Sunday, January 30, 2011

For those looking for "courtwhit exhibitionism" keep looking! Yes I have a counter on here and yes I can see what you are searching for. Mark.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

If You Have Something to Say

I keep getting semi-mysterious hits on this blog from Vista/Fallbrook as if someone who knew the old me ten years ago (judging by the keywords being used) is looking for dirt of some kind. One thing I learned from cancer is that if you have something to say, just say it. So if you have something to say to me, man up and tell me. Meanwhile I have some things to say to you.

-I'm not dead, nor have I tricked a man into knocking me up.
-I am living off myself and my own money.
-I am happily (most of the time) single. I have dated more; eh, it's okay. It's not a priority.
-Why are you looking me up? Are you looking to gloat or otherwise feel better about yourself? If you were truly curious about ME and how I am doing you could contact me directly.
-And those keywords you have used to find this blog? I was joking when I said that! I would never really do that. You can Google it all you want; you may find things I have written but nothing else.

Can you move on now? Because I sure have.

Courtwhit porn

Monday, January 19, 2009

New Year, New Update Part 2

I was so happy to hear Dr. M's voice on the other line.

"Hi," I said, sighing as I sat down for a moment.

"Do you have a few minutes to talk?"

"Yes," I said as I got up and shut my office door with my foot.

"So I have your letter here," he said, paper rustling in the background. My letter, I assumed.

"I am so sorry. What an ordeal!" He sounded impassioned.

"Yes, yes it was. It was...awful."

"It sounds like it was a complete nightmare. I wish I had been there...but, uh, it already happened."

Whoa, what?! He wants to rescue me. I want him to rescue me. Cue mental image of me clad in a hospital gown, swooning in his arms with my neck scar, one hand on his bare chest, exposed underneath his white doctor's coat....

"Yeah," I said, kinda numb, while simultaneously trying to keep my eyes from popping out of their sockets over him wanting to rescue me. I was amazed because I had thought of him that night I was still in the hospital. It was 3am and I couldn't sleep. I had wished he had been there. Yes, because he is my knight, but really because of how careful and conscientious he is when he does anything. When he did my biopsy, he told me exactly what he was doing every step of the way. I also knew he wouldn't have allowed me to suffer the way that I did- he is a better person than that.

"Are you sure they knew you were conscious?"

"Yes! My eyes were open- I managed to ask for water- they knew."

"Have you brought this to anyone's attention? Like the nursing manager?"

"Yes, I have. I filed a grievance with the hospital. I just received the results of that yesterday."

"And what did they say?"

"They blamed me, which I expected. They said I might have ripped out my own IV , which is impossible! I heard them- they told me- it failed! Then they selectively used my medical records to prove their point while ignoring them on others!" I was shouting now, just furious.

"That's unfortunate," he replied, his voice having taken on its usual calm and controlled manner as he emotionally withdrew from our conversation. That is his line when you tell him something bad and he doesn't want to say anything else: "That's unfortunate." When I imploded in the exam room trying to tell him the story he said the same darn thing.

"So how are you feeling? Any more nightmares?"

"No, not in a few weeks. I'm just back to the usual normal, well, weird types of dreams."

He laughed, a hearty, sincere laugh. It made me smile. "Just like the rest of us! And how are you feeling about your neck?"

I chuckled, "Oh, fine, fine. I'm not that worried now."

He said my name, "You have just had cancer. It is totally normal and understandable that you are going to be worried about it coming back. It happens to everyone at some point."

"I know. Thanks...thanks for calling."

"Of course. I'll talk to you soon."

I hung up with him and was amazed at how much he seemed to care. About me.

My cynical side says he was like this on purpose so that I would remember how nice he was to me and wouldn't name him in any potential lawsuit.

I later replied back to the hospital's response to my grievance and I copied a bunch of people in power at the clinic and the hospital trying to draw attention to it to see if anyone would actually tell me anything.

In my letter back, I said how dare they blame me for their own incompetence, that the person doing the original investigation severely lacked in empathy for traumatized patients, their response was paternalistic and the investigation half-assed. I again repeated that all I wanted to know was what had happened. Lo and behold, I got someone's attention!

The director of risk management called me a couple of weeks later. Two days prior I had mailed complaints to the state medical board. She told me that no one remembers me so no one knows what happened but Dr. Z is very sorry. She said based on my medical records and what I told her, my IV probably failed when my arm became bent and "no one noticed until you were in recovery." Huh, that sure sounds like negligence to me! She was working hard, telling me that "I can understand how very frightening and confusing it must have been to wake up in that situation." Yeah, you think? She caught me on a mellow day and I didn't say much; I let her do most of the talking and let her think the case was closed.

