Thursday, November 4, 2010

Having the Right to Choose

I just want to thank everybody for your kind words about my creations. It really feels lovely to hear when you are wrestling with an idea in the middle of the night and you can't hold the tools because your hands are numb.

Speaking of which - I canceled my upcoming carpal tunnel surgery yesterday.

I know - don't gasp - I've already done tons of that myself.

I've been waiting over 9 months for this surgery and not even two weeks before it is about to occur I call and cancel. Am I out of my mind again you wonder?

When I was told that I was to see this particular surgeon for my hands I was disappointed. I had been to see him a couple of months earlier about the pain in my abdomen and I just couldn't take his arrogance and God image he portrayed throughout the interview. So when I heard I was to see him for my hands I just groaned.

My doctor's nurse said to me - 'At least we are lucky to have a surgeon in this rural area, however most people do complain about his bedside manner'.

Ya. It's no wonder I'm not the only one.

This surgeon had done my gall bladder operation 20 years ago and I have a HUGE scar to prove it. Back then he was a lovely caring man. I guess being the only one around has gone to his head.

As the date of my surgery crept closer and closer I kept feeling more tense and nervous about the whole thing. I had this feeling deep inside - down in the pit of my stomach - and I thought that I shouldn't ignore it.

I grilled every person I knew that had already had this kind of surgery and compared notes with them. Everyone I talked to had their surgery done by a plastic surgeon. I was getting a general surgeon. I even compared what they had to do following the surgery and it wasn't even close to the same as what I had been told.

Following all this information and that feeling in my stomach - I canceled. A few minutes later I got a call from a lovely male nurse who works in the unit at the hospital. He wanted to know why I was canceling and would I be having the surgery later? I should have told him exactly why - but I didn't. He tried his hardest to get me to change my mind but I stood my ground. Afterward I just felt guilty. Incredibly guilty. Was I just being a chicken?

Suddenly I remembered that we have an online site where you can 'Rate your Doctor'. This is where I got the idea of rating a partner as an abuser or an alcoholic - whatever.

Banging away at the keys with my numb fingers I quickly found the site and found this surgeon's name and read the 5 reviews this surgeon had. 4 out of 5 of the commenters would never recommend this surgeon! 3 out of 5 said that they had had carpal tunnel surgery performed by this man. They all said the same thing and almost used the same words! The surgeon had NOT waited for the freezing to take hold and had - and I quote - "Slashed their hand open" before it was properly frozen and they could feel everything! When they tried to jerk their hand away as an automatic response he had yelled at them. When one person cried out in pain - he had laughed.
One person said that he had done such a poor job that she had many complications and he refused to look at her again.

You can well imagine the relief I felt after reading these comments. By following my instincts I had done the right thing!

All well and good - right?

I now may have a 18 month wait to see a plastic surgeon. I doubt I'll be able to pick up a spoon by that time. How I wish I had thought of this when they first sent me to see the rural surgeon. I should have requested someone else then and there but I thought I could tough it out.

Here in Canada getting a second opinion or even asking for a different doctor is severely frowned upon. The system wants us to follow the rest of the sheep into the dock and lay docilely as the killing blow is administered to those in front of us. When it comes to our turn we are not to struggle and definitely not to bolt for the open gate and make a run for the meadow.

If we do - not only are we booted to the back of the line but we are put in the same group as the other black sheep - tarred and feathered and run out to the paddock on a rail where we are left to molt woolly feathers as the seasons change. Our once strong baa's of discontent turn into pitiful mewling and we are brought to our knees as we crawl to the locked gate in pain.

There's a system here in Canada which is fairly good. Like all systems though it has its downfalls. We have a big lack of much needed talented doctors. What we do have is a few talented sprinkled amidst the country vet turned all purpose surgeon or family doctor. It is rare to find a good doctor who stays in Canada for the good of the patient. The really good doctors have all headed across the border to make the big bucks. The allure of the almighty dollar and the masses of people who have to pay is usually too high. Because of that we just don't have enough doctors to go around. Not even bad doctors who need a dose of their own medicine.

The fact that I have a family doctor who is not only smart and knowledgeable but who also really cares, is amazing! I'm plain lucky! That being said - I had to wait almost 3 months to get in to see her because she is just so popular! That isn't good. Because of my health I almost changed doctors - again. Like a lot of people - I need to see a doctor on the spur of the moment. Waiting is not an option.

If I had chosen to change my family doctor again I would have received another black mark on my file. That file goes with me wherever I go as the government has come up with a system that anyone in the medical industry can tap in to. All my history is in there - at least as far back as they were told to scan when they first brought this system online. If you are a black sheep - its in there. If you take your grass and chew contentedly and don't spit anything out - you can go to the front of line. Because I won't eat the nettles, I have to go to the back of the line.

It's a system. It's the one we have. We don't have to pay for the system right up front out of our pocket and perhaps that is why. (That's what taxes and government funding are for. Wait a minute - isn't that all the same thing?) If we had to we wouldn't be paying a surgeon like this and he would go out of business. Bad news spreads faster than fire. However - I would be bankrupt if I lived in a country where health care is an option that has to be paid for.

We are always being told that they are going to try and improve health care in Canada. I say take away the little black sheep symbol and clump me in with the smiley faces with the thermometer sticking out of the mouth. Aren't we all created equal?

And yes - it is unfortunate that I now have to wait a long time to get my hands fixed. When I do - I'll get them to tattoo smiley faces on my wrists at the same time.


Akelamalu said...

You did the right thing in following your gut instict. You may have a long wait but hopefully it will mean you get the right surgeon who will do a great job. x

FlowerLady said...

Oh my gosh Aimee ~ What a nightmare, but I'm so glad you did NOT go through with this surgery. Bless your heart. Have you looked into alternative therapies for CTS?

Love and hugs ~ FlowerLady

Maggie May said...

You had a near squeak there. It is a great pity that you didn't look him up much earlier but I am glad you didn't have to go through the ordeal of surgery with that man.
I'm not sure if our system is any better. there are long waiting lists but we don't have to pay.
Can you get plastic surgery done on the National Health or will you be a private patient?
Hope you get it fixed soon because of a cancellation or something.
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Alcoholic Daze (ADDY) said...

So sorry you have now got to wait so long for the next opportunity but you did right to trust your instincts. Hugs x

Leslie: said...

It's too bad you have to wait again, but it should be worth it to get it done right! Good thing you followed your gut instincts and considering all you've beenn through in your life, I bet they're highly honed! Sending hugs!

Polergirl said...

OMG Aims! I am SO GLAD you listened to your instinct. You HAVE to trust your instinct, no matter what.

You only have one body, only let those you trust near it.

Phew. Big hugs. x

Leatherdykeuk said...

You made a good call, I think but oh! your poor hands! *hugs*

Alice Stroppel said...

Wow, that is a scary story, but I think you did the right thing. You are responsible for your body. I would hope that the same will not happen here, we need change, but not that.
Hang in there, you can do it, I know you can.

Melanie said...

I had my wrist operated on twice by general surgeons. Both times there were complications and not all the lump was removed so it re-grew. The 3rd time because of the operation scaring and lumping I was given the option of a plastic surgeon. That time all the lump was removed as well as a lot of the scar tissue and I was left with a barely noticably silvery scar totally flat with the rest of my skin.

Well done Aims for having the courage of going with your gut and waiting for a good surgeon. With your medical hostory it's better to go for the best you can and avoid complications.