medical

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Sitting in Judgement

Published October 4, 2018 by lynn k scott

I reactivated my old Facebook account.  I knew better…but, I did it anyway.

I have a very hard time with Pinktober.  It has nothing to do with raising awareness for breast cancer.  It has to do with a large number of organizations and companies cashing in on cancer.  Losing my middle sister to breast cancer and knowing my younger sister is fighting the same strain has made me more vocal.  To some, I’m jaded.

People need to understand there is not equal medical treatment, insurance or affordability nationwide.  That being said, I DO NOT agree to universal health care.  I am merely pointing out what I know as fact in California.

I will not tolerate “breast cancer awareness cookies”.  Making cookies in the shapes of obnoxious looking boobs or making them looked squished (like a mammogram would do) is not ok in my book.

Now, I worked full-time through my chemo treatments.  I was out of work a total of two weeks and that was to have the tumor removed.  I still worked, every day; from the hospital and at home.  I could not afford to live on disability.  Reluctantly, I had to start a gofundme account to pay for chemo.  I couldn’t afford it on my own.  I deleted the account after my last chemo payment was made.  Oh wait…most people don’t know my husband was out of work for two months last winter; and was taken by ambulance and hospitalized.  Nothing like more financial strain….

As you know, I recently had to purchase another vehicle.  I chose a sports car.  I was upside down on my trade, I had horrible credit.  The fact I was financed was nothing more than a miracle.  My car looks nice, but in reality, it’s the same price as a Honda.  I figure, I’ve lost so much to such a horrible disease, have been through hell this last year, it’s time to live.  At this point, I do not know if I live to finish making the car payments.  That’s MY reality.

Yet, someone still felt the need to sit in judgement of me.  Saying my car is too nice.  Those mods I’ve done are expensive.  Well, my husband has a challenger five years older than mine.  He did a lot of the work and had spare parts.  He’s also been doing show cars for over 25 years and has a lot of industry friends.  We don’t pay full price for anything.  I also work two jobs.  That’s right.  I have had cancer for a year, been off chemo for six months and picked up my second job three months after finishing chemo.

I was basically called a scam artist for having two separate parts of my life judged as the same; chemo payments and car payments.  What gives anyone the right?!

Am I jaded about the medical industry – DAMN RIGHT I AM!  I also have good reason.  I have not been shy about what I have gone through.  I do not have great care.  I am not a good patient and have been punished for that.  I have been punished for demanding that doctors and their staff allow me to be in control of my body and treatment.

I can’t stop anyone from judging me, but I’ll be damned if I am to keep quiet on the medical world’s shortcomings or the scams of Pinktober.  Just because it’s pink or coming from a charity, does not mean their intentions are good or the true patients are receiving anywhere near what is being collected.

If you are God, you may judge me.  If not…a little empathy and allowing me to vent won’t kill you.  But by hell or high water, you are not entitled to judge me (or anyone else; for that matter)!

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Cancer Journey: Part 14

Published June 21, 2018 by lynn k scott

After yet another phone call with Sutter Health, my oncology referral to Sacramento was denied.  The reason is the doctor is limiting her practice.  They referred me back to Vallejo.  I lived in Vallejo for eight years.  It’s gotten progressively worse and we moved away from that cesspool over six years ago.

I will be getting to see a native-English speaking doctor.  However, she is only in Vallejo one day a week, because her primary office is in a better city.   Colored me surprised…

I tried to make the appointment yesterday, only to be told the new patient coordinator was already gone for the day.  What?  It was 2:15 p.m.  Must be nice.  I left a voicemail that I needed to make an appointment and asked her to return my call.

Now, I tried to schedule an appointment with this provider three months ago.  They were unable to accommodate my schedule and Valerie, the coordinator, either hates her job or believes she is above us poor cancer patients.  I had the displeasure of dealing with her again.

