OK, so as a result of the angiogram I had on March 1st, I now have what's known as an AV fistula in my leg. That means that the femoral artery that supplies blood to my leg has joined with a nearby vein and is not delivering blood to my leg in quite the way that it is supposed to. Sounds bad, and it can be, but this morning a doctor at St. Mike's said that their vascular surgeon took a look at all the test results and symptoms and thinks that in my case it is not serious and can be left to heal on its own.
This is kind of a good news/bad news thing, on the one hand I avoid surgery and yet another stay in the hospital, on the other hand I have this sore lump in my groin that makes it difficult to walk. In addition to the already existing and as yet undiagnosed shortness of breath, dizziness and chest pain. The doctor says it will take time to heal by itself and I should still be vigilant for signs that it has worsened. But I can go about my life as usual. Such as it is.
This whole thing is frustrating in the extreme. I still have not got a diagnosis for the original problem, and I now have a complication as the result of one of the tests done to find a diagnosis (can we say "iatrogenic"?). On top of that, they wanted a CT scan to try to see if my problem was a fistula, and a CT scan involves way more radiation than an X-ray. The technician had to do it twice, because they have a recording that is supposed to tell you when you are to hold your breath for the procedure, but that recording malfunctioned. I kept breathing, so she had to run the CT scan twice, meaning double the radiation dose.
To be fair, I cannot see any point in the whole process where I can fault someone for having made a wrong decision. Every step of the way there was a good logical reason for the choices made. There were alternatives, but lacking 20/20 hindsight choices were made with the knowledge available.
I could possibly fault the intern who nicked my femoral artery, but that's what interns are there to do: learn from their mistakes under supervision in hopes of not making them twice and having someone die because of it.
This afternoon I got home from the hospital after not eating for almost 24 hours, Gretel made breakfast and coffee for me. In the course of discussing what has been going on, she pointed out that my frustration would have been so much worse if we did not have healthcare coverage, I would have the additional weight of the financial cost of all this on my mind.
If I lived in a country where I had no healthcare coverage, right now I would definitely be thinking about suing somebody, anybody. I would for sure be trying to make a case for malpractice or negligence. If all this had happened on my dime, you can bet I would want my dime back and then some, for all the aggravation (not to mention iatrogenic complications) involved.
I can understand why people might be trigger-happy about litigation in a country with no national healthcare program, and why malpractice insurance would be a very big deal.
It's still sunny and warm here, and today I have a temporary respite from medical waiting room hell, before starting in again tomorrow. So excuse me while I go off to enjoy it.
Can you see the robin?
FoodSaver, the best new addition to my kitchen!
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