A missed opportunity, plus a medical minute

Walking the maze of the medical establishment.
Walking the maze of the medical establishment.

A couple of days ago I was sitting in the consulting room of a neurologist. The neurologist wasn’t actually present at that very moment. I was waiting for her to get done looking at my MRIs in another part of the building. I looked at the reading material left sitting out on the counter for patients. They were cute little board books shaped like brains and heads, featuring things like pictures of MRI machines, CT scanners and drawings of an unhappy-looking woman clutching her migrainous head in despairing need of the pharmaceutical promoted within the thick, laminated and quaintly-shaped pages.

Yes — board books! Now, I love board books, and my medical inanity-inspiration-seeking muse was positively getting giddy. Yet, in this context … there’s just something about being a patient that is so rather infantilizing. Would there be coloring books featuring brain lesions as well?

Spiraling out of control.
Spiraling out of control.

Speaking of such (brain lesions, not coloring books), I was here seeking the opinion of yet another neurologist because my last MRI was, apparently, interesting. They’re now not sure exactly what condition I actually have. Bless the neurologist’s refreshing honesty. She said, not in these exact words, that she’d be consulting with Dr. Google to see if she could come up with any ideas.

Is there a point to any of this?
Is there a point to any of this?

At any rate, I seriously need to get back into the mindset of a blogger. In spite of the little camera that had been sitting in my bag, I hadn’t thought to photograph an arrangement of the board books until after I’d already left the medical complex. Such a wasted opportunity!

In related news, I recently made a little drum-leaf book for We Love Your Books‘ latest exhibition, Point. It is about how pointless it all seems chasing after medical specialists’ opinions. Since I have no images of quaint pharmaceutical-medical board books to show you, I’ll give you some images of my Point book instead.

The Point of This


13 thoughts on “A missed opportunity, plus a medical minute”

  1. It really does make you wonder, when specialists are referring to Google…and how many dollars an hour does this person make??
    I love that book.
    Hope you’re okay.

    • Thanks Connie. I admit, more than anything I’m just grateful she’s not telling me I have a fantastically imaginative interpretation of my bodily sensations, as one of her colleagues told me a decade ago. Apparently, it’s looking more and more like whatever I have is going to turn out to be a medical zebra, rather than a horse, if you get my drift. In her defense, I strongly suspect it’s not something she’s spent a lot of time dealing with in her practice. But it does get discouraging, indeed.

  2. How frustrating! I hope someone, Google, or whoever, figures it out and that is is something benign and easily cured :) I am glad, whatever is up, that your brain is finding the humor and book art inspiration in the situation – go Ellen!

    • Thanks Amy. Good to hear from you! This has actually been a long process, and finding humor in it was actually what brought me to book arts in the first place, years ago, if you can believe it. Finding the ridiculous in all of this keeps my sanity. And there’s lots that’s ridiculous in modern medicine!

  3. I am not certain whether to weep for and with you or swear. So I am going to be efficient and do both. Rather loudly.
    And, because it is expensive to run a medical practice (spelling deliberate) they cannot provide colouring books for fear that the greedy patients would want something to colour in with.

    • Thanks EC. Your gnashing of teeth and swearing mean so very much to me.

      And, yes, I imagine it would indeed cut into profits if they felt obliged to provide crayons as well. Heavens!

  4. Oh, ugh. So sorry to hear this. I hope someone figures it out ASAP so you can just KNOW. Hope you’re managing the waiting part with minimal stress/worry. Might I recommend an ill-fitting, wire-equipped bra as a dandy distraction?

    Hang in there; we’re all rooting for you!
    Ms. C-P

    • Heh heh heh. Maybe not for me, but I can think of a few doctors from my past who might deserve a broken underwire or two…

      Thanks Ms. Cranky. Actually, the wait has been going on for well over a decade. I’d thought I’d finally found a name for it 2-1/2 years ago but, alas, was not to be. I hope this won’t be the case, but I’m almost resigned to the fact that I may never know. I don’t expect an answer any time soon, and the neuro pretty much told me not to expect an answer anytime soon. But, as you say, I would like to “just KNOW.”

  5. Oh, I don’t know whether that sounds good or not. Apparently you have not lost your sense of irony and humor. Doctors feeling that google might know more than they do sounds very scary. But from experience we have with little girl, brain scans and possible physical brain damage are much less scary than a degenerative disease without hope of curing. So I hope they will have a new lead soon and will maybe – finally – be able to help to make you actually better!

    Have you nicked the brain board book? Maybe you should have. Especially neurosurgeons treated us like children a lot, giving us very simplified explanations and sketches to the extent that they were clouding the subject more than enlighten us. But there are always those and others, So I wish you best of luck to find an able doctor who is able to communicate with you on the right level!

    The book looks very interesting! I think I saw it before. Maybe on ipernity?

    • Hi Hilke! Sorry for the delay in responding. I’ve been pretty much offline for a week.

      I laughed at the thought of stealing the board book…how naughty of you. :-)

      But my heart aches at the thought of what you have been going through with your little girl. What a nightmare! Patronizing doctors who treat you like an imbecile when you have to deal with something as serious as that… It’s really, really awful.

      I have a good one for you. This past week, I got in the mail, without warning or explanation, an order for a blood test from the neurologist. The only information meant for me was a post-it note telling me to take it to the lab at the hospital. Upon examination of the info that is meant for the lab that is to draw the blood, I discover that the blood test is a very serious genetic test that requires informed consent to look for something really ghastly. Nobody has discussed it with me. Unbelievable. Or, I hate to say, actually quite believable. I have no idea if she actually thinks I have this thing, or if she’s just grasping at straws and ruling out some unlikely possibilities. Judging from the description, I tend to think it’s the latter. But how cruel.

      And, yes, this is the book I recently posted to Ipernity. :-)

  6. I just sent you an email… But as for taking the book: I am just guessing but probably you leave enough money there so that they can afford another copy. – And after all you have a collection to curate and maintain ;-)

    • Absolutely! I just got the insurance statement and a summary of what my “co-pay” was for that office appointment. The neurologist got roughly $300 for my appointment. And I’ve been sitting at the computer typing in phrases from my MRI in hopes of finding leads on what my actual diagnosis might be.

      As for the books, I’m certain that the neurology practice didn’t pay anything for them. In this country, pharmaceutical and medical equipment sellers can leave gifts at doctors’ offices. I’m sure these were giveaways.

Leave a Comment

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail.