The second cycle, of six, started today. One cycle down? Not really…and here’s why…
The doctor’s office never discussed the actual dosage that would be mailed to me. Seeing as these are chemo pills, you can only get them from a specialty pharmacy, via couriered delivery. The last pharmacy only sent one of two bottles; and the lower dosage of the two.
Then, I find out, my doctor’s office failed to verify which specialty pharmacy the insurance used. This makes a difference because using the incorrect pharmacy could make the patient fully responsible for paying for otherwise covered medication. Finally, the correct specialty pharmacy was able to send all the correct medication.
Moving on…I get my blood draw and then see the doctor the next day (like I’m supposed to). The nurse walks up to me with someone else. The first person continues on and I see someone standing near me, but not saying anything. I am playing a game on my phone, passing the time until I am called. Several minutes pass and she said, “whenever you are ready”. Wow! This office really has communication issues. That being said, my patience for dealing with them was ‘running on fumes’.
I had convinced myself to just get through the appointment. I could do it!
The office and its occupants had other ideas. The nurse directed me into a room, never took vitals, told me to take a seat and the doctor came in. They wanted to “talk”. The conversation that took place was an already decided upon course of action under the guise of a mutually beneficial conversation. You know, like when you’re boyfriend or girlfriend says they want to talk and then tells you it might be best if you both saw other people. Wait! Did you get the license plate of the bus that just ran over me? Starting to get the picture of how this office operates?
Basically, I was supposed to sign a document regarding my treatment and they were going to continue letting me receive treatment. Hmmm…..I already pay insurance premiums for that “right”. I signed their document and added, “signed under duress”. This didn’t sit well with them. My stating I was forced to sign their document, which is a prime example of duress, gave them just another reason to say they weren’t going to treat me.
I knew vitals are required after every cycle. They made no attempt to take them. They knew I had my next dose of medication. They knew I mentioned working on getting into a another practice instead of dealing with them. I don’t trust doctors to begin with and this office was a cancer to my treatment. Yea….it was that detrimental.
Am I a difficult patient? Yup! Do I deserve to have the doctors and their staff treat me with professionalism? Yup! Do I deserve to receive clear communication so I can give informed consent for my treatment. ABSOLUTELY!!!!
However, there is no law from preventing medical doctors from withholding treatment from a patient; even with a potential life-threatening disease. They don’t need permission, a hearing to remove the patient, or even assist in transferring them to another provider.
What if there isn’t another provider in the area? Oh well, that’s the patient’s issue; not theirs. When a practice discharges a patient, as they just had, they won’t take your calls and tell you to go to the Emergency Room if any issues arise.
After all of that, perhaps it was a blessing. Don’t get me wrong. I uttered several choice words, shed a few tears, said some prayers and moved on. I’m getting set-up with a new provider, within a new network. I’ve had some friends (online and at church) offer support.
I’ve already got an appointment with a new primary physician, so I can get an emergency oncology referral. Hoping she can order the necessary blood work, get the next dose of chemo ordered and I can follow-up with my new oncologist.
The situation is less than ideal. I was on the fence about switching to another carrier/provider. Perhaps being kicked out of a less-than-healthy medical practice was what was needed. The group I am switching to has a very good reputation for their oncology department. Who knows….maybe they will even offer some cancer support groups that weren’t available with my other provider.
Treatment has its ups and downs. This past week has been such an emotional roller coaster. I’m looking forward to moving on and getting better.