February 7, 2010

It's Enough To Make You Sick!

There's a good reason why there's been such a large gap in my postings this last couple of weeks, and I've got the Doctor's note to prove it!

Simultaneously, I developed a couple of unrelated medical conditions that required immediate attention. I was in my doctor's office a total of four times across two weeks, saw a specialist once, was in various labs for testing five times, and spent a morning in the ER. I also have a total of seven medications that were prescribed to me as I got to experience "the best medical care in the world" that the Republicans fight mightily to defend against reality and reform.

They should have to endure my travails. Then we'll see if they still believe that Americans have "the best medical care in the world".

As the first condition erupted, and I had to get in to see my doctor without waiting the six weeks it now takes to get an appointment, I ended up seeing the Nurse Practitioner. She prescribed some medication (which did nothing but make money for Amneal Pharmaceuticals) and sent me on my way.

That night, the second condition erupted, and I was back to see the N.P. again. This time, Amneal again benefited, only they had to share the wealth with the Watson and Glenmark companies. But wait! That's Not ALL! I was sent out for an MRI which was to be processed immediately, and the results provided to my doctor by the end of that day.

That didn't happen. The MRI lab was backed up because the scanner was acting up and not taking good images. Then, the radiologist who was supposed to read the images and write the report didn't do so for several days, leaving me hanging without any real relief from the pain I was experiencing. For this my insurance paid him a princely sum, I'm sure.

The next day, I had pain so bad that I had to go to the ER. They wanted to access the MRI files and could not (which is how I found out that they weren't processed yet). Their MRI "ran slow" and was always backed up with immediate needs being plugged in between the scheduled scannings, so they opted for a CT scan. They drew blood for lab tests to check my blood sugar and maybe a few other things, but they didn't tell my everything. I guess that one of these things was to see if there was any good reason I couldn't tolerate the contrast dye necessary for the CT scan. Unfortunately for me, they couldn't do that until my doctor said that the contrast dye wouldn't cause me to go into diabetic shock. So I had to wait, holding my cranium in an improvised vise made from my hands to quell the pain. I was also to go have an X-ray taken to back up the CT.

Finally, everything they wanted to do had been done, and they handed me a prescription for yet another pain killer (which made Squib some money this time), and sent me on my way. I was under orders to see my doctor as soon as possible, which was two days hence due to the weekend.

Back to see himself this time. He goes over all the reports from the scans and the lab work and what not, and hands me yet another prescription for yet another pain killer -which made Watson a little richer- and a referral to a specialist for my first condition.

The specialist checks me out, and hands me yet another prescription to replace an earlier one, which brought Eli Lilly onto the gravy train. He also orders more lab work (not yet completed, so it doesn't get included in my out-of-pocket tally below) and a follow-up visit.

I had a follow-up scheduled with my primary doctor to see how I was tolerating all the drug changes, and he told me that one of my sudden conditions was being caused by arthritis, and that there isn't much they can do for me (meaning that my insurance company isn't likely to be willing to pay for it).

At this point, out of my own pocket, I've spent over $400 in copays and deductibles, an amount that roughly matches my payroll deduction for the coverage in the first place. My insurance company had to have paid about ten times that amount, and I am no closer to having either condition successfully treated.

So much for "the best medical care in the world" !

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