Sunday, May 01, 2011

Maybe I SHOULD Have Become a Doctor

I don't know how many of you know that I originally went to college to become a doctor.

Yes.  Why, yes I did.

University of Virginia Medical School

If you've never read about the circuitous route that brought me to where I am today (and I mean, hair pin turns, missed airline flights, cross-country jaunts, falling down the bunny hole, and walking backwards), then you might be interested in clicking here to read about it.

(Then please come back, 'cause there's more.  
It's long, but it might be of interest.)

Now, I say "maybe I SHOULD have become a doctor" because I'm fighting a losing battle with one -- and I think I could teach a lesson in compassion.  Right now on my Facebook page there are suggestions and debates about what I should do because I'm not getting helped by what is supposed to be one of the best hospitals in the world.  If you read the Facebook thread, I ask you to be respectful of all thoughts, as health care is a polarizing topic.  Health care really is NOT the issue at hand in my opinion -- it's about what I talk about on this blog quite a lot....

art by one of my favorite artists, TheWheatField
** Remember, doctors, you're here to help.

** Doctors, if you are no longer right for the patient, tell them, and then refer them.

** If the patient feels the treatment offered is terrifying and unnecessary, for heaven's sake, don't have your SECRETARY pass along a message that shows you, the DOCTOR, never even read the freaking message, and leaves the patient still feeling terrified.


Doctors are not God.  Doctors are human.  They make mistakes, they have bad days, they make bad choices.  But they should LISTEN.  They may not have the time they used to have back in the day to really have a good, long chat with their patient, but when a patient, who has researched the heck out of their ailment, emails a pointed question, please answer it within two weeks, m'k? 

I am sick of my freaking headaches.

I've had six MRIs in two years.  

After two years, I still have no pain medication. 

My ophthalmologist, the only one who seems to give a damn, sees me every six months to monitor eye pressure.  He sees it.  Not enough (yet) to break out a can of (excuse me) Whoop Ass on a doctor, but enough that last time, when I told him I wasn't being helped, he slammed his hand on his desk and immediately called for (sigh) an MRI.  Which I didn't need, but he didn't trust the other five.


 My original neurologist, who is smart, savvy, and who I adore, sadly no longer takes my insurance, which, as far as insurance companies go, is The Devil.  So it's no wonder he had to make that business decision, and I don't fault him for it.  I had to see him once while waiting the many, many months for the Famous Hospital to see me, and he saw me the very day I called and only charged me half price.

I've been told to get a Patient Advocate to help me with the Famous Hospital, but at this point, I no longer want to go there.  I have asked for the nerve block shots instead of the terrifying and as-of-yet unnecessary hospitalizations and have been given -- a dial tone.  The Famous Hospital is an hour and a half away in good traffic.  


So now I'm going to write to my old neurologist, the one that actually listened, and ask for a payment plan for the shots.  And if things get to the point that the hospitalization and scary stuff need to happen, well.  We'll cross that bridge if we ever meet it.

What does this mean now?

Well, for one, I've signed up to sell again at the International Gem and Jewelry Shows in Chantilly, VA in the months of August and December.  I'll be selling some jewelry but will also be selling off quite a lot of my stash.  It's just time.  I'll be gathering things up into Bead Soup sets and we'll see how it goes.  

photo by Cindy Wimmer

It also means that if you have been having a health problem, I'd love for your to email me so you know you are NOT alone.  We may not be able to solve any of the BIG problems, but there's power in sharing.  


If you've made it this far through this vitriolic diatribe, thank you.  Stay well.

Lori Anderson creates jewelry for her web site, Lori Anderson Designs, and wrote the blog An Artist's Year Off.  She's also a contributor to Art Bead Scene.  She is also the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party. 


  1. Hugs! I am soooo sorry you have to deal with this nightmare.

  2. ((hugs)) and prayers, lots and lots of prayers.

  3. I can only imagine how frustrated you are. I pray you find discernment and for the doctors treating you.

  4. I am not having health problems, but I can still empathize.

    I have been an attorney and I KNOW that the biggest reason for malpractice suits against attorneys is because they don't return calls. I can't imagine it is any different for doctors. I also know if a doctor apologizes for errors that the number of suits go down.

    As an artist, attorney, and business person I know, and you know, that communication is the base on which all else is built.

