Thursday, February 25, 2016

A Bugg’s Strife Pt.4 (Paar-ty Foul.)

“There are so many ways of being despicable it makes one head spin. But the way to be really despicable is to be contemptuous of other peoples pain.”- James Baldwin

Hello Blogiteers!
How are you? That’s just spiffy.

I for one, am feeling much better these days, finally having my pain meds being reinstated the crucial key in my overall feeling of well-being, thanks to a doctor who didn’t learn his bedside manner from Cruella DeVille.

Granted, I could be wrong- it has shockingly happened before.
Once or twice in regards to choosing a doctor, anyways.

Speaking of which, it’s time to start wrapping up my tale of an [*allegedly] heartless medical malinger, that being the one and thankfully only, Dr. Gypsy Faith Paar. Granted, her physician credentials may be sound, but judging from my personal and I might add painful, experience- I’d have to opine strongly that her interpersonal skills could use a few major tweaks.

Think about rebuilding Atlantis exactly like it used to be, and you’ll get where I’m going with this. If I were to paint an analogy of what I think of those said skills, it would be akin to being forced to eat an entire pallet of PEEPS. Sure, in the beginning it’s all sugar and squishiness, but halfway through, you realize you have made a severe error in judgment, and you’re the only one who’s going to actually suffer.

Personally, I’ve been fortunate enough not to have ever been disabled by the melancholy that follows a marshmallow-based sugar binge, but I’d assume that at best, it’s highly unpleasant.

Which reminds me… if you remember my last little screed, I introduced a new player on the field, that being Paradise Family Medicines office manager. Theresa O’Brien, whom in essence, I less than charitably described as a “human Sham-Wow”- a harsh assessment that I still stand behind.

Theresa’s job is a thankless one to be sure- she’s the first point of contact for patients who have a grievance, and she’s the one who also gets to clean up whatever mess that may have been purposely overlooked by the doctors she works for, those being the highly esteemed Dr. Paul R. Coulombe and Dr. Anthony J. Katz, two experienced physicians who while having the ability to be regarded without fault by their peers, somehow lack the capacity to return phone messages in relation to their staff.

To be fair, it’s probably really hard to get a signal when you’re out on the golf course ignoring concerns regarding your employees, so I guess I should cut them some slack. Therefore, I do have a diminutive amount of empathy towards her plight… an exceedingly diminutive amount, I might add.

Because in the end, she’s also the human speed bump getting in my way regarding settling this issue amicably. As I’ve noted in previous writings, it’s almost impossible to hold a doctor to account for what they’ve done or haven’t done, due to the fact that both the doctors office and their regulatory agency [AKA: BOMEX] will generally, and I’m quoting myself here;

 place the protection of the doctor long before the safeguarding of the patient, and both actively whitewash the issue for the benefit of the practice to the detriment of the public that filed the complaint in the first place. And both in the long run, present as morally bankrupt.

How comforting. The foxes not only guard the henhouse, they’re also the ones in charge of staffing it as well. I’m sure that’s for the best, right? After all, what screams “safeguarding of the patient” more than definitively deciding without public input that potential ones must never get to ascertain what a doctors been accused rightly or wrongly of?

Yep. Nothing to see here folks, move along. Just be obedient little cattle, and make sure to pay us exorbitantly (and repeatedly) for that six minute visit we made you wait 45 minutes for. Sheesh. I never thought I’d live to see the day where La Cosa Nostra could be presented as the nice guys by way of a straightforward comparison.

At least the mob is somewhat honest- violent to be sure, but at least when they make an effort to cause great physical harm to you, it’s by design, and not outright alleged negligence. No matter what you may assume of their practices, even the most stalwart outsider has to begrudgingly admit they at least show love for their craft, which is more than I can say for my former physician.

One might tend to think that after twelve years of “practicing” she’d have acquired some form of competence in regards to proper bedside manner, but you’d be wrong. All kidding aside. I’ve had better treatment at the hands of a drunken mob of Jorōgumo*, and those wenches are just straight up bitches.*[Google it. It’s so worth the effort.]

Being the thorough sort, I followed up on my complaint to Theresa concerning Mrs. Paar with the only other option accessible to me, that being the bloated, lethargic (and completely owned by physicians) agency that actively shields doctors from public perusal, the aforementioned BOMEX.

Eagle-eyed readers may have caught the exceedingly subtle indication that I don’t entirely trust this alleged patient protection agency, and that personal belief was reinforced after discussing my concerns with Leah Russow, one of their investigators- now, before I enlighten you on why this is, let me start by saying Leah was a delight to chat with, despite the seriousness of my reason for contacting her in the first place- courteous, professional, and obliviously dedicated to her job.  

But in the same sense, so is Captain Phasma, and her bosses are Sith-lords, so I think we all know how that level of management tends to view disruptions in the workplace. I originally was going to let Theresa’s “investigation” of my claims stand, believing that only the most monolithic cretin lacking both basic humanity and common sense would fail to see why Mrs. Paar’s behavior was so reprehensible, and sadly in that respect, I was right.

Apparently, not only was said alleged monolithic cretin readily available, it was also purportedly taking growth hormone and using Crown Victorias as free weights, as evidenced by the only email Theresa ever sent to me regarding my legitimate grievance:

From: Teresa O'Brien <>
To: "*********" <*********>
Sent: Tuesday, October 13, 2015 7:52 PM
Subject: Paradise Valley Family Medicine

Mr. Reich:

We have investigated your concerns and have found the care and treatment provided by Dr. Paar to be appropriate. We will provide copies of your medical records to your new physicians upon completion of a medical records release form.

Teresa O'Brien
Paradise Valley Family Medicine

Hmm. Odd. No reason to why she thought that was, nor is there any reference to the several complaints I discovered online about Dr. Paar that mirrored my personal experience, and had brought to her attention. It’s almost as if she was hoping that her highly evident ass-covering response would make me go away. I do have to admire the bravery, if not the outright chutzpah, in declaring that you investigated yourself, and shockingly… found nothing wrong.

Given that display of failed professionalism, I might have been somewhat bubbling over with annoyance, and fueled by such- fired off the following email-

From: ********* <*********>
To: Teresa O'Brien <>
Sent: Wednesday, October 14, 2015 9:35 PM
Subject: RE: Paradise Valley Family Medicine

Mrs. O'Brien-

"We've investigated ourselves and found we did nothing wrong."

What a shock. Nobody who's heard of what your doctor did thinks’ what she did was appropriate, but you feel otherwise.

Tells me I'm dying, doesn't explain why, doesn’t explain my blood-work, offers no comfort, and walks out without a further word, leaving me a total emotional wreck, as evidenced by your receptionist and the other patients in the lobby.

This sits well with you?

Of course it does. You're morally rudderless, after all. 

You will have your legal representation contact me as I will be pursuing action against your practice, and I will pursue all legal avenues of settling this matter to my satisfaction. And as an aside, I see that your offer of refunding my money was nothing more than lip service.

If you had no intention of doing the right thing, you shouldn't have stated otherwise. May I suggest that in the future, you think before you offer false platitudes. Your doctor has a charted history of this type of behavior, yet you choose to ignore it.

I doubt the court and social media will, but we'll see. I cannot wait to see what else remains to be discovered- I'm getting all tingly just thinking about it. In closing, you are at best, nothing more than a spineless cog in a medically - themed Ponzi scheme.

And sending me an email rather than a phone call?
Supreme cowardice.

But then again, it's what I've come to expect.

May you live in interesting times,

Sigh… I’m starting to think that I need to get cards printed up with how I handle lies, incompetence and sheer malingering, and hand them out to all the new people that I meet. I’m pretty sure it would save a lot of time and effort when the subject of what the best response would be if somebody decides to come at me, regardless of whether it’s from malice or ineptitude.

Think of the stirring motto on the Welsh Flag: “Y Ddraig Goch Ddyry Cychwyn” which is sometimes attributed as either “the red dragon advances”, or “the red dragon should go forward”- no matter which version you ascribe to, there’s still a big, red, fiercely ticked-off dragon coming for you, and there’s no way that’s ever going to end good, even if you do think Smaug is all shades of awesome.

But there is an upside to all of this- if you’ve ever wondered what a chicken wing feels like right before it’s stripped clean, you’re about to have that masochistic itch scratched, and that right quick.

In Mrs. Paar’s case, that would be the filing of a formal complaint with BOMEX, not that I thought it would truly make any difference, but what the hey- life is all about rolling the dice, right? Granted, there were a few heartening early developments, such as Leah asking me for all the emails I sent Theresa, but that joy was short-lived, when Leah offered up details about the process that I did not know about, despite my previous dealings with this alleged protector of the people.

