Coronavirus Quackery

I vowed to myself that I wouldn’t bring up coronavirus issues again, on my blog. It’s such a touchy topic that I think people are ready to challenge each other to duels to make their point, and I want to avoid violence. But by god, my recent experience with my doctor is something I want to get off my chest.

In June, I made an appointment for my annual exam, and I also wanted to discuss my Afib heart condition with the sawbones. My appointment was for early August, but a few weeks before the doctor date, they called. Due to the doctor being worried about catching coronavirus, they had to change my appointment to September 4th. This would make about six months since my doctor had last seen a patient.

About a week before September 4th, they called again and changed it to September 3rd. I’m retired, so no real problem with all these changes, except my declining confidence in their competence. Finally the date arrived with no further changes. I uncrossed my fingers and drove to my appointment.

But boy, what a strange appointment. It was for 2:45, but they told me to get there 15 minutes early. Okay, fine, I’m the punctual type. But while I’m driving to the doctor’s office, at 2:20, they called my wife and asked her where I was, and said I was late for the appointment. Huh?

I got there at 2:28 and found a sign on the door saying I’d have to go around back to check in. So I went around back and, at 2:30 on the nose, found a sign on a door that said I had to knock and wait for someone. So I knocked and waited. About two minutes later a masked medico talking on a cell phone (probably with my wife) opened the door and asked me to wait, and then shut the door again.

A few minutes later she opened it back up. She sported a pen and clipboard, and began to pelt me with questions related to the coronavirus. Questions like: Have you recently had a fever? Have you recently been in contact with someone who has the virus? Have you recently been at a gathering of 8 or more people? Have you recently experienced abdominal pain? Difficulty breathing? Change in ability to smell? And so forth.

Geez.

I answered no to every question, especially change in ability to smell. I explained that I’ve always been able to smell, but I kept that under control by taking showers.

She then took my temperature, by jamming a large, conical object into my ear. It was normal.

Having passed the coronavirus door test, I was allowed entry into a large, darkened waiting room with nobody in it. I felt proud. Apparently, not many people can pass the coronavirus door test.

I was ushered into a small room that contained a video monitor, several chairs, and a dirty-looking, portable blood pressure device sitting on one of the chairs. I was left alone in this isolation chamber, but after a few minutes I suddenly realized I had been on camera all this time. I felt grateful I hadn’t scratched my balls or anything.

Eventually a nurse appeared on the video monitor and asked me a bunch of questions about my health. There must have been something wrong with her microphone because she sounded garbled, like she was under water. Or perhaps she had just drank a large glass of water. I had a hard time understanding her and sometimes answered questions incorrectly, because I frequently misunderstood her.

For instance, she asked me if I had a hard time smiling. There I was wearing my mask, wondering how I could prove to her that smiling comes easily. I insisted, “No, I can smile.”

She corrected me in her garbled, liquid voice, “No, I asked if you have a hard time climbing stairs.” That’s how screwed up the audio was.

Then the nurse told me to pick up the blood pressure device and check my blood pressure by myself. I was unfamiliar with how the cuff mechanism thingy worked, and fumbled around a bit, but finally managed to get it wrapped semi-properly around my arm, and took a reading. I cringed a bit, because the cuff looked dirty, as if it had been around many arms before mine. My bp was normal, but I didn’t trust that device. It was old and chintzy looking, as if it had been purchased from a thrift store.

Finally, the nurse left and my doctor appeared on the monitor. He was also under water. From the sound of him, I wondered if I was looking into a monitor or an aquarium. It’s a good thing that he’s a very patient man, and that I know how to suppress my temper, because we had to repeat ourselves a lot, to communicate.

I’ll give him credit though, because if he’s trying to keep from catching Covid from his patients, I think he’s using a bulletproof method. It would be impossible to shoot him from where I sat.

I asked him about catheter ablation for my AFib heart condition, about ten times, until he finally figured out what I was talking about. He told me that it is very rare to use catheter ablation to treat AFib. This is different from my research, but I’m not a doctor so I didn’t argue with him. Besides, how can you argue with someone who sounds like a fish?

He did authorize me to see my cardiologist to discuss the matter further. I only hoped my heart doc would be in a terrarium, rather than an aquarium, so that we could communicate more easily.