    Get another doctor. If you do not trust your doctor and believe in the care you are receiving whatever treatment you receive will be less successful.

    Or to say it a bit differently...

    Studies show that those who pray and/or are prayed for heal faster or better. I think witch doctors, herbal healers, high tech, etc... works because we believe it will.

    I have tended to a person in the final stages of life and have witnessed magic.

    You make the choice that is right for you, whatever it might be. It may not be the recommended choice but it is likely to work better than anything else.

    *Sending a smile and good thoughts your way*

  5. I can't imagine your frustration and anger. I hope someone can solve the problem and put an end to your discomfort -- physical and mental.

  6. I have a reluctance with doctors. Having family members who have been ill, hospital-ill, has made doctors a touchy subject with me. I respect the profession, generally, but some doctors don't really make me confident with their abilities.

    I only hope that you'll get some relief soon, Lori.

  7. I am so sorry Lori - I am sending lots of prayers and good vibes your way so you are on the road to good health so very very soon!!

  8. I feel so bad for you. It seems doctors are best at healing broken know....something they can see. To me, innards, and their workings, are a bit more challenging for them.
    My hubby went to a Naturopathic Doctor for his knee and it worked! It doesn't mean it works for everyone but hubby wasn't going to settle for knee replacement surgery and then have to have that replaced in 10 years or less because he is very active.
    Bless you for hanging in there and having such a great blog!

  9. I will continue praying for you and your health...and care. HUGZ!!

  10. As a doctor, you would have this amazing little gadget at your hands that most medicine men and -women seem to have lost... compassion. You are a philanthropist, and being understood, listened to and cared for is, in my book, often half the cure.
    Luckily, I have not yet encountered a medical nightmare anywhere near what you are going through, so all I can offer is to keep you in my thoughts and give you the biggest hug known to man should our paths ever cross.
    You are one strong woman, Lori, you amaze me. KJ nailed it- if you believe in it, it might just work. And you can certainly believe that I am sending out my most caring thoughts.

  11. I'm so glad you found a neurologist that you like. Do talk to him or his staff about payment. A lot of times they know of programs or have one themselves to help. Hopefully you can qualify for something so you don't have to worry. At least you have one doc in your corner and possibly another one soon! Good luck and take care!

  12. Lori, I'm so sorry it's such a tough road, but I'm so glad that you're not just accepting the situation. My husband, who works in the medical field, once said to me, "Do you know what they call the guy who graduated last in his class in med school? Doctor. It was a real wake-up call for me to realize, as you said, they are just as human, and just as able to make mistakes. There is a doctor out there who has an answer. Just don't give up hunting for him(her).
    Blessings, Shirley

  13. Keep on pushing for yourself. I had some medical issues with my second pregnancy and had to come to the US to be hospitalized. (My int'l insurance covered the hospitalization). I was armed with tons of my records and information and knew what was going on and had a dr come in and treat me like I was a child. He was dismissive and condescending. I called the nurse, asked who else was in the department and called and asked that the first dr be removed from my case and I did not want to be seen by him again. The second dr, listened, spoke to me like I was an intelligent human being. The first dr asked why I had removed him and I told him why. Don't know if he ever changed, but life is too short to deal with people who don't listen.

    Good for you for taking a different approach. I like the quote "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result" I will pray that the new approach gives you a different and positive result!

  14. Oh Lori, I am so sorry you having to deal with all that garbage. It is not bad enough that you are feeling like C--- but having to fight like a tiger when all you want to do is feel better. Being a Famous Hospital is no excuse You are in my prayers. Be Blessed

  15. I hope when you say you'll be selling off stash inventory you aren't saying you're getting out of jewelry making. I really, really hope not because you're so talented at it. I do hope you can find someone who'll treat you without that high financial cost but WITH the care and compassion of the good guy! As you know, I do have chronic medical problems and I have so much empathy with you and what you're going through. I hold out great hope for you!

