The End of the Day


There have been all kinds of people in my room today—doctors, Patient & Guest Relations, Security, nurses, nursing assistants, social workers, and God knows what else.

Around 5:00 p.m. Palliative Care Nurse Provider Peter Sinatra came in, sat down, and said “How are you feeling?” He is the only person in Crouse Hospital who has asked me that today.

There was another psychiatric consult—Dr. Biaggo? I believe that Crouse would like nothing more than to get me committed and out of here. Biaggo asked if I remembered him. Yeah, sure. Sometime ago, Wonderful NICU Nurse Joyce Appel was giving me a Reiki treatment. She had posted a notice on the door asking people not to interrupt. Biaggo walked in. Hey, he’s a shit doctor so why should he respect a patient or a nurse?

Biaggo tried to persuade me that I would like to go to a psychiatric hospital. Yeah, really. In the end, he stood towering over me in bed, intimidating and putting me on the defensive, and repeatedly accused me of not trying to get out of Crouse. It wasn’t until he left the room that I could think.

A year and a half ago, the county did the state’s PRI (Patient Review Instrument) which established that I belonged in a nursing home. We tried to find one, my trustee, ex-aide and I. There is no one in all the world who will help you do this. No social workers or anyone to help you get placed in a nursing home. That’s why I ended up in the hospital.

83 days ago, when I was re-admitted to Crouse, we kept going, trying to find a placement. Eighteen months, and we can’t find anything, in large part because of the psychiatric lies that Crouse is putting out about me all over the state. My latest thing is Clifton Springs. I’m trying to get into the nursing home there. I have done everything I can for as long as I can. And when I called Biaggo back so I could tell him, he wouldn’t come. Let’s blame the patient, rah-rah-rah.

What happened was—I was really, really, really sick this morning. Some combination of drug withdrawal and CFIDS.

I have CFIDS, chronic fatigue immune deficiency syndrome. They do not have a single doctor on staff who knows anything about it. That’s okay; I understand that it’s complicated and they only want to deal with what’s easy, but here’s the thing: Upstate Medical Center—which you can get to from Crouse without even going outside—has three doctors, one of whom treats chronic fatigue, one does neuro-immulogy and one is an immunologist. And in a month, Crouse has not gotten me together with any of those doctors. Can you believe that? Help may be a block away, but Crouse can’t go that far.

Here’s another thing they haven’t done: gotten me a neurological work-up. I have a NEURO-immune disease, and these people can’t get me a neurologist? In the past year I have had about six complete neurologic shutdowns. I can hear, and that’s it. I can’t speak, open my eyes, or move at all. It lasts about three hours. One medical source says the neurons shut down in self-preservation. Who could imagine?

Four of those episodes have been at Crouse, two last week. Dr. Erik won’t order a neurological work-up. Can you believe that?

Here’s another one for you to believe. Classic case of opiate drug withdrawal, with underlying major medical problems. No doctor would see me. I had about thirty episodes of diarrhea in about three days. IT TOOK 9½ HOURS TO GET A DOSE OF IMMODIUM—IN A HOSPITAL.

Various Crouse staffers have taken to commenting on their hospital’s performance. The comment on 9½ hours to get an anti-diarrheal capsule was “That’s bullshit.” You can absolutely positively be certain sure that I’ll never give up the identities of Crouse staffers who align themselves with the patient and against the hospital, but the number is growing every day. And they are not hospital executives. They are the lower level workers who see suffering and can’t believe their hospital hasn’t done a single thing to stop it.

In that regard, we want to have a special mention for Dr. Scott Treatman. He’s the head of Crouse’s employee health program, and he does acupuncture. My hospitalist called Dr. Ghaly and asked him what to do. Dr. Ghaly said absolutely no drugs, but acupuncture four times a week.

And how many times has Dr. Treatman given me acupuncture in 83 days? Twice.

Crouse has 2700 employees and 400 inpatients. Of those 2700 employees, Dr. Treatman is the only one who can help me. And he won’t. And, by the way, all of the 2700 employees can get acupuncture. Treat the staff before the patients. Damn right.

Crouse’s medical failure is not so shocking. It’s how just plain mean they are.

As long as I’m dumping the garbage, here’s another one for you. The reason I have been kept in an isolation room is because I wrote something in a blog that Crouse Hospital didn’t like. They never talked to me about it. It was a big secret.

When I began to figure out that it was a blog, I talked to Bob Allen. Bob Allen is a vice president of Crouse. Bob Allen graduated from S.U.’s Newhouse School. Bob Allen says “As I have said in the past, I am 100% fine w/ anything you write and post about our fine institution…good/bad/medium/shitty…does not matter to me. You are free to express as you wish (one of the more appealing aspects of being an American if you ask me!).”

When I told Bob that it looked like I was isolated because I exercised my right to Freedom of Speech in a blog, his lips got thin and tight, and he said, “It better not be that.” And when I was sure it was, I called Bob. Twice. He never returned the calls and hasn’t spoken to me since.

Courage isn’t necessarily whether you stand up to troops with guns flowing over the top of the hill.

Courage is whether you stand up to your boss.

Well, it’s been an unbearably stressful day. I figure I’m a sitting duck for another one of those neuro-shutdowns tonight. It’s like I go so deeply asleep that I can’t wake up. Yeah, I’m afraid I might drift into the Big Sleep.

Check back in the morning and see if I’m still here.

About annecwoodlen

I am a tenth generation American, descended from a family that has been working a farm that was deeded to us by William Penn. The country has changed around us but we have held true. I stand in my grandmother’s kitchen, look down the valley to her brother’s farm and see my great-great-great-great-great-grandmother Hannah standing on the porch. She is holding the baby, surrounded by four other children, and saying goodbye to her husband and oldest son who are going off to fight in the Revolutionary War. The war is twenty miles away and her husband will die fighting. We are not the Daughters of the American Revolution; we were its mothers. My father, Milton C. Woodlen, got his doctorate from Temple University in the 1940’s when—in his words—“a doctorate still meant something.” He became an education professor at West Chester State Teachers College, where my mother, Elizabeth Hope Copeland, had graduated. My mother raised four girls and one boy, of which I am the middle child. My parents are deceased and my siblings are estranged. My fiancé, Robert H. Dobrow, was a fighter pilot in the Marine Corps. In 1974, his plane crashed, his parachute did not open, and we buried him in a cemetery on Long Island. I could say a great deal about him, or nothing; there is no middle ground. I have loved other men; Bob was my soul mate. The single greatest determinate of who I am and what my life has been is that I inherited my father’s gene for bipolar disorder, type II. Associated with all bipolar disorders is executive dysfunction, a learning disability that interferes with the ability to sort and organize. Despite an I.Q. of 139, I failed twelve subjects and got expelled from high school and prep school. I attended Syracuse University and Onondaga Community College and got an associate’s degree after twenty-five years. I am nothing if not tenacious. Gifted with intelligence, constrained by disability, and compromised by depression, my employment was limited to entry level jobs. Being female in the 1960’s meant that I did office work—billing at the university library, calling out telegrams at Western Union, and filing papers at a law firm. During one decade, I worked at about a hundred different places as a temporary secretary. I worked for hospitals, banks, manufacturers and others, including the county government. I quit the District Attorney’s Office to manage a gas station; it was more honest work. After Bob’s death, I started taking antidepressants. Following doctor’s orders, I took them every day for twenty-six years. During that time, I attempted%2
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