Well today was my first actual (full) day of treatment for my recent bout of cellulitis.
Yesterday (Monday) was a total waste. After arriving at the clinic at 11:30, I had no way of knowing how wasted I would want to be. When I walked in I thought I must have turned the wrong way in the corridor. What I walked (ala Chester B. Goode) into looked a Hispanic block party. There wasn't a seat be had in the waiting room (which are appropriately named by the way) and no open wall space to lean against.
I don't know if it's true of all Hispanics, and I'm not out to denigrate the race as a whole, but it seems to me that a visit to the doctor for them is a major family event. I sure wouldn't want to be caught in the middle of their baptism or a first communion fetes! Let's see starting over there on the left, that must be the Grandmother sitting next to her daughter and her husband. The one to his right is probably Uncle Pedro. Okay, who's the sick one? The 3 or 4-year-old kid on the floor with a running nose shreading someone's newspaper?
I made my way over to the desk to sign in on the register, which would also give me some idea of how many patients might be ahead of me. You gotta be kidding! In bold face in three languages was the message: DUE TO THE LARGE NUMBER OF PATIENTS, NO ONE CAN SIGN IN UNTIL 3PM OR LATER.
I wondered what might happen if I yelled down the hallway in the direction of the treatment rooms, "I have insurance!" Would there be a plethora of doctors, interns, and nurses storming from the back, kicking and gouging each other to get to me?
I guess the Hippocratic Oath dictates nowadays that a running nose supercedes, or is more of an emergency than a bright red, badly swollen leg from the knee to the foot. What ever happened to the triage process?
It was afternoon by that time and I knew that directly across the street from the Mass General Satellite location there was a Burger King. I'm not terribly fond of Burger Thing, but it was the closet place I knew in the immediate area to get a bite to eat. Even though it was so close, it was too far to walk on my leg using a cane and trying to cross a very busy street.
As I was waiting for an opening in the steady line of traffic I could see that the burger joint was very busy. Through the large windows I could see that the patrons at the tables and the kids in the playroom must have been the rest of the family reunion back in the waiting room. I mentally tossed a coin in my head - it didn't matter what that coin landed on - it was the winner. I flipped my directionals to the right instead. I went home!
Call me a quitter! Call me an idiot for foregoing necessary medical treatment, but I wasn't up to it. I decided to suffer another day, there's always tomorrow.
(Insert here duplicate of opening sentence.)
The MGH clinic I visited yesterday and few times in the past is not a bad treatment center - once you get in to see a doctor! Today I went instead to the Melrose-Wakefield Hospital ER. The co-pay at the MGH is $25, reasonable. The Melrose ER charges a $100 co-pay!
The higher-priced fee also comes with a much better atmosphere, and I'm sorry, but a better class of fellow patients.
After the initial examinations I was mentally prepared by one doctor that I may have to spend the night. That was not something I wanted to hear, but would have to accept if they deemed it necessary. After the technician scanned my leg from my groin to my ankle I was wheeled back to the treatment room. The doctor said he had good news, there were no blocked or clogged arteries in my leg and that I would not be spending the night. Next they drew five vials of blood and then hooked me up to an IV of antibiotics.
After the IV I was free to get get dressed and go home. However, I am return there for the next three consecutive days for more IVs. After those three days he would prescribe antibiotics in pill form. So far from the blood samples they have determined that white cell count was down and that my levels of potassium were low. I was given two potassium pills to take before I left and two to take tomorrow morning. They are just about the biggest pills I've ever seen for a human.
My only instructions for home was to stay off my feet as much as possible, to keep my foot elevated higher than my head and to apply period hot compresses. (I didn't tell the doctor that I maintain a daily blog. After all how could I possibly post with my feet higher than my head?)
To all my well-wishers, the last time I was back on my feet within a week with just one IV. I know this time, the cellulitis is worse and is infecting more of my leg than before, but surely four IVs will prove effective.
Sign me, Chester B. Goode )"Mr. Dillon. Mr. Dillon!)