  16. Lori, I'm so sorry you are going through this! I hope you find relief soon.

  17. UGH There is nothing worse then a bad doctor - thats when it's time to up and leave. One of my sons (9 yrs old) was in excruciating pain and the specialist couldn't see him for a month and a half - I ended up in the emergency room getting all the tests done 3 days later because I could not take him being in pain anymore - solved the problem - I am glad we never went to the specialist. Sadly you probably know more then anyone about your situation - if your specialist had to sit in pain all this time what do you think he would have done? Probably lose his mind. I am sorry you have to go thru this XO

  18. KJ said it all! Like I said in facebook we had a Dr for my husband and he was expensive, would never call us everything had to be thru the nurse. We were like oh come on. He had this weak feeble handshake. That should of set the alarm off right there! lol I really feel for you with this battle, and cannot blame you for feeling the way you do. I would be doing the same thing by going back to your original Dr you are so satisfied with. He cares too. It must be a really hard battle for you and I commend your strength. I have seen Gods hand move many times. He has many promises in His word. I will be praying for you! xxx

  19. I'm so sorry you're going through this. It's been enough to be un-well, but having to deal with B.S. along with it is just so much worse.

    I think you're right to ditch the current neurologist and find another. Your original Dr. sounds like a good person and I would be that s/he would be willing to work with you on the money aspect. If not, maybe they can recommend another doctor within your insurance's network.

    Have you tried a Naturopath or a Chiropractor? If not, it may be something to think about.

    Good luck to you!

  20. My heart goes out to you. The one thing I often give thanks for is our medical system here in canada. I cannot comprehend not being able to get the care or doctor you need. Reading about you doctor not taking your medical plan anymore made me hands leap up to hug you, sometimes I wish you could reach through the computer. I hope you get some relief.

  21. I've worked in hospitals for over 35 years. What you state is true. Doctors are humans & most of the time their hands are tied by insurance and fear of malpractice. I too have a chronic illness which is hidden, but there. I once had a bad year with lots of illness & time off or work. The insurance advocate called to question me & then called my Doctor to question his treatment. He point blank told them "don't you know what chronic means?". He's been my Doctor for over 26 years & he works for me. He might know know everything, but he works for ME!

  22. Lori,
    I am really so sorry for all that you are going through...the aggravation, the frustration, the pain! I'm here for you!
    I do have to put in a good word for one doctor that attended the very medical school you picture (UVA) dear brother. He's the best guy around and his patients love him. He listens like a friend. I sure wish you could find someone like him. I am really hoping the right physician and maybe the right answer for you might be right around the corner....

  23. Health issues suck big time and if a doctor can't help, I agree that they should tell you and refer you to someone else.
    I went to my doctor with neuropathy in my feet and asked her what it could be from. Her answer: "I don't know". No tests ordered, no follow up, no referrels, just "I don't know". When I asked her what I can do about it she replied "I don't know." At that point, I asked her if, since she could not provide me with any kind of answers whatsoever, why should I pay her. I had recieved no service at all. I changed doctors the next day and found out I was diabetic.
    If you don't get answers, go elsewhere and keep asking until you do get answers.
    Hope your shots do the trick.

  24. Gosh Lori, I am unable to express the sadness I feel over this issue. I am tired of constantly telling you things will be better as I am sure you are tired of hearing it. I so completely understand the anger and frustration you are dealing with along with chronic pain that doesn't seem to go away.
    I wish, I wish so dearly there was something more I could do and say, because sorry seems so insufficient!

  25. Hi Lori, i feel your pain literally !! I have severe spinal arthritis(anklyosing spondalitis)and was misdiagnosed for almost 10 yrs limping along with a cane for almost 4 yrs before i stumbled into a closed practice family doctor, he overheard my pleas to his receptionist and agreed to take me in. That's the day my life changed, he got the ball rolling,sent me to specialists in London, Ontario and within a few months i had my first new hip the ortho surgeon said it should have been done a least 5 years prior i had no cartlage left it was bone on bone. I now take injections of a miricle drug called "Enbrel" without this medication i am basically bed ridden it keeps my condition in remition.I have since had my other hip replaced and my spine is almost completly fused( a condition of this dibilitating diease )You really have to be an Advocate for your heath don't stop or give up until you find someone that will listen it was a long road and i am far from pain free but i can function and take care of my family and myself instead of them taking care of me i am only 49yrs old take care of youself Miss Lori climb to the top of the tallest mountain and scream until someone listens help is out there!!! ttfn L:)

  26. I'm so sorry that you have to deal with this. My mother was a nurse for many, many years before she retired, and the stories that she could tell about the healthcare industry... And now I work in the same industry, though on a different scale and in a much different way, and I'll tell you - some of the things I see even in my own little corner of the world make me very sad.

