Compulsive hoarding is a mental disorder that is just beginning to be understood. As a hoarder, I have acquired things over the years with a specific purpose in mind at the time of the acquisition, used some of those items for their intended purposes, forgotten the goal for different objects, but now that I find that they have outlived their purpose in my life I am struggling to rid myself of those same things.

You can read the start of my journey here.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What would you do?

I need to write this before the pain meds kick in, and I'm in LaLa Land.

Had the pre-surgical appointment at the hospital today. Everything went fine, but I almost didn't make it to the appointment. I use the alarms on my cell phone every day. Several alarms every day, even. But something happened to my phone last night, and the battery didn't charge. And the battery had died. Thankfully, I happened to wake up 15 minutes before I had to leave the house, and I was able to make it across town and get to my appointment with 2 minutes to spare.

My second appointment happened a few hours later at the general surgeon's office. I was hoping to get a scar fixed on my arm while I'm already in surgery, but he said he didn't feel the surgery would do anything to help with the pain I have in it, and that he felt it bordered on 'unnecessary surgery'. He made me feel like he thought I was trying to scam the insurance company.

Then, we talked about the appendectomy I had asked about. I figured that since I'm already going to be out for surgery the way it was, that maybe it would be a good time to get my appendix out. It makes a lot of sense as far as being cost effective. It would be cheaper for the insurance company and cheaper for us, if I had it done at the same time. And while he said he would do it, he also wrote down on the consent form that the reason for the appendectomy was that the 'patient requested it'.

He didn't say that the patient requested it, because she's having other surgery that day. Just that the patient requested it. I don't know, if I was just oversensitive or what, but it came across to me like he thought I was just asking for the sake of wasting money, and it made me uneasy.

Then, he gave me the consent form to sign. At the bottom of the consent form there are 4 things you have to give or deny consent for or mark as not applicable...1) Do you consent to a student being present and helping perform the surgery? 2) Do you consent to a graft, if a graft is needed. 3) Do you agree to have a blood transfusion, if necessary? and 4) Do you consent to have anesthesia in spite of the risks.

I filled out the same consent form at my gynecologist's office yesterday. When it came time to answer the 4 questions, she checked off that the graft was not applicable and told me she'd give me a minute to read through things and check the boxes I felt comfortable with. But she gave me the choice. And the only one I even had to think twice about was having a student present during surgery.

However, the surgeon today had checked the boxes that he wanted checked. Not the ones wanted. Granted, 2 of the 3 questions were answered the way I would have answered them, but he just assumed I was okay with having a student in the OR. I wasn't. And I explained that I wasn't okay with it, and that I had specifically checked the box that said I did not want to have a student in the room while I had surgery at the other doctor's office.

He got a little irritated with me. He proceeded to try to guilt me into accepting a student in the room. He said, "You mean you don't even want Jamie, the girl that was just in here helping you and taking your history in there with me? She'd be observing me." But the thing is, if I agreed to have her in the room, that I was agreeing to her helping with the surgery itself. I again said that I wasn't comfortable with it. So he scribbled out the check mark on the 'agree' line and checked the 'do not agree' line.

I felt very uncomfortable with it all. I felt like he was trying to pressure me, to guilt me, into doing what HE wanted. Not what I wanted or was comfortable with. And the only time he asked me about it was after I said I wasn't comfortable with it, and then I felt pressured to go along with what he wanted.

Tonight when I sat down to the computer, I looked him up online. He only has a rating of 1.5 out of 5 stars for satisfaction with patients. Granted, there were only 5 ratings, but that also means that not even one person gave him a 5 overall. I mean, those are some really low ratings. If not even 1 out of 5 patients can give you a 5, you're not the surgeon for me.

I'll be calling my gynecologist (whose rating is 4.5 out of 5 based on 4 reviews, and whose ratings I totally agree with) to let her know that I will not be going with him as a surgeon. I will skip having an appendectomy rather than put my life in his hands.

I doubt I'll have time to get into another surgeon between now and next Wednesday, so I will probably only have one surgery and one surgeon in the room. I'm much more comfortable with that than having him touch me.

I will definitely let someone in his office know why I've chosen not to utilize his services. I think I'm also going to let someone at the hospital know that I felt he was trying to coerce me into having the student in the operating room.

I'm not sure who I need to tell, but I'm know I need to tell somebody.


  1. I understand your annoyance. A lot of surgeons are arrogant and tend to have poor people skills. Personally, I would think the main thing with the patient satisfaction is whether his skill is good or not. If no, then run away fast! If he is a great surgeon, but just a big jerk, then it could be something worth living with, if you really want to get the appendectomy out of the way.

    As to the student thing, I would think that you could cross things out, add a note, etc. saying observation is fine, but you don't want them to actually assist. I would just initial everything and make sure your specific wishes are known.

    BTW, I think this is the first time I have commented, but I am a daily reader; I love your blog and very much identify with many of your struggles.

  2. I was once told, by a nurse, that many doctor's are insensitive and their bedside manners suck because they've spent so much time in medical school, studying and such, to become the great surgeons they are.

    But, if you are uncomfortable with any aspect of your health care, you should by all means refuse treatment.
    And, I agree. 1.5 out of 5 doesn't look good.
    Surely there's a "chief of staff" type person in the clinic that you could express yourself to?
    I think you're doing the right thing!
    P.S. I bet Ami will have plenty of good advice for you! I can't wait to see what she'll write! ( :

  3. Ami, the pressure is on now! :)

    Doctors are not God despite what some may think of themselves. They are, in fact, people we hire to take care of our medical needs. If we can hire a doctor, we can fire a doctor in the US that is, at least for now.

    I am sure there are plenty of other great general surgeons in your fairly large city!

    Good luck and you know we'll be chatting before December 1st!

  4. Doctors like that make me very angry!

  5. Looks like he's earned his 1.5 rating. Good for you for refusing to use him!

  6. I know we already discussed this last night.. and I told you to go with your gut.

    I still think that's what you should do and I'm glad you are.

    I also think you should print this out and mail it to the his office and to the administrators of the hospital.

    And that you should tell people his name and what happened. Stick to the facts only.

    But spread the word.

  7. I hate doctors like that, you made the right decision!


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