Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Everything posted by jmj11

  1. I never thought of myself as a PA with a disability, but suddenly I am. With my cancer and renal failure, requiring dialysis, it is a challenge to schedule my clinic time beyond 2 - 1/2 days a week. I must leave for 100 days (plus) for a stem cell transplant, starting next week. My job and clinic is being threatened (although I have a fill-in). I will not be surprised if I am out of a job when I return. Others have encouraged me to raise the question of the American with Disabilities Act and get a lawyer. I can't imagine going through that process or just remaining on long term disability until I retire. But I love seeing patients and never thought my career would end in this way.
  2. We had a wart clinic in the Air Force that we rotated though (not general derm were you could face or miss a melanoma, but clearly just treating warts). Then we had this pathetic doctor who always wanted to get out of work and put himself in the wart clinic each week. But it was almost mindless work. I'm sure you could freeze too deeply or something, but unlikely.
  3. Ann Arbor, nice town. That's where I started my career a long time ago. Worked and lived there for 5 years. I thought it was expensive place to live (average home price is $378.000), but now I live in a place where the average home price is $440,000.
  4. I can't stand insurance companies (although they are paying through their nose for my care right now, over 200K). However, I will never lie on a prior auth. form just to get the treatment for the patient. I will fudge a little, but not lie on questions. I know some providers that do all the time (saying patient as failed x,y,z when they have never tried them). It seems unethical. It also seems unethical to have an insurance doctor reject the patient, simply out of ignorance.
  5. I never thought, in my wildest imagination, thought I would need to be on LT disability, however, presto, here I am. It happened suddenly and without warning. Mine was an employer program. It requires a 90 day wait period ad pays me at 60% of my previous (prior to disability) wages. It does allow me to work, however, I must subtract every dollar earned through my job (any job) from what they pay me.
  6. f they start with him, they will have hundreds in line for the same sentancing.
  7. I'm sorry about your experience (your disease). Your unease about going to the ED must be common. I woke up in the middle of the night in early December and I told my wife that I felt like I had a grave illness. She asked me, "Do you want to go to the ER?" (she is a nurse) I said no because I was afraid that I would sound like an idiot by saying, "I'm here because my nails have change, I have some twitching and I woke up feeling like I had some grave disease." I have a feeling they would have ordered some labs and my disease would have been dx prior to taking out my kidneys.
  8. I was uncomfortable with my colleague injecting my shoulder because there was nor EMR record for it. I prefer to have an actual visit with a chart record.
  9. Thanks for the kind words of support under "Recovery Room." I do stop by here now and then, although I haven't had the energy to contribute much. I had been meaning to "write up" my own case to raise and to raise some questions. I did that today during my 4-hour dialysis session. I wanted to write up my medical story in a way that would be educational to my PA friends. I think to do so, I would approach it from two angles. The first, as any case report and the second, as a first-person summary of how we medical providers may approach our own health care. I do realize that hindsight is clearly 20/20 and would have things differently now, and some would have done it differently the firs time around. I will give you story in a chronological form where maybe all the dots don’t connect, or perhaps they do in unknown ways. Past Medical History: I am a 63-year-old PA with no prior significant medical history and have never been on daily medications for any reason. I did have a left, left supraspinatus tendon tear (not repairable) in the spring of 2017 when a tree fell on me and a right partial tear on Christmas day 2017 when I fell on ice, climbing a local mountain. Both shoulders continued to give me grief and I was in PT for the past year. I will also mention that I was diagnosed with MGUS (monoclonal gammopathy of uncertain significance) when it was accidentally picked up on a blood test at age 48. I was followed by hematology at Mayo Clinic for 4 years. The feeling at the time was you could choose to check on MGUS annually or just let it go unless it becomes symptomatic (converts to Multiple Myeloma). When a friend of mine developed MM last year, she encouraged me to “get it check” and I did in July 2018. I had a bone scan, protein electrophoresis, and full metabolic panel. All were normal and the Myeloma spike was lower than when the MGUS was dx at age 48. HPI: The following eclectic collection of symptoms seems to be related to the final diagnosis, although the relationship is not always clear. The first thing I noticed about my health was changes in my finger nails in early November. My nails began to splinter and developed somewhat of a spoon-nail pattern (Koilonychia). It was new, different, and subtle. It concerned me but I justified that sign with the fact I was building a stone wall and had my hands in (alkaline) cement several days a week.I do think this is related. By Thanksgiving, I noticed two new, subtle signs/symptoms, which were fasciculations and post-paranal