Sunday, November 23, 2008

NM has a meltdown

Friday afternoon was...difficult. I had, in layman's terms, a bit of a meltdown.

It had started earlier that day. I had an Rx from Doc B for physical therapy - passive and active range of motion exercises, to be started BEFORE Thanksgiving. I had taken it to the Tricare referral office, who told me to take it to my Primary Care Manager - who looked at me like my hair was on fire when I handed it to them and told me to take it to Tricare referrals.

*sigh* I do SO love it when the right hand doesn't seem to know what the left is doing and the patient ends up doing all the footwork.

Anyway. I was told that my PCM's nurse would input the request into the computer system, and that I should call the referral office later that day to get an appointment with physical therapy here on base. So, like the good little drone that I am, I dutifully called after 3pm. My referral was in the system, and they could schedule me an appointment, the lady at referrals said.


Not for therapy, or even with a physical therapist. No. With the OT, so they could see where I was hurt, how I got hurt, and what kind of therapy they thought I needed.

That wasn't what the Rx said, and I told the woman as much. She said it was. I said it wasn't, that I'd had eyes on the Rx and that I KNEW what it was for. I didn't need to see OT, I said. I'm post surgery, I said, I KNOW what I need to do and so does my surgeon - which is why he wrote me an Rx for range of motion exercises to be started NEXT WEEK, not in DECEMBER.

She kept telling me that that was what the order was for. I kept telling that no, it wasn't. I started crying. She said I was wrong. I said I wasn't, and I hung up with her and called physical therapy myself.

I asked the receptionist why in the heck I would need to see an occupational therapist when I'm post surgery. She said I shouldn't. I said I know I shouldn't, so why can't I make an appointment for what my surgeon ordered, and how come I have to wait until December when he told me to start next week. She said that shouldn't be the case either, and she put me on hold. 5 minutes later she was back with an appointment for me to see the physical therapist on Monday to start the range of motion exercises.

I got off the phone and just sobbed. All of the frustration over the physical therapy, falling down the stairs, being in pain, feeling trapped in the house most of the time, feeling like I'm reliant on someone else for things that regular people can do unassisted, lack of sleep, feeling like crap almost every day for the past 3 months straight, not being able to work, not having an all came out, and i cried and cried until I didn't have any tears left...

...and when I was done, I felt better. Not bouncy, vibrant better, but calm and reflective better. I could think without my emotions getting the better of me. However, I also felt drained. Urbaner kept asking me what was wrong because I was so quiet - apparently, being quiet is very out of character for me (if you can imagine that :)).

I know that getting upset about a stupid physical therapy appointment might seem trite and altogether superficial to some people, but you have to understand my situation: until I get my shoulder functioning again, I can't go back to work. Working is really important to me; being an EMT is part of my identity. I love my job, and I worked really hard in school to be the best medic I could be. Not being able to physically perform has been really hard for me, and the lack of cooperation I got from the referral office last week was literally the straw that broke this medic's back.

After I see the therapist on Monday, I'm going to talk to the Patient Advocate. I would hate for someone else to have to deal with the level of ineptitude I had to deal with last week, so I'm going to go voice my concerns to him.

In the meantime, I'm looking at range of motion exercises on the Internet so I have an idea of what to expect on Monday. It's going to hurt, I think....but I'm ready.

I'm ready for this to be over. I want to get this show on the road, I want to recover.

I want to go back to work.


Chris said...

Bless you NM. Sounds like you're a little happier now, at least short term.

Hope the physical therapy helps


Chapati said...


a good cry really does help sometimes. Here if you ever need a rant!

I really hope the therapy helps.

I know it'd be a small consolation, but is there anything emt-related you could do (when your arm becomes less painful of course)until its fully recovered?