Monday, October 11, 2010


My weekend was good food-wise, not so good health-wise. 
I have a frozen right shoulder and an HMO health plan.  Really, do I need to go into it?  My HMO doles out physical therapy appointments like it was methadone.  Come on, it's  helping me get better and you only give me 6 visits at a time?  Once I get my 6 golden visits, I made them at the PT place.  On the 6th visit (usually the 3rd week since I go twice a week), the PT person has to make out a report, fax it to my PCP and then they forward their report to the managing group.  This process can take anywhere from 3-infinity days.  This time it's been infinity.  I've been out of PT for almost 3 weeks, made the calls, but still not visits.  I've been doing my shoulder exercises pretty regularly, but it's not enough.  Those PT people have magic hands, you know? 
Last week Thursday, my shoulder was feeling more sore than usual.  By the end of the work day, it felt like lead and I could hardly lift it.  I did tough it out long enough to get my nails done, but then who wouldn't?  By the time I got home, the pain was about a 6 - severely impeding my knitting and computer work.  By midnight, the level had gone up to a 8.5 and I was ready to do anything to make the pain stop.  I tried John's leftover Robaxin, but no help.  I had nothing stronger, so I took some tylenol. 
By 4am, my pain level was a screaming 10.  The pain radiating from my shoulder socket down the front of my arm felt like Freddy Kruger was having a field day in there.  John was up and getting ready for work, so I asked Tony to take me to the closest ER.
We go to Palomar Pomerado and I get right in.  They give me shots of Dilaudid and Tordol.  I get an oral antinausea med and a Valium.  The pain is still there but I'm loopy and sleepy so they send me home at 6am.
By 10am, I'm awake and writhing in pain.  10+ again.  Shit.  I call the doctor's office to make an appt and get one at 2:20.  I take some of the take-home meds from Palomar - Vicodin and Valium, and try to rest.  No good.
We get to my doctor appt.  My Nurse Practitioner wants to get an MRI of my shoulder, but because I have an HMO and no previous authorization, no MRI for me that day.  She says I should go to Scripps ER and they will do the MRI there, so off we go to the second ER visit of the day.
I wait for about 2 hours and get seen in the hallway.  Yes, I know I'm not bleeding to death, but when you're in pain, you feel like you are the most important patient, right?  The ER doc tells me that they do not do MRI's for patients with painful shoulders unless there has been an injury.  Frozen shoulders don't count.  He tells me if it was HIS shoulder, he would want a shot of steroids and a bunch of steroid pills to take home along with his arm in a sling, so guess what I got?  Yeah.
I have to say, that within 4 hours, my shoulder was feeling so much better after the steroid shot.  Apparently, my shoulder was so inflamed that it was pinching a nerve.  How come it takes so many doctors and so much running around to get to the answer?  Jeez.
Been on my meds since Thursday and my shoulder is not pain-free, but it is much better.
Oh, I forgot to mention that in the doctor's office, I mention the PT craziness to the NP.  She says, "I don't know why you haven't been getting PT since there is a note in here authorizing 12 visits.  The note was signed on Sept. 27th.  Say WHAT??  I was pissed.  I said "well someone here dropped the ball big time." 
I'm not going to get into my views on what I believe our healthcare system is going to be, but I do know now that you, as a patient, have to stay on top of your own health and care.  Don't depend on a doctor's office with a million patients to take care of your little problem.  Be proactive and follow through.  But sometimes that doesn't even work.
My food choices and intake has been really good the past week.  I believe I have lost 4 lbs, but we'll see when I weigh in tomorrow.  I've also added riding my recumbent bike and adding more walking to my daily activities. 

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