As I've noted in previous scrawlings, patients have zero rights when it comes to knowing what the end result is after they file a complaint against any doctor, which in my opinion, is bulls**t, plain and simple. If I can easily find out how many food code violations my local McDonalds has accrued, logic should hold that the same standard should apply to anyone who's been given the colossal responsibility of maintaining my internal organs and the meat-suit that surrounds them.

But logic is no bulwark against the greed that has corrupted modern medicine, and it certainly is no match against the agency that places the value of a doctor’s reputation above that of their patient’s lives. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss, as it were. Cynically speaking, this shouldn't come as a shock- money has long been the new model of Hippocrates for most doctors, and they're going to make certain that their green river never stops flowing, no matter what or whom gets in the way.

This perversion of their sacred oath even extends into yet another pillar of our values, that being the Law. Granted, the current incarnation of our legal system favors the powerful and the wealthy as it always has, but even with all that- it has been known to actually work the way it should every now and then.  I know, I know…I was shocked myself.

But when it comes to suing a doctor... you might as well be attacking a tank with a pool noodle.

Typically, unless a doctor has killed you, or maimed you to a heinous degree, no lawyer will take your case or even act on your behalf, as it isn't financially worth their time. Nobility, thy name is not lawyer. In essence, the system is rigged- overseen by people for whom it's in their best interest to keep things nice and quiet.  

So how does one hit 21 against a dealer who's not only holding all the aces in their back pocket as well as up their sleeves? Well, the answer to this conundrum is quite won't.

Silly little patient, your value is in being a financial asset only, not a moral one. And when it comes to personal ethics these days, you'd have better luck getting Donald Trump to front a Selena cover band before you'd see the majority of physicians today showing truly genuine remorse over their mistakes. In fact, BOMEX is under NO moral or legal obligation to bring past transgressions' to light, even if cut of the same cloth.

Think about that for a second- even if your doctor has made the same fatal mistake twice, this "protection agency" isn't allowed BY LAW to inform any one of that fact, nor is it subject to lawful subpoena if you're trying to see if such events have occurred previously in regards to ongoing or future litigation, no matter how egregious. By way of example, you'd be offered more protection from the court system that tickets your neighbor for not cleaning up after their dog long before the agency that's tasked with safeguarding your life.

Granted, while both deal with steaming plies of fecal material, only one group of clerks gets to actually brag about what they do for a living. My guess is that when questioned at parties, BOMEX's hamstrung investigators probably just tell everyone they're in charge of overseeing Flint's water supply, as overall, it seems like you wouldn't suffer the embarrassment of having to defend how you earn your paycheck nearly as much.

Please tell me again how this agency protects patients when you now know that their charter demands the contradictory. Go ahead... I could really use the laugh.  What isn't funny is the knowledge that scores of patients have not only been most certainly harmed by this self-serving corruption of the public trust, but that there may be an unchecked pool of potentially dangerous and highly incompetent hacks mangling medicine who are protected wholesale.

Oddly, I don't find this comforting, but it sits just fine with BOMEX, apparently.

Now, you would think that once a doctor has been reported, they'd try to remain low-key and not rock the boat, but that would require both concern and intelligence- two factors easily discarded when one is keenly aware that your actions will never see the light of public record, or face any consequences for the same. So what does a true professional do when faced with such a complaint?

Well, if you're my ex-doctor, you proceed to double down on your previously documented course of density and lash out. At this point remember, I had been informed that Mrs. Paar had recused herself as my doctor and while she was no longer my acting physician, she could make decisions regarding my care under the auspices of a 30 day period. Rarely is this clause exercised by most departing doctors, but this she did, and with all the decorum of a feral chipmunk, I might add.

As a means to keep my condition under a semblance of control, I'm "on" a wide variety of varied medications - as expected, insulin falls within that category, but I also require two different drugs to ease symptoms of  diabetic-related nerve-pain (also know as neuropathy) which when left unchecked, makes catching your spawn-hammer in a vise seem a pleasant diversion.

One of these medications is the highly addictive and tightly controlled opiate known as Oxy-Contin, which in regards to my need is (fortunately) an exceedingly low dose- hardly enough to drop a toddler, but still handy nonetheless. Typically, I can make a 30 day supply last almost three months, as for me, it's more or less an edge smoother in regards to the daily pain I experience.

The go-to workhorse in my bag of tricks is Pregobalin, more commonly known by its brand name, Lyrica. What this particular medication does better than any of the others I've tried is not only tone down the nerve misfires that cause my constant pain, but on the best days- can beat that bitch flatter than a pancake. Now for clarity, Lyrica is NOT a narcotic, nor is it generally addictive, although the packaging warnings say it can be.  And while it can have severe side effects that can cause injury or death, I've never had any. In fact, I've been taking it six years with zero issues.

Here's where it gets fun- it's also bloody expensive, typically costing $200.00 for a 30 day supply, or $2400.00 per year. For someone like myself who currently doesn't have medical insurance, it would be impossible for me to take this drug without the fact I'm on an aid program from the manufacturer who dispenses it to me for free after meeting certain guidelines.

Damn Socialism giving away free stuff, and all that. The way I receive this drug is by FedEX, and when it comes, I have to be there to sign for it, as it is a controlled substance. As you may imagine, since I'm working during the day, more often than not I miss them, and have to arrange a pick-up at one of their numerous distribution centers, usually within 24 hours of said attempted delivery.

In this last instance, the delivery happened on a Thursday, I picked it up Friday afternoon, and while it seemed the packing envelope was lighter than normal, I attributed it to the fact being that it was a 30 day supply this time around [See previous blog] rather than the standard 90. Note to self: next time, rip open the damn envelope and check. When I got home later that night, I discovered to my confusion that not only was the packaging different, so was the prescribed dose.

With a sense of slowly dawning horror, I realized that Mrs. Paar had reduced my dosage of 225mg twice daily to 100mg. Knowing that the 450mg daily dose was barely cutting it (hence the need for the Oxy as a backup) this made no sense whatsoever, and since her office was now closed until the following Monday, there was also no way to ascertain why she made the decision to change my six year protocol of treatment without either asking me or more importantly- informing me

I'm not really sure what the math comes to, but isn't that an almost 75% reduction of the painkiller that barely works? I'm no doctor, but then again neither is Mrs. Paar, if she thought that this loomed large as a good idea. So trying to remain calm, I take close to my normal dose (4 pills instead of two) and ride out the discomfort of being under-medicated, and call her office first thing Monday, where I am sadly once again connected to their human Sham-Wow, Theresa.

Actually. let's make that the Chinese-made dollar-store version of a Sham-Wow- this woman couldn't clean up after a sea-sick Tardigrade*, much less settle an issue that requires the utmost in tact and basic humanity. [*Google it. they're truly fascinating.] If ever comes the time for an award for sheer deflection while mouthing useless platitudes, Theresa will stand out from the pack by several arm lengths.

In fact, I'm pretty sure she'll set the bar so high God will bang his head on it at some point. After putting forth some impressive verbal gymnastics, Theresa informs that the reason for reducing my Lyrica was that Mrs. Paar was "concerned" about its effect on my "failing" kidneys.

Hmmm. Interesting… she's "concerned" about the long-term effects of a drug I've been taking six years with no side effects, but not at all concerned about the highly addictive narcotic she also prescribed that can allegedly cause damage? That seems odd, does it not? But it gets better. Not only does she reduce the medication with a proven track record, she neglects to prescribe new meds to take its place.

That's some sheer f**king genius going on there "doc"- not  only are you highly incompetent at delivering bad news, you apparently think that crippling pain is the gift that keeps on giving.

Come Christmas, I'm gonna get you something nice to return the favor. I'm not sure what form my appreciation should take, but I'm thinking that something along a two week sabbatical strapped to a ravenous fire-ant mound while slathered with honey would be a good place to start. Not because I'm an angry person per se, (although I have valid cause to be) it's just so that Bleach Job Barbie would have a personal insight into the pain bus she threw me under without so much as an actual thought to, or any input from, the person it would directly affect- that person being me.

As I'm dealing with the additional news that I'm going to be buying a ticket for the pain train, Theresa glibly asks "what kind of pain I'm in", as an alleged means to gauge just how much false concern she needs to project over the phone. What kind of pain am I in, you ask? Well…

I can tell you it's not "happy" pain, the kind where you see a long lost friend again, or "fun" pain like when you're having really good sex, or even "gleeful" pain where you find yourself tied to a chair while an Asian dominatrix wearing thigh boots tells you how you've been disobedient and are going to be punished the way a naughty boy should.

