To begin this letter I would like to note I am a perfect Kaiser candidate. I eat vegan, I do yoga, I walk daily, I don't smoke, I have no addictions, I wear my seatbelt, I wear a helmet when riding a bike and I know the differences between bacteria and viral infections. In fact up until now I have had zero negative experiences with Kaiser. This week this all changed.
On Sunday night I was getting a pretty sore throat. I was getting aches in my wrists and low back. Knowing these in the past have been symptoms of Strep I decided to go in first thing Monday morning and get a culture. On Monday morning there was pain and aches still so I took a Naproxen 500 mg to stave off any painful symptoms before they got too out of control. I was told there was an opening with a nurse at 10:00 at internal medicine. I was happy to take it and headed in. The woman on the phone was kind and courteous to me and understood my need for a quick appointment.
During my exam the nurse asked me how much pain I was in. I informed her I was only maybe a 2 on a 10 scale (2 being not too bad) because I had taken the Naproxen at 8:00. I informed her that in the past I have had Strep as an adult 2 other times and both times I was in horrible pain that lasted days. I asked her to give me a rapid test. She informed me that this office only performs 24-hour tests because we are adults. I asked if this was for cost cutting and she said it is just all they offer adults at this clinic. She informed me that I should have my results by 10:00 Tuesday. I informed her that I was a teacher and that I am sure I have been exposed to a lot of illness and was worried about missing a lot of days with my students. I also let her know that I was an informed patient who understood the difference between viruses and bacteria and that I NEVER use antibiotics unless I am very sure they are what I need. I understand the concern of handing antibiotics out to everyone and creating super bugs that are difficult to treat. I had no fever, little pus in my throat and my ears were fine.
By noon on that Monday I was beginning to become deeply ill. I was crying and achy all over. I had a strong fever. My husband who was out of town sent me a text and I let him know how very ill I had become. He said he was going to call Kaiser and let them know I need drugs ASAP. He did call. About 1:00 or 2:00 a nurse called me to see what I needed. I wanted a prescription for antibiotics put in immediately. I was weeping and horribly distraught on the phone. I informed the nurse I had take Naproxen before and I was still in great pain. I also told him I could not take this often, as it is an every 12 hours pain medication. Instead of getting me the prescription for penicillin that I desperately needed he informed me that they would fill a prescription for Vicodin for the pain. I picked up the Vicodin prescription crying the entire time I was at the pharmacy. I ate some soft foods and then took the Vicodin. Each time I took it I threw up. I was throwing up blood by this time. I was in agony.
At this time I called my parents to look after my daughter for me. I was afraid I would give her my illness and was so ill I could not take care of her. My parents wanted to take me to the ER. I told them I would have my medication soon and would be getting better soon. That night was excruciating and long. I vomited blood when I took the pills and I was a 9 to 10 in pain.
On Tuesday I was so happy because I knew I would finally be getting my medicine in needed. When 10:00 rolled around I looked online for results. There was nothing. I checked every half hour. Finally I asked my parents to go to Kaiser personally and find out my results and get me my medicine even though we had not received any communication at all from Kaiser. At 11:32 I sent this email to the doctor:
ALAN LIDSKY, MD
Jennifer E Shindoll
02/07/2012 11:32 AM
I was told I would have results of my Strep test by 10... I am beyond miserable with body aches, a huge temp and my throat is awful. The vicodin barely touches the pain. I am DESPERATE to begin my medication... Please Please get me the results and the send in the script ASAP! Thanks"¨"¨Jen Shindoll
I heard nothing back. Finally my parents called me saying Kaiser said I should come back in (they were at the ER at this time). At hearing this news I fell apart and began weeping. I could not imagine getting out of bed. I was too sick. I begged them to go see Dr. Lidsky on 5th floor internal medicine and get him to help. They did. Finally after hours and hours at Kaiser my family got the results (they posted online at 1:13PM) and they were allowed to get me medication. I took my first dose at 2:00 on Tuesday. Dr. Lidsky called me on Tuesday late and asked me how I was doing. He informed me that they do not use rapid Strep tests but they could have written a prescription at that time. The first nurse did not see a lot of pus and she did not think I was in need of immediate medicine. I agree that AT THAT TIME she was correct but soon after I was calling for help and got no where and really was getting into serious trouble with my illness. Dr. Lidsky said after my medication it would take 48 to 72 hours to feel better.
By Wednesday morning I was better but not better enough to go to work. In total I missed 4 days of work. This is a huge concern because the population of students I teach are severely underserved in our communities. I am a really great teacher and I adore my kids. They were stuck for 4 days without quality education. One sub was so bad he was asked to leave the school after yelling at my students! This is where my heartbreak is! I needed to be in school for my kids and your lack of care and competence kept me from a very important job. I'm really angry and frustrated that ANYONE would be treated so badly by the health system. If I had been given the antibiotics after my first tearful phone call I would have missed half that time and would have felt the system listens to their patients.
I have now purchased Rapid Strep Tests myself online because I know that Kaiser is not going to move quickly even when clearly requested to by a patient. This in my opinion was negligence and bad medicine. I was suffering and no one at Kaiser seemed to care. This is the reputation Kaiser has had in the past and with such weak care for patients the rumors of bad care will continue to fly. I am disappointed and really peeved.
I don't understand why I was given pain medication and not given antibiotics when I so obviously needed them. I was literally begging for them and was told I could only get pain medication. This makes no sound medical sense!
I am hopeful that this correspondence helps someone else in the future. I can never get back the 4 days missed of work and my students cannot make up the 4 days of missed education.
I will be requesting a new physician from Kaiser now as I think Dr. Lidsky's staff does not know what they are doing and don't have the patient's needs first in their minds. In my opinion this experience is unforgivable!
Product or Service Mentioned: Kaiser Permanente Doctor.