No Help From Doctors!!!

Saturday night is not the loneliest night of the week.  All nights are lonely for me.  Especially these days and nights, when I am worse and can’t sleep.  I keep asking doctors to help me, but they are deaf. The system we belong to, MDVIP, is very costly, but we need to have easy access to doctors and hospitals. The primary care physician (pcp) is expected to help with specialists.

I had asked my pcp, Dr Pennington, for help. I had received a recommendation for a top endocrinologist from another top doctor, through good Facebook friends (they seem to care more than others who know me personally…) Dr P told me to call Dr B (the endo) first, and if I could not get an appointment until March, he’d call himself — typical copout!  So, I called for an appointment, only to be told there was nothing until July!  😦  Back to Dr. P, who said he’d call.  All this happened around last Christmas.

Last week, upon returning to work, Dr P told me “I called his office today and his scheduling staff is requesting an appt. sooner than next July. Waiting to hear back from them”.  I was quite incensed , but told him nicely “Thanks, Dr. Pennington, but I think it would have been better if you talked directly to Dr. Burman rather than to his scheduling staff.  Dr. T said we could use his name, too. Every little bit helps!” He must have been pissed by a woman daring to tell him how to do things. He has not answered.

So, here I am, getting worse and not knowing what else to do. I can’t go to a doctor on my own. I need an advocate! This reminds me of what happened on exactly 3 April 2007 (and I still have the message I sent then), when Guido was so sick:

“Dear family and friends,

Today was exceptionally strenuous. We were supposed to go to see Dr. Bayless, the gastroenterologist at Johns Hopkins, but Guido couldn’t get out of bed. This time I told him I had enough, and called 911. They came right away and took him to Suburban Hospital. I followed the ambulance in my car.  After they did several tests, they told him that, since they had found nothing wrong, he had to go back to his doctor. What???  We had just seen him yesterday!!! Just then … our guardian angel appeared — Anne Petrone, the Executive Assistant to the Dean of the School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, had found out what had happened and rushed to the hospital.  When she heard what they had told Guido, she got on the phone, called his doctor, the gastroenterologist, and after many exchanges, managed to have them agree to admitting Guido to the Johns Hopkins hospital!

I didn’t know whether to cry or laugh.  She claimed to be our only relative in this country, introducing herself as “Anne Francescato”, and told them that I was too upset to talk. Even when Dr. Galotto said that he did not want to have Guido admitted, that he first had to go and see Dr. Bayless, she somehow managed to convince him by first calling Bayless’s nurse and explaining the problem to her.  If it hadn’t been for dear “Annie” we would never have been able to get Guido to the hospital today!  You should have heard her talking to the doctors!  We then rushed back home, collected a few things, and went to Baltimore. She insisted on driving us there! We arrived at around 1:30, and Guido was finally shown to a semi private room at around 4:00, but, since we wanted a private room, we had to wait for another hour, but we got it — again, thanks to Anne’s power of persuasion!!!! We left the Clinic at around 6:30pm, but the traffic in the city was murder, and there had been an accident on Highway 95. I got home around 8:45 pm! I am now exhausted, as you can imagine. I had not had time to eat anything during the day, and neither had Anne, who, on top of everything, had to drive all the way back here, and then to her home.

I have already called Guido, and he told me that he felt better being there, under constant care, and that he didn’t know how to thank Anne. Well, I think I know why she does this: she has always told me that Guido is the only faculty member who behaves like a gentleman towards her, and that he always gives her good advice. In her Christmas card from last year (which I keep), she told Guido that he was her hero!  And she is ours now!

Tomorrow, V will drive me to Baltimore, and on Thursday another colleague of Guido’s has volunteered to do it. We are very fortunate to have such good friends. Let me remind you once again that we are all alone in this country. Besides our daughters, who live far away, we do not have any other relatives. That’s why we have to rely so much on our friends (and guardian angels, such as Annie). Let’s hope that they can find what is causing Guido’s problems once and for all. Don’ t forget that The Johns Hopkins Hospital is on a par with the Mayo Clinic! To get to the latter we’d have to fly and be away from home. Baltimore is not too close, but it’s not the end of the world! I am incredibly tired, but I had to write this now! I had so many messages and e-mails when I got back that it took me a while to read (and listen to) them. Please excuse me for not answering them individually. It is impossible for me to do it now, as ” Now I lay me down to rest”… Love to all, martha”


This is what I need: an advocate.  Another Annie who can scream for us and be heard!

And now I have reached the end of another horrible day for me. And I need to stop…


About martisima

After over 50 years of teaching literature to undergraduate and graduate students, I feel I have earned my retirement (it happened when I was 72, five years ago). I do miss the classroom, however, but not the meetings and all other requirements of the profession. I love teaching, and wish I could still do it. But now I read for pleasure, and watch films, and listen to all kinds of music (no TV, though). I love to travel, and hope I can resume doing it soon. I need to get over my health issues caused by thyroid surgery three years ago!
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7 Responses to No Help From Doctors!!!

  1. Anna Amato says:

    I have been thinking about you for two days wishing I lived closer because I understand what it’s like to be all alone and I am truly heartsick for you. By the way, I know you will understand this, the house told me to get up and check my e-mail.

    • martisima says:

      My dear Anna,

      You have always been very special and supportive, and I truly appreciate it!

      So – the house told you about my e-mail… Great! And even if you don’t believe it, I was thinking of you today and was about to send you a message. Then, I saw this one!!!! We are in sync!!!

  2. Princess Solange Von Sachs says:

    Annie is a marvelously caring person. She was there for Tom and me throughout Tom’s illness. We were grateful to have her lovingly motivated, dedicated support, from start to sad finish. Love her. She’s great.

  3. Kat McLaughlin says:

    Dearest Sister,

    Don’t I know the frustration of getting medical personnel to listen! It was bad enough the doctors and my own family thought my illness was all in my head, but when they convinced me of this, then found out otherwise, what a sense of betrayal, not just from them, but from myself. I’ll never forgive or forget that part of my illness before I was finally and correctly diagnosed by a fine doctor who listened. I had to learn to demand, yes, demand they listen to me, took over my own health care from my primary physician, told him he WILL refer me to a specialist, then got diagnosed with Fibromyalgia after the specialist located the sufficient amount of trigger points. Now,I was young enough then to be my own advocate, but with both of you having health issues, you do need an advocate to help you. I could be that person if I was well, but it’s hard enough to get myself motivated just to make it to my doctor appointments. But I still can support you in other ways by loving you and understanding your frustrations. Boy, do I know! If I read or hear something or about someone, I’ll definitely pass it along. I just don’t have the right connections to make things happen. But watch out medical community when a ‘certain thing’ happens; I’ll have enough clout and dollars to kick some rumps into gear to get you and Guido to the right people, places, diagnoses, cures, and treatment! This, I promise the both of you, dearest Sister. I pray for you every night and have you on my mind all through the day.

    The Most Gentlest of Hugs…

    Sister Kat

    • martisima says:

      As usual, you know how to comfort me. I wish you success, but not so you can help, but because you rally deserve it!

      Thanks, dear Sister Kat!

      • Kat McLaughlin says:

        One of my goals in becoming successful is to help my family members achieve theirs. And you are family, dearest one! I want a big enough home to have the entire family over for the holidays, guest rooms so everyone can spend the night. I want to help my ill family members, Teri, Guido , and you, get the best health care available, so you can be cured, treated or at least, living comfortably, so you can have the quality of life you and Guido so deserve. I had a family emergency yesterday. Your ‘niece’ Teri was in so much pain and so tired from sleep deprivation because of the pain, I got my arthritic mother to take my Fibro self to her house. My Fibro daughter is resting more comfortably and was able to get some rest. It’s the little things in life, like helping others, that makes living endurable. If I can help someone in some small measure, it takes my mind off of me. I feel better physically when I can be there for other emotionally. Off to help the kiddies at the National Child Abuse Prevention Month campaign. My own family has suffered under the hands of abusers. I can’t go back and fix that, but I can try to help others from suffering as I and they did.

        Love you bunches!

        Sister Kat

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