Hey Doc? Don’t Pass the Parcel!

One of the first birthday parties my son Jacob went to was for a little British boy who was living near us in Connecticut.  One of the highlights of Josh’s party was that we played “Pass the Parcel.”

Pass the Parcel is the British non-violent equivalent of Musical Chairs.  There was a large lumpy parcel, wrapped loosely in newspaper – inside was a treasure.  Music was played, and the parcel was passed from hand to hand until the music stopped.  When it did, whoever held the parcel removed a layer of wrapping, and the music started again.  Ultimately a wonderful treasure I have long since forgotten was revealed and given to the kid who removed the last bit of wrapping on the parcel.

Pass the parcel

I quickly realized that Pass the Parcel had Musical Chairs beat.  I am also sure that Vickie K would agree.  She was the poor birthday girl I propelled across the room at her 6th birthday party when I snagged the last remaining chair when the music stopped.  I wonder why I wasn’t invited to her 7th birthday party.

But actually, today I realized that I don’t like Pass the Parcel after all.  You see, today I realized that I AM the bloomin’ parcel.

Some of you may know that I have been a bit under the weather lately.  I have Crohn’s Disease, which sucks.  Things in my gut have been a little too active lately.  Which in turn makes me rather inactive, as in sleepy.  Naturally, being the smart girl that I am, I called my doctor.  Doctors.  I have a lot of them.

In the past two months I have visited my internist, who passed the parcel to my gastroenterologist.

I visited my gastroenterologist who passed the parcel to my urologist and passed the parcel to a radiologist (who I assumed was connected to the barely visible face behind the window of the radiology lab I was in).

CT Scan

The gastroenterologist read the report from the previous parcel holder and passed the parcel again.  This time to my gynecologist.

I must admit that being passed once again was once too much for me.  I lost it.  I burst into tears, wondering if these doctors have any clue what it is like to be a patient.  If they have any clue what it is like to be a goddamn parcel, passed from latexed gloved-hand to latexed gloved-hand.  I don’t think they do.

So tonight I am rethinking my health care options.  And I see changes in my future.

Because I know one doctor I can go to who will look at my entire body.  He will press my abdomen, my lumpy bits.  He will look at my teeth, my eyes, my nether regions.  He will look into my eyes, clip my toenails and check all the areas that need attention.  He will not send me to other specialists because he specializes in everything.  He will not send me out for tests because he knows how to do them and will do them right there in his office.  All I have to do is not bite him.

Yup, next time around, I’m going to my vet for my healthcare.

Our vet is a man
and Cooper is really much more handsome.

My dog, Cooper is nearly 105 years old.  He is declining, but hey, he is 105 years old!  But no matter what is wrong with him, we take him to the same place, and Dr. C. looks at him, figures out what is wrong with Coops, prescribes the medicine, fills the bottles with pills, and sends us all on our way.  When the time comes, the vet will give Cooper a peaceful end.

So yeah.  Next time I’m sick, I’m going to the vet.  I won’t even have to say a word.

93 Comments

Filed under Dogs, Family, Health and Medicine, Hey Doc?, Humor, Pets

93 responses to “Hey Doc? Don’t Pass the Parcel!

  1. Pingback: The Green Study “Worst Job I Ever Had” Contest: 2nd Place | The Green Study

  2. I’m late to the party, but I hope you’re feeling better and have gotten some resolution by now.

    And I hate to break it to you, but … when my cat Holly was sick, the vet referred her to a specialist (the specialist’s specialty was internal medicine, though, and she took care of all of Holly’s systems from that point on).

    Like

    • Noooooooo.

      Actually, I, at great expense, took my dog Goliath to a doggy dermatologist. She had a perfect manicure and was wearing pearls and large diamonds all oner her hands. When we got the bill we figured out that we’d paid for them with just that first appointment.

      Like

  3. Dear Elyse,
    This is such a fine piece of writing! I am so sorry you have to deal with that, but it’s good that you are helping people to better understand this disease. Wishing you comfort!

