Ok, I have to share something that happened at the ACHA conference last month. I enlisted my mom to come to the conference on Friday and Saturday and hit up the panels I couldn't make because I was either
(a) in another panel at the same time
(b) napping by the pool
So, on Friday we're texting back and forth as hop between our respective panels.
I text: "Where are you now?"
She texts: "I ran into your old doctor."
I text: "Dr. UCLA?"
She says: "No. From Loma Linda."
Now, I get excited because I'm thinking OMG! It's Dr. Sehra! He left the clinic to pursue research at the same time I left LL to go to UCLA. We really loved one another and got along swimmingly. He was the first cardiologist I felt safe with since I parted ways with Dr. Muhammad Saleem from Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia a decade or slightly less earlier. It had kind of been a shit storm until him, and since we lost touch I got excited thinking he might be at the conference.
So I text, "DR. SEHRA? <3 <3 <3"
She quickly responds, "No."
OK, well, I had Dr. L-, a pediatrics cardiologist. She was pretty cool, no real complaints.
"No. The one from San Diego."
Now, she is aggravating me because Dr. Sehra DID move to San Diego to conduct his research. Just as I am about to angrily text back, she beats me to it with a follow-up text.
* = Dr. Hairybutt is not his real name, obviously, but since I am about to seriously lay out the smackdown I decided it would be best to cover up his identity.
WE MEET AGAIN!
I'm fucking floored. How could this asshole still be in practice? So, Dr. H is an arrhythmia specialist (allegedly) and twice a year I had to deal with his condescending dumb ass when I was forced to go to Loma Linda by my insurance. He is a cocky know-it-all who thought he could "rap" with me because he was the father of teenagers and since I was a teenager at the time, OF COURSE I would just, like, totally relate to him, right? Right?
He was patronizing, chauvinistic, arrogant and worst of all - he did not listen to his patient, me.
I was having on and off again arrhythmia issues and my mom, observant as ever, was the first one to notice that they coincided with my cycle. She told this to Dr. Hairybutt and he totally blew her off. So when it came time for my annual Holter monitor, my mom made sure to schedule it around my cycle and lo and behold - they finally caught my arrhythmia and found a pattern. I think this incident alone earned Dr. Hairybutt a slap from my mom, but wait - there's more.
During my unstable periods of "random" arrhythmia and atrial fibrillation Dr. Hairybutt wanted me to try Procainamide to control them. Here's the thing: I used Procainamide once, when I was nine years old and my arrhythmia was out of control. You know what happened? I developed drug-induced lupus and childhood schizophrenia. It took years to undo the ravages that medicine left in its wake, only to be rivaled again just a couple years later by atenolol, which turned me into such a monster I was "excused" from school for a whole semester (another story for another time, though). Dr. Hairybutt KNEW this, he fucking knew my medical history and still insisted that I give procainamide a go.
I actually ran away from the exam room in frustration and tears, but I let that butthead talk me into it because of course he's a grown up with a degree who Knows Better. Right?
Within hours my body, wise as ever, reacted with a loud and gross, "OH HELL NO, NOT THIS SHIT AGAIN!" and I was vomiting for at least twenty-four hours. I missed even more school than I already had been, trying to recuperate and recover from the violent reaction my body had to trying to poison it again with procainamide.
Now, if that doesn't earn Dr. Hairybutt a swift kick to the nuts, I don't know what will. In lieu of a swift kick, though, I insisted he was to never sit in on my appointments and dole out his bullshit for the rest of my forced stay at Loma Linda, which I would endure until my 21st birthday. So for the next four-ish years we avoided him. Should our appointment coincide with his monthly venture to LL, we would walk past him like he was a specter haunting the halls of the hospital, on the lookout for another child to shake his chains at and shout a condescending, "BOO! Gimme a high-five! For shizzle!"
Cut-to the ACHA conference over a decade later, I kind of feared for my mom's safety...OK, that's a lie. I feared for her freedom of the next 10 to 20 years because Lord Only Knows what this woman will do if this man has cornered her and is talking in Short Sentences Using Small Words to her. Luckily, when I found her she explained that she did not exactly "run into" him but walked past him in the hall. He did not recognize her and she only had the chills of Douchebags Past giving her a vague inclination that she knew this dude. Then he wound up speaking at the panel she sat in on and it all came flooding back. She wisely decided to sit out of stabbing distance.