Friday, July 5, 2013

Catting Around

I've been a bit scarce lately because life has been stressful to the point of overwhelming. Along with my ulcer, my Summer work schedule starting, and moving to a new apartment (which has neighbors that party loudly until about 5am on work nights. So great.) one of our cats has been deathly (not exaggerating) ill. She was our big fatty fat pants, but as soon as we moved she promptly stopped eating and dropped a third of her body weight within a few weeks. After many MANY trips to several different vets (and a whole damn lot of money. But whatever, we totally didn't want to buy a car anyway, right?) she finally came home with a feeding tube (temporary, thank god) and a diagnoses:
I will now give you a moment to let that sink in.

Done? Okay.
So, the good news is that it's totally treatable and when she starts a course of medication (to treat the inflammation in her digestive system) she should start feeling better pretty quickly. And this explains a lot. For example, she has always been slightly bulimic and has a pretty obvious lack of flexibility that we have often wondered about (cat rheumatoid arthritis?).
Now. Can we talk about how it took five thousand dollars and a team of five dedicated veterinary specialists two weeks to diagnose my cat's rheumatism... but after 8 or 9 years and countless visits to my human doctors Kaiser still refuses to even perform the tests necessary to properly diagnose my own rheumatism?
You would think that being a human being who can talk and describe symptoms and provide family history would make it easier, not harder.
You'd think.

(on a totally tangential ballet note: we were discussing grande pas de chat in class on Tuesday and someone translated it as "really big cat". So. Uhmm... there you go.)


  1. vets seem to want to get the diagnosis, and move on, where people doctors seem to want to drag it out forever, because if you have a diagnosis, then they dont get to keep charging you for all those copays, and lab work, and this and that... i still havent gotten officially diagnosed with thyroid issues, and its been years.

    hope your kitty gets better, and your neighbors stop partying so late.

    1. I think one of the big points in favor of vets is that they DON'T work for insurance companies. There isn't such a thick layer of bureaucracy above them and incompetent vets rarely get to keep their jobs simply because they have been around for a long time.

    2. Unlike human doctors, veterinarians rarely get sued because of a missed diagnosis (or even a correct one that the patient doesn't like).

      My experience is that it's the insurance companies who refuse to pay for tests the doctors want to perform, not the other way around. I've even had an insurance company try to deny coverage for a routine test as "not medically necessary" when I went out of plan to have it performed after having agreed it was "medically necessary" when they thought their in-plan specialist was going to do it. It took a letter from my lawyer pointing out that "medical necessity" is not based on who performs the test before they coughed up the money.

    3. I actually really like my general practitioner and I can tell he gets frustrated by the system, too. Kaiser makes you jump through SO many hoops before they will do anything to diagnose you. It's easier and more cost effective for them to just give you a bottomless Vicodin prescription. If I could have my GP Dr without having Kaiser insurance I would be happier (and better off health-wise, as well).
      I have had doctors push me through the system when they knew I needed something that the HMO wouldn't be happy about, but that is service above and beyond what you can realistically expect of the doctor, really, so if you simply have a really crummy doctor (like my rheumatologist) who doesn't care enough to really fight for you then you are screwed.