One middle aged girl's journey from fat to gastric bypass and beyond!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Stupid Tests

I just got home from my sleep study and I am pissed off. Just because I stop breathing a little during the night might actually postpone my surgery. I cannot believe that I got this close. My sleep tech said I had a "couple" of incidents during the night and the sleep doctor may either chose to just let it go or ask me to come back to try a night with a cpap (continuous positive airway pressure) to see if it helps. And since I know Dr. R - I am going to have to do this again!

Let me just tell you that all the testing prior to surgery sucks. The doctors automatically assume that because you are obese you have some undiscovered catastrophic illness that they alone will discover. Dr. R has you do some rigorous testing. I would love to tell you that it is his concern for my well being that he does this but I have to admit, I think it has to do with his numbers. I chose Dr. R. and his hospital 30 minutes away because of his low complication rate and the fact that he has never had a death. I thought he was just that good. He probably is that good but what makes his numbers outstanding is that he screens out a significant portion of his patients by having pretty strict standards. Think of it as thinning the herd. If you screen out all but the most healthy of individuals, you have less complications. Would you like to know what tests he requires?! Here is a list:

1. Surgeon Consult #1
2. Surgeon Consult #2
3. Nutrition Consult #1
4. Nutrition Consult #2
5. Pulmonary Consult
6. Pulmonary Function Test
7. Sleep Study (if pulmonologist deems it necessary - mine did not but Dr. R. said I needed one)
8. Psychiatric Consult
9. Cardiologist Consult
10. Stress Test
11. Pelvic Ultrasound
12. Abdominal Ultrasound
13. Upper GI
14. Mammogram
15. PAP Test
16. Colonoscopy
17. Chest Xray
In addition you need to attend 2 support group meetings and my insurance company (thank you, Cigna) requires 6 months of a doctor supervised diet and exercise program for which I need to see my Primary Care Physician monthly.

Scheduling these appointments are a nightmare. It seems as if the only time they have appointments are Monday through Friday 9 -3 with a lunch between 11 and 2. For a working individual, this presents a problem. Some of the receptionists I was able to schmooze. "I work in a school with students with Autism, I do not get much time off." It is not a lie but I still felt a little tawdry using my students as an excuse. Some did not care at all and I had to use precious sick days to go to the appointment. I started to try to make appointments in my hometown to make it easier to make the appointments but soon realized that was futile. Each hospital has their own network of physicians and it is way easier to deal with the physicians affiliated with the hospital you have your surgery at. It felt a little like nepotism to me but what do I know?!

Up next, I will detail those appointments and tests so if you ever decide to go this route, you know what you are up against. It will give me a much needed outlet about how medical science views obese people.

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