Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Chest belts, sausage feet, oxycodone, and other cranky complaints about medicine

I suspect that the witch doctors who treated
me today learned their craft from this guy.
About eight weeks ago I crashed my bicycle. I seemed all right at first, but after the shock wore off I noticed something was hurting. I wondered if I had cracked a rib.

So I went to the doctor, who sent me to another doctor, an orthopedist, whose assistant took an X-ray. Sure enough, I had busted a rib.

So the orthopedist gave me an elastic belt to wear around my chest. And he insisted — even though I clearly said I didn't want a painkiller and that my pain was only minor —  a prescription for Oxycodone. The pills are still sitting, never opened, in my medicine cabinet, waiting for a rogue house guest to steal them.

I was also instructed not to lie down until I was healed. Which meant I had to sleep sitting up. I did that for a few days and suddenly my feet started swelling until they resembled huge salamis with tiny toes. I figured that was due to either the sitting while trying to sleep, or the chest belt, and I ignored the swelling.

Today I went back to the doctor for a mandatory visit. I mentioned that my feet were swelling and that one of them hurt. The doc's PA sent me across the hall for an X-ray that unmasked a bone spur. And the doctor himself was horrified by the swelling feet.

"You could have a blood clot in one of yours legs," he said. "A deep vein thrombosis. Very serious."

So he sent me two blocks away to a medical imaging lab for a sonogram of both of my legs. Then I went home.

An hour later the doctor called. "The good news is it's not a deep vein thrombosis, although I will inform your personal physician so that he can do further investigation," the doctor told me. "Also, about that bone spur. You need lifts in your shoes, but there aren't lifts big enough, so you need  very high heeled shoes. If you don't have any, maybe you could buy cowboy boots."

I'd rather be caught putting mustard on my swollen feet while eating oxycodone than be seen walking around New York in cowboys boots.

"Oh by the way, what about the belt?" I asked the doctor.

"What belt?" he asked.

"The one you told me to wear around my chest for my broken rib."

"Oh, you don't need that any more."

I'm not certain how he knows since the one thing nobody x-rayed or scanned  today was my rib cage, but to hell with it.

"And do I have to sleep sitting up any more?"

"For what?"

"For my cracked rib."

"No. But wear cowboys boots."

I went all the way uptown to see the doctor so he could examine my rib, and that's the one thing he didn't do. But foot X-rays? Leg sonograms? Cowboy boots? Oxycodone? And you wonder why Medicare cost are going through the roof and drug heads are causing financial meltdowns?

The Crank's late beautiful girlfriend, herself a physician, used to say that "Hospitals kill people." I'm beginning to suspect that it's really the doctors in the hospitals.

Oh well, if Medicare ever goes belly up, I can probably get together the scratch for my next medical visit by going out in the street and selling my little stash of Oxycodone.


Dan J. Dunn said...


Anonymous said...

I'll take the Oxy - I've got gall stones and it's nice to have some alleviation around the house (which didn't use to be a problem until the DEA a couple of years back started whacking Docs for prescribing it.)

ABPotter said...

Get a second opinion from a Dr recommended by a friend who likes and respects their doctor.