The Bad Fellow


[I am falling further and further behind in posting because showering, washing dishes and doing the laundry and grocery shopping is sucking all the energy out of me. No strength left. I do some writing but can’t get anything finished. At the beginning of January, the county authorized me for 14 hours a week of home health aides. It is now the middle of April and I have not received one iota of help. If I don’t get any help by next week, then I’m initiating legal action against the county. The law says I should be getting help, but the county—as always—does not follow the law. Meanwhile, I’m going to post some of my unfinished blogs just so you’ll know what you’re missing.]

So I went to see Dr. Andras Perl at Upstate University Hospital because on one of the psychoneuroimmunoendocrinology (PNIE) web sites I had found him listed as an immunologist. At the time of my appointment I was being interviewed by a fellow—a fellow is a person who has completed medical school, internship and a residency and now wants to do research.

My subjective impression is that virtually all of the fellows at Upstate are foreign-born. I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with that except that often the fellows’ English is pretty poor. And these fellows are not hiding out in a lab talking to Bunsen burners; they are also doing clinical work and—call me fussy—but I like to have a doctor I can understand.

So in my first go-round I am in the Rheumatology Clinic to see Dr. Perl and being interviewed by a fellow. I ask him a question. He replies “Oh, I wouldn’t know about that. You’d have to see an immunologist—oh, Dr. Perl is.” So we proceed and, ultimately, Dr. Perl refers me to Upstate’s Joslin Diabetes Center, where I am seen by Dr. Tulsi Sharma.

Much later (like ten minutes ago) I go on-line to learn something about this foreign-born person whom Upstate calls “Doctor.” What I find is virtually nothing. If there is one thing a doctor does, it is build a massive curriculum vitae, which is fancy-people’s way of saying “resume.” (The functional difference is that a resume is no more than two pages and a curriculum vitae is no less than two pages.) Check out your medical specialist and you will find pages and pages of information about where he went to school (including all foreign countries), what degrees he has, where he’s worked, what research he’s done, what papers he’s written and what awards he’s won.

After diligent searching, what is available about Tulsi Sharma is that she has been working at Upstate for five years, and that on “MyChart”—what Upstate tells me—she has an M.D. On other internal Upstate pages it says that Sharma has an MBBS. What Wikipedia says is that an “MBBS is an abbreviation for Medicinae Baccalaureus, Baccalaureus Chirurgiae, or Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery in English, the degree given to doctors in countries following British tradition.” Another site says that whether or not an MBBS is the equivalent of an MD is all dependent on what courses were taught in the country that granted the MBBS degree.

Am I being seen by a physician or a technician? From Upstate’s on-line information there’s no way to tell. From “Doctor” Sharma’s behavior, I’d guess she’s not much above a secretary. According to a psychologist, in America the average physician has an I.Q. of 120. I know a couple of really smart physicians. In order to get an average, those physicians have to be balanced out by a couple of other physicians who are dumber than mayonnaise. I’ve known them, too. (See also psychiatrists Thomas Falcci and Roger Levine.) . . .

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
This entry was posted in American medical industry, disability rights, Fraud, Medicaid, Medical care, Medicare, Onondaga County, physician, Values and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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