I also managed to tell the doctor that I’ve battled with fatigue all my life, and that I think Afib might be the cause of it. He said no, that what I probably needed to do was drink more water, eat better, and get exercise. I can understand his advice about drinking more water, since he was in an aquarium and probably had a bias toward water.

As for eating better, I took this as a subtle insult to my wife’s cooking. But how do you punch a fish? I felt frustrated. As for exercising, I already do exercise. However, I can’t exercise as much as I’d like, due to my fatigue. So I told him this. Nonetheless, he repeated his advice for me to exercise. Again, how do you punch a fish?

So I’ll be making an appointment to go in and see my cardiologist. I have low hopes. The last time I saw that bastard he seemed like he was in a hurry to get rid of me. His advice was that I shouldn’t have come in to see him in the first place, because I might catch coronavirus.

And such is the state of coronavirus quackery where I live.

72 comments

  • I was laughing as I read this, because of your way with words, BUT… can understand your frustration! I am totally confused! Why did they bother having you come in, if they weren’t going to see you face to face? You could have done a video conference from the comfort of your home and no temperature would have been needed, which wasn’t needed in the first place being that you didn’t see the Doctor!

    Telling you that your fatigue has nothing to do with your Afib?? I may not have a medical degree, but….that is just wrong. My family has a history of heart issues, so the heart is one thing I do tend to know something about in the medical field! I do hope you have a better experience with your cardiologist and that he can listen to you more than before and talk about catheter ablation with you!

    Liked by 6 people

    • I would cry if I had has experience and we don’t have the greatest Docs here. It just seems like the medical world is hiding behind Covid now as an excuse not to work. I mean there are many other things aside from Covid killing people. Part of that is they can’t get any care anymore. I think the bigger pandemic is the fear of Covid. It’s destroying people and children. So sad.

      Liked by 3 people

    • I don’t have a PC camera, and I’m not interested in learning how to do a video conference on my phone. It’s not my idea of a thorough exam from a doctor. In my view, it’s just another way that the medical profession is trying to save money, while eroding away at the quality of healthcare we receive.

      I assumed that if I came in, in person, I’d at least have a nurse who could take my vitals. But no, I assumed wrong.

      Sounds like you probably know more than my doctor about the heart. But sorry to hear that your family has a history of heart issues. As I recall, isn’t that how your brother passed away?

      I’m going to be more persistent with my cardiologist, but I still have low hopes. It never hurts to try, though.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Yes, one would think that if a nurse could take your temp that she could take your vitals too!!

        Persistence can pay off at times. Perhaps rhis time it will and you are right, it doesn’t hurt to try!

        Yes, my brother died of a sudden, massive heart attack. Unfortunately my parents and both of my sisters have had heart problems as well, but are doing well now.

        Liked by 2 people

        • That sounds scary. I hope your heart is doing well.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Fortunately I did not get the bad gene that my siblings did. Back in 2012 I did have a scare, but my heart is healthy.
            What we found out is that I have Myocardial bridging. My heart muscle is over top my artery instead of being under it like most people have.
            The problem that I started having was having my heart rate go too high when doing just a little exercise so I had a stress test on the treadmill. In 90 seconds my heart rate shot up to 180 and I truly felt like I was having a heart attack!. They did a heart cath and found the bridging problem.
            The muscle was clenching the artery putting which obstructs the bloodflow and could literally cause a heart attack if clenched tightly enough for too long. So I am on a beta blocker now to keep my heart rate down, and that has worked great. I have had to increase the dose just once since 2012. I have regular checkups with my cardiologist. Not planning on running a marathon but doing fine. 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

            • That sounds pretty serious. Too bad they can’t use some dynamite and blow that bridge up. I’m on a beta blocker also, called Metoprolol, to prevent tachycardia. I guess it’s working okay, because I’m not very excitable anymore. Now I’m just a zombie who stares vacantly off into space, and who has an insatiable appetite for fried cow brains.

              So you’ve had a heart cath? Did you enjoy the procedure, or was it scary and painful?

              No, don’t run any marathons. We need you and your kind heart to stick around and keep our spirits up. Besides, you’re the best punching bag I’ve ever had the pleasure of insulting. You’re such a good sport.

