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medical attitudes toward older patients (a rant)


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I am spitting mad and sick and tired of being minimalized by medical people who are so quick to write off complaints of pain and lack of mobility as 'part of getting older' and 'arthritis' and the like.

This is the 2nd time I have had injuries which required surgical intervention to repair, but ended up with a painful delay in getting it because the medical folks all kept telling me it was arthritis.


Hey, I KNOW arthritis....I have been living with it for years. I also know that after an injury that a change in the pain sensations indicate it is NOT arthritis.


Last time I ended up walking around on a hip in increasing pain and crippling, because 'it's arthritis' (no, cortizone injections - they don't work), then because 'its arthritis and you are too young to have a hip replacement' and then because 'you have to lose 50 lbs before we can replace the hip, its arthritis'. It wasn't. It was a crushed blood vessel and the resultant death of the hip bone NOT ARTHRITIS.


Now it is a shoulder injury. I went to the clinic in Feb for it (the 2nd day after the injury) and was told 'its arthritis' and although I knew doggone well it was a different kind of pain, nobody would believe me. Then I went to an orthopedic doc (after I researched it myself and diagnosed a torn rotator cuff) and was told by the physician's assistant 'its arthritis' but we will do an ultrasound 'just in case'. I was given exercises (all of which hurt so I stopped doing them) and told I would probably need cortizone shots (NO-NO-NO-NO! Its NOT arthritis!) Sure enough, the ultrasound showed a completely torn muscle inside my rotator cuff. Part of me wanted soooo bad to say "I told you it wasn't arthritis" but I zipped my lip. (Im not dumb enough to aggravate the folks who I will have repairing the damage!)


Just because the face & body need ironing, and I walk bent over (due to the long term neglect of the hip injury - GRRRR) I am not stupid, senile, jonesing for pain pills, or seeking sympathy or a free ride. I just want to get things fixed so I can get on with my life, which does NOT include stopping my active lifestyle because the bozos who control my medical treatments are too lazy or indifferent to see what is REALLY wrong. Apparently though, to the medical folks, once you get social security you turn into a simpleton. (It sure seems that way, from the insulting and prying questions that they are required to ask you every time you go see them.)


Remember, you will be old one day too....hopefully you will be treated more respectfully and intelligently (but not too likely).


OK, end of rant - I feel better now. Also I am more comitted than ever to keep going to the gym and whip this ole bod into such good shape that they won't be able to tell from looking at me that I'm so old. Maybe then I can get taken more seriously by these docs that are young enough to be my kids...or grandkids! I plan on outliving them all anyway (my dad is still alive and pushing 90) so I can laugh when their children force them into nursing homes. Revenge!

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I took dogs to the vet yesterday. I have probably had more dogs in my lifetime than the age of the young student, but it annoyed me, even though she was just trying so hard to be really thorugh, to have her explain each med., reason for it , and condition of each pet multiple times over. I may not be a veterinarian, or young, but I am not a lump of coal either!

Two of the dogs were close to her age, and my children are old enough to be her parents, the elder must know something.......the $721.62 charge for the visit added to my frustration, that and the fact, that I'll have to go through it again with another student next year

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Sorry they are treating you like that.


MIL had been telling the doctors she had a heart condition. All her tests came back "normal". Finally, after she continued to press the issue, they put a heart monitor on her for a couple of weeks. Turns out she has been having SVT's, just like DH.


I told her "Oh! that's where DH got it". She laughed and said, "No, he gave it to me." Not!


I could write countless stories about how the doctors treated my mother. Wrong medicines, over medicating and such. SIL, who is a geriatric RN, got her into a decent doctor who took all my mom's meds (15 different pills) and pitched them, leaving her on two. Go figure.


Hope you get the care you need, soon and correctly, kappydell.



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My 80+-yr-old Aunt called me on the phone to have me look up some medication her doctor gave her. He handed it to her, told her, "Take it - it's a free sample!" and rushed her out of his room.


Turns out that it's DANGEROUS for her because she's diabetic. It causes strokes and possibly heart attacks. She followed up our discussion by taking it to her pharmacist, who told her NO WAY should she EVER take it!