But perhaps I've said too much.

Getting back on track, WHO CARES WHAT KIND OF PAIN I’M IN? it's pain- it’s the reason why I take pain medication and came to see that malingering masquerader in the first place. By Odin's beard, you're more useless than Charlie Sheen at a Mormon longhouse, and if I didn't know better, I'd opine you got the job strictly on your innate ability to mimic a Pakistani call center, minus the social skills and ability to understand English, you cretinous twat.

I swear if this human Sham-wow gets any denser, they're eventually going to seal her in a 55 gallon oil drum and bury it inside a salt mine. I'm not entirely sure where idiocy like this is produced, but somebody needs to call and inform that it’s ok to "smoke them if you got them", if you catch my suggestion.

So to recap: essential and useful meds cut 75%, highly addictive medication left unmolested, and no back-up prescription prescribed- all without a single consultation or discussion with me, the actual F***ING PATIENT. And this, as Theresa so brusquely described in her only missive, is "appropriate"?

I shudder to think what "inappropriate" might portend- odds are it involves breaking three biblical laws and involves a dyslexic wombat wearing latex thigh-highs. Not that there's anything wrong with that, it's just not my idea of a good Tuesday, and the fact I try not to judge.

As the call wraps up with no serious attempt on Theresa’s part to do something pro-active about my quickly-ratcheting pain level, I let her know that I’m going to pursue legal action, and her response is…. crickets. Smug ones. Like Pharma-douche level, is what I’m getting at here, which is oddly appropriate, given the situation. After all, why be even mildly concerned when you know you can’t and won’t be held liable for your incompetence?

I swear- if I had known of all the feuds I could have settled permanently without fear of reprisal, I would have gone to med school long before becoming an artist- the mere thought of exploiting sanctioned idiocy for my own personal gain makes me positively tingly, if truth be told.

Thus begins almost four months of a personal living hell, punctuated with bouts of relentless insomnia, weight loss, the searing blistering pain of a thousand red-hot knives stabbing me over every square inch of my body, along with the unforeseen loss of my new job as well, due to physical issues affecting my skills, helped in no small part by Mrs. Paar’s lack of concern.

 Now despite all this, there was an upside to be had: at least none of my horrendously debilitating pain would be borne by Mrs. Paar’s delicate as fairy wings conscience, which as one may surmise, did alleviate some stress off my engulfed by nerve-fire shoulders.

Zen. It’s there if you look for it. All you gotta do… is really believe.

But as we wind down to the end of my opus regarding Gypsy Faith Paar and her allegedly obvious inadequacies as both a competent doctor and part-time human being, one question looms, and it’s a nagging one that’s always bugged me: have you ever heard the phrase, “practicing barista” or even “practicing janitor”?

And if you were to ponder my hypothetical query for a mere moment further, has there ever been a time in your life where you’ve uttered the words: “That’s my best friend Sergio, he’s a “practicing” pizza delivery guy” in all seriousness? Of course not, since we all know Sergio’s a practicing male stripper, but that’s beside the point.

Hell, we even give freshmen senators the benefit of the doubt- we don’t simply infer they’re “practicing” selling their votes, we take for granted that they’re already well on their way to being professional scumbags, and give them their due credit. So why do they always say a doctor is “practicing” their craft, yet rarely (if ever) apply that term to any other discipline outside of the Law?

Now, an optimist might suggest that the term suggests both fields are ever-changing, so that there can never exist a point where you’re not “practicing” some new-found knowledge that requires incorporation into your established skill-set, but that’s undeservedly noble for my jaded world-view, and it’s also wildly inaccurate when set against all the other trades- after all, no matter what you do, there’s always something new to learn in regards to your chosen endeavor, and that never ends…

Ever. So why all the calculated humble-bragging? Please note, I did say “calculated”, for a reason.

In my experience, most (not all) doctors are supremely arrogant, the level hovering somewhere between washed-up 70’s rock star and opera diva. But they’re also keenly aware that such a persona doesn’t play well among us mere mortals, hence the pathological inference that their reason for becoming doctors was altruistically driven, a noble desire to make a difference in the amount of human suffering- something Mrs. Paar does attempt, but much like her alleged bedside manner, can’t really seem to get the hang of, no matter how many times she may “practice” it.

The inherent cynicism I possess dryly notes that when it comes right down to the brass tacks, the majority of anguish these specific doctors ease up is mainly the type that affects their bank account- no more, no less. No matter whether they’re good or bad, concerned or not, the one thing that they always regard long before their patients is the money and the title- the rest is extraneous.

Need proof? Just look at Mrs. Paars response to me after she informed me I was “dying before her eyes”- there was no follow-up advice, no concern in how I would take the news, no, she immediately let me know that payment was still expected, but at least it would be “discounted”, bless her frigid little heart. Remember, she did work her peroxide-fueled ass off for almost six minutes, and that’s what I relly needed to focus on at that moment… her future BMW payment.

Now I know what you’re thinking:

“Gee all you’ve really done is point out over this four story arc is that at worst, she’s allegedly unprofessional, possibly petty, and may share some of the characteristics of the iceberg that took out the Titanic, but just when, oh great and terrible Artbitch, are you going to highlight her so-called “incompetence”?”

You ask. I deliver, and it’s just shy of awesomely epic, if I do say so myself.
And I do. And I shall. Repeatedly.

After what seemed like an eternity, I finally managed to secure an appointment with a new GP and as immediately bring their assistant up to speed with a short (for me, anyway) recapping of the events that had transpired. To say they were incredulous would be under-selling it by miles, but even so, they take down all my info, including the lab tests Mrs. Paar supposedly consulted in making her assessment of my imminent demise.

Leaving so she could brief my soon-to-be doctor when he gets done with the patient before me, I’m there for roughly 15 minutes or so wondering whom it was that decided that all the consultation rooms in AZ had to be painted beige and decked out with mass-produced southwest posters depicting pottery and Navajo blankets.

Seriously. Is there a committee or something I don’t know about?
A question for another time, I guess.

When my new doctor comes in, two things strike immediate: this dude is tall, and he looks pissed. If this were the “Bachelorette”, not only would I have not been given a rose, it looks as if my parting gift would have been jammed down my throat sideways using my own snapped-off legs to do so. Great. I’m off to a fine start and I haven’t even gotten to the “hello, I’m Wayne” part, which let’s be honest- is typically where it usually starts going south for me.

Holding my lab tests in his hand he says, and I’m paraphrasing here:

“Hi, I’m Doctor  *****- first, I’m reestablishing your pain protocols immediately, as there was no medical need to reduce them in the first place, and second- you’re not dying. Ok, you are… but at pretty much the same rate as the rest of us, I’m happy to say.

Also, your kidneys and liver are not, I repeat, NOT in failure- your kidney numbers are at 51, failure numbers are around 10, and across the board, these are the numbers I’d expect to see in a diabetic man your age. If anything, your labs signify a slight amount of tweaking is required, but not much else. As for your liver…. well, there’s nothing in these recent labs that indicate any other issue than what I’d expect to see.”

Wait a minute. Hold the phone. WTF? Are you telling me that after four months of sheer fucking physical and mental anguish, that other than pain that can be eventually medicated down, I’m essentially fine?

[inner monologue]
Ok, get a grip… you will not, I repeat, NOT get in your car, stop off at your storage unit, pick up your lucky chainsaw with matching splattering smock and go pay Mrs. Paar a visit at her office. Why?

Well, first- because violence isn’t the answer, second- because if I plan this, the truly ugly word
“pre-mediated” gets tossed around the courtroom, and third- my smock is still at the cleaners, and they’ve been asking way too many questions lately. And besides… it’s Monday, and we have a heavy week ahead- it’s much too busy to have to bother with picking up some much-needed, and ultimately necessary, quicklime. Not to mention establishing a believable alibi on top of it all.

In the end, it all comes down to free time, and sadly, I’m just swamped.

“In fact,” says my newest BFF, “there’s not only no current notation in your records regarding an issue with your liver, none of these labs has any recent bearing on your liver health at all- I have no idea how she even came to this conclusion, as it would be like me having to go to an event in California, and deciding to park my car in New York.”

[Inner monologue. Again.]
Hmmm. You know, if I drove pretty fast with the windows rolled down, I’m pretty sure my smock would be mostly dry by the time I got there….

Nonono- this isn’t a productive train of thought, and I have to approach this the way a Creative like myself should- with an artistic bent. Normally, that would involve running scenarios through my psyche wherein I devise karmic balance utilizing that age-old gambit of dyspeptic wombats, but I’ve been told that in the long run, they eat way too much and that they’re terrible conversationalists.

