How Many Doctors Does it Take to Change a Lightbulb?

I’m finally going to see my primary care doctor(s) today, so I can yell at the whole lot of them or at least tell them how frustrated I am that they still haven’t sent the results of my echo to my cardiologist (Dr. Zadeii). But that’s not all I’m frustrated about.

It wasn’t until Friday that I got the referral for the pulmonology test. Not a pulmonologist, just a lung functioning test at the hospital. I guess that will do. It’s not my call, but I’m still struggling to breathe lately. It’s mostly when I walk, but even a little.

When I made this appointment for tomorrow, I made sure to see the doctor I used to see there, Dr. Tsui, the guy I actually really like. Since I haven’t seen him for a while, I’ve been seeing different doctors that work there. This all started the day when I went down there to get the first EKG. It didn’t matter who I saw that day (I didn’t think) because my rheumatologist (Dr. Hassan) just ordered me to go get it ASAP. She was very concerned about my recent symptoms.

But the EKG came back abnormal, and a different doctor, Dr. Huynh, stepped into the room. Dr. Tsui wasn’t in that day. I did not understand a word Dr. Huynh said to me, but he was, in fact, speaking English. Nothing against him, but it was truly difficult because of this language barrier. We struggled to get through the appointment, though he did seem genuinely concerned.

Then a supervising doctor came into the room, Dr. Someone’s-Name-I-Forgot (and it was his first day, he said), and he had me do a few breathing exercises, asked me more questions, and ordered more tests, like a chest X-ray. But it was another supervising doctor, Dr. Lin, who called me to tell me the results.

Before this, when I went to get the X-ray, I asked the tech when the doctor would get the radiology report. First, she said a few days, but then she looked at her computer and said, “No, wait. Actually, it says ‘stat!’ He will get it in a couple hours, so make sure you talk to him today.” I was like, Whaaa? This totally alarmed me. Did they find a tumor or something???

When I didn’t hear anything at the end of the day, I called the doctor’s office and spoke to a medical staff member. I asked what was going on. Were the results back? They were, but she couldn’t tell me the results. Only the doctor could. I told her what the tech said at the imaging place, and she said she’d put a note into the doctor to call me, which took another 24 hours.

And that’s when the third doctor called me (Dr. Lin). He called after hours that following day and said I was making a big deal about it. It was not “stat.” I told him I was only going by what the tech told me, but he didn’t seem to acknowledge that part. He said, “It’s no big deal. It’s just COPD. You should look it up on Google.” No big deal? One of my best friends died of COPD not long ago. The doctor said I had blockages (he didn’t use that word, though. I can’t remember the word now. Obstructions, maybe) on both sides of my lungs, and it’s keeping me from being able to empty all the air out of my lungs. He was ordering a CT scan and a pulmonary function test to confirm the diagnosis. He also misgendered me. Twice. So, that was also annoying.

After I got the CT scan, I waited weeks. I finally got a call on July 10th from the doctor that saw me during the first EKG (Dr. Huynh). It was doubly hard to understand him over the phone, but he said the CT scan seemed okay. Now he was going to order the pulmonary test, which I thought he ordered the day I saw him. Apparently not.

A few days later, his other supervising doctor (Dr. Lin) wrote me back on the portal and said, “Dear Ms. Es, Your CT scan was within normal limits.” Again, a misgendering after I told him not to do that. But did those two doctors not talk to each other? I was already informed by then.

So, this was why I made the new appointment with my original doctor, Dr. Tsui. Why should I go back to see these guys? And why did they take over my care just because of an abnormal EKG? They should have handed it off to Dr. Tsui in the first place because he’d been caring for me for the past couple of years. But that’s the way this place works, I guess. You get a different doctor every time you make an appointment unless you specifically ask for yours. I’ve learned my lesson.

I used to go to this same place some years ago and always saw the same doctor until he moved to do a geriatric internship. He, Dr. Sean Fink, was awesome. He lived in Joshua Tree and was the original doctor that helped me to get referred for my top surgery, which was a ton of red tape that he had to deal with. He was willing to do all of that for me. He helped me with maintaining my lupus and many other health issues, so I really miss him. It’s hard to find a good doctor, and when you do, you have to stick with them if you can.

Anyway, I hope I can get back into a normal swing today. Palm Springs has been HOT HOT HOT and I hope I can get outta there before it exceeds ridiculous temps.

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