Take Two of These and Call Me Three Weeks Later

Dear Doctor;

Back in June, I came into hospital for my shoulder, my left shoulder at that. What was the only thing you did? Only pursued to X-Ray my left shoulder and what did you find? Give me an N… give me an O… give me a T… give me an H… give me an I… N… G!!! What does that spell? NOTHING11 What did you tell me? “You’re seeing your family doctor in a few days, so we’ll get the pain under control and send you home.” What did I tell you? “Sure… discharge me. I’ll be back with this issue again.

Wasn’t I right?

Most of you know by now that I also have a knee issue, thanks to CRPS, (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.) My knee has days where it can flare up to the point that I am immobile, and need to use my wheelchair. Well, this was one of those days. The night prior I went to Tim Hortons via the regular bus system, which meant my shoulder was aggravated again, due to overuse. I had spoken to my OT the next day about how to go about getting things started for a power wheelchair, which meant I had to show her why I was not able to push the wheelchair I currently have.

That’s what started this all…

Fast forward to later that night, into the next morning. My knee had really gotten worse, and so did my shoulder. My shoulder got so bad that I felt unsafe in my own home… my own, wheelchair accessible home at that.

Called 911… back to hospital again for the exact same issue as when I went in June… really? Didn’t I say something like this would happen again? Why yes, I did.

Again, they took another X-Ray when the first one showed that there was nothing wrong, as far as the X-Ray goes. Luckily, this time, however, doctor didn’t stop there. Even though the ER doctor thought this was just another pain flare up.

Again, I was admitted to hospital… getting sick of the four walled confines of a hospital floor by now, regardless of what the outcome was. Since they took a step further and did an ultrasound, they saw there was inflammation there. One step further than in June… I’ll take it!

The OT in hospital saw me the morning after I was moved up to A5. I should have remembered that they were gonna start right away, with no time to adjust and figure out things. Luckily, my knee was playing a bit mored nice that day, but still not 100%.

Week 1

Getting pain under control.

Besides getting me to get up into the chair every day, they also managed my pain by giving me ” around the clock, every four hours.

Waiting for approvals.

Once pain was manageable, the team was starting to put together the next steps for me. I remember having to explain to them that the functionality of my shoulder was the issue, and not the pain. The CCAC person I had spoken to without the first few days of me being in hospital had basically said that I probably wouldn’t get into convalescent care, due to pain possibly not improving. It. Dr. Zang, under Dr. Kouling’s team tried to organize plans for a power wheelchair, as well as actually applying for convalescent care.

Welcome to frustration times frustration. The only reason I was taking up a bed in hospital was the simple fact of the waiting game.

Week 2

Still waiting…

Was still waiting on the things mentioned at the end of week one, and still heard no update on both fronts.

Another care coordinator from CCAC had to come and fill out a portion of the convalescent application, which no one else told me about. Which, of course added to the everlasting waiting game.

It’s time for a never-ending game of Musical Doctors!

Ever had to endure horrible waiting music for you to get through to someone? That’s how this process literally was. It started with when the residents on my team switched. Dr. Zang told me on that Monday that it was his last day as my resident doctor. He told me a new resident doctor would be starting the next day.

One resident came the next day to introduce herself as one of the new residents under Dr. Kouling. Her name was Dr. Brown. She seemed all right. To my surprise though, by Friday, I apparently had the same resident doctor as I saw in June. Dr. Lianari switched from Internal medicine, to Family Medicine. I had told her that I would be back in hospital again, due to overuse of my left shoulder, and actually not properly diagnosing it. She *finally* understood.

During that whole game of Musical Doctors, I felt like I had to explain myself over and again, with no one actually telling me anything useful. Near the end of my hospital stay, the chief doctor, Dr. Kouling was switched out by a doctor that *he* apparently taught. I can tell you, as much as it was harsh, Dr. LeClaire, the new chief doctor schooled *his* teacher.

When Dr. LeClaire saw me, he had told me that all the things  that I was awaiting approval on, they couldn’t be done in hospital, and these same things couldn’t be done in convalescent care either, like Dr. Kouling had said, would. I had thought all along that there wasn’t much they *could* do in hospital, except for the pain management part. Dr. LeClaire and Karine told me that the things I needed for home couldn’t be put in place in hospital, such as my power wheelchair. None of the OT’s in hospital have their ADP certification for that reason. They are there to give you ideas, so then you can implement them once at home.

So, key question, why was I still there?

That was Dr. LeClaire’s exact question. Dr. Not-So-Kouling was the one to suggest downplaying what I could do, and being optimistic, whereas Dr. LeClaire was the one who was being realistic.

Final steps before discharge.

  • Dr. LeClaire strongly advised me to get a steroid injection for my shoulder, and yes, I took it. There wasn’t a choice there.
  • Called my OT out in the community to let her know I was being discharged. I also asked her to tell me what things need to be in place for my power wheelchair application once I got home.
  • Karine, the CCAC coordinator in hospital got my file reopened, and my services restarted with some in the evenings as well.

Discharge Day

Got everything organized the best I could before leaving the hospital. Lucky for me, I went straight from the hospital to my doctor’s appointment with Dr. Duong. I gave him the discharge papers for this hospitalization, and got my Hydromorphone re-prescribed.

Next steps

  • Keep calling my OT out in the community to get going on the process for power wheelchair
  • Double checking when my physiatrist appointment is, and confirming whom it is with so I can pass that on to my family doctor.

Dear Doctors:

When I come into the hospital for the second time and for the same issue, maybe you should’ve done your research the first time. Take note of that, ok? Was in hospital for almost three weeks for an issue that you doctors in June could have dealt with, and done research on in the five days I was there, back in June.

Do your research… that is all!

No love, your patient whom didn’t need to be there a second time, and for so long for the issue that wasn’t diagnosed in the first place.