Sigh. C'est la vie.

So. Not only has bleach-brained Barbie caused me great emotional distress by leading me to believe that I'm dying, not only has she help advance physical pain which has severely impacted my life, she's also managed with all her years of alleged dark side training to aim her Death Star at my metaphorical Alderran and miss not by inches, but by light-years, hitting the totally innocent Tattooine instead, by way of pop culture example.

Damn Sith Lords. Always screwing up the weekend.

But to quote the human Sham-Wow, she: "found the care and treatment provided by Dr. Paar to be appropriate.", and therefore, I apparently have no right to be upset, or expect humanistic reparation for my suffering and emotional distress.

So what's an angry, vengeful, and obviously completely justified Artbitch to do?

I can't find a lawyer to take my complaint to its logical zenith, although all those I contacted agreed (rather directly) that she needed to be sued out of existence. It’s also obvious her ass-covering  bosses could care less if Mrs. Paar maims somebody as evidenced by their silence, and only God knows if BOMEX will do the job it claims to do.* [*Allegedly]

Granted, there's a ton of vigilante scenarios manifesting, most of which end with the punch line
"Goodbye, Mr. Bond", but as I stated earlier, violence isn't the answer- although the version involving Wile E. Coyote and his arsenal of ACME products should be. The thought of my ex-doctor being flattened by a giant anvil falling from the sky as she’s attempting to tell the Roadrunner he’s dying does strike as funny, but in the end, is essentially pointless.

After all, she'd just re-inflate her head with an air-pump, and I'd be right back where I started- angry and feeling powerless against a rigged system.

But that feeling is nothing but ether and smoke- I can do something, and that's spread the word about this [allegedly] uncaring, unqualified, unethical and utterly soulless practitioner, and thanks to the vast lands of the Internet, I not only can do this once, I can do it FOREVER. While I sleep. Bathe. Take in a Milla Jovovich movie. Or anything else I choose to do, 24/7. That's the beauty of the digital age- there will never not be a time where this series of screeds doesn’t pop up in regards to her name or whatever unfortunate practice hires her.

I may not have taken her metaphorically out, but I have left a wound that will never heal, and that's almost good enough for me. Plus, it's gonna itch like crazy, so that's just extra icing on the cupcake of barbed bitterness. Misdiagnosis. Mental torture. Misery. And for the privilege of being subjected to all of this dross, you get to pay exorbitantly, and they get to avert responsibility.* [*Allegedly]

That kids, is what us cynics like to call one f***ed-up deck of cards.

But there is an addendum I'd like to point out to both Mrs. Paar and her alleged Renfield if they're reading this right now.* [*They very well may be, since I send them emails regarding these postings, because at my core, I am a people person, and after all.. who doesn’t like seeing their name in print?]

The grand total of people who've read [until now] is in the thousands, and I've personally responded to over 250 emails- granted, that's not anywhere near Kate Upton numbers, but it's still pretty damn significant nonetheless. At the very least, there are now scores of people who will at least hopefully reconsider going to her, or the practice that puzzlingly keeps her around, despite easily searchable complaints.

Google. Apparently, it's just not for downloading naked Halle Berry photos and seeing how truly important you aren't. Not that I've ever checked, as that's just beyond self- absorbed, and as we all know, I hardly ever talk about me. And I have no idea where all those pictures of Halle Berry on my laptop came from- it’s a mystery. One that sadly, will never be solved. Scooby- Doo and the gang be damned.

So, I'm done. That's it. I've purged my soul and more importantly, my life of this alleged peroxided parasite, and that's the truly healthy part. But even better, I took a cue from my former doctor, and now know that all I've written wasn't only necessary...

It was appropriate.

"The mistakes of doctors are innumerable. They err as a rule out of optimism as to the treatment, and pessimism as to the outcome.” - Marcel Proust, Sodom and Gomorrah

“Shabelsky: Doctors are the same as lawyers, the sole difference being that lawyers only rob you, but doctors rob you and kill you too...” - Anton Chekov, Ivanov

Monday, December 28, 2015

A Bugg's Strife PT. 3 (Paar-ty People)

“They say a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but it's not one half so bad as a lot of ignorance.”- Terry Pratchett

Greetings, Blogiteers!

It has been a rough two months. I finally got a great gig going, evened out some of the medical issues I’ve been plagued with since my ex-doctor threw me under an entire fleet of buses, and then next thing I know, my position at work gets “dissolved”, and I’m being fired by text.

Granted, it was a very nice text, but still… yeeouch.

So after almost nine years of solid semi-dependable employment, I find myself with updated resumes in hand, looking for work, and finding zilch. On top of that bubbling cauldron of annoyance, my 1 ½ year old ASUS laptop is back in the shop suffering the same issue I just paid to have fixed, forcing me to once again, go back to my 14 year old IBM Thnkpad to help save the day.

I’m seriously thinking of buying her some bitching new stickers as a way to say thank you. As you can see from the photo, she’s a clunky retro piece of tech, but she still kicks ass.

All that aside, my last piece detailing the travails with my ex-doctor hit home pretty hard, much to my sheer delight. If there is one thing I just love doing, it’s ripping the mask off of the incompetent and the untrustworthy, and exposing them to the light.

Sadly, they don’t turn into powder or an ashen corpse ala the Blade movies, but it’s still fun nonetheless.

Because in reality, that’s all I can actually do, as evidenced by this recent photo of an Arizona doctor learning about a complaint being filed against them. Granted while this doesn’t depict my doctor, it does*cover her attitude rather succinctly. *[allegedly.]

More on this to come, but let us pick up where I last left off- the insipidly decorated offices at Paradise Family Medicine, where my ex-doctor, one Gypsy Faith Paar, inflicts her craft upon an unsuspecting and wholly trusting populace. As you may recall from my last narrative chronicling my being discharged from “Dr.” Paar’s care, I found myself at that time in utter mental disarray, due to her inexpressive and indifferent attitude.

The only way I could accurately describe her so-called bedside manner, would be to regrettably violate some tenet of Godwins Law, which is described as such:

“Godwin's law (or Godwin's rule of Nazi analogies) is an internet adage asserting that as an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches- that is, if an online discussion (regardless of topic or scope) goes on long enough, sooner or later someone will compare someone or something to Hitler or Nazism.”

Now, in the spirit of all-inclusive fairness, I would say that comparing *Mrs. Paar [* As stated in my last screed, I’ll reserve the title “Doctor” for those who actually deserve the accolade from this point on] to Hitler are not only a stretch, but also greatly insulting overall. It’s a ridiculous assessment at best, and completely slanderous at worst.

However? I am pretty comfortable in assigning her an equality to that of some of his lesser subordinates, if truth be told. And no, I’m not referring to Dr. Josef  Mengele, I’m thinking more along the lines of his college roommate, Herschel. Nice enough guy, just not really qualified to practice medicine, so much as inflict it.

I’ll let you in on a little secret: I have, let’s call it a “thing”, for the darkness of human nature. When I was younger, I seriously wanted to be a criminal profiler- you know, like William Petersen in the 1986 film Manhunter, written and directed by Michael (TV’s “Miami Vice”) Mann?

If one were to peruse my personal library at my home, they would see an expansive collection of the types of books expected in the lair of a professional artist and writer- tomes on the history of art and it’s creators, art techniques, artist biographies, and the like are all well represented.

But as with most things concerning the human experience, there is also a dark side, and it just fascinates the dickens out of me, leading to my fairly dense collection of case studies, journals, and narratives regarding the histories of the criminally disturbed mind.

Thank whatever deity you revere that one can't be judged solely by their nighttime reading selection or browser history, as my excuse of “I am a writer after all” would most likely fall upon deaf ears. And if I were to have my personal eccentricities factored in, my hide would surely be as tanned as that of George Hamilton on a Spanish beach.

So, where's this train of thought going, you ask, and what does any of it have to do with my former doctor? Trust me- it’ll make sense in the end, as my account will touch upon some of the same topics covered in my hobbyists library: arrogance, narcissism, and a complete lack of empathy.

All the classic defining hallmarks of the egotist, or in this specific case, an individual who while failing the criteria to merit a fishing license, was somehow granted the privilege of obtaining a medical one. As a Creative, I’ve always ascribed to the concept of whenever you are asked to do something outside your comfort zone, always say, “sure I can do it”, and then go do some research on how to actually get it done.

