Monday, June 29, 2015

Incompetency, Breakdown, and Vera

Trigger/Content Warning (TW/CW): this blog post contains mentions of fat shaming, gaslighting, and child abuse. Reader discretion is advised.

Heh, just as I am about to compose this post, a porter with a vacuum cleaner approaches my seat inside the Lelyveld library. And he backs off. And he comes back again. And now he backs off to another portion of synagogue.

I decided to come to the library to type out this post, because of the tinnitus-inducing silence and the sounds of nature breaking the silence in random interludes.

Where do I begin?

I sat down with the second OB/GYN last week to discuss my options for this mature cystic teratoma. We both agreed to do a biopsy of the uterus to see why am I not ovulating. After the procedure, the doctor referred me to a surgeon who would remove the cyst, and hopefully do a hysterectomy. Why? I don't want kids and my ovary is about as dead as it gets, so why keep the machine if it's dysfunctional?

The next day, the surgeon's office called me to schedule an appointment. We agreed to August 7.

Two days later, a couple of things happened:
  • The surgeon's office called back because the surgeon wanted to see me sooner than August 7. Like the next day sooner.
  • The biopsy results came back. Something about "fragments of displaced proliferative endometrium with stromal breakdown and unopposed estrogen effect". I don't know about you, but that looks like a huge red flag to me.
So to recap, here's what I know:
  1. I have a mature (benign) cystic teratoma, 6cm in diameter, filled with fat and teeth.
  2. The cyst is somewhere on the left side, pushing up against the uterus, thus displacing the uterus, and potentially the vaginal cavity, off to the right.
  3. The right ovary is 3cm in diameter.
  4. None of the doctors at this hospital "know" where the right ovary is.
  5. A mention was made about my liver: it has "diffusely decreased" function due to "fatty infiltration." How in the hell is this relevant?
Now, this is where it gets severely convoluted.

I met with the surgeon. In his office. Usually, and I may be wrong, but usually when you meet with a surgeon, or any doctor, in their office, chances are something serious is going on. So yeah, my pulse rate was 118. I keep getting told that I don't have cancer. Do I have precancerous material in the endometrium?

The surgeon greeted me, then proceded to my medical chart with the lab results.

The following is the conversation, paraphrased:

Surgeon: "So, you want a hysterectomy over a teratoma? Is that what you're trying to tell me?"

Brat: "Yes. My right ovary is probably dead due to it."

Surgeon: "Do you have kids?"

Brat: "No."

Surgeon: "Do you want kids?"

Brat: "No."

Surgeon: "Why don't you want to have kids?"

Brat: "Because I feel as if I am an unfit individual to be a mother and that I would end up punishing a child the way that my mother did to my sister and me."

Surgeon: "Physical abuse?"

Brat: "Yeah, so when can I schedule the hysterectomy?"

Surgeon: "Well, Vera, according to your CT scan, the teratoma is in your left ovary."

Brat: "how can it be in my left ovary if I don't have a left ovary? Even the ultrasound results says that the left ovary is 'surgically absent.'

Surgeon: *checks ultrasound report* "Huh, it does. Well, the teratoma is obviously intraovarian."

Brat: "How in the hell does a 6cm cyst fit into a 3cm ovary?"

Surgeon: "Vera, it doesn't matter. And look, I'm a pretty liberal guy, and if I see something that warrants a hysterectomy, I'll do it. But it's just a cyst."

Brat: "So where's the right ovary?"

Surgeon: "We don't know. It could be behind the uterus."

Brat: "And this hospital pays you how much to say that?"

Surgeon: "Look, Vera. A laparoscopy is all we need to do to remove this cyst."

Brat: "Are you sure it's not cystic endometrial hyperplasia happening in the uterus because the teratoma has destroyed my right ovary?"

Surgeon: "If it was endometrial hyperplasia, the doctor would have said so. And besides, a shot of deprovera should take care of whatever is in the uterus, and you should be back to normal. After six months, if things don't improve, then we will discuss about a possible hysterectomy."

Brat: "Then what's this about my liver having this fat infiltration? Isn't that because of the unopposed estrogen backing up in to the liver?"

Surgeon: "It's because you're heavy."

Brat: "So you're not going to do the hysterectomy, are you?"

Surgeon: "I don't make the rules here, Vera. And neither do you."

Brat: "Okay, fine then." *grabs belongings and storms out the office*

I ended up going across the street from the surgeon's office to my therapist's office, hoping to see my therapist. When I reached the front desk, I had a breakdown.

What I got next did not help matters.

"Stop crying," said the receptionist, in a very stern manner. "Don't cry; stop crying."

I heard the voices of my mother and my sister come out of this receptionist's mouth.

Amidst the painful sobs, I managed to scream: "STOP SAYING THAT! YOU'RE TRIGGERING MY PTSD!"

The receptionist did an immediate about-face and began to console me after apparently realizing what she had done. She paged my therapist, and to my relief, my therapist got me and escorted me to her office. She just had a cancellation take place, so she was able to give me the time to vent and return to center.

She and I agreed on two things:
  1. I need to go back to Elyria Memorial Hospital (EMH Regional Medical Center or whatever the fuck it's called now) and be retested due to the faulty reports of the ultrasound and the CT scan done by the first OB/GYN.
  2. File a complaint with the ombudsman.
After I was finished with my therapist, I made the stop to the Patient Services Office. There was no receptionist there, so I had to poke around to find someone. A lady came out and said she would find someone. Less than a minute later, a gentleman appeared who greeted me with a very soft spoken voice. He probably did so because I was a visibly shaky hot mess.

I sat with the ombudsman for almost an hour, going over what has happened to me over the past three months. When he wrapped up his notes, he said that he would follow up with me in seven days. If I don't hear from him by the end of this week, I should call him again.

In the meantime, I now face a grueling hour-long drive from Shaker Square to Elyria for treatment I should have been getting by now.

Incompetency kills.

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