              Like

              • There is surgery they can do but it is a serious surgery so for now the Dr feels that I am fine with the meds as long as the bridging doesn’t get worse.

                I am on Propranolol, a very old beta blocker but had tried others including Metroprolol and none had worked. Sometimes the old drugs are the best! Glad I don’t crave cow brains!

                The cath was fine. The worst part is lying flat on your back for several hours afterwards with alot of pressure being applied to your leg for they don’t want your femur to start bleeding. The nurses were excited, they had never seen a bridge before. Apparently my heart picture got passed around. LOL!

                LOL! Thanks. We need your kind heart around too!
                I have to be a good sport, if I wasn’t I couldn’t have as much fun insulting back, you doolally! And I do worry about Alabaster. Just saying 🙂

                Liked by 1 person

                • Why do beta blockers end with “-olol”? Don’t the pharmaceutical companies understand how hard that is to pronounce?

                  I wouldn’t like lying flat on my back for several hours. That would drive me nuts.

                  So you’re heart bridge picture is famous, eh? You should have autographed it for the nurses.

                  I don’t worry about Alabaster, so you can pick on him all you want. Snowflake’s my biggest concern. I don’t know why, but for some reason I’m partial to Snowflake, so please be nice to him.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • Good question!

                    You could just take advantage of getting time to snooze while on your back.

                    I could have charged for my autograph! Why didn’t I think of that!

                    Oh gosh! Its Snowball not Snowflake! I meant Snowball not Alabaster, though I do worry about him too.

                    Like

      • You might enjoy telemedicine with your phone. Can you hold your phone, turn your head and cough, and check yourself for a hernia at the same time? And then pay a doctor a couple of hundred for the experience?

        Liked by 2 people

  • Can you see a different cardiologist? May have a better chance of getting heard and getting good advice, not quackery advice. We have good cardiologists here, we are just a little distance away from where you live. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  • “Health care” in the US is an oxymoron. Just a few days ago I got a bill from my annual physical from… last year. My new doctor… who replaced my old doctor who quit as soon as he finished paying off his student loan, was too busy to see me last year. So I ended up seeing a nurse practitioner at the office. She already knew me because she was the same NP who I saw me when I was in for my own AFib getting out of control the previous year (a story in itself).

    I have my own thermometer, stethoscope and BP cuff. And every time they take blood and make me pee in a cup, I have to skip my daily coffee and wine… which makes me feel unwell. All said, I’m not even bothering this time around.

    BTW… On a more serious note, my father always insisted that proper diagnosis mainly involved extensive conversation with a patient. I’m wondering how this translates to Zoom meetings as a substitute for chatting at a doctor’s office.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, billing is another bugbear I have with the medical profession. Your bill took a whole year to reach you. That’s crazy. And I think it could make it harder to point out any discrepancies in the bill, after so much time has passed.

      A few weeks ago, I got my bill for my ER visit last March (for an AFib attack). So, you have AFib, also? My version is called Lone Afib, as it doesn’t have any apparent underlying cause. I’m reading a book on it right now, that I’m finding very informative. If your interested, I’ll give you the title, and you can find it on Amazon.

      I agree very much with your father, about having an extensive conversation with a patient. It’s rare to find any doctor willing to do that. They usually seem to be in a hurry. And like you indicate, it’s hard to see how Zoom meetings could improve communication.

      Liked by 2 people

      • My original doctor out here (three doctors back) used to always schedule me late in the day because I was among his healthier patients and wouldn’t likely need to be referred into some other facility that day for a test or whatever. He’d always apologize for me having to wait in the lobby for 45-minutes before he got around to me, but then we’d sit and chat for twenty-minutes as he gradually started the exam. He even once explained how to interview surgeons during consultations when I needed a surgery, which caused me to skip the first two surgeons. He was an excellent physician… alas, now retired. Nowadays, it’s all corporate medicine on a conveyor belt with a five-minute slot to explain your symptoms and two overpriced prescriptions that may or may not help you on the way out the door.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Sounds like a great doctor. Communication is the key, in my view, and that takes time. But I’ll bet a whole lot of time and money could be saved with that initial investment in time, by avoiding misdiagnoses and unnecessary tests and procedures.