While this works great for creative endeavors, I wouldn’t recommend it for anything involving the mechanical or the medical, but that common sense approach hasn’t stopped my ex-doctor from charging ahead, Alien chest-burster style.

To quote the late Kurt Vonnegut:
If you can do a half-assed job of anything, you're a one-eyed man in a kingdom of the blind.”

And where my former physician is concerned, her aptitude at half-assing her job is akin to Donald Trump’s ability at alienating every gender and race on planet Earth within five minutes of him speaking his mind. Sure, it’s an impressive skill-set, but it’s really not something one should brag about, in my humble opinion.

My ex-doctor on the other hand however, still maintains that same level of delusional hubris in my modest estimation, and her supercilious quirk literally, as well as figuratively, nearly crippled me in the short term.
But as usual, I’m putting the bleach way ahead of the bottled blonde, so let’s get right into it.

When we were last together, I had just been icily informed that I probably shouldn’t make plans to catch the upcoming Captain America movie, as my kidneys and liver were failing, and according to the peroxided authority that was then standing before me, I was, and I quote directly: “dying before her eyes”, which she as a physician, wasn’t going to have on her [ha, ha, wait for it…] conscience”.

How dare she. I didn’t sit through the dreck that was Iron Man 3 so that I could fall behind in regards to the Marvel Universe. So after being talked off the ledge by the practices’ receptionist, I then spent another 45 minutes sitting in my car in the parking lot getting my metaphorical s**t together, as one is wont to do.
After a few hours spent reestablishing my equilibrium of calm, my hysteria was slowly replaced by an emerging sense of pure white-hot anger- there’s a way to deliver horrendous news like that, and a merged giggling condescension is definitely not the way to do so, just in case anybody asks.

Trust me on this.

if I were to be brutally honest, the first thought I had as to how to handle said sense of fury was to drive back to her office, get her alone in a room, and start punching in the middle of that conceitedly smirking face until I could see the first rays of daylight radiating on the other side.

Now for the very public record, I would never engage in, or advocate for, any form of violence directed at a woman or women in general, as it’s a barbaric response to the situation, no matter how you try to justify it.

If I ever feel the need to “hurt” a woman, I’ll do it in the most direct and mature way possible-  I’ll make sure she sees me walking out of a shower wearing nothing save my official Motorhead (RIP Lemmy) shower cap and Britney Spears water wings.

My ex-fiancé is still going to therapy, and this all happened when I still had abs.

But considering that I’m also not allowed to launch people using a trebuchet, it did, at first, seem like the most practical and workable solution within my grasp. Fortunately, the fact that I was 30 miles away during the rush hour and way too pretty for prison, helped remove that gratifying option from my bag of go-to tricks. Instead, I decided to take the high road and do what I’ve been told reasonable and mature adults do- that is, complain to a higher up about what I felt was an unconscionable breach of ethical behavior.

I think you already know what the next joke I’m going to make is, as you’ve all seen it before- the one where I note that my sense of optimism isn’t pulling it’s weight? Yep, that’s the one, and it’s still true, now more than ever. My birthday is coming up soon, so if anyone wants to buy me a new one, feel free- I don’t even care what size or color it is, as long as it actually works.

As some of my more loyal readers may know, a doctor’s office isn’t like your typical business- the options that exist for you to complain about your local Fillabertos, really doesn’t carry over as to where the medical profession is concerned. You really only have two options when it gets right down to brass tacks, and those are these: the office manager for the practice, and BOMEX*.
*[Board Of Medical Examiners]

I’ve noted dealing with both entities in blogs regarding my previous doctor, [See the Archive] and not-too-surprisingly, zip has changed in regards to the current situation- both place the protection of the doctor long before the safeguarding of the patient, and both actively whitewash the issue for the benefit of the practice to the detriment of the public that filed the complaint in the first place.

And both in the long run, present as morally bankrupt.

Whether you believe it or not, I do know what you’re thinking: “Bob Ross called, and he wants his broad brush back”- and normally, I would agree with you. On the surface, it would seem that I am issuing a rather sweeping edict in regards to a particular profession, but I assure you that as someone who’s become very intimately involved with the bloated narcissism that masquerades as healing in this country, I’m being almost chillingly diplomatic.

Look at it from this POV- if you graduate last in your high school class, they’ll most likely call you an Assistant Manager at Arby’s, but if you manage to graduate last in your medical school, they’ll still call you “doctor”- puts it all in perspective, doesn’t it?

Now, I’m not suggesting even for a moment that Mrs. Paar was in the lowest percentile when her degree was optimistically handed to her,  but given my experience in regards to her personal ethic, I would hazard a guess that she also didn’t win any prize ribbons in the bedside manner segment of her med school contest.

On the upside, I am pretty confident that if her school had ever offered an overbilling for services actually rendered curriculum, she would totally ace that, and as we all know- that’s really the main concern for most doctors in this country- getting paid first, caring about your actions later, if at all.

And when you know your misconduct is going to be sheltered from the prying eyes of the public via your employer and fellow colleagues, it’s easy to see why most physicians are so utterly arrogant.

If I knew for certain that my actions wouldn’t be held accountable, I’d probably be drag racing through Scottsdale Fashion Square on a daily basis. Wearing nothing but glittery combat boots and a smug sense of invulnerability. It’s no stretch of the imagination to extend that worldview to my ex-doctor. Minus the boots that is- she’s always struck me as more of a practical wedge kind of gal.

Back to the action.

So as I mentioned, I decided to call the practice and issue a complaint, via Teresa O’Brian, the office manager, which in turn, led to a 45 minute phone call wherein I rehashed what I felt was a severe, if not obvious, lapse in ethical behavior. Pitching square down the middle, she neither confirms or denies absolution on behalf of Mrs. Paar, but she does seemingly agree to my terms that I want resolution within the week.  
Cue that defective sense of optimism again, it’s working overtime. While drunk. And speed-balling meth through it’s eyes. Noting that Mrs. Paar recused herself as my doctor without providing me a referral to another one, she states that she’ll “take care of it”, an assertion that I note isn’t actually her duty to handle, since it was under Mrs. Paar’s purview, but it was appreciated nonetheless.

The promised email with the referrals arrives the next day, and is directly responsible for the choice of my current doctor, who so far, kicks ass in ways Mrs. Paar couldn’t  begin to touch with her glacial indifference- but I’ll highlight this disparity further down the narrative. 

As I await the official response from Theresa regarding Mrs. Paar’s behavior, I draft the following email as a follow-up and send it two days after filing my complaint:
“Mrs. O' Brien-

Thank you for giving me the info that should have been the responsibility of my former doctor- I do appreciate it.

Regardless of your professional actions, I am still infuriated at the callous disregard displayed by Mrs. Parr in reference to her dismissal of me as a patient. I say "Mrs. Parr", because the title of "Doctor" should not be bestowed upon one who's bedside manner is as warming and comforting as an ice floe populated by rabidly carnivorous grizzlies.

Everyone I have spoken to regarding her actions have been universally appalled, (the phrase "WTF?" being used more than once) and if this person is considered a viable asset to your practice, I feel sorry for your soon to be diminished client base.

Per our conversation, three options remain open to you in regards to how you wish to rectify this situation. Please feel free to choose accordingly as to what you feel is in your best interest.

No matter what route you wish to eventually pursue, please be advised that I WILL be filling a formal complaint with BOMEX nonetheless- not that they'll actually do anything, and not that this complaint will ever be made public, since it's doctors covering for other doctors, but at least I'll have the satisfaction of not knowing what (if any) actions they'll take, since I as a patient, aren't allowed to know the outcome of the complaint I file under their guidelines.

I wish my industry worked like that. It must be nice to have made sure the rules protect only your interests while still getting to treat people like the insignificant cash cows your industry now likens us to.

So you can relax. In the end, no one save outside my vast circle will ever know that your office has employed a heartless, gutless, and I might add, highly condescending practitioner of medicine.

Hopefully, her "practicing" medicine will eventually lead to that glorious day where she's actually competent at it.

In closing, I thank you again for all your help. As I said- it is truly appreciated.

Wayne Michael Reich

PS: Extra kudos go out to your tall brunette receptionist who unlike your doctor and her just as thick nurse, seemed genuinely concerned about my mental state after Mrs. Parr's indifferent delivery of potentially devastating news.

If I had attempted to leave in such a highly agitated state, I'd probably have wrapped my car around an SUV- so please let her know I really do appreciate her taking the time to "talk me down" and not charging me for the six minute "consultation" that Mrs. Parr felt she earned.

Your receptionist is a rock.

Mrs. Parr should crawl back under hers.”