fullness. I’ve always had the tendency toward fasciculations, having twitching every month or so for a few days, for years. It seemed to be related to stress and caffeine intake. The twitching at the end of November was more persistent and was in several locations at once. The post-paranal fullness was manifest by eating breakfast for then not being hungry at lunch because I still felt full. But it was subtle as well. I had no weight loss. The second week in December, I suddenly developed a new right C6 radiculopathy. It came on while doing exercises for my right partial rotator cuff tear and without any clear injury. The combination of the right partial rotator cuff tear and the new radiculopathy was enough to keep me awake for much of the night. I justified the fasciculations as the lack of sleep and very busy work schedule. I will mention that I work in a pain clinic and did see my colleague, who did a successful block of my right sub-AC tunnel, which helped with the right shoulder pain. I considered seeing one of my old colleagues, a neurologist, for the fasciulations, but he was out five months. I did make an appointment with my primary care, and he was three weeks out. In the meantime, I continued working full time during a very busy holiday schedule and I had no new symptoms. I saw my primary care the first week of January. Because he had just worked me up for Multiple Myeloma last summer, and now I had unprovoked right C6 radiculopathy, he decided to start with a cervical X ray rather than an MRI. The cervical X ray was normal but in the peripheral of the exam, the radiologist noticed a questionable mass in the epiglottis area of the trachea and recommended a follow up neck soft-tissue CT. (The CT was normal). The CT was scheduled on my first day off, January 11th. Because of my age, a renal function test was ordered. I reported to radiology after completing a 4 mile hike with my dog in the mountains. When I arrived at radiology the CT was done without contrast (and was normal) but I was directed to go to the ED. I as called by my PCP in route to the ED and he explained that I was in renal failure. When I arrived in the ED my primary lab tests showed the following: Creatinine 15.5 mg/dl BUN 125 mg/dl Potassium 7.0 mEq/L I was treated urgently with (I believe as I don’t have the records): kayexalate, calcium, insulin, B-agonists, bicarb, fluids and furosemide. Since our hospital does not have nephrology services, a referral was made to Peace Health ICU (regional hospital). My potassium was 6.2 mEq/L upon discharge and transfer via ambulance. My potassium had risen again to 6.5mEq/L and I was treated for hyperkalemia at Peace Health. HOSPITAL COURSE: The first 3-4 days the nephrologist focused on balancing acidosis and lowering potassium (saving my life), while a diagnosis was pending. The original differential was; 1) autoimmune mediated vasculitis or other cause of renal failure, 2) idiosyncratic reaction to moderate use of NSAID (Naprosyn 400 MG per day for the neck pain and radiculopathy), and least likely, Multiple Myeloma-related renal failure, Myeloma Kidney. It was considered last because my calcium was below normal. A renal biopsy revealed the present of light chain lambda IgG protein cast deposits in the distal tubules, suggesting the diagnosis of Multiple Myeloma, which was confirmed with a bone marrow bx (30% involvement). A follow up bone scan revealed no boney lesions and until this day no connection has been made to my new radiculopathy. My protein electroparesis showed a IgG Lambda light chain elevation of 2400 (normal is <24). I continue chemo-therapy and dialysis at the presence 6 week-follow up mark. According to the present course, I am scheduled to start the work-up for a autologous stem cell transplant in April or May. I have returned to work part time. I still have significant fasciculations, post pranal fullness, severe fatigue, and neck pain. These symptoms have only slightly diminished,even though BUN and Creatinine have returned to normal with dialysis. Some, besides the unusual case questions, there are some specific ones. 1) Mayo Clinic list the follow as signs and symptoms of renal failure. I had none and must have been in severe renal failure for at least a month. a. Decreased urine output, although occasionally urine output remains normal b. Fluid retention, causing swelling in your legs, ankles or feet c. Shortness of breath d. Fatigue e. Confusion f. Nausea g. Weakness h. Irregular heartbeat i. Chest pain or pressure j. Seizures or coma in severe cases (Some other, more extensive lists, mention twitching near the end.) 2) As a patient in general, how do you evaluate vague symptoms? Is the ED the proper place for access if the PCP is out weeks and the specialist out months? Would you go to the ED with changes in your nails? I think not. 3) Should medical providers have the right to order tests on themselves? It is frowned on by insurance companies (fear of over-self-ordering) and by institutions (such as mine). I would have ordered a metabolic panel if I could have. 4) Do we as medical providers sometimes downplay our symptoms? Other questions for discussion:
  10. Both my SP and I go by first names with establish patients. While we may be called "Dr." or "PA" by a new patient, as soon as they ask, "how should I address you" we both say, "Jim" or "Mike." We also, of course use our first names with each other. We also, often, list our credentials and experience verbally on the first visit, not to brag, but to let the patient know about our long history of work experience and certifications, to build professional trust.
