I know most of my life seems made up because really...it has become a bit ridiculous but today was the tops in crazy.
I've been waffling about canceling my appointment today to see my Rheumatologist. I've felt like it's a waste of time and resources, especially since office protocol means I don't even get to see the doctor until the end of JUNE!! Yep. I saw a PA today and he just does an assessment, listens to me whine and complain but he isn't allowed to do anything other than just that, even though I'm quite certain he could do more intellectually. The second appointment is with a different PA and they do more examines and then a few weeks later, you see the doctor.
This is probably a wonderful way of doing things if all you deal with is arthritis or whatever. I don't have time for this kind of circus side show, but, I didn't cancel. In fact, they called and asked if I could come in 2 hours earlier and I said, "If I come in and change my entire afternoon around, will the doctor be on time or are you just cramming me in?" She assured me he would be on time so I showed up two hours early.
NOPE...of course, he was over an hour late. You know how I feel about this. Even though I was so angry at the ticking clock, wasted time at work, clients calling left and right...I remained calm. Everything was so slow! He left the room so I could change into the gown and it was another 20 minutes before he came back in.
I guess I'm glad I showed up. My Ankylosing Spondylitis has progressed since I was there last, 5 years ago. I didn't realize just how much pain and limited mobility I live with until he started poking around my joints. The most disturbing is that I have lost nearly an inch of rib expansion which means the disease has progressed from just my hips, up into my rib cage. The connective tissue in my ribs is beginning to calcify which means they will cease to expand enough for me to fill my lungs with air.
He finished up and said the nurse would be in to draw all sorts of blood for testing. That all seemed find until the finance secretary came in before the nurse. She explained that before they could draw the blood, they would need my co-pay, as well as whatever portion insurance wasn't going to pay. It was over $300. I was a little confused and told her I didn't have that much money to pay them today. She proceeded to tell me that I would not be able to continue with testing unless they had payment in full.
Are you kidding me? I offered to pay the co-pay but they refused to do the testing. And next week, when I go back to see the second PA, I will need another $150 cash! What on earth??!
"So, what do I do now?" I asked.
"Well, we'll give you the orders and you'll have to go find another doctor or hospital to do the blood tests."
"Why can't you just do it and bill me?"
"We are a specialist."
"So? What happened to billing the insurance company and then billing me?"
Then I asked when I get something to manage my pain...JUNE. Not til after I see the actual doctor.
The nurse said, "Well, maybe next week they can give you a shot of steroids and that will help but you'll need to bring money to pay for that."
"So, what do I do from a week after that shot wears off until JUNE?"
"Well, I'm not sure." the nurse said, "maybe it will last until June."
I left there, not only in pain but completely embarrassed that the entire waiting room and 4 secretaries sitting at the desk, now know that I couldn't afford to even get blood work. Ridiculous. I don't even want to go back. The world of medicine is completely out of control in this country. There is no way I can afford to go to the doctor if this is what is expected. I just wanted to scream.
Anyways...the madness continues.
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