See? Direct. Appreciative. Giving credit where it’s due. And ultimately, chock-full of warm fuzzies. I’m telling you, when my days of blogging and writing a magazine gig are done, I’m so writing a kids book. Maybe something with a dragon. Or Zombies. Or zombie dragons. I smell a Newberry Medal!

Un-surprisingly, It’s also kind of well known that I’m really not good at biding my time in regards to waiting on the resolution of simple issues that I feel should be rectified quickly, and this situation was no exception. One thing that had been bugging me in retrospect was how smoothly Mrs. Paar had kicked me to the curb with nary a trace of emotional upset on her part, and with both time on my hands and hi-speed internet access at my disposal, I decided to take my gut instincts out for a drive, and see what the ol’ Google had to say about my most recent of the exes.

Did I ever mention that sometimes my gut succeeds where my optimism fails?

In short, I did find more than a few things. Not the mother lode by far, but enough nuggets to let me know Mrs. Paar isn’t exactly walking around with a spotless reputation.

Naturally, I felt the need to share these tidbits with Theresa, since as we all know by now, resolving problems is kind of my niche, and since I was [according to Mrs. Paar] “dying before her eyes”, I was under the impression my time walking this ball of mud was growing short, and I really didn’t want to die with an unfinished “to-do” list.

Or an un-deleted browser history. All kidding aside, don’t forget to clear it. Your family will thank you. So, a mere two days after I sent off my first electronic missive, I cast forth this:
“Mrs. O'Brien-

Just thought you'd find this interesting.

These are public reviews of Mrs. Parr's professional demeanor. As I noted to you during our phone conversation, she seemed rather "smooth" in how rude she was regarding her recusing herself as my doctor. Seems I'm not the only one that feels that way.

Unprofessional behavior, misdiagnosis, and a frosty haughtiness do not a doctor make.

Here's the first one:

Uncaring by Patient who will not return on Jun 5th, 2015

So if you're looking for a practitioner who brings you back a half hour after your appointment and keeps you waiting another 15 mins while she discusses her own baby crying at night with the other staff,who wants to get in and out as quick as possible, who thinks it a burden to prescribe your meds,whose staff will NOT return calls, and who personally won't return a call either, then you've come to your dream physician. For me it was a nightmare and I am a health professional. My dog gets better care at the vet.

Yee-ouch. Here's another one:

Feb 13th, 2015

Not at all a fan of Dr. Paar. 100% agree with other reviews that she did not listen to my issues I came in for, nor did she even pretend to care. Moreso made me feel bad about my issues. Instead she "diagnosed" me with several other illnesses that are not related to what my visit was for whatsoever and truly made me feel emberassed and discouraged for coming to see her in the first place. I will never put time or money into her care again. Word of advice, if you are needing a family doctor specialist, very easy to go see someone else or if need of a specialist, find it yourself instead of wasting your time here.

Dang. That was cold. But this? Wow:

worst DR I've seen in my life by upset pre-med student on Nov 26th, 2013

Nice lady, but this is not her field. She absolutely does NOT deserve to have her license, a disgrace to the medical community I'm sorry. I went in for physical and she diagnosed me with a heart murmur at the age of 20, I went to a cardiologist to spend hundreds of dollars on tests for them to tell me my paperwork was "boring" and nothing was wrong. Again I made the mistake to see her, she tested me for STD's which was irrelevant for my reason going to her. She told me I tested positive for IgG herpes 2 and had me leave the office in a panic, telling me I have herpes. I immediately made an appt with my gynecologist and showed her my results, she told me "we haven't tested for this in years, 96% of the population tests positive for these antibodies. Can only test for herpes if theres lesions". Ive NEVER had a lesion in my life , and Dr. Paar "forgot" to mention that to me. Thank God I'm attending medical school next to replace these noctors . I will not be seeing her again, anyone else is more than welcome to see her and pay a 25 dollar co pay to get scared and misdiagnosed.

That felt oddly familiar for some reason.

Here's two oldies but goodies:

Dec 3rd, 2012

I'm surprised that Dr. T with his great reputation in our community has decided to bring on a person like Dr. Parr. She is short with me every time I go in to see her and will never try and fix an issue or illness herself. She always refers me out. She will make you wait 45 min. Then give you only 5 min. Of her time! She is rude and a waste of time and money!

Oct 22nd, 2012

Im a healthcare professional myself and was horrified at the way I was treated, I overheard her snapping at the staff and waited over an hour past my appt 45 min of that wearing see thru paper, that was fine as I assumed that she had a patient she needed to spend extra time with - but when she got to me she was not nice and told me right away that she didnt have time to discuss my severe depression at a well women check, the exam should cover all areas of concern and I had to really work myself up to ask about medication for depression and she made me feel horrible and was very demeaning in the way she spoke to me, She made me late for my patients but even with being severly depressed and running late I was able to make my patients feel as tho i cared about their issues and not only to I assess all body systems as well as depression at each visit I am kind and compassionate even when Im running behind schedule

By the way, this took me all of five seconds to unearth this information.

Why wasn't this a concern for your hiring manager?

I'm thinking BOMEX will definitely take an interest in my complaint now, as there seems to be a rather clear pattern of behavior here. But more interestingly, what else is out there to be found once I really start digging? This is just ONE website- there are literally scores of others I'm going to start scanning as soon as my schedule permits.

I'd suggest you do the same, and give serious thought to terminating her employment before her callousness and incompetence lead to a patient either dying or pursuing the wrong course of treatment due to a misdiagnosis.

Speaking of which, there is also one curious thing I was thinking of last night while testing my blood sugar, which oddly, is well within normal parameters for the last three weeks despite Mrs. Parr's insistence that I was "dying before her eyes", and that is this:

If I'm so sick, [REMEMBER: I'm "dying", according to your practicing med student] then why oh why did she not offer any follow-up advice, like oh, I don't know... something along the lines of:

"GET YOUR DYING A** TO A HOSPITAL!!!" or even, "Get a new doctor ASAP!" You know, like a DOCTOR OF MEDICINE is supposed to do?

Does she think the Hippocratic Oath is a Disney character?

I'm thinking the answer here is "yes", but let’s not quibble over her inability to follow through on the several years of specialized training that obviously didn't take. Even if this type of behavior occurs randomly, one outburst is still one too many, and mark my words- she will eventually harm her patients, whether it is by her indifference to their problems, or by her misdiagnosis causing them to seek out treatment that may eventually do more harm than good.

But hey- I'm an ex-patient, so my opinion probably doesn't matter for much in the long run- after all, I am "dying", so maybe it's the fear of the unknown that's talking.

Who knows?

In closing, I look forward to your decision in rectifying this matter come Monday, and I wish you a relaxing weekend.

Wayne Michael Reich”


Once again direct, but this time around, I added a scoop of helpfulness, and who wouldn’t appreciate that? Mrs. Paar maybe, but you’d think her office manager might take an interest.

As I’ve noted numerous times before, it seems that in every office there’s always a lackey whose man job is to mop up messes as a means to keep said issue/s out of the public’s eye. While this human Sham-Wow is not always an indicator of unethical corruption, it’s definitely one of the things to look out for, and Theresa is hardly the exception to this rule.

True character (in my opinion) has always meant that you tackle problems head on and in full view- a naïve approach, to be sure, but in the long run, honesty is always the best policy, a concept that allegedly strikes both Mrs. Paar and Theresa as completely alien.

Despite the worrisome issues I discovered using the simplest search parameters, neither Theresa or the two doctors who own Paradise Family Medicine ever addressed them directly. In fact, they completely ignored them altogether. While I do understand the legalities of why they’d remain mute in regards to the topic, I would at least think that enough red flags had been raised to at least warrant an investigation past the obligatory lip service phase.

[See: “sense of optimism” See…. Oh you get the joke, already.]

Whoa, is it really 2 AM?. Looking at the old word count thus far, I see I’ve hit exactly 4,534 at this point, so I think it’s time for a break. And when we come back…

I fire my sense of optimism and replace it with sarcasm, deal with a short bus Renfield, realize that two wrongs not only make a right, they also validate a hunch, discover exactly how much pain it takes to drop an Artbitch, and put the final nails in my ex-doctors metaphorical coffin.

“The more ignorant, reckless and thoughtless a doctor is, the higher his reputation soars even amongst powerful princes.”- Desiderius Erasmus

Monday, November 23, 2015

A Buggs Strife Pt.2 (Paar for the Worse)

“I guessed that he was one of those ambitious young physicians who more and more fill the profession, opportunists with a fashionable hoodlum image, openly hostile to their patients. My
brief stay at the hospital had already convinced me that the medical profession was an open door to anyone nursing a grudge against the human race.”
– J.G Ballard, from “Crash

Hello Blogiteers!

