Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Difference in Medical Care

Sometimes my kiddo's reactions surprise me. Hold on, let me back up. Let me start before that. A few days ago I mentioned that we didn't have to worry about the scar on my thumb because I was not burdened with having to be the good looking one in Lynley and I's little couplet. I get that. But does that mean I am a second class citizen?

Lynley had no less that two incredibly gifted surgeons work on her forehead. These were no schleps. We are talking top of their class Harvard Medical School graduates here. She got to go to two of the fanciest doctor's offices I have ever seen. There were 42" LCD televisions everywhere and the waiting room furniture was plush. She was even offered an Evian while she waited. The procedure was much the same and the follow up was even better. They carefully removed her stitches in only the most sterile of conditions and then carefully counseled her on the proper use of Maderma to reduce scarring. She experienced the pinnacle of medical care and I would say that my blushing bride deserved no less.

My experience, however, was a little different. First, I was told to sit in the back seat of my dirty suburban with my thumb in a bloodied used Chili's napkin while we drove an hour to the hospital that was most convenient to home. The surgeon operating on my thumb was not chosen by skill but rather by which ER would be less busy. I am quite sure this correlates with being the ER with the highest standard of care, right? After some cleaning and discussion with a nurse practitioner and a few student doctors they stitched me up while my wife and the gaggle of medical types made fun of my inability to cut a hamburger in half.

That was just the beginning.

I was ushered out of my fast food hospital experience with a warning to have my stitches removed in 8 to 10 days and a warning to call if my thumb turned black or started oozing green stuff. The problem for me became, who removes my stitches. I could go back to the ER but that seemed almost nonsensical. I could go to my PCP but he dumped me because I was too healthy and not profitable enough (yes, really!). Nope, neither of those worked. That left me with my family and this gets me back to where I began today's story.

Sometimes my kiddos surprise me. Without a good alternative to remove my stitches I figured I was left with my last option. Begging one of my kids to do it with the small clippers from the nail kit. Yes, a far cry from the luxury my parental counterpart experienced but, hey, I am willing to take one for the team. I first asked Sydney. She seemed the most trustworthy with scissors and the most sanitary but she declined me based on "grossness" as she put it. Who would have thought, after everything she has been through, this would be the tipping point for her. I won't go into everything gross I did for her but when she is old and grey and she reads this she will finally see the irony.

Regardless, I was left with Grubby and Grimey. Graham jumped at the chance. Due to his enthusiasm, I had to flash back quickly in my mind to see if I had punished him lately and whether I was due any malpractice. Of course, this was Graham so I felt pretty safe. Ainsley was in for it, too. Of course, I kept her a safe distance.

Graham was an excellent nurse. Together we removed the three stitches on the counter next to the kitchen sink. There were a few dirty dishes but not many. They were both very proud as was I.

My scar isn't very pretty but I guess that is the difference between Harvard trained medical professionals and Dungan trained 4 and 5 year olds.

I see where I rank.

But this is why my purpii are so important. Without them, what do I have?

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