Her doctor also gave her some questionnaire about the possibility of nursing home placement. Boy, did THAT make her mad! :o


I sure wouldn't go to a doctor who would do that. But then, I never like doctors who just throw meds at you for every single little thing. :tapfoot:

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Oh and it's not just age.. it's anything that is maybe a bit different from the norm. Do you know how many women go untreated because they might have more kids than average.. because when they complain to the doc about feeling tired all the time or stressed or such, they get the pat on the head and "well who wouldn't be tired with so many kids".

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I have had the similar problems with the VA docs especially at the clinic and finally after talking to the VA social worker and even the docs now available have found they fall short and so do the civie docs here in town on so many things and the way the hospital treats person and their billing methods...... I am definitely in a catch 22 here. I feel for ya, I really do, it's just rampant. We are too young or too old for it, etc., or they don't even believe you when you specify things that YOU DO KNOW exist within you. I fought for the longest time to see the few actual clinics I am supposed to at least see yearly. As for my diabetes I am very lucky its a mild Type 2 level and not gone skewed much worse all on its own by now. But ya just wanna smack 'em when all you are asking is to see a certain specialist or have tests that ARE covered, etc, to get it properly looked at and then if procedures or surgery or something else a clinic doc can't touch, can be done it gets scheduled and done. I am fed up. They won't lift a finger to tap in a simple request. For you that's pretty vital actually. I dearly hope it can be taken care of. I am very fortunate none of my conditions are worse, I would be in so much more trouble and some of it could end up life threatening very very quickly. Way to quick to get anything done and the local ER really is dastardly at times. Depends on which PA is there. I am finding ways to manage without much help at all but blessed so far that I can. I do need certain meds and decent diet and sleep and not any more stress.

Edited by sassenach
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well....i went back for my follow up appointment with the physician's assistant, and she admitted I tore my rotator cuff very badly in two places, and only surgery will fix it. she actually admitted that the ONLY reason I am not being sent for cortisone shots & pt instead, is that I am 'very active' but if I were a sedentary (implied lazy) person I would be treated with the 'less effective' treatments. I could just feel my blood pressure going up. How many other victims have been under-treated because they had nobody to stand up for them? then I asked about a few pain meds so I can sleep (because my arm slides around and the pain wakes me up). she said the anti-inflammatory that i already take for arthritis should be sufficient, and maybe I should try sleeping in my recliner.


She acts like I am asking for pain meds because I'm a medication-abusing intelligence-impaired layabout who must be managed, and not treated. I'm calling the doc's nurse (the REAL one, not somebody who acts like she was hired as an afterthought) and complain loudly and pointedly, that I EARNED my disability with 40 years of physically demanding jobs, and that I want pain meds for a traumatic injury, not for getting high. Sheesh, I don't take my arthritis anti-inflammatory pill unless I really need it, in an effort to avoid over medicating this ol' bod. May God look out for those who are too weak, too sick, or too ignorant to stand up for themselves. I'm also pointing out to my doc when I go for my physical, that I expect to be taken seriously, not treated like a whining nusiance when I seek good medical care. If this is the 'new' medical care, I'm going back to the gym and get as healthy and strong as possible so I can steer clear of the increasingly crappy medical system.

Edited by kappydell
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This IS the new medical care. It's been encroaching for years. Just as in education, the bulk of it is directed to the below average patient/client/student. The rest of us won't fit well into the mold. And no.....you cannot have education or medical care outside of the mold. You must fit yourself into the mold. :baseballbat:


You see....it's so efficient to treat everyone the SAME. And it's FAIR! That way EVERYONE IS EQUAL!








SERIOUSLY FOLKS....Kappy has hit on one of the few ways any of us can fight back. GET AS HEALTHY AS YOU POSSIBLY CAN AND MAINTAIN IT WITH A FERVOR!


DH and I are prioritizing riding for me. And he's adjusting me more often...cuz it's been too easy to push things to the back when other things seem to be important. Health is REALLLLLLLY important. Drop weight. Drop bad habits. Gain strength and flexibility by working HARDER THAN YOU THOUGHT YOU COULD. Be wise and very gradual but do it now and keep doing it!


Whether some big Hooey hits the fan or not, the medical care has already fallen. Doctors are fleeing in droves....the good ones that can't stand to play the new system. We can only hope a lot of good ones will have the patience and stamina to stay.



Exercise and stretching. Good meals. Adequate sleep. Calm spirit.



MtRider :sheep::cook::offtobed::pray:

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I'm one of the 'old' people on here and I'm sure glad for my Dr. she is so sweet and kind and looks out for everyone. She is always concerned, she was willing to send me to get x-rays when I went to her about my neck and she listens to everything I have to say. Of course I had seen my Chiropractor first and he wanted me to get this done as well as maybe a CT. I did get both of them. I had to see my regular Dr. in order to get the x-rays and CT done.


This Dr. is the one that was really shocked when she found out that I was still on Metformin and also having problems with my kidneys. She took me off right away and started me on another medication that is doing fine. I do have to take a small amount of Lantus at night, this was the dietitians idea though.

Looks like you all need to come live around here so you can have my Dr. :) I do hope you can all find someone who is as nice as my Dr. :) Go for private practice Dr.s, I think they are looking out for us.



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Mt.Rider you did not say how many years........30 years ago I took my husband to the VA hospital which had been

treating him for his malady. he was filling with fluid and I had to get a wheelchair for him as he could not walk.

They refused to admit him to the hospital.....why? Because his condition was treatable at home. It was a slap in

the face, my husband was dying! So i took him back home waited two days and called his VA doctor who

admitted him immediately. I will go into no further details for it was not that hospital he died in.

There were people in the VA hospital that said they believed a russian Roulette was going on there.


Somewhere/ sometime doctors quit looking at patients and looked at money instead.....

there are those like Snow-mom mentioned and their patients are most richly blessed.

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That's sad, Twilight. Still going on...probably worse now. :( Not the way to treat the vets.


I think the real turning point for civilian health care was the advent of the HMO's. I was in MN several decades ago when some of the first were introduced there. I didn't like it right from the start. Too good to be true. And I had to step outside that care to go to the neurologist of my choice.....who unfortunately didn't diagnose the MS at that point....tho probably not his fault. MS was very cagey until they invented MRI's for diagnosis much later.


At that point, the docs would not be prosecuted for taking cash outside health insurance....or outside Medicare. I ran into the Medicare trap in the early 1990's. Yeah, jail the docs if they take cash from a Medicare person. :gaah:



We're truly messed up and the docs don't even know what to do. Most are just overwhelmed. Many are being hardened by a callous system....trained to be that way "so they remain objective". ...... :puzzledsmile: Get a clue. We are all human..not robotic. They can have human compassion and yet remain professional. But the young folks going into that pressure canner called "med school" are so molded by the time they come out, they wouldn't recognize themselves.


Really.....why ELSE would interns and residents be subjected to intense sleep deprivation techniques???????? Teach them that they are a god....disallow decent sleep for years....pour them into intense, live/death scenarios for which they are responsible.... Yeah, that's gonna produce a humane, balanced individual. :animal0017:



MtRider .....but I would like to know who is training the Staff from H*LL that so often work in medical offices. Yikers! :behindsofa:

Edited by Mt_Rider
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yeah, just about any official staff these days, MtRider. It is treacherous. I am thankful for the friends here and my friend down the street that I can talk to about stuff like this too. It helps you hang in there when its tough to get stuff done properly. I am grateful I have not had more serious complications with my own disorders. Still one doesnt know when its unseen stuff inside, lurking and that is why annual tests and consults with the right specialists are important for me to maintain. If it did get bad real fast , II would probably die before i had any care at all the way it is now. It has become quite inhuman.

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  • 2 weeks later...

well had my arthroscopic surgery done and was told my rotator cuff tear was terrible - so much so that the surgeon was worried about being able to fix it. apparently i tore up my bicep muscles, too, and the doc took pics of what he saw -before and after repairs. there is a good chance my mobility in the left arm will be limited. all my 'case manager' said was 'it was so smart of you to act as your own advocate, sometimes you have to get pretty vehement (!) in demanding care because 'they just dont catch it' if you dont. Grrr. And they are so liberal with the pain meds....do they WANT people to get hooked? At least I trust this surgeon (he has done good work on me). So now I sit and heal up....one-armed fishing is the pits.

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Glad it's FINALLY handled, Kappy! Can't believe the trouble you had! Praying that you'll heal up beyond expectations with good resting and ....will you get P.T. or some kind of rehab? Insist on it cuz you aren't gonna be the sit-in-rocking-chair type!!!


MtRider :pray:

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