    Hang in there.

  27. Lori, I could go on a terrible rant here about health care, etc, but I won't. I am just so sorry to hear that you are not getting what you need from your doctors. That is shameful. But maybe I can tell you a little joke that we were fond of when I worked in medical research. Maybe it will make you smile. Do you know the difference between God and doctors? God doesn't think he's a doctor. :-) Hugs and healing thoughts to you.

  28. I'm so sorry that you have to deal with all of this crap, Lori. Sometimes you have to wonder why such kind people like yourself are burdened with issues like this. I wish you luck with finding a new hospital and going back to your old neurologist. <3

  29. Lori,

    I recomend a medical intuitive named Joyce. I've gotten sessions from her and a chronic skin condition went away. Now I don't know if it was what she did or what- but that's beside the point. It wouldn't hurt to try? If you would like her number feel free to contact me :) Maybe she can pinpoint what's causing them (eye pressure? or whats causing the eye pressure in the first place) and offer some holistic things to add to what you're already doing.
    love and light
    p.s- I don't know what she would charge, she only charges me $45 but I've known her for 10 years so...

  30. Oh honey - I'm praying for you! I've dealt with a lot of crap from doctors too :(

  31. I feel so horrible for you- I work at a hospital (u of m) so it is so hard for me to understand why you have no resolution. I will keep you in my prayers. There has to be a solution to your problem. You in fact are not alone- there are plenty of others in poor health and many with headaches. My 13 year old has migraine- which is hard to sxplain to your child why they have to have pain. He also has an achranoid cyst in the lining of his brain which can be scarry as an injury could be horrible so he can not play sports. Take care and I really hope that does not mean you are not able to continue the beading.
    Prayer and hugs,
    Alices beads and baubles

  32. How frustrating. I feel your pain. I work in a hospital, and even with medical knowledge of how the system works, I still get the royal run around at times. I ended up in the ER last week for sudden pain on my right side, around the rib cage, after I tried to get something off a shelf above my head. Common sense says muscle injury, right? Anyway, I had an EKG done - when I questioned it I was told it was because I had back pain...I said " yeah but it is on my RIGHT side" - the chart had it as the left side! Luckily I did get it cleared up before they did the rest of the possible MI workup or I would have had an even bigger bill.
    I could go on but I just want you to know that my heart goes out to you. I had headaches almost every day for several years. Turned out it was rebound from the ipubropen I was taking for the about irony.

  33. My heart goes out to you. I went through some health problems 20 years ago and I know how frustrating it is to deal with the medical world, especially when they are insensitive and arrogant. I hope you do whatever it takes to get yourself the care that is best for you. without our health what so we have.

  34. Lori,
    I could write a book, but I won't bore you with all of my details. Suffice it to say that both Jud and I have had some good and some horrifying, horrendous situations with doctors in the last few months. It doesn't help that Jud is a doctor. I honestly thought that would protect him.
    I pray to God that you get some help with this. I have a pain disorder (I think I have told you about this) and get migraines, though not as bad as yours. I also have nerves that over-react to any assault which is the biggest problem. Right now I have nerve shocks that shoot through a pain in my ear, causing obviously pain, but also nausea and dizziness. I am ready to beg for a block. I finally found a reasonably decent place but I have had to go to other places when at times they didn't listen. Like when they told me I just had to keep gradually exercising me knee. I have near bone on bone arthritis.
    They are not Gods. Often you know best.
    Sending hugs to you dear heart. You have suffered so much!

  35. Anonymous7:23 PM

    Pseudotumor Cerebri (BIH)

    A specialist recommended by the neurosurgeon I work for:

    Michael A. Williams, M.D.
    5051 Greenspring Ave, Ste 300
    Baltimore, MD 21209

    Phone: 410-601-1900

  36. We are going through similar problems at, I think, the same institution. Just today we were told "find somebody else". It would have been better to hear that message much sooner.

    As usual the problem is terrible communication, mostly at the clerical level. We can only guess that the doctor doesn't know. On the other hand, maybe he does, and does not want to risk his reputation with a high risk case.


I appreciate comments! Thank you for contributing to the conversation.