Truer words in my humble opinion, have never been spoken.

As someone who’s become overly familiar with what passes for modern medicine in this country, I can totally relate to the sentiment expressed above. Humanity as a whole, is regarded as nothing more than a superfluous cash cow by an increasingly desensitized and vastly unethical cabal that takes advantage by exploiting the inherent helplessness of its chosen victims.

Granted, that’s a rather harsh assessment in regards to certain members of the hypocritical Hippocratic Oath association, but my long-held conviction that the Rod of Aesculapius* and its corresponding pledge are as relevant to the medical profession today as Vanilla Ice is to Hip-Hop, has finally been verified.

*[In Greek mythology, the Rod of Asclepius, also known as the Staff of Asclepius (sometimes also spelled Asklepios or Aesculapius) and as the asklepian, is a serpent-entwined rod wielded by the Greek god Asclepius, a deity associated with healing and medicine. The symbol has continued to be used in modern times, where it is associated with medicine and health care.]

Greed and blatant narcissism are the true impetus empowering most doctors these days, and we as a society seem to be utterly helpless in halting this slithering abuse of our trust.

The more I deal with certain aspects of our remedial health care system, I begin to understand why the symbol of doctors is a serpent wrapped around a staff- if the venom doesn’t kill you, they can always use the wooden pole to beat you into submission as they attempt to steal your wallet.

The upside, if there is one to be found, is that the majority of these callous clinicians are generally so slimy, one could cause grievous harm armed with nothing more innocuous then a shaker of salt. 

As one of the rare few who has successfully separated one of these snake-handlers from their ill-gotten gains, I can attest that it wasn’t easy- the medical malingerers tend to guard their tainted bullion with a ferocity that makes Smaug look like Tickle Me Elmo by way of comparison.

Sadly, doing the right thing unbidden by the simple act of accepting personal responsibility for professional mistakes, is as alien a concept to the modern doctor as delivering a coherent speech is to Sarah Palin. Look, I get it- we live in a decidedly litigious society, where nobly admitting guilt will get you sued more often than not, but as a rule, most people are just as good with a sincere show of remorse as they would be with a settlement check.

If not more so, as it’s just seemingly that rare.

Shockingly, despite my reputation for applying a scorched earth policy in regards to the balancing of my personal scales, I do occasionally endure honest attempts at rehabilitating shattered trust. Note that I stated “occasionally”- I don’t have many rules, but the two biggest are these: don’t lie to me, and don’t ever betray my confidence. While that may sound like one rule cleft in twain, it and they aren’t- they’re distinctive and non-negotiable.

Unless the situation is my fault entire, I rarely forgive, and I never forget. I don’t hold grudges so much as I raise them as if they were my own sons, and by no means have I ever let the truly culpable skirt fated reprisal when it was truly applicable. Think of me as the snarky embodiment of Karma, but with a far less tolerant outlook.

Credible apologies, as I’ve noted previously, are presented as such: I’m. Sorry. Period.

No qualifiers, no “in my defense” rationalizations, nothing other than the two words above and that adorably quaint and right-to-the point punctuation mark. A cynic might feel the need to opine that I’m making a Himalayan range out of a molehill due to my inherent (and well-earned) distrust of all things medical, but in this particular case, I’m being uncharacteristically diplomatic.

Yes yes… I used a word you would never associate with me. But at the moment, it’s actually apt. As if being afflicted with diabetes wasn’t challenging enough, I find myself locked in a battle royale with an opponent who for all intents and purposes, may not even be aware that we’re actually fighting.

Granted, their sphere of ignorance will fail to serve as shelter from the oncoming storm that swiftly advances towards them, but as usual- I’m getting ahead of the narrative, which is a habit I think I really need to work on, if the fan email serves as an accurate barometer.

For clarity and legalities, I need to stress that this sequence of events is from my perspective- that being said, it’s also a sad indictment of what a lone and allegedly vindictive individual can do when given power over a person they perceive to be defenseless.

Roll out that sphere of ignorance again kids, because it’s about to have its warranty severely tested.

As I stated in my last tale, wherein I served up a tasty, yet economical, hors d'oeuvre of shredded Bugg ala’ mode, I find myself facing yet another adversary, that being an [allegedly] unethical practitioner of medicine who inflicts her chosen profession upon an unsuspecting world.

Their name? Dr. Gypsy Faith Paar. Yes, I said Gypsy Faith. Now, I know what you’re thinking: the big  bad Artbitch is going to heartlessly lob a few humor grenades through her office window in regards to her name, and all I can possibly say in my limited defense is this… ouch. How could you possibly assume that?

That’s just downright cold. After all these years of friendship, it’s like you still don’t know me at all. Sure, I might have taken a shot at her in my last screed, by acidly noting:

“she’s named “Gypsy” and yet looks as if she should come with a best friend named Skipper, a pink Corvette, and a Dream-house play-set.”, but I swear on the purity of an eventual Ding-Dong three-way with Debbie Harry and Milla Jovovich that I wasn’t taking a cheap shot at her name, far from it.

My first name is Wayne, after all, and when one has that odious moniker hanging around their neck like a depleted uranium millstone, it leaves minimal room to mock.

Don’t believe me?
Well then, let’s do a little “play along at home” experiment, shall we?

Just take a minute, and think of everything my name rhymes with, and you’ll see why I generally try not to poke fun at those highly disadvantaged people who were apparently named while their yurt-living, hemp-wearing, rainbow-riding, micro-bus driving parents were still working their way down from an ill-advised experiment of taking the whole tab at once.

In fact, I have a great deal of empathy for the period in which she was attempting to get into medical school, I really do. It couldn’t have been easy applying for student loans when your birth certificate is scribbled on the back of a Grateful Dead show flyer, and your witnessing doctor was known as Autumn Sky Unicorn*.
[*AKA: The former Ms. Rhonda Stella Schwartzman of Paramus, New Jersey.]

With all kidding aside, I’ll be taking the high road, despite my crafting some awesome zingers about her singing backup for Phish, when she isn’t spinning fire at the Ren Fair, that is. And you still believe that I have no compassion? Seriously, I have no idea where you tend to get these crazy assumptions.

Moving on…

I first discovered Dr. Paar via her current employer [Paradise Family Medicine], where a friend’s healthcare was being tended to by one of the co-owners of the practice. At that time however, the well-regarded physician they had recommended to me was booked solidly for the next two months, much to my chagrin.

Having been tossed under the bus by my previous doctor in regards to my pain protocol, I was placed in a rather untenable position- either I waited for the doctor my friend raved about, all the while in extreme pain, or go with the desk staffs’ suggestion of visiting Dr. Paar, which, while not the ideal choice, was still a wise decision nonetheless, or so I erroneously believed at the time.

That’s the unexpected side-effect of extreme pain- it really doesn’t leave you much time to slow down and smell the poseurs, if you know what I mean. It does, however, dull your intellectual abilities to the point where one’s metaphorical machete is blunted into a play-set butter-knife.

When I first employed the services of Mrs. Paar* [*I’ll reserve the title “Doctor” for those who actually deserve the accolade from this point on] it seemed like it was going to be smooth sailing, no rocks ahead.

She turned me on to a med-lab that I could easily afford [] re-established the pain protocols that my two previous doctors either ignored or discounted, and seemed genuinely interested in helping me get my health back on track. 

Whoopie. Whoo-hoo. Yay team. Raise the roof. However?

I’ve constantly reiterated that my sense of optimism hasn’t been pulling it’s weight recently, and that as of late, my gut instincts seem to be on an eternal four day weekend, despite my sending out a tersely worded email that they were needed back in the office several weeks ago.

But I’d guess this is what happens after you outsource those jobs to a Lithuanian day-care center, if truth be told. Sigh... and my profit margin was looking to be huge this quarter,

My first two visits were routine and relatively uneventful, despite a strong push to visit specialists that she had been informed were out of financial reach, due to my lack of health insurance. On a related note for any future doctors, your response to such information should NOT be the blithely stated: “well, it has to happen”, unless you’re also about to give your patient a winning lotto ticket in lieu of a bill. Just saying.

The average time between visits was about three months or so, during which period I was struggling to maintain a strict testing and dosing protocol, due to my now former employer’s inconsistent interference in allowing me to do so.

Not an excuse mind you, just some vital back-story for what is to follow. By my third visit however, things had taken a solemn turn towards the grave- both metaphorically and literally, as evidenced by Mrs. Paar’s opening gambit of attempting to recues herself as my doctor.

