The Human Ping Pong Ball

I’m feeling a bit batted around lately, and am wondering if there’s any way to prevent it.  Patients see one doctor, who suggests a different one, who suggests a different one…  When my kids got interested in horses, I discovered what an expensive hobby that is, but it pales in comparison to doctor-ping-pong.

Rheum:  Not rheum, you might ask your dentist.

Me:  Okay, I have an appointment in two weeks; I’ll ask then.


Dentist:  Dentists do teeth, not mouths.  I can give you a referral if it bothers you.

Me (not aloud):  If it didn’t bother me, I wouldn’t have brought it up.  Why can’t I get the referral now?


PCP:  It could be either a or b.  Sounds like it’s infected.  Let’s try a week of antibiotic; if it’s not better, call me and I’ll write a referral to an ENT.

Me:  sigh


ENT:  I don’t think it’s a or b.  That looks normal to me.  You need an appointment for a CT, then make a follow-up appointment to come back and discuss it with me after I have the results.  If it bothers you, I can operate, but some people with either one of these problems do fine without surgery.

Me (not aloud):  Wait!  What?  You think it’s normal, but you’re talking about surgery?  Nobody’s going to be cutting holes in my skin and tinkering around with my insides unless it’s absolutely necessary.  No surgery.  Is it essential to know exactly what it is we’re not operating on?  I think not.  If things get worse, that would be the time to investigate further.

I wonder what the response would have been if I’d just asked, “Is this a CYA test, or do you really think I need it?”


Getting bounced between doctors is expensive, time-consuming, and exhausting.
I’m seriously considering cancelling my CT & follow-up appointments.


6 thoughts on “The Human Ping Pong Ball

  1. Try an oral surgeon. Maybe they have more experience in seeing those things. Dentist should’ve been able to refer you to one. I think I’m at the beginning of just such a project for my mom.

  2. Sounds familiar. I finally gave up on seeing multiple docs. Two is my limit. If two can’t figure it out, then it’s not worth figuring out. I had a cyst on my lower lip that after about two years became quite large and visible. I saw a combo plastic surgeon/oral surgeon. Made an appointment and went for a consult and was back three days later getting it taken care of. I’d heard that ENTs do the procedure too but I wanted a plastic surgeon. I was lucky to find the guy who did both.

  3. If you are speaking about the salivary duct, when I had mine removed I went to an oral surgeon but was referred there by my PCP. My dentist would have referred me but it was cheaper for me going through my PCP.
    I can relate to the bounced around feeling. For a separate problem I have been having I started with my PCP, on to the Rheumatologist, to a neuro, to an mri, to a neurosurgeon, to an ENT, to more tests , and back to the ENT and then back to the neuro. Everyone is concerned but no one can figure out what to do UGH!!! The time and the money these things take is ridiculous. At one point I did cancel all of the appointments and tests but….surprise the problem persisted. When that happens we have no choice but jump through the hoops.

  4. “Is this a CYA test, or do you really think I need it?”

    I wish you’d asked that question. In the meantime, I also wish you’d get the CT and followup. Yeah, it’s a pain. And it costs. But waiting might bring on even more trouble, pain, illness and cost.

    Thinking of you, Socks, and sending hugs.

  5. Wren, yes, I, too, wish I’d asked. I’ll keep the appointment for the expensive test, but am really wishing I’d asked how necessary it is.

    Mary, you get the ping-pong ball award. I’m sorry. 😦 Yes, we’re talking about the salivary duct (or possible thyroglossal duct cyst). I think it was infected and the antibiotic worked – but not fast enough to save me from the referral.

    Sherlock – Lucky you. I’d love to stick with two doctors.

    Chelsea – yea, the dentist should have given me a referral. The straw that broke the camel’s back, and now I’m looking for a new one. Good luck with your mom.

  6. Pingback: Non-Compliant? « ∞ itis

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