    Like

  4. Sorry you’ve been feeling bad, Elyse. When you go to the vet for your one stop medical shopping, be sure to ask to have your Rx made into tuna flavored treats.

    Feel better soon 🙂

    Like

  5. Sounds like you have every right to be grumpy (though I’m glad you’re feeling better.)
    For your next two or three appointments, bring a bew friends. Every third line the doctor says, refer them to talk to a different friend.
    When they say that that’s ridiculous, smile pityingly at them and say “You know, it is, isn’t it.”
    Then smack them in the head.

    Like

  6. Hey that is one of my favourite YouTube videos. Probably for a lot of the same reasons you like.
    I know exactly what you are talking about, being handed from person to person all with the latex gloves, I also hated that they always referred to me by my birthdate. Apparently that was to verify who I was. The funny thing is the birthdate on my birth certificate is incorrect and I would fight with them about it but by the time my year was up I gave in and just recited the one they had on record. I have one vivid memory of a nurse who always gave me my chemo without being gloved. I was amazed how much her actually touching me meant. When I asked her about not following protocol she said it was because she felt her cancer patients were low risk to her and that it meant more to them when she held their hand if they could actually feel her and not the gloves. I cried.

    Like

    • That’s a lovely story about the nurse, Michelle. Intellectually I understand all the protocols, but when it’s your own body being passed around it gets pretty hard to take (as you know). I wish there was an answer. Immortality and/or perfect life-long health would be the answer I’d choose! C’est la vie. (C’est la guerre).

      Like

  7. Glad you are feeling better, and of course, I’m bummed to be late to your get well party. Then again, I could have called it a pity party for Elyse, but I didn’t want to make you drive here to ring my neck. 😉

    Your analogy of pass the parcel to doctors is wonderful. Meanwhile, i’m glad to be back here!

    Like

    • Yes, I was feeling rather frustrated and sorry for myself. I usually climb into a hole when I feel that way. But then I thought of the vet angle and had to write about it.

      I am better now, although facing more doctors and more tests next week so I may be back in the pity pool before too long. But I will survive. 😉

      Like

    • Yes, I was feeling blue and frustrated. I’m back to more or less normal now, but with a somewhat sore derriere. But I will survive, Frank. I will survive. 😉

      Like

  8. Sorry, I’m more than fashionably late to this party. Most people have already said what I was going to say. Just be well. You are too precious a soul to be suffering so…

    Like

  9. I’m sorry to hear that you are having a hard time right now. I hope you find relief and feel better soon. I was reading Steve Jobs biography and there is a section where he describes looking at his medical treatment the same way as he looked at his product design teams – everything had to work together. He made all the doctors haver a weekly meeting about his treatments so they could reassess and make subtle changes. The idea seemed so logical.

    Like

    • Steve Jobs had a great idea. And I will act on it, just as soon as I have my first $ billion!

      But seriously, I am pretty complicated and therefore go to a teaching hospital for most of my care — and they do work together — they communicate. But each one is so very specialized (which is of course why I chose them) that they only look at one area and bounce me around between them. Normally that isn’t a problem, but when I’m having problem, it is. They used to put you in the hospital and let everybody have a go at you. Now, (1) I’m not that sick; and (2) they don’t do that any more; and (3) hospitals make people sicker so it isn’t a good idea. Now they bounce you around between specialists — at $30 a visit plus parking plus lost time at work. It is frustrating.

      Gotta go work on making my billions now so I can control this!

      Like

      • It’s crazy that it took a billionaire to get that level of care. It sounds like a teaching hospital is a lot different than the typical medical experience. I hate being handed off – it seems like communication just stops.

        I hope you are feeling better.

        Like

        • I am feeling much better today, Lorri, thanks.

          And it is crazy that it takes someone like Steve Jobs or Ted Kennedy (who flew all his doctors in) to have folks talk to each other. Where I go they communicate via email and they can see all of each other’s records and my tests (thanks to electronic medical records which is one of the reasons I go there). But I am getting the feeling that there is nobody looking out for the whole body and coordinating things. I don’t know what the answer is, except perhaps that I need to not get so upset (I was very upset when I wrote this) and try to figure out how to better manage the situation.

