NOT

Continued from Chronic & HYSBYW

Chronic pancreatitis.  Serious.  Poor prognosis.  For three distressing weeks I dealt with that diagnosis as I waited and waited for yet another doctor’s office to schedule an appointment.

Aggravated at waiting forever to hear back from the physician to whom I’d been referred, I wrangled a different referral elsewhere.  In an effort to be thorough, I picked up disks with all my imaging studies to take to the new doctor.

Before delivering those disks, I popped them into my computer.  Not only do the disks contain images, they also contain the radiologist’s reports.  At the very top of one is a note that a correction to the report was discussed with the doctor’s PA.  The correction?  One word was omitted from the original report.  It should have read that there is NOT necrosis…

Capital letters.  NOT necrosis.  Not chronic.

This correction was dated two weeks before the doctor delivered the bad news.  He somehow didn’t see the corrected report and didn’t see the PA’s notes in my file.  He was too busy typing on his computer to look at me.  Apparently he was also too busy to look at all the reports, since the report on the second CT was even clearer.

And I’m wondering. When would I have learned this if I hadn’t looked at those computer disks and opened the radiologist’s reports?  What was that doctor thinking?  I am so angry that I spent three weeks stressed about this because he didn’t read the reports and so gave me the wrong diagnosis.  I understand that mistakes happen sometimes, but this guy just glanced at the initial report and never bothered to read it, never bothered to read the corrected report, and never bothered to so much as glance at scan number two.

While I am dismayed that the wrong diagnosis was delivered, I am relieved to know that I’m not dealing with another chronic condition.  Acute is such a nice word.

I saw a second gastroenterologist in a different hospital system.  No accusations of being a lush there.  Quite the opposite.  They read the radiology reports and told me that my case is very normal:  70% of cases of pancreatitis are women with gallstones.  That’s not the only contrast in the care they provided.  The first GI didn’t even read the reports; this second guy looked at the CT images and tracked down a radiologist for help interpreting them.

The second doctor, who I saw initially the day after I phoned for an appointment last week, is working on fitting me in to get the procedures done next week.  Next week!  Not next month or the month after.  Next week.  As a bonus, I don’t have to drive clear to Seattle.

NOT chronic.

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12 thoughts on “NOT

  1. Whew! That is a total relief!! I’m so happy for you!!

    I had my gallbladder out in summer 2010. One thing my surgeon didn’t mention until I told her at my post-op follow up that I feared something went wrong because I still felt so sick was that even when they do it via laparoscopic surgery, it’s still major surgery. I thought because the skin had healed it meant the insides had too, but she said they sear the entire underside of the liver as well as various other things that take longer to heal than one expects. I had expected to feel “normal” within a couple weeks, especially since most people can return to work in less than a week. It was a full eight weeks before I felt like I’d recovered from the surgery. Anyway, just thought I’d share that.

    I hope your surgery goes well and you heal speedily and fully! Btw, if you ever need a recommendation for a surgeon in Portland, OR, I know a really good one. :)

    • Thank you; that is good to know. My husband works with a guy who was back to work on day two; I feel like such a wimp because I do not feel back to normal even yet. At post-op, I told my surgeon that it felt like there were still stones stuck there. And I might have hinted that I’d like to see photographic evidence that the gallbladder is gone, cuz it sure feels like it’s still there with stones making their presence felt ;) If I head toward Portland for surgery, I’ll contact you for that surgeon’s name :)

  2. Woot, woot!!!! Dang girl, what a way to get your readership hooked! So glad it all turned out alright! Hope you have a truly happy Thanksgiving. Now, how’s your medication regimine and RA been doing during all of this?

    • Wasn’t intended that way. I wrote the first two posts weeks ago, out of frustration. Almost deleted them, then decided to go ahead and post.

      No RA meds since early September. I’m pretty sore.

      • There was a wink implied in there. I can only pray that your meds kick in fast once you’re able to resume them again. Really, really pray. I’m sorry you’re having to go through this!

  3. WS, Congratulations on getting redirected out of Chronicville. I sometimes wonder if prayer changes history, like it did say necrosis and it was chronic, but your prayer warriors facilitated a reprieve and changed impressions retroactively. Just a thought.

    The daily posting relieves some of the suspense for your readers, anyway. I can’t wait to see the next installment.

  4. Amazing, infuriating story, Socks–and lucky, too, that you saw those reports and were able to immediately see new doctors who did their jobs competently. I bet there was steam coming from your ears.

    I’m glad you’ll be having the procedure done without more needless delay, and by docs you can trust. Here’s wishing you the best with it, and a heartfelt hope that the recovery period is quick and painless. Sending warmth and comfort to you, your heart and your achy joints. Be well, friend.

    • Thanks, Wren. This isn’t the first time that I was glad I saw my reports. GI#1’s office just switched from private practice to hospital employee, and I’m wondering how much impact that’s having. Maybe the doctors are distracted or frustrated at the new system or something. Argh! So glad I got to jump ship.

      I’m so afraid they’re going to postpone my procedure. Everyone in my house has a sore throat, and for two days my chest has ached something awful. This morning I started coughing. Seems backward – usually I have a cold, then it settles in my chest. I just hope this doesn’t make them delay the procedure.

  5. Yah…you can breathe again. How awful you had to endure 3 weeks of this for lack of professionalism. I am like you always questioning and my own advocate with my own issues. You never can be too careful can you? Good luck with the surgery, it looks easy compared to what you have just been through.

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