My Medical Journal |Part 1

Angela Grant BL  Failure to Listen


My Medical Journal

Here, I will share my experiences with you as I see them, from my perspective—objective and subjective. My intent is to keep on top of my medical problems, which seem to be headed in the wrong direction. My fear is a diagnosis of ALS; for some reason, I am not fearful of cancer…. Why? Something is not right with my body, and my blood pressure is always the first to know.

I just saw the resident in training neurologist who was under the “supervision” of an Attending physician…

I am practicing my new walk because I have a foot drop. Yesterday, I was told by a resident in training that I was experiencing hysteria. My response was, “Are you saying I can jog?” (As if my symptoms were in my head!) “Of course not.” He smiled, meaning no, but he did not rethink his diagnosis. The attending who followed up did not examine me and told me my exam was normal based on the resident’s exam. I asked the attending, “How come I can’t flex my foot?” At that point, he examined ONLY my foot, and this was the neurology attending at one of the best hospitals! I waited 2-3 months for this appointment, and this is the one appointment I wish I had missed. (However, I did stumble upon the physician in charge on my way to the appointment. I desire the opportunity to talk with him, not to complain, because I think the system is excellent.)

Do you know why the resident thought of hysteria and ignored his exam (I am curious to see the documentation)? My father committed suicide, and my husband committed suicide; this resident presumed I must, therefore, have severe mental illness: severe depression and PTSD. Do you see problems here? This neurology resident has no clue what is going on because my symptoms are not described in his textbook, but rather than admit as such, he tells me my symptoms are emotional and lies to his attending about the exam.

This neurology resident-in-training told his attending my exam was normal (his attending believed him and was not going to examine me). This resident-in-training was not very smart, either. He told me he could not order a lumbar MRI because he would not know what to do with the results—those were his words. Either he thought I was a fool, or he was, indeed, an idiot.

I recommend he repeat medical school; he will be among the 20% of physicians responsible for most wrongful death lawsuits. This is a neurologist….at one of the best…. absolutely scary! I think he was trying to help Tufts Medical Center finish me off. Hehehe.

He kept talking about motive…hmmmm…and how the mind works; maybe he was projecting. I guess the doctors in Boston no longer like me. I better be careful and say nice things about incompetent doctors. Otherwise, doctors will avoid me like the plague. You know what, I don’t care. I truly don’t care…and that feels good.

Neither he nor the attending were thorough.  Neither bothered to get  the discharge summary of my recent hospitalization, a week ago,  to find out I needed: an MRI of my lumbar spine; a contrast MRI of my cervical spine, a lumbar puncture, an EMG/nerve conduction studies and neuropsychological testing (I am not as sharp as I use to be).

I will never allow myself to be evaluated by a resident in training again and neither should any of you, particularly, if you are ill. You have a choice! I am tired of being nice.

The above was not meant to embarrass this resident; rather, I hope he reads this and learns not to let his prejudices (biases) interfere with his judgment. I am not calling him a racist, just someone who needs a lot more training and definitely more supervision.

So, far my doctors in NH have pulled me through because they know me. Moreover, no one would ever associate hysteria with me. Apparently, multiple sclerosis was once thought to be hysteria. In other words, a diagnosis of hysteria (or emotional symptoms) is a doctor’s way of saying, “I don’t know WTF (what the fuck) is wrong with you… then again, you are female… .”

How many males have ever been told their symptoms were related to hysteria?

I will be following up with a trusted local neurologist whose suggestions last year were on target. He (besides me) is the only one who noticed the association between my symptoms and my labile blood pressure.

There is something to be said about continuity of care and having physicians who care; that is the difference between good care and downright harmful care.

Medical Journal: Video of my Foot Exam | Entry Two

My Medical Journal: Interval Exam | MRI today | Entry 3

Author: Angela Grant

I am a first generation Jamaican immigrant whose experiences and accomplishments were made possible by the courage, sacrifices and the heroic acts of many whose bodies have rotted away in unmarked graves. Those are my heroes. Their sacrifices and death paved the way for my children and I. Failure to Listen is a token of my eternal gratitude. Failure to Listen is a tribute those generations of unmarked graves occupied by people of all races whose ultimate sacrifice of life opened the door for me and others, THANK YOU. Failure to Listen uses cultural lenses to appreciate and understand the relationships between current events and our values, beliefs and attitudes. Culture is everything without it we are nothing. Failure to Listen will take you on a journey to recognize the beauty of our differences as the seeds to creativity, innovation and resolving disparities. By sharing my personal and professional experiences, I hope to do justice to the perspectives of those who are rarely heard or listened to. This site is not to incite anger but rather to provoke thought. It is my hope that Failure to Listen will work to foster intergroup dialogues and motivate readers to step outside the box and get to know ALL PEOPLE. In the spirit of Martin Luther King, let's join hands and remember his famous speech about a dream... A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. -Margaret Mead

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