          Like

  10. I’ve had back problems for years. I’ve seen all different kinds of specialists as well (right now, it’s a pain specialist). Personally, I’d just be happy if any of them could just be able to tell me what’s wrong with my back, even if it’s something they can’t do anything for it. I’ve had so many tests done (I think I’m up to 10 MRIs now. I’m surprised I’m not a walking magnet), and they still have no clue, or if they do, they haven’t told me.

    Like

    • I have a strategy for you (because other people’s problems are soooooooooo much easier to fix):

      As a walking magnet, you can hold their computer systems hostage — threaten to wipe them out with your personal magnetism if they don’t give you an answer.

      Pain sucks. Sorry you’re there too.

      As a medical researcher, though, I do know how complicated all these problems can be. But they need to focus on your problem and mine. And those of my other followers. The rest can wait, don’t you think?

      Like

  11. Just spent 45 minutes with my family practice doctor this week. Wish I could send her to you. Nothing wrong with me and yet in my yearly physical she always takes the time to ask about all of my kids, my grandkids, and my husband as she examines me and catches up. Love her. She would love to help you.

    Like

    • My family doctor is wonderful, actually. But because I am a really complicated patient, he can’t help me with my GI and connected issues. The problem is, in part, that I have a nasty disease and it’s hard to know whether what I have (at any point) is Crohn’s related or just symptoms of something else. It is a serious pain in the ass.

      I’m feeling better today, though. Which is good. It’s been a long week.

      Like

  12. Wow, I sympathize. You probably remember that I’ve mentioned my husband is a specialist (ENT). He has never been a patient, really, himself…but he has seen me go to specialists for various issues and he knows the rigors many of his patients go through. There *are* some good, thorough docs out there–but one pitfall of the extreme specializations is that (often in order to cover themselves in case of suing) each specialist refers patients to another appropriate specialist! It’s not a perfect system for the docs or the patients–but I pray you find one who can truly give you help in a compassionate, professional manner!

    Like

    • The problem may simply be that to have the stamina to get through medical school you have to be pretty damn healthy. And healthy folks generally don’t have a clue what it is like to be unhealthy. Sigh.

      All of my doctors are good ones, actually. But they just do their little bitty bit of the body and then, yes, partly for liability concerns, hand you over to the next person. But that means time, money, time away from work and lots of other problems. It’s a pain in the butt to have a pain in the butt.

      I don’t know what the answer is. People complain that doctors don’t look at them as a person. I’m feeling like they don’t look at me like a whole, more or less intact specimen!

      Like

      • It’s a very interesting comment you made, that reflects a strange dynamic in medicine: about looking at the whole person. It makes me think of when I had to see two different cardiologists after two separate fainting episodes. I was convinced that although I am pre-disposed to fainting (after every non-invasive cardiac test possible), both instances were brought on by extreme internal pain. I tried to explain my perceived connection to my (good) cardiologists, and to some degree they agreed, but I’m not sure they saw the connection I saw between pain, poor nutrition (it hurt to swallow in one case), dehydration, stress, and passing out.

        There’s no simple answer. Docs are limited by time, in-office equipment, malpractice issues, and of course knowledge within and beyond their individual specialties.

        And as for the pain in the butt, I will disclose to you in this semi-anonymous blogging world that I have suffered on and off with hemorrhoids since the age of 24, and I’m nearly 36 now. Even on my honeymoon. Now there’s a blog post. We traveled to Grand Cayman and visited a tourist location called Hell…on the way there, my pain was almost unbearable (but being the stubborn lady I am, I made it through the best I could)–how fitting. One of my fainting episodes was most definitely connected to this kind of pain. I’ve been pain-free for several months..??? So, in some ways, I certainly can empathize with you.

