HAWMC's challenge today is to go to dictionary.com and write a post using the Word of the Day, and link that word to your condition. If you clicked on the link above today (April 2) you found the word unctuous.
Unctuous UNG-choo-us, adjective
1. Of the nature or quality of an unguent or ointment; fatty; oily; greasy.
2. Having a smooth, greasy feel, as certain minerals.
3. Insincerely or excessively suave or ingratiating in manner or speech; marked by a false or smug earnestness or agreeableness.
Talk about wanting to uncover my uglies. I tell you, I have come across unctuous behavior in so many ways as a many zebraed patient. But I really don't want to be so jaded as to dwell on or ruminate on the experience. I choose most of the time to just move on; put it behind me. I think the worst example that I have is of a doctor who was a partner of my primary care.
After my treatment for cancer had finished I began having strange episodes of extreme generalized pain and anxiety. The first episode began around 2 am while I was asleep. I woke up in so much pain I could hardly move. I awakened my then 13 year old daughter and had her call a neighbor and 911. We were all terrified. At the hospital, they could tell that I was genuinely in pain as my blood pressure and heart rate were both elevated. But they kept me for three days on the basis that my potassium levels were at 2.2, well within the level capable of causing an arrhythmia. After they released me they referred me back to my primary care physician. Since she wasn't able to see me that week, I was scheduled with another doctor in the practice. I arrived at the appointment and waited in the waiting room for three hours, then I was taken back to the exam room and the nurse was extremely apologetic and told me that there had been an emergency, but that the doctor would be in to see me soon. I waited in there for another hour and was picking up my purse to leave when the doctor finally arrived in the room. He was very apologetic and ingratiating about the wait and asked me to stay. Against my better judgment I decided to stay, but now I wish that I hadn't. I told him what had happened that week and why I was there and he seemed to listen. Then he started the exam. Things were going as usual, with him looking in my eyes and ears and listening to my chest. But while he was adjusting the stethoscope he noticed my port-a-cath. He asked me what it was and I told him. Then he asked me why I had one. I explained that they decided to place one when I started chemotherapy. He then asked me why I was on chemotherapy. I was shocked. I stared at him for a long time wondering what I should say. And after a long pause asked him if he and even glanced over my chart. He hadn't. He was so unctuously apologetic, explaining again that there had been an emergency and he wanted to get in as soon as possible to see me. Again, my instinct was to get off of the table and leave. I should have. Instead, I took a deep breath and said that I understand the fact that at times the needs of others supersede my own. I wasn't complaining about the wait, but I was there now and in need of his professional attention and that I would appreciate it if he would give it to me. This kid (he couldn't have been 30 yet) was so smooth, I should have walked out on him, but I stayed. He assured me that he was there now and that I did have his attention. After the basic exam, you know; eyes, ears, throat, listen to the chest, he asked me if I'd ever had mono. Well yes, in college there was an outbreak and I'd gotten it. He then told me that mono was caused by the Epstein Barr virus and it was the same virus that caused chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. He told me that was what was wrong with me. He was so smooth and greasy in his explanation. While he was explaining it I was imagining in my mind a middle aged women who was sick with an unexplained condition and desperate for something to go back to her friends and family to explain that she was really ill. And here was this idiot giving her unprovable labels for questionable diagnosis'. I had just walked through the medical jungles of heart disease and cancer and he was trying this on me! I couldn't believe it. I looked him square in the eye and told him that he shouldn't embarrass either of us by writing that in my chart. Then I did finally get off the table, collect my purse and walk out the door. Unctuous behavior...oh yeah! I left that practice because of it. Never try to pat me on the head.
After the episodes of pain happened four more times, I noticed that the only constant thing was that every time my potassium levels were critically low. I mentioned this to my new primary care physician, who referred me to Dr. C, my nephrologist. It took him about 5 minutes to figure out that I was suffering from Conn's Syndrome and order the tests to prove it. I'm on proper treatment for it now and the incidences of pain haven't happened again in six years. It's a medical zebra, and I don't fault the young doctor for not considering it. But to decide to just appease me without a real explanation of what is happening or a plan to make it not happen again (if that is possible) is not acceptable.