Monday, January 26, 2015

All Outta Nothin'

Today was my trip to the company recommended Doctor's Office, and I've never been so pissed off and felt so disrespected before. To start off with, the Company seemed shocked when I told them I was going and was needing the address, despite me telling them on Friday I would be going. So after an hour and a half of our Safety representative scrambling on the phone to get the address, we were off. We drove by the place 4 times looking for it due to it not being a hospital, but a very small, teeny tiny little corner lot building that specializes in urine testing for drugs. This didn't really sit well with me at all. After all, I was going in for x-rays, not a piss test.

So we go in, and there's a line of about 25 people crammed into a waiting room that's maybe big enough to hold 7 people, tops. Everyone is there to pee in a cup, except for me. I get in line, stand for 30 minutes, then get some forms to fill out which took maybe 5 minutes to do. Then we sat and waited. And waited. And waited. Now before we'd left work, I'd not used a bathroom in expectation of having to pee in a cup myself due to me being there for a work related injury. When the time between standing in line and waiting for a doctor or nurse to pop out and call my name added up to an hour, I couldn't wait anymore. So I went up to the receptionist and asked: "I know I'm probably going to have to give a urine sample, but I really need to use the bathroom. Where is it?". She then asked who I was again and what I was there for, then after being told said: "Ah, no need for a sample. Here you go.". She then handed me a key on a very long, fairly round stick like a gas station attendant would give you when the bathroom is on the outside of the building. "Don't give it to anyone else when you're done, I need it right back." she said. I looked around the waiting room and didn't see a bathroom sign on or above any door. "Ok, where is it?" I asked.

She then pointed to a very small, very narrow door on a wall that looked like a broom closet door. "Right there." she said. Fucks sake, what kind of medical facility does that? Why do they need a key on a heavy bulky lanyard type object? Why not just make it a wheel rim and fully embrace the silliness of it? So I went. And thankfully it was clean. Another 20 minutes and a nurse called my name. We got up, went into an office, and the first thing I saw was the exact same type of computer I had back in '98. Nurse checks blood pressure, gets height and weight, says "Doctor will be in shortly", then leaves. At this point I'm just in shock. This is a very low-tech, seemingly behind the times technologically medical facility, and this is the place my company sends all of their hurt/injured employees to get checked out.

Then the doctor comes in. Now let me preface this with a disclaimer: I have no objections to people from foreign lands coming over to North America to work. At all. I've worked with several and have not had any reason to dislike any of them. But with that being said, I do believe that if you're in a line of work where communication is crucial and key, you need to be able to speak the native language or find one you've in common with whoever it is you're trying to speak with. This Doctor did not understand a word I said, and vice versa. I've no idea what country is his homeland, I'd never heard the accent.

The only way I could get him to understand why I was there was through a combination of acting it all out, and speaking very slowly. After a few minutes of this game of charades and him poking and prodding my shoulder he said: "You want an x-ray?". Yes, I do as a matter of fact. So I was handed off to a nurse where I was taken to a room where they did x-rays. In it was a machine that looked like it was from the set of "St. Elsewhere", no lead bib or apron of any kind, and no wall for the nurse to stand behind. She positioned me in front of the machine, where a crosshair of light showed me what area the x-ray was going to be of. It was off by about 5 inches. I told her that. Her response? "Oh, it'll show up, hun. It's a wide picture." "But it's not even close to the area I need looked at," I said, pointing out where I needed it and saying: "Right here."

"Sweetie, it'll get it. Trust me." Then she backed up against the far wall, and the machine did it's thing. Then I was repositioned at an angle, with my arm outstretched so the joint could be X-Rayed. It was in the right area this time, and I told her so. "That first one will show up. Promise.". She took another, again just backing up against the far wall and not actually getting behind a wall of any kind, and it was done. So after a minute of waiting, the pictures were ready to look at. We get taken in to the "Doctor"s office, where he then puts the x-rays on the lighted board. Then he proceeded to talk to me about what was up there with the door wide open and people walking by in the hallway. I was the one that closed it. And wouldn't you know it? The first x-ray the nurse took didn't even show the area I was there to have looked at. It showed half of my rib cage and 1/4 of my shoulder. What. The. FUCK? Then he went on to talk about how he didn't see anything of any concern in it, and everything looked alright. Well, no shit. I told him: "That's not the right area." He then pointed at a 100% black area of the picture and said: "That area is here. I can see it. It's fine.".

Now I know that when you do a certain task for a long period of time you begin to see and notice things about it the untrained eye will not. But I have yet met anyone who can look at a pitch black picture and see right away what it is underneath. Then he put the 2nd one up, and it was a perfect x-ray of the affected area. And, to my complete surprise, there was nothing out of the ordinary on it. Nothing I saw, anyways. I'm not an x-ray or bone expert, but I was nose close to it and I didn't see anything. He again said: "There's nothing there.". So I nodded, accepting it and feeling a lot more comfortable after seeing a much better x-ray, and asked: "So what was the popping, and why did it hurt so bad?". And I was ok at this point. I was relieved and comfortable. And then he answered with: "The popping was probably your muscle.". Wait, WHAT?!

So I called him on it. "How the fuck does a muscle make a popping sound?!". He gave me a line about "If it's swelled up it'll put pressure on the bones". Ok, so the bones popped because of the swelled muscle? "No, it was the muscle." he said again. "Then I want an MRI." I said. He shook his head very slowly and said: "Your company gets very upset with me if I send people for an MRI, especially if it turns out there's nothing there that's problematic. MRI's are very expensive." and it all made sense with those two sentences. I knew exactly why they sent me, and send many others, there. He is, for lack of a better description, on the take. He works for them. And he does what they want him to when it comes to their employees. And I was ready to leave immediately. I can't begin to explain just how shocked I was, and still am, over it.

So what was his recommendation? "Give it a couple of weeks, and if it bothers you still, come back and we go for MRI.". And our Safety representative, who is new with the company, seemed just as shocked as I was. "No light duty or lost time?" I asked. "Light duty if you want, no lost time. I leave the duty load scale to you. I don't know what you do, so I can't advise on that. But no lost time. Ice pack, aspirin, and rest at night. Take it easy. In two weeks, we go from there.". 

It fucking blows my mind just thinking back on it. It just blows my fucking mind. So I went back to work, where I took it easy, and spent the rest of the day trying to decide what to do. And I honestly haven't come up with anything. A second opinion, for sure. Absolutely on that. But as far as my employer and I's working relationship? I don't know. To send people hurt to a place like that, with a "Doctor" like that is just... wrong. No bones about it, I feel disgusted working for them now. And I'm very heavily considering breaching my contract with them and somehow coming up with a few thousand dollars to pa them to get the fuck away from them.

It's sickening. If I'd have had any idea that that's how they treat their hurt employees, I'd have never signed on in the first place. It's no wonder why people who've been with them longer than I have work through injuries and just deal with them. Because at the end of the day, no matter what you say to them or if you seek treatment, you're either going to end up doing it anyways, or you're going to look for a new job.

I've no idea what to do. The paycheck is decent, but it's not going to keep me on to wreck my body beyond repair, and it's not going to make me compromise my beliefs in what's really important in life and what life's priorities should be.

But at this time I have no other job lined up, and I'm not about to leave without having one secured. I've done that, and it was not worth it. Jobs, for someone as "uneducated" as myself, are not easy to come by, and I have bills to pay. Food for thought, for sure.

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