Friday, January 27, 2012

F*ing Kaiser!

I saw a story on Morgellons Disease last night.  It is a rare dermatological condition which includes lesions and painful stinging sensations.  The CDC has determined it is not infectious or caused by environmental factors.  What got to me was the TV story, interviewing some individuals with the condition, that were told by Kaiser they were delusional instead of treating them medically.

It was familiar enough and aggravating enough to get an exasperated "mother fucker" out of me while my daughter was still in the room.  That type of parental faux pas is usually limited to televised Cal games.

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My case did have some similarities, years ago, back when my pain was excruciating.  I did have boils breaking out in many places, which I have presumed to be associated with ingrown hairs, the result of skin and muscle movements relative to each other.  Different levels of the dermis pulled in different directions caused tiny hairs to be trapped under the skin, forming infections similar to pimple formation.  My layman's position.

Of course, my Kaiser doctor looked at them, the boils in seemingly non-random patterns, many broken open by myself, and began questioning me on drug use. 

Hell, I didn't even know what "poppers" were.  My shoulders were in agony.  Yet, like those suffering from Morgellons, my Kaiser doctor opted to presume delusional as a diagnosis, hoping for confirmation by a drug test.  I found this laughable (I did, in fact, laugh in her face when it dawned on me what she was postulating - probably not a good thing, looking back).  Being phobic of needles, more specifically, needles to my forearms, the idea that I was shooting up was absurd.

I had wanted pain killers and an MRI or some such test to see if there was physical evidence as to the pain in my arms, something showing how out of position or tweaked things were. The Kaiser doctor wanted a blood test.  I assured her I was not shooting up and was not on drugs, other than some minimal sporadic marijuana usage.  I did, however, understand that she would want me to jump through a hoop before I would get anywhere, so I bargained with her, my wife in the room.  I said I would take her blood test, and that when it came back clean (save a bit of pot), she would then have an MRI of my shoulders done.  She agreed.

It was only after the drug test that I realized she might have been full of crap, so certain of my drug use, so certain that it would come back positive for Heroin, that there would be no MRI.  She might have promised anything to get the test results she was certain would return.  I put the thought away and waited.

Some days later, days I spent in significant pain with no prescription pain killers, I returned to my doctor.  I could read it on her face, that she had been full of shit.  I cannot recall the specifics, and am too tired at present to go digging up my journal account, but things went kind of like this:

She began, "Well, the blood tests came back all normal.  I think a trip back to Psychiatry . . . "
I cut her off in disbelief and disappointment, "No, you're not going to do this, . . . , really?"
"We had made a deal, remember?  When my test came back clean you would get me an MRI."
"I never said that."
Exasperated, I turned to my, then girlfriend of 8+ years.  She said, "Um, yeah, actually, you did."
The doctor turned from my girlfriend to me and smugly asked, "Who, . . , is this . . , " she turns back to my girlfriend, "Who are you?"
"She's my girlfriend."  I began to rant.  "She's an attorney.  And she was here during the last appointment when you said I would get an MRI if my blood test was clean.  That blood test that had me on the verge of tears and a panic attack because I hate needles.  The phobia I told you about."
"I don't, . . . , wait here."  And with that she left the room.

She had left to call security to have me removed.  I left laughing at the absurdity of it all.  I was in agony, she lied, and now was being asked to leave the hospital.  I'll admit I raised my voice, but no more than I would have after catching a police officer in a lie on cross examination and arguing it to judge or jury, stressing my point.

I was called later that day by Kaiser security.  After I told him both my symptoms and the above story, he apologized, noting there must have been a misunderstanding, also noting the doctor said she felt threatened.  Well, golly, I suppose she would feel threatened having been caught in a lie by a person she assumed was delusional.  Of course, I was switched to a new primary care physician, spending a week or more in the same pain, waiting for the next doctor that would insist I go to psychiatry, the next doctor to refuse to test my body via an MRI, the next doctor to refuse giving me any medications for pain.

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I went further into that than I wanted, but I wanted to be clear that I relate to these people with Morgellons Disease.  I was presumed delusional because of two things.  (1) They did not understand what was wrong with me.  They could not even comprehend the difference between "getting taller" and "growing," a precursor to my shoulder pain discussed in previous blog entries.  (2) I was seeking drugs.  OF COURSE I WAS FUCKING SEEKING DRUGS!  MY ARMS WERE COMPULSIVELY SUBLUXING AND I WAS IN RIDICULOUS PAIN FOR MONTHS!  Anyways . . .

For those familiar with The Structure of Scientific Revolution by Kuhn, this is a predictable outcome when "scientists" confront anomalous data.  They disregard.  They look the other way.  They ignore.  At Kaiser, the fallback position is to label the patient delusional and send them to Psych, pump them up with anti-psychotics, and hope it makes the individual less cognizant of their symptoms.

As for Morgellons Disease, a segment of the scientific community still relies upon delusion.  At least the people of the CDC were not so myopic:

“We believe that these people have something and their quality of life [has] in some instances been very seriously impacted,” says Mark Eberhard, the CDC’s director of the division of parasitic diseases and malaria and a study author. “We’re not saying this is made up. There could be a constellation of factors.”

It was over 2 years before a Kaiser doctor took that position with me, and began at least trying to help me.  I am tempted to consider if Morgellans, too, could have postural misalignment at it's source, but I don't know enough about the condition.  At Kaiser, how lesions and pain can be considered delusion is an outrage beyond rational explanation.  At least in my case, the idiots could not comprehend parts of the problem, which, while unique, still presented plenty of tangible evidence proving my assertions. 

These people with Morgellans have open wounds!  OPEN WOUNDS!  The disease is a documented condition!  And Kaiser disregards and marginalizes them by sending them to Psychiatry.

Of this, I am certain, insurance companies have turned doctors into Searle Boxes.  (See Chinese Rooms.)  They do not think for themselves, at all.  And Kaiser doctors, they are probably the worst.

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