Woof- honestly, I did not see that one coming.

She goes on to opine that she feels her care is ineffective, confessing a deep-set fear that she may “wind up killing” me. Nevertheless, the best (or worst) was yet to come, as she explained why that was, stating that my last blood numbers were really “bad” and indicated the strong possibility of ongoing liver disease as well as my kidneys ultimately shutting down.

Double woof, times woofinitity.

Nonetheless, this news, despite its serious tonality, still presented as a no surprise/surprise kind of package deal. My liver has always been wonky- one of my former gastroenterologists used to refer to me as “The Martian”, referencing an actual alien from Mars, not the Matt Damon character needing rescue.

On a related note, I think this country has spent more than enough of its money trying to “save” Matt Damon.
Next time, I suggest we let Ben Affleck do the rescuing- after all, he needs him way more than we do.

Getting back on track, the kidney diagnosis was a shock, but overall, I wasn’t too worried- that’s what tests are for, to catch stuff before it gets worse…idyllically. We also discussed my then-current job, and how it’s stresses were slowly grinding me down, which led to the unspoken, yet obvious, need for me to do something drastic in regards to how I was managing the earning of my living.

However, the foremost thing I needed to do at that time, was to get Mrs. Paar off her allegorical ledge and back inside the building where happy teddy-bears and piping hot cocoa awaited. This I managed to do… or so I thought- damn useless gut instinct.

I’m telling you, if I manage to live through this, it better start sending out resumes, and that right quick, because its ass is fired when I get back to the office. Regardless, and despite her willingness to throw in the towel when things seemingly got rough, that unsettling encounter did kick-off a minor series of positive events, I am happy to admit.

First on the to-do list was launching the much-needed dental work, [noted in the last blog] followed by the aforementioned tightening of my Diabetic protocol belt, and lastly, the elephant leech in the room: my job. As much as I wanted to leave, it’s hard to do so when you’ve invested eight and ½ years of your life into something, even it’s for the best- which this most arguably was.

That’s the thing about taking a risk- it’s just so darn risky. Nevertheless, I did find a better job within my industry (art framing) leading to a significant increase in my take-home pay, zero superfluous drama, and unlike my last place of work- access to some really awesomely sexy tech.

Milla Jovovich-level sexy tech is what I’m talking about here, via the form of an Italian manufactured computerized mat cutter. I’d unwrap a Ding Dong at the sheer thought of it, but I’m cutting back, you know. Given all these constructive changes in such a short time period, it was with an upbeat frame of mind as I entered my appointment, lab paperwork firmly in hand.

In retrospect, I should have walked in clutching a NERF bat and my lawyer’s arm, for the rationale of possession was towards a singular purpose- that is, to metaphorically and literally dope-smack Mrs. Paar upside her unprofessionally smug head.

Keep this in mind as we go down the rabbit hole- I wasn’t expecting my numbers to be vastly different- after all, it had only been a short period since my last blood test, and changes within the diabetic landscape do take some time to manifest. Months, in some cases. What I was hoping to see was a slight uptick as confirmation that all the hard work of the last three months was paying off.

[See: “Sense of Optimism”. See: “Lithuanian Day-Care Center outsourcing”. See: “Idiot”.]

The treatment I received in regards to Mrs. Paar’s implied bedside manner makes being the guest of honor at a wedding hosted by Lord Walder Frey* seem almost warm and fuzzy by contrast. Sure, that may have ended on a bad note too, but at least there was cake. Heck, I’d listen to Ken Ham talking about Jesus riding a Brontosaur for hours if there was just the possibility of cake, so what happened, exactly? *[]

Let me start by reminding you of that age-old threat of exasperated mothers everywhere: “If you don’t behave, I’ll sell you to the Gypsies”. As with most things from our collective past, an evolution of sorts is required for it to work in today’s society, and all it would need is this simple tweak: “If you don’t behave, I’ll make Gypsy your primary care physician.”

If there is true justice in this world, many years from now, Stephen King will use that as the basis of a book, Tim Burton for a movie, and TLC for its newest reality show. Disney of course, would set it to music, and put it on ice. I can just imagine the toys. They’d be epic. The doctor character could be both heartless and spineless, akin to a glittery Stretch Armstrong, but with much better hair.

[Hands sculpted from butter sold separately. Back to the narrative!]

So there I was, sitting in a tiny beige room, waiting to impart, and hopefully hear, some cheery news. I did mention my outsourced sense of optimism, right? Good. Because I’m about to show why it’s imperative to buy American-made whenever you can.

As Mrs. Paar walks in, I attempt to tell her of all the beneficial changes I’ve made, this right after I inform her of the need to refill my essential Lyrica and Oxycontin prescriptions, but am abruptly cut off via a condescendingly frozen smile backed by an almost mirthful giggle:

“I’m giving you notice that I’m recusing myself as your doctor. Looking at your numbers, [this said while she scans the lab report] which are all bad, I can see that your liver and kidney disease is advancing- all I can think of is that this guy is dying right before my eyes, and I will NOT have that on my conscience. Here are your labs [as she folds them up and hands them to me] your next doctor will need them.”

Stunned, I stammer that I can’t afford specialists, and query as to what the hell I should do, and she responds casually: “I don’t know… medical insurance really isn’t my forte- but don’t worry, I’ll give you a thirty-day supply of your meds, and today’s visit will be discounted.”

She then walks out… and never comes back.
Nor does anyone else, for almost fifteen minutes.

To articulate that I completely fell apart would be analogous to declaring that the Twin Towers suffered some minor structural damage after a small airplane-related mishap. I lost total cohesion and became utterly unglued to the point of hysteria. I called Ashley, awash in sheer terror, and while I don’t recall much (if any) of that particular conversation, I do know it lasted until Mrs. Paar’s nurse strode in and handed me an envelope.

Inside was a form letter outlining Mrs. Paar’s recusal as my primary care doctor, my two essential prescriptions, and that was it- no physician referral, no protocol, and no opinion as to what my next move should be. Questioning her noticeably apathetic nurse led to no further clarification, and was bookmarked by an indifferent shoulder shrug, and a mumbled “I don’t know what to tell you”, while staring at the floor.

No context. No counsel. No concern. No f**ks given.

But if I were forced to play devils advocate and look at the overall situation optimistically, I still did have that discount to look forward to, so cry huzzah, and let slip the twerking Unicorns of Joy. And to this day, some people still wonder why I have so many trust issues where medical “professionals” are concerned?

It’s not just the story of my parents swearing that they were going to the mall to buy me a puppy made out of ice cream 42 years ago, some of it is based on actual experience. And they’ll be back just like they promised. Soon. Any day now. It’s a really big mall, they probably got lost.

Especially when you remember it was torn down 25 years ago.  
Moving on…

So, still emotionally overwrought, I’m shepherded towards the receptionist desk so that I can compensate Mrs. Paar for that exhausting six minutes she just worked, and that’s where I balk- I tell the receptionist that there will be no way in Hell that I will be paying for what I just went through, and sensing my distress, she becomes the only one in that entire office to show any professionalism that day.

Actually, come to think of it- the only one since that day as well, but guess which one gets the biggest check for doing the least amount of work, using the slightest amount of Humanity they can skate by with? If you said the backup singer for Phish, you’d be dead wrong, because I already said I wasn’t going to use that joke.

Seriously. Grow up.

However, if you instead said: “Dr. Paar”, you’d be half right, because actual doctors are supposed to help people, not metaphorically sacrifice them to Asclepius’s inbred uncle Incompetentcius just because the sky got dark outside.

She then spends the next 20 minutes or so talking me back to center, and goes so far as to contact the office manager in regards to my situation- end result: I didn’t pay a dime, and I managed to get home without wrapping my car around a family of four. Granted, that was after I spent 45 minutes sitting/chilling/coping in the parking lot, but her kind intervention was appreciated, nonetheless.

Whoa- just looked at my Twilight Limited Edition wristwatch and noticed that the glittery Vampire is half past the wickedly buff Lycanthrope, and we all know what that means- and it isn’t that I need a new timepiece... go Team Jacob.

No, what it means is that it’s late, I’m tired, and now is as good a time as any to take a short break.

And when we come back….

The sub-Paar basement adds a floor with extra pain, a metaphorical Renfield mires an office in the social media marsh, my medical file is shorted a few Post-it notes, and I defend my opinion that if correct diagnoses were quarters, a certain doctor allegedly couldn’t gather enough to do a load of laundry.

“Never ascribe to malice that which can be explained adequately by incompetence.”
- Anonymous