Conversation starts with her calling me back and asking how she could help me.  Ummm…I know I left a message regarding booking an appointment (you know…you’re job – but I didn’t say that).  So, we had to start from scratch.  She never bothered to look for my referral before calling me back.  She had the wrong address (even though I corrected it last time we spoke and it was on the referral).  She didn’t like my exasperated tone.  She kept telling me to stop yelling at her.  At that point, I wasn’t.  However, after the third time she said it, and I told her she was part of the problem, she said, “did you just hear yourself?”

It was then I asked for her supervisor.  I wasn’t going to tolerate her crap a second time around.  Even my coworker, who could hear everything, and knows I wasn’t initially yelling, said, “I can’t believe how much trouble they are causing you.”  See, it’s not just me.  Part of the biggest obstacle of seeing a provider is their staff.  I finally raised my voice at Valerie, didn’t want to make a liar out of her, requested her supervisor and muttered a few not-so-nice words.  Ooops…she heard me…oh well…

Spoke to the supervisor and she starts to tell me that the doctor doesn’t go to the city I live in.  Umm…DUH!  I never said I wanted to see her there.  I knew she was in Vallejo and that’s I was trying to make the appointment.  Valerie couldn’t even get that straight.  We made the appointment.  I was supposed to receive a form to authorize the release of my records.  Three hours later…NOTHING!

I found the form online (which the supervisor should have known it was there).  Completed it, called for the fax number and printed the confirmation that it went through.

So now I sit and wait until my appointment next week.  The only benefit of seeing this doctor is that if I have to have any procedures, I will cross the bridge (same distance as going to Sacramento) and be seen in a better facility, in a better city.

Physicians and their staff need to be held to some sort of standard by the insurance carrier.  Patients need to have a recourse against them and their ‘holier than thou’ attitude.

I admit, I am less-than Christlike in my dealings with the medical community.  I attempt to “behave” for every interaction, yet it rarely plays out that way.  I keep praying for tolerance, but I’m not great at waiting for a response.  I have been “labeled” by my insurance and the providers; almost like a medical blackball.  I’m not giving up and I’m going to raise Cain, Hell and whatever else needs raising til patients are seen as people who need help; attitude be damned!

The doctor will see you now…NOT!

Published February 10, 2017 by lynn k scott

No one in today’s world can question the reality that the face of your medical care has changed.  With new laws, requirements, insurance requirements and medical office billing, trying to see “your” doctor isn’t always your choice.

Whether you have a chronic medical condition or just need to be seen for newly developed symptoms, making an appointment isn’t as easy as it used to be.  In today’s world, the emergence of Nurse Practitioners (NP) and Physician’s Assistants (PA) are the new “in” thing.

“Hi, I’d like to make a doctor’s appointment”.

Seem’s like a simple enough request.  After all, most of us are pay enormous premiums and/or copays for the privilege of a doctor to spend 10 minutes with us.  That’s in addition to two or three patients being scheduled for the same time slot so the doctor doesn’t lose any money, should there be a cancellation.

“Sure, you there is an appointment with Jean Smith at 3:30.”

There you go…your appointment…WAIT!  Where was the word “doctor” to go with that name?  Ahh…did you catch that too?  That’s because in this case, you won’t be seeing a doctor; but a PA instead.

Awesome.  No, not really.  I already have issues with doctors “practicing” medicine.  If I’m going to drop $45 on an appointment that a General Practitioner wasn’t able to resolve, why in God’s name would I entrust an on-going, chronic issue, to someone who isn’t even a board-certified doctor?

I don’t have the flu and I don’t need a throat culture performed.  I need a real diagnosis, made by a doctor, that will resolve my issue; the first time around.  “Oh, sorry, there are no doctor appointments available then”.  Don’t you just love the system?

Truth be told, PAs and NAs are half the price of a real doctor.  They are in even in the specialist’s office…the specialist!  Someone who may, or may not, have done any clinical work, who is now entrusted to see, diagnose and treat you, independent of a doctor reviewing their work.

