Sharon (cognoscere) wrote in bad_service,
Sharon
cognoscere
bad_service

 I had forgotten how lovely and useful this community was, so I am finally stopping my lurking after reading the archives. Huzzah.

The first is fairly minor, but both are medical rants. Enjoy, and by "enjoy" I mean "laugh at my misfortune".

 So recently I managed to drag myself to the Student Health Service here. I wasn't expecting spectacularness, but I was expecting things to be pretty decent: I go to Emory at Oxford, and Emory is one of the best (if not the best) medical school in the South, so I would expect them to be able to rustle up a couple of doctors or PAs or what have you to look after all the pre-med undergrads. I had a cold - hellish sore throat, green globs from the nose, headaches due to sinus pressure, all that jazz - but I had let it go on for about a week (symptoms first showing up maybe a week and a half ago) because I had a really big presentation. Finally I couldn't take it anymore and I skipped out on Latin to go to Health Services. I'm not off the deep end into herbal suppliment everything, but to me "sinus infection" is a very distinct smell, and I was waking up every morning to that lovely scent. I know my body pretty well, or at least well enough that I know I get sinus infections at the drop of a hat and I've started to recognize the symptoms.

The staff is actually very polite, the little suite is even decorated for Christmas (...with little fancy glass bowls full of decorative condoms...). The doctor (actually I believe a nurse practitioner) is polite as well as I describe what's been going on, how it's been a week and a half, etc etc. She asks me what I've been doing for it, and I tell her: decongestants, cough syrup, hot tea, gargling, my neti pot, basically anything I could get my paws on, to no avail. She admires the nice green stuff in my nose, how nasty my throat looks and then says that I probably don't have a sinus infection at all because it hasn't been long enough.

And I just kind of stare at her, wondering if she's heard a word I've said. There is, literally, no more than 4 feet from me, a bulletin board saying "We will only give you antibiotics if you have these symptoms", and I had been having all of them for over a week. To sound pedantic again, I know my body - or at least the smell of sinus infection - well enough to know when I need a little help, especially when it's so bad I literally collapsed into my bed and slept for 12 hours straight after getting through my presentation. She sends me along with a pat on the head and tells me to tough it out.

By the end of the week I am up late crying because I'm getting nosebleeds from using too much afrin (but can't sleep without it), am continually getting really bad headaches from sinus pressure, and am continuing to have to miss some classes here and there because I feel so craptastic. I email her - the campus kind of lives on email, and from 9-5 I am either in class or at work in the computer lab - and it bounces, saying "inbox full"; fortunately I CC'd it to the very sweet receptionist and she is able to snag me an appointment. Fortunately, the second time, she actually listens when I say "this has been going on for two weeks", and gives me a prescription for some antibiotics. I feel a lot better after taking them. Gee, wonder why.

Very minor in and of itself, but her disbelief at my symptoms irritated me. I appreciate the healthy scepticism, but when I tell you things please believe me; and honestly, on this campus where the mentality of we can sleep when we're dead, now go study! prevails, taking time away from studying/going to class! means a lot.

(Turns out this is kind of par for the course for the place. My roommate was recently diagnosed with fibromyalgia, and when she asked if she could get some crutches to help her get to class - her pain is very much in her hips/knees, making it very hard for her to walk when it's hurting - the health service wouldn't even lend her some until she could get her own, saying that she would make her leg muscles too weak. This is when she has been hurting too badly to get out of bed without help. *sigh* Fortunately she was able to order some with the help of her primary care physician and has been delighting in the fact she can get around campus.)

 Second rant is a bit more serious/entertaining, I promise.

So way back in about 8th grade, I had to go get braces; I also had to get my wisdom teeth out. (Everyone sees where this is going now, don't they? Aww yeah.) It had been about a week since the surgery, and I needed to go get a new wire on the bottom set. Routine, right?

So the assistant working on my braces eyeballs how long the wire needs to be, trims off the end, and then sticks it in. Only she doesn't trim it enough. The (sharp!) ends of the wire stick right into the bloodclots where my wisdom teeth once were. I complain as best I can with my mouth full of the assistant's hands; she tells me that it's supposed to hurt. Being the shy little middle schooler I was, I just take this as the way things have to be at the time. Later it starts really bothering me, we go back, get it trimmed properly, but by then it was a nice big mess - the poking/prodding meant that one of the blood clots was actually disrupted, I got dry socket, good times were had by all.

Although I seem to remember at least one eyeroll from the assistants, the orthodontist himself was apologetic, to the point where when we declared that was the last straw (there were other, minor incidents leading up to this I can't remember, mostly in biling) he didn't charge us for whatever balance was left. Amusingly, when I got to the new (very good) orthodontist, he was flabbergasted at the other doctor's work and essentially we had to start from day one despite me enduring braces for 6 months.
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