          Liked by 1 person

  • Wow. That’s pretty bad, and I hope you didn’t have to pay full cost for the visit. Ugh! I saw several doctors (two specialists and my PCP) and I was met at the door with all the questions by masked, gowned and face shielded persons who used a thermometer that didn’t come in contact with me at all. Once I got approved to enter the building, I basically got the same care (masked on both sides, mine and theirs) and had to stand 4 to 6 feet away (marked with tape on the floor). But we were able to speak and be clear, and the nurse did touch me (gloved) to take blood pressure and to give me a shingles inoculation.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I don’t have a copay, so this visit cost me nothing. But what a ripoff for my insurance.

      Sounds like your doctors are taking extra precautions also, but apparently not to the extremes my doc is going through. I can understand some precautions, but what my doc is doing seems rather overboard to me. But on the other hand, maybe he has an underlying condition, like diabetes, and is scared to death of catching Covid.

      Liked by 3 people

  • OMG, thank you for making the pandemic so funny, TG! This was the medicine I needed after having to witness peoples’ short tempers several times this week while I was shopping and at the bank. We all need to keep our sense of humour with us at all times, never needed more than now.

    Deb

    Liked by 3 people

  • As my dad would say “Jesus H. Christ on a tandem!”

    What you just described is insane…on so many levels. I could go on a day-long tirade about this corona beer virus.

    I take it that your previous posts on the matter drew ire? I follow several bloggers that have ripped it to shreds..and caught hell over it.

    I am lucky to live in a small town with very smart cops & a very smart Sheriff. I am unlucky that said small town is located in a state run by a bat-s*** stupid governor.

    How long have you had Afib? Are you on blood thinners? I’ve been throwing PACs & PVCs for about 12 years, now. I have discovered that magnesium taurate helps a LOT.

    And, this is why I don’t see doctors unless it is an emergency. Then, our beloved FF/EMTs come two blocks to retrieve me. I’m not even going to bother with a rootie-tootie-hootie doctor anymore. The last two I saw were young enough to be my children and they had no clue what prostacyclin was.

    I lost insurance four years ago and paying cash always gave me a lower price as I was less paperwork for the insurance vampires.

    I shop for groceries online. I go pick them up and I’m not wearing a damn mask. I can’t breathe in the godforsaken things. I pass people on our Riverwalk wearing masks in fresh air, more than six feet away from anything & anybody. What? The big, fat, furry virus is going to run out of the woods and jump on you???

    I have just about had my fill of this lockdown nonsense.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You and I are very simpatico when it comes to our views on coronavirus restrictions. Back in the Spring, I wrote a number of posts that were critical of lockdowns and other restrictions. Boy did I catch hell. I managed to agree to disagree with most of my detractors, but there was one dude who really unloaded on me, and continued to unload on me, no matter how hard I tried to be diplomatic. I finally ended up blocking him, which is something I very rarely do with any follower. I don’t mind when people disagree with me. In fact it can spice up a blog and make it fun. But that guy was very abusive.

      So you have Afib, also? I’m on the blood-thinner Eliquis, which is an expensive drug. Fortunately my insurance covers most of the cost. I’m also on Metoprolol, which is a beta blocker. It’s very inexpensive, thank goodness. Haven’t had a major episode since March, nor have I had a stroke, so I guess the Metoprolol and Eliquis is working.

      Bummer that you lost your insurance. I hope the meds you’re taking are effective.

      Yeah, it’s insane for people to be wearing masks outdoors in uncrowded areas. The virus is a serious concern, but I think that many people vastly overestimate it, and are living in paranoia.

      I too have had my fill of the lockdown nonsense.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t have Afib. I used to have daily PACs (Premature Atrial Contractions…feels like a double beat) and I would have PVCs (Premature Ventricular Contractions) about three times a month. The PVCs are scary. They make my heart beat tachy, low in my chest, then, there is a resounding thump. They can make me light-headed. I wore a heart monitor for 48 hours back in 2010 and they pegged the funny beats. All I was offered was a beta-blocker and I refused. I lived with it for several years, then I started a magnesium therapy and they have eased off. I take no other drugs. It’s also been suggested that I have my gallbladder removed and I’ve refused that. I take supplements and changed my diet to make the gallbladder happy. I’ve been cut on enough times. No more unless it is an emergency.

        Any flu bug is a concern to those with compromised immune systems and/or co-morbidities. The flu kills tens of thousands every single year…year after year. But, the freak-out now? Hm. It ain’t the Spanish Flu (misnomer, anyway) and it sure as hell ain’t the Black Death that rolled around from the middle 1300s all the way to early 1900s with a couple of breakouts in 1995 & 2014. So, for the first time in modern history, the healthy are quarantined? Economies are shutdown worldwide? A nearly one-hundred year old malaria drug proven to help is now withheld? They are preparing to go after N-acetyl-cysteine (excellent for Tylenol overdoses), a precursor to glutathione?
        https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/09/joseph-mercola/fda-wants-to-ban-nac-now-that-it-combats-covid-19/
        Why remove long-serving, helpful, existing drugs? Something else is going on and, a media ad campaign was needed to divert attention and frighten everyone.

        Things are about to get vewy, vewy intawesting… And, I will NOT be taking ANY vaccine.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I just read that magnesium can sometimes help at reducing PACs and PVCs. That’s great that it works for you.
          I don’t like taking a beta blocker, but I think it’s keeping me out of the ER, and that’s a place I want to stay away from.

          There does seem to be something fishy going on, and I’ll bet it can be traced to money. The malaria drug is cheap, but a newer medication could be damned expensive.
          I can understand your wariness about the vaccine. This is a rush job. I’ll probably let others go first and see how they fare. But I’m hoping that maybe we’ll have achieved herd immunity by the time a vaccine comes out.

          Like

          • Herd immunity? We are already there but, the main-scream-media won’t dare report any TRUE stats.

            I’m so sorry you have Afib. I have a friend with it…Navy/Seabee Gulf War veteran, not much older than I am. He has an implant to help him. I hate seeing him struggle with it.

            The reason I mentioned my gallbladder, above, is because an angry gallbladder can mess with your heart rhythm. My maternal GM had to have her gallbladder removed because it made her “heart cut-up” (her words). Mine is calm, now.

            HUGS for healing, my friend.

            Liked by 1 person

            • I’m not so sure we’re already at herd immunity, but the figures of late are showing a decline in cases, so I wonder if we’re close.

              Thanks. Afib can really affect one’s quality of life.

              Hmm, I don’t know if my gallbladder is in good shape or not. Interesting thing to consider, though.

              Thanks for your kind thoughts.

              Liked by 1 person

  • that is the craziest doctor’s appointment I have ever heard of, and I appreciate your ability to look back on it with a sense of humor. I have had occasional afib for close to 30 years and have been cardioverted several times. For several years I was on a blood thinner, but I didn’t like the restrictions, so I finally found a cardiologist (an electrophysiologist) who said since I was low risk for stroke, I did not need to be on it. So for several years I was on no medication (and no caffeine for me either). After a couple of fainting incidents in the past couple of years, I was put on flecainide, and it seems to do the trick. I have had no afib incidents for a year and a half (I use to get a couple per year). My cardiologist has talked about a catheter ablation at some point in my future. I just had an appointment with my cardiologist, and it was in person, and except for everyone wearing a mask, it seemed like any other visit. I hope your cardiologist visit is better than your doctor’s visit!

    Liked by 2 people

  • Sorry, Tippy. I just couldn’t find the humour in this. There were just so many things wrong with this situation that I found myself in a slow boil. I appreciate the precautions being taken right now, but that is no excuse for shoddy care … which is exactly what you experienced.

    … and that doesn’t even begin to touch on the breach of privacy by having a live camera on the room without giving you advance warning!!

    After an experience like this one, I would be looking for another doctor.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, it was shoddy, but if I can’t laugh I’ll give myself an ulcer.

      I think they need to put a warning sign in the room, about being on camera.

      Believe me, I’m contemplating another doctor. Right now I’m kind of tied to a specialist he referred me to, so I’m holding off for the moment. Also, in our little town there isn’t a wide selection of doctors to choose from, and the best seem to be mediocre physicians.

      Liked by 2 people

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