        Well, I’m sure I’ve written enough to ease you into a lovely night of sleep. Blessings to you–Alison

        Like

        • You didn’t soothe me into a night’s sleep, but you DID wake me up with a, ummm, bang!

          Don’t worry about divulging your deepest darkest. People do that with me all the time. I don’t mind at all. And when the problem is tush-related, it’s hard to find someone who can, well, relate.

          And you’re right. Doctors are limited by the very things you mention. And mine is tops in the field and that is another limitation. I have no complaints about her at all. She walks on water. Her staff, however, sucks. They have given me really bad information (like, while I was fighting infection, saying, “no, we won’t do a blood test to see if it has become systemic; they take too long. Just wait until your fever gets to be about 104 and go to the ER. They will be able to do the test and get the results right away!” She (a nurse-practitioner) was a little bit offended when I suggested that by that time, in my condition, I would be dead, dying and/or beyond help.

          Anyway, I need to stop grumbling. Because I could go on! But I find that complaining really doesn’t make anything better for me. Sometimes it just takes me a while to remember that!

          Good luck with your top and bottom issues!

          Like

  13. Me too! What’s your vets address, please??? LOL LOL xo

    Like

  14. What a twist at the end .. but I’m glad you’re able to intake the entire situation with a bit of sarcasm and humor. It’s what makes life less painful, in every way .

    Like

  15. Just be careful if he says he needs to express your anal glands…

    Like

    • But in all seriousness, sorry you’re going through this. Health care needs many improvements, and better inter-provider communication is one of them.

      Like

      • Thanks Carrie. I think that doctors should have to be patients before they are allowed to practice on patients. They might just learn some patience and understanding.

        Actually, I have wonderful doctors. Really, they are the best in their fields, which is why I’m having such trouble — they are each focused on the three cells they specialize in, and the remaining 12 bajillion cells in my body need to be examined by someone else. It is tiresome to be passed around and to have them act as if you have nothing else to do 4 days a week but come back and see 2 new specialists and have 3 different medical tests. Oy.

        Like

    • I might be willing to have anal glands inserted if I could get out ever of having another sigmoidoscopy. It’s a tough trade off.

      Like

  16. Being passed from doctor to doctor sucks out loud. And as you mentioned, if our system didn’t parcel us up, like lots for sale, the medical community would probably be better able to help you. When I get to a place such as you’re in, that’s when I turn to a medical intuitive (a real, reputable one) to see what they see- and let this steer my direction. Sometimes, even the doctor who can best help you may not know it at first.

    Like

    • “Sucks out loud” is a great description.

      The thing is, I’ve really done well in the regular medical community. And I will this time too. In the meant time I am just tired of the run around. I will just have to carefully knock some heads together, I think!

      Like

  17. Dearest Elyse,
    I hope things start looking up for you soon. You know how to get a hold of me if you need to vent or need a sympathetic ear. I’ll do whatever I can for you from all these miles away.

    Like

  18. Did you know that nowadays Pass the Parcel (or Pass the Parsley as it’s called in our house) has a gift in every layer so no one feels left out? True story. Pass the parcel has been politically correctified. That said, I hope you start feeling better soon!

    Like

    • Oh no! They have PC’d the Parcel??? What an outrage! That’s up there with every kid on every sports team getting a trophy.

      Thanks — I plan to feel better soon. Otherwise I’ll go to the vet for a really long nap!

      Like

  19. Clinton

    I hope you get better…

    Like

  20. The vet is a brilliant idea! I have also been passed about among specialists for three years now and not one of them has actually been able to help me. I currently have four different diagnoses and no effective treatment. And every time I go back to my GP, she says, “So what can I do for you today?” Really? I’m truly sorry to hear about your dilemma and hope you get some kind of resolution soon.

    Like

    • Oh Lord, that sounds horrible. I keep going to specialists because more and more systems are involved. But maybe you should try the vet! Or smacking the doctors might work, too.