Does that leave you with the same lack of confidence it does for me?  So, what are the other options?  Urgent care…yea..seeing a doctor, at double the cost of your primary’s copay only to refer you to your primary doctor.  The emergency room.  You’re in pain.  You have severe symptoms; chronic symptoms…just go to the emergency room.  Sure all the testing will be done right then.  You’ll be lucky if you only walk out owing about $2,000 as your portion of this wonderful care provided by your insurance.

All this, because carriers and medical offices prefer using under-qualified medical personnel instead of having you treated by a physician of your choosing.  After all, it’s only your hard-earned dollar that is footing this medical nightmare, right?

Grateful for Intolerance

Published March 27, 2015 by lynn k scott

Grateful for intolerance?  Who would really be grateful for that?   I have yet to do is clarify that statement, which will put the ‘intolerance’ in perspective.

For a variety of reasons, I have yet to receive an official diagnosis, but I am someone who cannot consume gluten without paying some pretty severe penalties.  I hesitantly say official diagnosis because I am acutely aware of how my body reacts:  the pain, the not-so-nice bodily functions that result, the inability to stay awake, the inability to sit up or rest comfortably, the bloating (as in a full pants-size) and a myriad of other symptoms.  I know I need to seek out a medical professional to assist in managing my condition, whatever those who “practice” medicine choose to call it.

Around this time two years ago, marks when my symptoms peaked.  I spent several times in one week, getting up in the middle of the night, going downstairs as to not wake my husband, curled up in the fetal position on the throw rug in the livingroom, literally praying for death through my tears.  Not having health insurance meant I had to make a choice to suffer at home or risk thousands of dollars for an emergency room visit they may or may not be successful in removing the torment I suffered from.

Seems a bit far-fetched doesn’t it?  Yet, countless others know exactly what I am speaking of.  Whether it’s a “simple” gluten intolerance or actual Celiac’s Disease, it’s not a fad, it’s not made up, it’s not a weight-loss gimmick.  It’s real!

I never considered a simple protein could cause such discomfort and pain.  It wasn’t until a friend knew of my suffering suggested I try to go gluten-free for two weeks.  I was literally ready to try anything.  Luckily, this option was painless and didn’t require lots of money to try.

Two weeks went by and my symptoms weren’t gone, but the debilitating pain was.  I took to making an honest, gluten-free effort, in my eating habits.  While it meant reading more labels, it wasn’t a big deal to me.  I was a vegetarian for nine years.  I was a label-reading-holic.  It was second nature.

Two years later, I am still as gluten-free as possible.  I’ve lost and kept off 40 lbs.  I once read a weight loss article regarding sacks of potatoes and using them a reference for losing 10-lbs. If you’ve lost 10-lbs, you’ll have a decent, physical representation of what was on your body.  Try looking at four of those bad-boys.  I was secretly impressed with this “side effect”.

Is maintaining a gluten-free diet easy?  Yes and no.  It has helped me continue my quest in eating better.  It affords me the opportunity to make even more homemade dishes; not just for me but my family as well.  I eat less processed foods than ever before.  I can’t really say that’s a bad thing either.

Granted, my food bill has gone up, esp. where alternative flours are concerned or buying something pre-made that is gluten-free.  It can be frustrating when I want something “quick” to eat and I can’t just grab a cookie.  Please don’t suggest a piece of fruit or a salad.  Believe me, I get more than enough of those foods.

Over all, I am grateful for my intolerance or perhaps, disease.  I will work on getting that official diagnosis.  As you know, I have issues with the medical community and need to find the right doctor who actually understands my symptoms and treatments.  I don’t need “I don’t knows”. I need a doctor who can see the long-term goal of managing my food-related journey so I remain as symptom-free as possible.

