alouette_sparra (alouette_sparra) wrote in bad_service,

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Another medical story...

Alright, so I was reading the comments to the post about the PP clinic, and one of them (about a student healthcare clinic) reminded me of this.

At the college I went to last year, there was an Infirmary. That's what they called it at least, since I went to a military college. So, at the Infirmary were a bunch of different doctors, all provided by the town's doctor's office. Most of the nurses were students from the college.

These guys were pretty well known for being lousy. They'd give out Codeine like it was candy. I kid you not. Plenty of people went in with a mild cough and would leave with codeine syrup.

With this in mind, allow me to set the scene.

It was Friday during the second week of second semester. I was playing a game of Trashball (rugby, hold the rules). Out of nowhere, this guy shoves me. Not surprising, I was between him and the goal (although I was trying to get out of his way). I go flying, land on my left foot, and hit the ground hard. Following this, I am crying. It hurts, I can't put weight on it, and the cadre there don't believe me. Fine. I can deal with that. I end up limping back to my room, arriving in time to change for dinner and go.

The next day, it kind of hurts, but some aspirin kills the pain, so I'm like "Okay, I just landed wrong and bruised something."

On Monday, however... I was part of the Remedial PT group, so we were running. And the pain returns, just as bad as before. Thankfully, the people in charge there believed me, and sent me to the Infirmary.

I get there, and Doctor 1 looks at me. She has me flex my foot for her and whatnot, declares it a sprain, and says I need to do stretching exercises, take aspirin, and ice it. So, I take the aspirin, I ice it, but I don't do the stretching exercises because gee, it's not my ankle that hurts, it's my foot, down near my toes.

Two weeks later, I'm still in a lot of pain. So back to the infirmary goeth I. Doctor 2 looks at me. He pokes, prods, has me flex my foot. Says it's probably a stress fracture. He gives me crutches, says "Two weeks on those and you'll be fine." And, of course, I'm told to take aspirin. So I use the crutches and take the aspirin.

A week later, and I'm actually hurting worse (aside from using crutches on ice covered hills and whatnot... loved that school...). Of course, I tell Mum all this, so she schedules me for a doctor's appointment over Spring Break with her orthopaedist. Great, but it's another two weeks till then, and I am in a lot of pain. So naturally, I went down to the Infirmary, hoping for something stronger to kill the pain. I mean, everyone else has no problem getting Tylenol with codeine and whatnot, so why should I?

Well, I see Doctor 3. She wonders why I'm on crutches, looks me over, says that Doctor 1 was right, and it's just a sprain. Gives me ibuprofen, says that I do not need anything stronger, and sends me away, sans crutches.

By this point, I give up and wait until Spring Break. Thankfully Mum sent me a care package with a lot of different painkillers (high dose acetaminophen, 500 mg aspirin, and a prescription she was given for her foot pain. I know the last one was illegal, so if we could save the snark about that, that'd be great). Now, as to why all these painkillers? I don't normally notice pain. I have had injuries happen where I don't notice until I see the blood/bruise/swelling. Pain, as a rule, just doesn't bother me. So when I'm complaining of pain, especially if I was crying at first, then it's pretty bad. I think that's the only reason Mum sent a prescription that wasn't for me. In the end, I didn't really need it, but for the one day that I did because I couldn't get out of doing the swim test? I was glad it was there, because otherwise, I don't think I'd have made it through the day.

Three weeks later, it's Spring Break. I see Dr. O. and let me tell you, he was wonderful. Took x-rays, looked them over, poked around. He was extremely glad I didn't do the stretching exercises. Why? Because I had one meta-tarsal snapped in half, the one next to it cracked halfway through, and a third with a tiny hairline fracture. Apparently if I had done the exercises, I could have caused the one bone to un-align itself and could have had it pierce my skin. Nice. Not to mention the other one could have broken worse.

The kicker? The breaks only looked three weeks healed at first glance, but when he looked closer... turns out they had healed more, but rebroke. He thinks that it started healing once I had weight off of it, but when the weight got put back on (and especially the swim test)... snap. Rebroke. He was amazed I was able to walk. Apparently most people are in too much pain. Again, pain is usually a non-issue for me. He figured it would heal on it's own if I took it easy, so he writes me a note saying "No PT, running, marching... " that sort of thing, for one month. I also am scheduled an appointment to return in a month.

I get back to college. They have a stupid rule that the Infirmary has to give you a slip for any doctor's notes before you can get out of PT. Fine. So I take a copy to the Infirmary. They only write it for two weeks. They insist they can't write it for longer, but to come back in two weeks and they'll write a new one. Fine.

Turns out they wrote the date wrong. I find this out three days later when my slip is taken away and I get yelled at for making a fake one. Grrrr... I go back, same song and dance about "Oh, only two weeks". By this point I'm stressed, in some pain, and pretty much just want my slip so I don't have to PT.

Two weeks later... they won't write me a new one. Why? Their doctor thinks I'm all better. Okay, so a General Practitioner knows more than a certified Orthopaedist. More specifically, one of the top Orthopaedists in the nation?! I think not. But I don't get a slip.

Next week I get discharged from the school for medical reasons. Go back and see my doctor... Wow, it hasn't healed a bit. I ended up in a CAMwalker (inflatable walking cast type thing) for two months. It still wouldn't heal. As a last ditch measure before surgery, he had me use a bone stimulator, and wear the CAMwalker another month. Thankfully, it started to heal then. Another month of the bone stimulator, and he finally said I was healed.

He did say that had I got proper treatment immediately, I would not have needed such measures, nor would I have had to almost be operated on to make the bones heal. He also would love to know why none of the doctors had me x-rayed when I complained of foot pain after landing on it wrong. So would I. X-rays have been the standard of care for possible fractures for the past century, and one of the doctors did suspect a fracture.

Pretty much, the Infirmary nearly ruined my foot. It still aches from time to time, and I'm far too jittery when I rest weight on that foot and the joints crack. If I had to have surgery, that could have barred me from military service, which is what I've wanted to do for most of my life. I mean, I was at a military school, I would expect them to do everything possible to make sure I was fit to commission.

If that's not bad service... I'm not sure what would qualify. I still get pissed thinking about it.

And that's the worst service I got from that Infirmary... I have some other horror stories, but those can wait.
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