OF HEALTH CARE
Upon diligent observation I have come to a grand conclusion about our health care industry. It seems that every person, from the receptionists to the nurses to the doctors to the insurance company to the pharmacists, is involved in a grand scheme to turn me into a raving, homicidal maniac by the end of the day.
I'm sick of creepy old man doctors who consistently talk down to you. I'm sick of having to repeat what I need over and over and over again. I'm sick of being given the run-around at every turn. I'm sick of being a woman in a health-care system that doesn't take my needs seriously. I'm sick, sick, sick and I'd rather take a bottle of NyQuil than jump the endless length of hurdles.
Warning: icky girl stuff ahead. If you can't take it then maybe you should go read about farts or something.
This whole ordeal started a few months ago when I needed to go in and have a rubella test done as a requirement for the wedding license. I told my doctor that I was going to need to get a referral for a gynecologist to see after the wedding. He said, "No problem." But, he didn't give me a referral.
I got back from the wedding and I gave my doctor a call. I left a message. For two weeks I kept calling. I needed to get my annual exam but I also needed to get my prescription for birth control pills which run out this month. In desperation I asked the receptionist what the heck I needed to do to get a referral. She tells me, "Oh, I'll just fax you a list of doctors and you just pick one from the list."
This is another aspect of HMO's and our health care system that I loathe. I pretty much have to pick my doctors geographically. I look at a huge list and close my eyes and point. As the first step of the process it is already pushing the patient to a nervous edge.
When I told my doctor that I wanted a referral that's exactly what I wanted. I wanted him to tell me about a doctor he had heard good things about or a doctor that he knew personally. I'm new here and I don't have anyone else to ask. Going to the gynecologist is no picnic and knowing that I was going to a good doctor to be poked and prodded in the most sensitive place one can be poked and prodded without surgery would have made me feel better. But, our doctor's aren't here to make us feel better apparently.
So, I called this doctor from the list and made an appointment for a pap and to get a new prescription. A few days later I realized that the day of the appointment would not be good for me because I'd be on my period. Then I had to call and explain my complicated situation on the phone which boiled down to the fact that I needed two appointments. The first appointment to talk to the doctor and get a new prescription and the second one for the pap. If I waited until they could get me in for a pap then I'd be several days off of my pill schedule and who knows what the heck that would do to me.
I showed up for the appointment that they have set for me and explain once more that I'm only there to get my prescription renewed. First they ask me for a written referral. A what? I give them a look of complete uncomprehension.
Finally, after much haggling and finagling the real truth comes out. My insurance only covers one gynecological visit per year and if I'm going to see the doctor just for pills that I will need to pay the "first visit fee" which is $150.
I was livid. LIVID!
It's was 4:50 on a Friday and I call my insurance company to figure this out. The woman at the insurance company was actually really nice and sympathetic. We talked at length and while she said she couldn't do anything about my situation she gave me a few tips for working around the system in the future. She suggested that I call my regular doctor's office on Monday and see if he can prescribe the pills.
This morning I called my doctor's office and explained what I needed and the lady at the desk asks if I could come in immediately. I jumped into some semi-clean clothes and raced over there. A fifteen minute wait in the waiting room and then another twenty in an exam room.
What is it about those damn exam rooms anyway? Why don't they have clocks in them? Why are you supposed to sit on the exam table the whole time? I never stay up there because my feet fall asleep hanging over the edge. However, if any nurses come in before the doctor, even if only to ask me a few questions they always make me sit back on the table. It's so stupid. I really wish that the medical industry would wake up and start acting like the service industry they are. I'm not sick for their benefit.
Finally, the doctor saw me and I roughly explained my situation. He prescribed me two months worth of pills and tells me that I should talk with my gynecologist about getting a longer prescription. Then, he has the nerve to ask me, "So, you don't want to get pregnant, huh?" I mean, isn't that f-ing obvious?!? I tell him 'no' in my flattest, non-emotional tone of voice which usually throws people a little off and he has the nerve to push me: "Why not?" Because I don't want to, you crusty old man, and as if that's any of your damn business. Do men get questions like this? Do men ask other men why they haven't had kids yet? I don't think so. I was pissed. Why are women not allowed private lives? Why does society think it has a right to question my choices as a woman?
As a young woman society was all concerned about my choices regarding sex. As I got older society became interested in my choices of mates and then in my path towards marriage. Now, society wants to know why I'm not producing a litter. It gets so very, very tedious.
Next stop was the pharmacy. I saw that if you bought your prescription at their pharmacy that they would give you "partial validation" on your parking ticket. I handed over my prescription and waited while they entered all of my insurance information in. I got my pills and paid the ten dollar "co-pay" and got into my car. Before I left I decided to check and make sure it was the right prescription. There was only one pill-pack in the bag. That's only one month's worth for those of you not in the know.
"Hi -- I was just in here and my prescription was for two pill packs and you only gave me one."
"Oh, sorry. But your insurance company will only allow one thirty days at a time."
Now, I'm going to have to call the company again and scream and figure out what the hell is up with that. If that's correct then I need to go every single month to get new pills. And, if I have to pay the co-pay every single time then I'll be paying more than I did when I was in college.
After all that I still had to pay the damn ticket taker to leave their stupid lot. I bet by the end of the day that ticket taker sees a lot of raving, homicidal maniacs.
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