      Like

  21. I really have a difficult time with the medical profession, especially after dealing with doctors for an elderly relative. I’ve also worked in several medical environments dealing with surgeons and internists. It really is an appalling system. I have been with my relative in appointments, where the doctors and nurses barely make eye contact or talk to her because they’re so busy typing on the computer. And she has been the parcel as well, but I’ve learned to be much more assertive in the system and have become a better advocate.
    You’re savvy and I imagine assertiveness is not an issue, but for a lot of people, they don’t know how to take charge of their own health care or advocate for themselves within the system.

    Like

    • What you think I might not be shy and retiring, Michelle? I’m shocked!

      No, assertiveness isn’t the problem. But it is really difficult to figure out who to talk to, who to complain to, who to yell at. Generally it doesn’t get you anywhere. I’ve had a very bad experience with someone on my wonderful doctor’s staff and I don’t know how/when I can tell the doctor (and it is significant enough that I really feel I must mention it) .

      One serious issue is that when folks are sick they have a harder time understanding and communicating than when they are well. And that’s when we’re stuck in the system. I shudder to think of what will happen when a zillion baby boomers are all old and sick.

      Normally I’m a bit of a cheerleader for my doctors. But I am really being batted around and spending my life with doctors and medical tests. Makes me grumpy!

      Like

  22. You are so right. It would be nice to have one doctor who knows everything. I know our bodies are complicated but come on. Even my kids get better care than I do. When I go to the doctor, I feel like I know more than they do. I don’t blame you for not wanting to be passed around. I hope you get some answers soon.

    Like

  23. Snoring Dog Studio

    I’m sorry to hear that, Elyse. That is horribly frustrating. Electronic medical systems were intended to fix the communication problems, but that hasn’t helped yet. Yes, every experience I’ve had with a vet was positive. I’ve had vets spend more time with my dogs than docs have with me. It’s nuts.

    Like

    • Electronic medical records are great — in fact, one of my million appointments was with a new doc and he was able to look at my old records, complete with the photos, etc. and know where things had changed. It’s one of the reasons I go to the hospital I go to, in fact. I am a complicated patient and it helps that all my doctors can see my records.

      But the vet fixes the problem in one 30 minute visit, or as you said, longer when necessary.

      Like

  24. Oh Elyse, you and me need to simply sit down to dinner. You and me need to find a good vet, together. I am sorry my friend. I have great empathy, though our health problems are different they seem to lead to the same outcomes.

    Be better!

    Like

  25. Sorry you’re not feeling well and being frustrated doesn’t help. To answer your question…No, they don’t know what it feels like to be a patient. Vets are the way to go.

    Like

    • Actually feeling crummy I can handle, and the frustration comes and goes. It’s never feeling good that is getting me down.

      You’re right, they don’t have a clue what it’s like to be sick.

      I love my vet… I can get a pedicure when I go too.

      Like

  26. Ugh. Medical Hot Potato is awful. Hope you can get help from one doctor in one place soon 🙂

    Like

    • Medical Hot Potato is the perfect term. Thanks, Tori — I will use it when I talk with the 439 doctors I will be seeing in the next week. Because sadly, I won’t only see one …

      Like

  27. bigsheepcommunications

    If the vet can’t help, I would encourage you to find an integrative MD. I’ve found they step back and look at how all the puzzle pieces fit together and have far more tools in their toolboxes than traditional docs. Feel better!

    Like

    • Thanks, Lisa. I have a good GP but I tend to not go to him when I am really sick because my problems are so complicated. I think that we have lost the type of doctors who do look at the whole puzzle and perform a differential diagnosis. Mine listen to me too much, actually.

      Like

  28. Elaine

    Kramer goes to the vet.

    George: “You’re going to a vet?”
    Kramer: “Oh, I’ll take a vet over an MD anyday. They gotta be able to cure a lizard, a chicken, a pig, a frog. All on the same day.”

    Like

  29. I don’t know which is better. I see a GP for most everything, but then when something more than the ordinary things goes wrong he sends me to a specialist. I think I would prefer a vet too!