I also mailed a letter to my surgeon right around this time telling him what HIS staff did to me and what HIS anesthesiologist did to me. He is a coward and never responded. I told him that as the surgeon, I expect him to be in charge. I am referred to him, admitted under his name and he is the one doing the procedure. I also told him that I expected him to be surrounded by a staff that was professional and well-trained and they most certainly were not. It felt good to say that!

The medical board complaints went official in September. The nightmares came back as soon as I put them in the mail. I had two more surgery ones (one in recovery where I was pleading, "please don't hurt me!") before they became just gruesomely violent: people shot in the head, my being raped by a male friend from high school. So much ugliness.

Just this last week I heard back from the medical board. There was not enough evidence to claim negligence or violation of standard of care. The letter said "anesthesia can be traumatizing even when everything is done right." I cannot resolve this statement as true. I just cannot. It makes no sense to me. The letter also said I was still intubated when I became conscious (not in my medical records) and this caused emergence delirium (not in my medical records) and the disruption of the IV line (not in my medical records!). These numerous omissions from my medical records, which were part of my original complaint- not mentioned. For that reason, I want to write back and say, "what about that?" It's just fishy to me, still. I don't know if I can keep going with this or if I should.

I had been doing well until I received that letter but it triggered my PTSD. I was in the grocery one night and everytime someone would come near me, I could feel my entire system go into overdrive. A woman walked up behind me and I nearly clubbed her in the face because I felt threatened. I had a panic attack in the office for no reason. I lost my appetite. I cried a lot.

Speaking of cowards, I want to make a point to say that I NEVER heard directly from Dr. Z, the anesthesiologist, about what happened. Even when it happened, my surgeon's assistant came and told me, not him. He has never apologized. That angers me. That makes me want to continue to push and push on this. There are ways to apologize without admitting any wrongdoing. Doing this has been shown to reduce lawsuits (Harvard has some wonderful info on this). It is like he hid this entire time: behind my surgeon, behind the clinic and the hospital, and now behind the medical board. C-O-W-A-R-D

I wanted to write another letter to Dr. M but I am afraid to. It almost feels inappropriate. I am supposed to see him for my one-year followup in a couple of months.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

New Year, New Update Part 1

When we last left our sponsor on May 31st, I was just starting to have nightmares. Things became a whole lot worse. I was diagnosed with full-blown PTSD based on my post-op experiences from the surgery. I was in a haze, I was not sleeping very well, and I was having more nightmares. I also knew I needed to do something, so I went on a quest for answers. What really happened to me? I requested my hospital records. It took two requests before they finally sent me the entire file. I found it to be both disturbing and unremarkable. They were disturbing because honestly, no person needs to read about how they were strapped down to the operating table or when their vitals became a little unstable. They were unremarkable because the IV failure during surgery that I both heard about in recovery and was told about the following day were not documented. I also thought the records were inaccurate when it came to documenting the times I was given painkillers. The cherry on top of all of this was the inclusion of "versed," an amnesia-causing anti-anxiety med I was given in recovery, some 35 minutes after I actually needed it. Funny, I was never told about this drug and I never gave consent.

So then it was time for the complaints. I left out some details in my original post about my TT experience, but more things happened that were less frightening but were still needless and careless. I first filed a grievance with the hospital. With that pending, I found a swollen lymph node on my neck which landed me in the office of...Dr. M.

I called him first, a little wired, a little scared and he was completely laid back, telling me he needed to see me to check it out. He found a time for me to come in the next day. I was terrified. I was oozing PTSD issues by now and I could not handle the thought of another surgery, though that was the first thing that hurtled through my mind when I felt the lymph node. I was shuffled all around by his nurse, played name-your-own-weight, and was in and out of the waiting room twice before I was finally was settled into a room some 20 minutes after my official appointment time. He came in the room and said, "Okay, so tell me your story again. You found a swollen lymph node on your neck and you are freaking out?" I tried not to laugh (he said "freaking out?") and to just clear my mind of all my sexual thoughts about him.

"Yes!" I said emphatically, leaning forward in his direction. I showed him where and he ran his hand down the side of my neck, then had me turn my head as he felt the opposite side.

"Return to the midline," he said, as I furrowed my brow and gave him a quizzical sideways look.

"Uh, face forward."

I HATE it when he does that; either speak the same language as me, or don't. I don't know what the hell the midline is! (Well, I do now...) I "returned to the midline" and this is where things started to get a little muddled, a little confused, a little blurry, boundaries-wise, for me.

"I'm going to feel you from behind" he said in that killer deep voice of his as he pulled himself onto the examination table and sat behind me to feel my neck.