You now have a glimpse inside the gluten-intolerance world.  I have spared you the really gross details with a glossed-over version.  I think it’s best for all concerned.  After all, some of you could be eating while reading this. Please remember, the majority of us with intolerance or Celiac’s aren’t being difficult in restaurants.  Just because we don’t go into anaphylactic shock upon ingestion of a bagel or piece of bread, doesn’t mean we won’t be sick after we get home (if we make it home before symptoms set in).  Please be tolerant in that regard.  I’m not as grateful for public intolerance for an issue they are typically clueless about.

Need an Ativan just to go to the Doctor

Published March 4, 2015 by lynn k scott

I make no bones about it…I DESPISE AND HATE the medical profession with a passion.  I am not tolerant of red tape.  I speak and expect to be heard.  If I am seeking medical attention, than it’s absolutely necessary you sit up, push up your glasses, be prepared to take accurate notes and offer a solution.  Me seeing a doctor is the equivalent of a making an emergency room visit. It can’t wait and before you suggest me visiting the emergency room, I need to feel as if death is imminent to think about the amount it will cost me at the 7-11 of the medical world.  As if charging $6,000+ for a saline solution IV is acceptable ANYWHERE! (Note:  I was actually charged that two years ago).

With all the “lovely” healthcare changes, my company, which is a good one, had to make some changes to be “in compliantce” with these new mandates.  If you haven’t already been able to tell by the tone of this post, “healthcare reform” is not a topic I think has been resolved or remotely addressed, esp. by the idiot who’s name it bears.  Sorry; I digress.

Back to the issue.  My company goes with this new insurance carrier who has their own plan.  Needless to say, we’re starting month three of with this carrier and contracts have yet to be signed for certain counties.  Services are virtually non-existent.  I use the list of providers that was given to us, only to find out, it’s actually insufficient, as the majority of the providers, not even in my county, aren’t available and needs to be “updated”.

I have to hand it to the carrier’s customer service skills. They were nice enough to tell me where I could find an Internal Medicine doctor:  Fresno.  From where I live, that’s a FOUR-HOUR DRIVE!  Needless to say, the customer service representative didn’t quite care for me raising my voice and asked what was wrong with her for even making that suggestion.

Since I’m on my medical-bashing roll, let’s talk about the new trend of Nurse Practitioners.  I am not a fan of dealing with ONE, not a clinic of, but ONE doctor who is practicing medicine.  You actually think, that there is some cosmic influence that would make me actively seek out a Nurse Practitioner who is playing doctor.  Somewhere, someone thought….”Hey I know!  We are going to have a huge influx of people seeking medical treatment.  I don’t want to give up my golf-game and actually work more than two days a week, so let’s give a nurse the power to write prescriptions.”

Seriously?  Doctors miss stuff all the time and they’ve gone to school to become “educated”.  I’m not a fan of taking medicines, unless there is no other alternative.  To expect people to see a script-writing nurse is absurd.  Sure a doctor is in the office if she needs assistance.  Great…I’ll speak to the doctor directly then.

I guess I miss the days when you saw the same doctor, they knew your name, they didn’t quickly skim your chart and cover all your issues in 3 minutes so they could move on to the next patient, because they purposely book more than one person for the same time slot.

I don’t do clinics.  I’m not a number.  I speak to real people and I won’t answer a series of questions just to book an appointment.  Oh it’s policy that I answer them because my doctor has deemed them necessary?  Oh did you really just ask me if I was pregnant?  Hmm, if my doctor deems that question necessary and he/she doesn’t know the answer already, there’s a problem.  I’ve had plans that worked that way.  I answer “no” to every single question.  Later when making the appointment, I’ll contradict myself and say I have “so and so issue”.  They nurse then says, “but you said no to that question”.  To which, I simply would say, “I told you I would.  I don’t do surveys to make an appointment”.

So now, here I wait, hoping my broker can fix the non-provider issue while the carrier removes its collective head from it’s collective ass and does what we’re paying a small fortune for them to do. After all it’s only been 4 months since we elected this plan and it’s been a full 60 days active.  I’m done playing nice.  And in case you’re wondering, where the medical profession is concerned, this is me being extremely nice; cuz you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!

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