    Like

    • I started with my GP but the problems are all Crohn’s related — it is a nasty disease that can affect a whole lot of different systems. Until now it has only really affected my GI system.

      But the problem with specialists is that they look at everything through a microscope they don’t look at the whole body and try to figure out whether the problem is, in my case, Crohn’s related or just flu, infection, whatever … It is frustrating because I feel like they can’t see the forest for the trees.

      Like

      • I cannot possibly know what you are going through, but I can relate a bit since I have diverticulosis, IBS & recurrent diahrrea since my gallbladder was removed. There are a lot of days I cannot even think of leaving the house. If I have to leave the house on a certain day, I have to adjust my diet for 2 days before I need to go out – nothing solid the day before & nothing to eat or drink the day I need to leave the house. There are many days when I am too tired to do anything because it feels like every ounce of energy has been flushed out of me.

        Like

        • People really do not understand what a drain diarrhea is. How it saps your energy, your very heart and soul. Have you tried anti-diarrheals (immodium) or metamucil or anything like that that can make you need to go less frequently?

          I have a great doctor who might be able to help … seriously though, you should talk with a doctor. That’s no way to live.

          Besides, we can have a blast in the waiting room!

          Like

          • I recently started a new med called Olyestra which seems to be helping somewhat. I still do not eat or drink if I have to leave the house because it doesn’t help every day, but it has helped quite a bit.

            Like

  30. Sorry to hear you have not been feeling well. But I hope you can make one of these guys give you a straight answer. Perhaps your vet just has a better bedside manner.

    Like

    • It’s not his bedside manner, it’s just that he takes care of everything. I am tired of doctors who think that I have endless time and endless money to go to just one more appointment with one more doctor. My newest problem should be something that can be handled by anybody who has been to medical school. That is what sent me over the edge, actually.

      Like

  31. I think we need to add this idea to health care policy reform—-but till then, hang in there. Not fun.

    Like

    • Thanks, Bella. It was a bad day/night when I wrote this. I am less angry today. Of course, nobody has told me that I need another doctor/test yet today …

      Like

  32. That may not be a bad alternative. And I’m not 105..although i do feel that way from time to time. Crohn’s sucks. I know a couple folks who battle with it – in fact one of my friend’s late-teenage daughter so you can probably relate to her experiences.

    (I meant ‘late’ as in ’19’, not late as in dirt nap. Just wanted to be clear)

    And having put down a few pets with the same vet, when my time comes I think I’ll go to him instead of the hospital.

    Like

    • I absolutely agree, Cooper. We are kinder to our pets than to ourselves.

      Like

    • I feel for your friends daughter — I was 14 when I started having symptoms. It is embarrassing as an adult but as a young woman, well, the last thing you want to be thinking about is poop. Should she need some words of wisdom from an old warrior, you are welcome to give her my email address. Although given that I am really crabby right now, I’d wait a few weeks.

      Like

  33. Please do not think it’s a joke when I say have you looked into repoopulate? I know crohn’s is no joke. If not, look into fecal transplants. (Another non joke beleive it or not) Ask a doctor with experience in this area. Here is an article about the first option. http://www.fastcoexist.com/1681229/repoopulate-how-fake-poop-can-cure-patients-stomach-ailments

    We are a symbiotic mixture of organisms, and these smaller cousins of ours are actually far more numerous than our own human cells, and sometimes necessary to carry out critical functions in certain organs, one very notable one the colon!

    I hope this helps.

    Like

    • Life, I have read about that procedure (I do medical research — I read everything). I’ve read good things about it, and I will discuss it with my doctor. It sounds so counter-intuitive, doesn’t it?

      I have also read of a treatment where you drink worm larvae, the parasites then get into your gut and do good things. I’m not nearly sick enough to do that!

      Thanks for the information and the new place to read up on it.

      Like

  34. We have a great, fantastic, wonderful vet, and, I wish she could be my doctor too. So, I can relate….

    Hope you get things figured out, and feel better soon!

    Like

Play nice, please.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s