, and then she'll be on her way.
We trudge over to the hospital (we're parked over at the clinic), and my wife is checked in and given a room.
It's a closet with a bed.
We wait an hour. The doctor is doing another surgery and isn't sure when he'll be in. My wife is almost bawling. She's really hungry, engorged, and her breast is burning ("It's like a branding iron was broken off in there," she tell me).
When they wheel her out, I am kicked out of the room. "This will take twenty minutes," Doc M tells me. "Go get your wife's medication.
I walk all the way over to North Clinic Pharmacy.
Now, I already wrote about this at MN Speak, but the pharmacy gave me the medication without even looking at my ID. Here's the deal:
Imagine a guy walking up to your counter carrying a child and two bags. He looks like absolute hell. In a bag that looks nothing like his, he pulls out a prescription and says, "I need this filled please." He then hands you an insurance and pharmacy card with a name that cannot possibly be his. Would you fill out that prescription no questions asked? Well, they did. No questions. They just handed it to me and told me to be on my way.
It's at this point that the low point of my day starts (that's right, it got lower). As I walk out of the pharmacy, I am carrying:
My son in a car seat
A diaper bag
My wife's purse
My wife's meds
I figure I can shoot up to the car (it was on the fifth floor of the clinic), drop off her purse and meds, and then get back to my wife in time for her to be out of surgery.
After dropping the stuff off at the car, I get in the elevator and start down to the first floor to walk over to the hospital.
The elevator stops one floor above the tunnel.
"Going up?" a gentleman asks me.
"No, down. Sorry," I reply.
The door shuts, and the elevator takes off...up! Both my son and I are not prepared for this. He wakes up and puts his arms out, while I grab on to the railing as we are going up very fast. We hit the sixth floor and hear a clunk. Not a "the elevator is stopping" clunk, but more of a "and now you're going to drop and die" clunk. The elevator clunks again and stops. Suddenly the alarm button lights up...and the elevator drops. We go very quickly back all the way down.
My first thought is, "Oh hell. I'm going to die in an elevator...how droll."
The next thought? "Ok, when I hear the fifth clunk, I'll have to jump and hope I time it right."
Luckily, the elevator slowed down at the bottom floor...but the doors wouldn't open. I put my son down, and forced the door open. We weren't all the way down. There was woman standing in front of the door, and she just stared at me. Never asked if she could help, just looked on slack-jawed trying to figure out what the hell I was doing getting out of an elevator that wasn't all the way down.
I ran back to the waiting room. As soon as got there, my son started crying. He wanted to eat.
What is it about a crying baby that brings out people's true personalities? I cannot help that my son started crying, and I did everything I could to keep him quiet as I warmed his bottle. How does telling someone, "I have enough annoying me at this point. I don't need YOUR crying baby," make the situation better.
I got lucky again. The guy sitting next to me was an older gentleman who told people to shut up. After the third person gave me a dirty look and made a comment, he said, "Look, we were all babies once. We ALL acted this way. Go back to your own business."
Half way through feeding my son, the doctor came out to take me back. I couldn't stop feeding Poozer, or he would start crying, so I finished feeding him first.
My wife looked terrible when I got back there. She was pale, and out of it due to the anesthetic they gave her.
"Mr. Leab?" a nurse asked.
"That would be me," I replied.
"Your wife can't drive and can barely walk. Here is a list of the things you need to do."
So, beyond just taking care of my son, I would now have to help my wife.
I walked all the way back (taking to stairs to get to the car after my elevator ride didn't go well) and picked her up. When we got home, she passed out. So did Will. I couldn't. I had to prepare bottles, my wife's meds, and her dinner.
That night I slept only about an hour, but I was functioning.
The situation, however, got worse the next morning. I had to help my wife shower and change her dressing. The gauze was IN her breast. We had to slowly peel it out. Then we discovered, much to my wife's horror, that Doc M had not made it clear what "an incision" meant. Her breast had (and, though healing, still has as of tonight) a quarter-sized hole in it. She freaked out. How could anyone not. It was a hole in her body that a finger could fit in. That's insane!
I managed to calm her down.
As of today, she's getting better. I'm just glad my parents were scheduled to visit this weekend anyway. It allowed me to nap, which I needed.
I'm pissed at the doctors right now. Let me run the laundry list:
Can't agree on the diagnosis
Horrible bedside manner
Vague or unclear on procedures
That pretty much covers what is angering me right now. I haven't slept much, but I have become a master bottle feeder to my son. That first night was horrible. Help my wife, help my son, help my wife, help my son, (take a breath) repeat.
This experience has just reinforced my feelings about doctors. There's a reason it's called "A PRACTICE." No one has all the answers. That's just how it is. I'm still shocked about picking up the prescriptions, I'm glad my wife is feeling better, and I'm hoping for a break here in the future.
Then again what do I know? I'm the guy who told a doctor to "rethink how you talk to people." I could be wrong.