Sunday, October 05, 2014
So why am I just now posting on last Tuesday's doctor's visit? Well, negotiating the healthcare system isn't a straightforward as it used to be.
First I had to find a new doctor, since the old one fired me. I pulled up a list of doctors in my plan, and discovered that even though I had specified doctors treating diabetes, the first listings that came up were for psychiatrists, psychologists and behavioral therapists. This makes sense in context of what followed.
After editing out pediatricians, pulmonologists, immunologists and a host of other irrelevant specialties, I had list of possibilities, and proceeded to call them. No surprise that the listing was way out of date; doctors listed as accepting new patients either are no longer accepting new patients, have left the practice or have retired.
Eventually I found one who was fairly new to her particular practice, confirmed that she did accept my insurance plan and I was able to make an appointment. Good, so far.
So I called my insurance plan to inform them that I had a new Primary Care Manager. After going around their voice-mail program twice -- "If this is an emergency, hang up and dial 911. If this is a mental health emergency, press # now." -- I'm beginning to see why they're pushing mental health services.
Finally, I get a real live person and explain that I need to change my PCM, and give him the name of the person I'm scheduled to see. Oops! Not all doctors on their listing are acceptable as Primary Care Physicians, but the website DOESN'T TELL YOU THAT! By this time I'm almost ready for that Mental Health Emergency option. Fortunately, the young man -- God bless you, Mark -- did some further checking and found out that the head of the practice is a registered PCM. So my primary care manager is a doctor I may never actually see.
I saw the new doctor on Tuesday, and she's quiet-spoken, seems knowledgeable, listens carefully and even took notes of what I said. She wanted to run some tests and tweak one of my medications to see if we could get it working better. For the first time in twenty years, I didn't walk out of a doctor's appointment feeling like a total failure. So, on to the lab to get blood drawn.
You know it's not that easy, right? The front office people who were supposed to fax over the request for blood work, hadn't. So the lab tech called and they said they'd fax it over right away. We waited another half hour, then the tech called again, and the office was closed. An hour wasted sitting there, and since they also wanted a urine sample, that was an hour sitting there with a full bladder.
Wednesday I called to remind the front office girls that they still needed to fax the lab request in, but I wouldn't be able to get in to have the blood drawn until Friday since I live fifty miles away. "So, what do you wanna do?" she asked. Oh, lady, don't ask; you really don't want to know what homicidal thoughts are rolling through my mind at this point.
Wednesday is grocery shopping day, so i stopped off to pick up my prescriptions as well, and got home to discover that the doctor hadn't made the dosage change we'd talked about.
So Friday morning in addition to having the blood drawn, I stopped off at the doctor's office to remind them of the change. "Doctor probably won't be able to call it in until late this afternoon." Sure enough, I was nearly home, seven miles past the pharmacy we use, when she called to tell me the prescription was ready. Made another trip, twenty-five miles, on Saturday to get my adjusted meds.
That Mental Health Emergency option is looking mighty good about now.
Saturday, August 16, 2014
The visit started off with the usual, "So, how's your diet?" and deteriorated from there. Mind you, the last three visits have been for stomach problems last August, heart irregularities in January, and a severely bruised and swollen knee last April from a bad fall. None of these have been followed up on -- just "How's your diet?"
This man, who calls himself an osteopath and a hands on healer literally never touched me during the whole visit; didn't listen to my heart, take my pulse, or even shake my hand on entering the room, wasn't even facing me during much of our conversation.
He "doesn't remember" making the remark about me eating an entire chocolate cake, didn't deny that he might have said it, but didn't apologize for it. Instead he asked me it I was so insulted by it, why I had continued to come back.
He asked me if I was AT LEAST willing to take an A1C test, and I told him no, because in four and a half years, he had never given me copies of my lab results, even though I had asked. He denied this as well, saying he would never refuse to give someone a copy of their results.
Bottom line is he "fired" me as a patient, and told me he would send me a letter stating he was no longer my physician. So I'm now shopping for a new primary health care doctor in my insurance plan, preferably someone I can actually talk to.
Saturday, August 09, 2014
I called yesterday to make a doctor's appointment. When the girl asked the reason for the appointment, I told her it was my annual visit so that the doctor could yell at me for 20 minutes then renew the prescriptions that aren't working for me anymore. Unfortunately, it's true.
My doctor absolutely loathes diabetics, sees it as a self-inflicted disease like drug addiction, and believes that lecturing will make me "see the light" and stop being diabetic, or at least get it under tight control. The first visit to him, he told me not to expect to eat a whole chocolate cake and then come to him to adjust my insulin. Obviously, diabetics are gluttons, in his eyes, and would cheerfully eat a whole cake just to spite him. BTW, I'm not on insulin, and never have been.
He had also asked for a 3 week food log, which I gave him, and the only thing he took note of was that the previous day I'd had a hot dog from the local convenience store while I was doing laundry at the laundromat. "I suppose it came on a bun." Well, yeah, they usually do. otherwise the mustard drips down your hand and makes a mess.
OTOH, when I asked him how many calories a day I should be aiming for, he gave me a song-and-dance about how it "depends on the individual." Likewise, when he told me no heavy lifting, I got the same routine, and had to literally scream at him to give me a freaking number. He finally decided no more than 20 pounds.
No matter what I go to see him about, he invariably turns the conversation to diabetes, as if there were nothing more to me than a defective pancreas, or as if my diabetes were somehow the root cause of a bleeding scalp wound or twisted ankle. He has never followed up on the tests he ordered except for the blood glucose and A1C, and made no reference to the results of the colonoscopy he ordered, in fact, hadn't even read the test results when they came in. .
I dread my appointments with him, and usually walk out feeling lower than whale turds. I asked about changing doctors, but was basically told that all doctors hate diabetics. So it's going to be a rough week.
Saturday, May 03, 2014
Saw the cardiologist on Wednesday, and she put me on a blood pressure medicine which lowered my blood pressure way too much -- 106/57 -- leaving me feeling unfocused and woozy. Called on Friday and didn't get a call back. Meanwhile, my blood sugars are going over-the-top crazy; no answers there either.
Slept until 7 a.m. and Hubby had a fit, because he fed the goats alone -- his choice -- because, he says, I "chose" to sleep late and ignore my responsibilities to the poor goats, who depend on us, and if that's the way I feel about them, what does he need me for? So I'm basically lazy and worthless because I need extra sleep right now.
Unfortunately, this cut to the heart. I'm not pretty, or smart, well-educated or wealthy. All I have going for me is being useful, and apparently if I can't get up at 6:30, nothing else I can do counts toward anything.
Right now I don't even want to speak to him, except out of necessity I cry every time I think about it.
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Saw the doctor yesterday. He said my heart is skipping roughly one out of every three beats -- not good. He has to get permission from my insurance company for me to have an EKG and Holter monitor, since he doesn't do anything like that in-house so it may take several weeks to get approval from the insurance company, plus who-knows-how-long to get an appointment with the cardiologist. Welcome to "managed care." Then depending on what they find, possibly echocardiogram and stress test. Beyond that, who knows?
Meanwhile, he says "No heavy lifting" but doesn't define "heavy." Fifty pounds? Twenty? So I guess cutting down trees is out for now.
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