  11. She has a primary care (or internal medicine) problem, but has no access. That is a real problem for patients where practices are not accepting any new patients with their insurance. No, UC or ER is not the place for refills. I have good insurance but found that it takes a month to get in to see my PCP for an acute problem. My wife recently had the same problem. The system is broken.
  12. Kudos to you! I hope it is a great position. By leaving your old position and taking this new one from scratch you've also created a job opening (your old one) for a new graduating PA.
  13. I was just looking up. I had missed 1 day per decade in my career, until I was hit with this cancer and now I've missed 4 weeks in a row. I didn't see sick kids or contagious patients in my practice (Headache Medicine) and that may be one reason I didn't get sick very often.
  14. I always designed my CV to each particular job I was looking at. I didn't use a generic CV that went to all potential jobs. I would list my goal as the goal for that particular job and no others.
  15. The first software I worked with, small outfit, it was terrible for PAs. I had to list myself as an MD to make it work. The software used "Physician's Assistant" with your name and always assumed you were seeing a patient as "incident to" where you had to have the MD sign the note. The silicon valley 20 year olds didn't know better. If this was 15 years ago, I think I would take some programming classes, raise a couple of million, and create a medical software company that has a software that works for the provider, and is flexible, and only cost 10 million, not 20 million to install in your facility.
  16. Is this a "solution" in search of a problem? In other words, did something happen to trigger this response? I bet not, that it is purely political. While many preliminary reads are done by the PA or MD in the acute setting, I don't know any situation, correct me if I am wrong, where the final read is not done by a board certified radiologist.
  17. I have had 9 positions in my 29 year career. I created 8 from scratch (had to convince someone why they needed a PA when they had never considered it). I got one job through an ad in the PA Journal. That job was a total disaster and I had to sue them in the end. So, my lesson, the best jobs are those that you create yourself. Ask a MD to go out to dinner. Convince them what you can do for their group. Then try to write your own ticket.
  18. I, unfortunately, have become acutely and seriously ill (typing from a ICU step down unit) so I will give you this lead while I can. I could try and answer personal questions once you have looked at the official site. Go here. Best of luck, Mike PS: I just saw that they are calling this a part-time position. That is negotiable and that is probably why they haven't had any responses from PAs.
  19. I was in the Air Force I went in at age 35. I know that every base is different, however, my work situation was a cushion job (FP and ER). I liked it a lot and had some of my best friends while serving. The pay is better in real life than on paper. The down side, for me, is that I color outside the lines. I'm not a conformists and I new that I would never make the rank I needed (I came in as a captain) to stay in as a career. For example I refused to give the base commander's wife antibiotics in the ER for her runny nose and I got into really big trouble. I would do it all over again, if I could get the right assignments. My base closed and they tried to reassign me in an unaccompany status site and I had a wife and five kids. So I got out.
  20. I am happy to help when I can. I know that things are better now, but when I graduated it was a nightmare finding a job. I almost considered once scheduling myself to see a local physician as a patient, and then use the time to beg him for a job. I didn't. But here is one thing that I can't understand. I work in a hospital where my wife is an administrator, so I know a lot about recruitment here than most. They have had several jobs for PAs or NPs and they almost never get a PA applicant. They have given up on PAs and often only advertise with NP groups. I was frustrated when my own clinic partner said he wanted a PA and I just found out yesterday that he had about 5 NP applicants and no PA applicants, so now he is going to consider one of the NPs. We live in one of the most beautiful places in the country. It is hard to imagine why no PA wants to work here. I literally put a pin in a globe of the world trying to find the perfect place to live and it was here. Anyway, I'm just venting as I was looking forward to having another PA in the office.
  21. I really think there should be class action lawsuit against insurance companies over "credentialing." They claim that it is a tool for them to guarantee that the providers taking care of their subscribers are qualified. However, it is the responsibility of each state's medical board to make sure that the provider is qualified. The insurance companies use it as delay technique that saves them millions in payments. Seriously, I'm not just blowing a gasket, but we need a lawyer who could do that. I sense damage to providers and hospitals is in the billions.
  22. If you think Portland or Seattle are great, you should check out the San Juan Islands here i Washington. I know of a few jobs locally. My clinic is looking for a PA in interventional pain management.
  23. I have worked for most of the past 35 years in headache medicine. I did not study, I did not do a review course. It is just basic common sense stuff that all PAs should know.
  • Create New...

Important Information

Welcome to the Physician Assistant Forum! This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn More