I have one doctor’s office that operates fairly mindlessly. They are extremely overburdened with patients. I feel like one of many cattle being herded every time I pay them a visit. My own doctor there, who I’ve been seeing for five years now (granted I can only get in to see her about once a year, if that), doesn’t even remember who I am. On my last visit with her she thought I was a new patient. Seriously, I do understand she has a heavy flow of patients, but damn if I haven’t heard from enough doctors and surgeons how unique my medical history is. And believe me, being told this by specialists who see unique cases all the time is not in the least bit reassuring. My case seems to certainly be unique enough to definitely stand out a bit.
Anyway, my only shining light there is my doctor’s nurse practitioner, who I do see more frequently. She always remembers me and what is said in our visits. She is the one, mindful eye in the whole practice, in my opinion.
Today I had my usual, follow up visit with her. My lack of focus recently with my father’s passing, etc. is clearly present, and lately, more often than not, I’ve overlooked something that I needed to stay mindful of.
You see, women who’ve had double-mastectomies such as me must be careful not to have our blood pressure taken via the arms. This is primarily due to the resection of lymph nodes from our chest area during surgery. The pressure caused by blood pressure cuffs and other things can cause lymphedema in the arms and/or upper torso area.
Today the nurse mindlessly placed the cuff on my arm and I mindlessly conceded. With every quick squeeze of her hand on the little ball, it grew tighter and tighter. It felt like my arm was being severed off. I screamed, “No, you can’t do that, I’ve had double-mastectomies – Get it off, get it off!” I then quickly pulled the velcroed cuff off my arm and yelled out “dammit!” I was infuriated with myself, the nurse and their office in general. At myself for not realizing it until it was already happening to me and with the nurse and practice for continually not noting in my chart this serious thing they needed to be alert about. Right then I apologized to her, noting my father had just passed and therefore my ability to focus was askew. I then asked her to boldly note my chart, to specifically add it in the computer while I was standing there, about this very important thing. Also, as soon as I stepped in the nurse practitioner’s office, I promptly told her this can’t happen again.
Doctor’s offices, particularly nurses need to be more in tune to this. This is something I’m going to look at ways to promote better care of. Yes, this is something I will work on! I mean, what if I was taken to the hospital unconscious and no one knew to be careful of this. My nurse practitioner suggested today that maybe I should think about one of those medical alert bracelets. I’ll have to investigate this more to be sure that would make the difference. Stay tuned on this one.