Um, WHAT?! It's a good thing he couldn't see my face! He put his hands around my neck and set out to feel all around my neck and under my jaw for anything suspect. In sharp contrast to his usual rough and pressure-filled neck exams, he was very gentle, almost sensual. We were both silent as he did this, only his breathing was audible in my right ear. Finally, he asked me if I had been sick lately; I said no. He sighed and said he didn't think it was anything, right as he applied pressure above my scar. Then his hands came off my neck and dropped onto my shoulders. A million alarms went off in my head as his hands dug into my shoulders and his fingers swept across my collar bone. Then he got down from the table.

"It's nothing. It was probably always there and you never noticed, it had no meaning to you. Look, he got it all during the surgery. Your chance of recurrence is really low. How did you find this?"

"I was taking a shower and washing my hair. I turned my head and felt the lymph node and thought, WHAT is THAT? I'm not feeling my neck everyday or anything like that."

"Good, because you could really drive yourself crazy with this."

"I know," I said, nodding.

He leaned over the counter now with a lab form and told me to have new labwork done, turning to look at me with a very sheepish smile on his face. He began to write on the lab form, saying my name, enunciating it, saying my file number...and then he messed up, exhaling hard and closing his eyes like we all do when we think, "duh!"

"I'll be right back."

He returned with a new lab form and started to write on it only to realize he had not pushed the point of his pen down. I was trying not to laugh at this point. He handed me the form and said to go get the bloodwork done, that he would call me when he returned from his vacation in a couple of weeks but in the meantime, he would get me samples of my meds. He left and I got down from the exam table, amused and a little befuddled over how this appointment had gone. He came back and handed me the meds, then he shut the door. I stood there looking at him as he glanced over a couple of pieces of paper in his hand. Finally he looked up at me.

"I'm looking over Dr. ___'s status report and I didn't realize you had such a hard time in the hospital. Do you want to tell me about that?"

Oh man. I did NOT see this coming. I felt every cell in my body go on high alert. I had seen my PCP for sleep meds and vaguely told her what had happened to me. He clearly had her status report in his hands.

I put my hands on the counter and leaned over slightly, putting the boxes down in the process. I admit that I don't remember exactly what I told him, but basically, I imploded. I felt on the spot and I had no verbal rap prepared for this. My friends had all told me to "get over it" and I felt at that time there was something wrong with me for being affected by it. I was able to get bits and pieces of the story out but I ended up so frustrated with it all I just became angry and I told him how angry I was about the entire thing. He stood there, looking withdrawn, a total 180 from how he had appeared during most of this appointment. After I was done waving my arms around and telling him how mad I was, he asked me how my PTSD symptoms were, if I was sleeping at all or having nightmares. I said my sleeping was still very disturbed and he asked if I was taking the sleeping meds I had received from my other doctor. I was not. I told him that they scare me, he told me to break them in half. I said I had not had nightmares in a few weeks.

"I think you are going to be okay," he said to me. I nodded.

"I think so," I replied, not very convincingly. And then...something amazing happened.

"You know," he said, having completely softened again, now leaning on the exam table, "I have nightmares about what I see here sometimes and I wake myself up and tell myself, thank goodness that wasn't real." I looked up at him and for the first time, he appeared human to me. He was slightly disheveled and clearly exhausted. I literally felt warm and full inside and as I gazed up into his face a million thoughts went through my head about death, about my own death and thoughts that he would be the last person I would ever see. But it was not morbid, it was not fear. Something felt close, and warm, and comforting.

"You are going to get over this," he said. I nodded.

"Yes, I think so," I said again, somewhat more convincingly. I almost believed it. He held out his hand and I took it. He held my hand like I was a lady; he didn't shake it. Then he opened the door for me and I stumbled out and over to the lab for the bloodwork.

When I left the appointment that day, I was upset with myself for not being able to tell him the entire story. Suddenly, he appeared to be someone I could trust with my story, someone who genuinely wanted to know. I decided to do what I do best: write. I wrote him a three-page letter detailing everything that happened to me that day, how one thing led to another and to another. I wrote it in one sitting, then I became scared. Should I tell him this much, I asked myself?

Five days later, he called me (during his vacation) with the lab results. They were all normal but he wanted to adjust the meds. I missed his call so he left a long, breathy, rambling message on my voicemail that I have not deleted to this day. I will explain why in a later post. I also finally mailed the letter.

At the beginning of August, I received the official response to my grievance. Predictably, they blamed me, saying I must have ripped out my own IV. I was livid. The following day, I was pacing around my office plotting my next move when my cell phone rang. It was the clinic's number and I wondered if maybe I was in trouble for something else now!

It had been nearly a month since I had mailed the letter to Dr. M and I was no longer expecting any kind of response. I actually had a dream that he sent it back to me after marking it up with red pen to highlight what was wrong. At this point, I assumed he had just handed it off to his attorney because quite frankly, it reads like a lawsuit waiting to happen.

Anyway, I went ahead and answered the call from the clinic and launching my first name through the phone with breathless, intense precision was Dr. M. What timing!

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Awake and Slit Open?

Weird dream but I think it was real at one point.

Eyes closed, people talking, a murmur can't make it out exactly, beeping.  Trying to swallow but it feels weird, not painful but just weird.  I raised my left arm. I think I moved my head.  "Hang in, we're almost done."  I didn't open my eyes.  I wasn't scared or panicky.  

That is the most proof I have yet that I had awareness during the TT.

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Need for Personal Alignment

I am having another rough day.

I am so fucking alone.  

I am used to being alone, taking care of things myself, and not being a burden to other people.  It usually isn't that big of a deal.  

Right now I just want someone to take care of me.

Sometimes I don't even feel like I am on the same planet as everyone else.  No one touches me besides my doctors.  I get cursory huge from my friends but that is all.  Oh how I wish some guy would touch my body sexually!  I feel so utterly out of sorts, like no one understands me.  Sex, or even just foreplay, would align me with someone else and it would be so divine just for that reason.  Last night I thought that alignment was going to be mine in the form of someone I have had my eye on for a long time, but no.  It was the same elliptical bullshit I've come to expect from this particular man so I went home alone and cried.  Again.  I was more pissed off about the missed alignment than I was about his stupidity.

I had another nightmare, this my first post-op nightmare.  It was Sunday morning; I woke up too early and made myself go back to sleep.  In the nightmare I was on the table with a blue sheet in front of my face and this feeling that I was "stuck," like I couldn't move.  I could see the medical personnel and I was talking (I think that I was anyway) but they were ignoring me.  I forced myself awake and just kind of vibrated from fear for awhile before I forced myself out of bed.  I have to admit that when I went to bed this morning/last night I was a little afraid.

I am a month post-op, btw.  I've gained a pound and my gym closed early today and I forgot.  I ate a bag of Hershey Kisses with Almonds between yesterday and today, feel totally fat stalled at 205 and kicked my expensive scale into the bathroom wall this morning.  People keep telling me how thin I look, but I think it is crap, just like when they say my scar isn't noticeable.   No wonder I can't be honest with anyone because they sure as hell can't be honest with me.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Cancer Spector

Inevitably, we have other health problems besides cancer that send us to the doctor. Monday was one such day for me, so there I was exactly three weeks post-op back at the scene of the crime.

I was having sharp pain on my left side that wasn't going away- it felt like ovulation but it was going on forever. I saw a physician's assistant on the fly and she sent me off for a very large battery of tests. Because my visit was not planned, she did not have my medical file. It seemed important that she knew I had just had surgery for thyroid cancer so I told her and that was when all of the lab forms came out. First, I went to the lab with a urine sample and then to give three more vials of blood. My poor, overtaxed left elbow vein let out a scream in the form of the most painful draw I have ever had. Ouch. Then I walked over to my favorite place on earth, the hospital, where I had to put on yet another hospital gown for yet another ultrasound. The pelvic ultrasound is definitely more traumatic to me than the neck ultrasound that Dr. M usually performs. The pelvic has an intra-vaginal component. UGH-o-rama. It turns out I have a 3.3 cm cyst on my left ovary. I'm supposed to come back next month for another pelvic ultrasound and to see my primary doctor. More follow up!

So those are the facts, m'am. How was I feeling? Livid. Angry. Exhausted. While I was waiting for my blood draw, Dr. M's fabulous nurse walked by and she said hello and I was a little grumpy but she is just a giant ray of sunshine. Seeing the two of them is more fun than seeing some random person, you know?

Radiology is by the cafeteria, which is by the elevators. When I had surgery, they wheeled me past there on the way to my room. I remember seeing the radiology sign and thinking, hm, of all the times I have been to radiology, it has never been on my back! But then, the cafeteria smells. Oh the smells. I was so nauseous. They warned me that we were going by the cafeteria and my response was to say, repeatedly, "I think I am going to be sick!" Once I was in the elevator I was fine.

So to be back at the scene of that crime, especially after the hard time I had had in the recovery room, freaked me out. My heart was racing when I went over there and when I went to change into my gown, I admit that I cried. I just felt sad. It was more evidence that my normal, old life was never to be again. Even though I was just there for this pain and not for cancer treatment of any kind, it was scary. I swore I wasn't going to be one of those cancer survivors that think every pain is cancer. Yet there I was with this sharp pain in my left side, thinking, "I have ovarian cancer!" I wanted to laugh at myself because it was so absurd, but yet I was only three weeks post-op. My emotions are still raw. I know what I know intellectually but my emotions are just steamrolling that with a, "So?! You have already had cancer, what's to say you don't have it again or won't have it again, or that it will come back or that you will get a different kind?!"

I was called first thing Tuesday with the results and then I was called again yesterday with more results. I almost peed myself each time that I saw the number on my cell.