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Wednesday, February 23, 2005
Open Letter to the Tallahassee Medical Community
Dearest Medical Professionals:

First of all, I want to thank (some of) you for your patience with my somewhat-negative attitude. And eye-rolling. And cursing under my breath.

Look, I’m not pretending to be Florence Fucking Nightingale, okay? It’s just disconcerting when your mother falls and has to go to the ER, where she is ultimately released and said to be “fine,” and then the MRI a week later shows a possible fracture. On the way to the MRI follow-up appointment with the neurosurgeon, I told my mother that that would be the last appointment I’d have to drag her out of bed for, stuff her into my car for, borrow a wheelchair from the hospital / clinic for, push her around for. Because all of these things cause my mother a lot of pain.

So, of course, the neurosurgeon dangled the prospect of a beneficial “procedure” in front of my mother . . . one that could alleviate all of her pain almost instantaneously. (GREAT!) But it required a lot of tests. (Shit.) The test-scheduling RN gave us orders for the tests and sent us on our way. The next day (yesterday), we went to the testing place for her bone scan and CT . . . both of which were supposed to be administered back-to-back. But, wait . . . confusion. The neurosurgeon’s office ordered the wrong tests! So, we’re going back today to get the correct bone scan. (Throw out all the “brain surgery” cliches, please.) This whole scheduling snafu could put off the procedure, which could make it irrelevant.

Look, I’m holding back. I’m running severely low on sick leave, and my mother is steeped in crippling pain from her back. Should an obese woman with a possibly fractured back be put through all of this? No? Are you sure, because you don’t act like it? That’s not the message I’m getting.

Oh, and if all of this turns out to be a waste of our time (and energy), you’re gonna hear a lot of four-letter words. And one of them might be “shiv.”