Last Friday night was my “Installation Ceremony” as Master of Olympia Masonic Lodge #1, F&AM.
I had a great time despite having to take care of some emergent health issues that had to be dealt with on the same day, which was scheduled for preparation, refreshment purchases, cooking, decorating etc. Since I had booked the day off to get ready, and I had a large abscess growing just at the base of my skull, I got lucky that the surgeon could only fit me in that day with an appointment early in the morning.
My (about to be former) family doctor, who I’ve stuck with for 15 years, despite what I might (as a consumer) consider to be service and attitude problems with respect to my health care. Basically, he seemed more concerned about how soon he could retire, than with focusing on what is best for my health. After years of patronizing his practice, I had been able to get him to communicate with me more than was his nature.
But in the categories of communication, prevention education, follow up, and just general “bedside manner”, he had been lacking. After taking a day off from work due to illness, I had to take another to get into see the doctor on December 11th. This was inconvenient in the manner that if I don’t go to work, I have to use my vacation time (no sick time), or forgo pay for that day.
After arriving I told the nurse I had a large rapidly-growing lump near the base of my skull, and I was worried that it was an infection from a clogged sweat gland, as I am familiar with the boils and carbuncles that can be formed when this happens, having a mild case of Hidradenitus Suppurative.
This lump had grown exponentially in size over a period of a few days, just as a bad cold/flu relapse surfaced from the illness I had at the end of October, presumably because my immune system was knocked on it’s ass due to the infection. The doctor, (after talking to me about my cold, and doing his quarterly oversight of the other medications I am prescribed (and having to argue that since they work, he should not stop administering them to try some unproven brain chemistry fiddling with new, unproven drugs), he poked at the lump for about 75 seconds, declared it to be a Lipoma and referred me to a surgeon to have it removed, which he said it would be a simple outpatient procedure performed at the surgeon’s office.
So, after a week of painful movement, and respiratory distress due to my viral illness, I went to visit the surgeon early on the day of my installation (and mayan “predicted” end of the world) where he validated my original suspicions, and made it clear my physician had mis-diagnosed it (not a lipoma) as I had been grousing about all week. The most obvious issue being the one of severe pain, which is not an indicated symptom with Lipomas.
I was told to get into the radiologists office that day, to get an ultra-sound, and follow up with the surgeon either the same day if he had time, or at the earliest time he could squeeze me in. The ultrasound showed how badly the fluid was collecting, and the Surgeon called in a prescription for a Sulfa-based anti-biotic which he suggested I should start taking immediately. I was then scheduled for an outpatient surgery on Christmas Eve, at 7:30AM, being the only time available.
The installation party went off quite well (more pictures below), with the gracious help of my good
friends and Brothers, and a good time was had by all. This was (is) supposed to be a post about my Installation, but I’ll not leave you, (the reader) hanging by not finishing the abscess story. I
went in on Monday morning, and they Surgeon hacked a chunk of skin out of my neck the size of a Tootsie-Pop (TM) and drained a surprisingly large amount of puss and infected fluid that was previously trapped underneath the inflamed skin. He packed it with gauze and showed Brielle how to do the same, as she has been taking care of changing the dressing and repacking with gauze twice a day until I get a follow up on the morning of New Year’s Eve. Thank goodness she is available to help me, as I can’t even reach (or see, thankfully) the gigantic hole that was left behind from the surgery, and needs to be left open for at least a week. So, I’m not firing my doctor because he made the wrong diagnosis due to lack of attention or listening, because he had a reason to think it might be a Lipoma, but I’m not going to continue seeing him due to the fact that he didn’t take into consideration the possibility that he might be wrong, thereby not starting me on antibiotics immediately, which would have kept me from the suffering it caused by continuing to grow and get worse for the week+ I had to wait to see the surgeon.