Medical Appointments and Chronic Disease


Chronic illnesses can be a BIG deal when you are dealing with them. They can occupy your thoughts day and night. In order to feel better we may seek the help of one of our doctors. That is how we roll. Anyway, tonight I have a major gripe so if you are not wanting negativity, stop reading here.

Chronic diseases and medical appointments go hand in hand. In fact, you become quite good friends in the long run because you seem to always be at one doctors office or another. You learn the staff’s names and all that. Shoot, I even had one doctor who brought out her pics to Italy with her family (I used to work for her husband, another doctor, and have known them for 25 plus years.) It is good to get to know the people who are treating you just a little bit because you can build a rapport that can save you time and money. You will see what I mean in a bit.

 Now, I have medical insurance. I am on disability, and receive a monthly check that is roughly equal to a weeks pay when I could still work. You can do the  math yourself. Basically it is like being paid for one week of work and having to wait another month for another weeks pay. Anyhoo, I tell you this because it also comes into play here on my gripe. 

Ok, so far I hope you are still with me. Now, I see four different doctors. Every visit I encourage each of them to “share” their notes with each other and have signed forms to allow them to do this. The reason? So they are all on the same page in regards to my care. This eliminates having to see each individual doctor each time.

Sounds great, right? In theory yes, it does. The truth of the matter is that this gets done only SOME of the time. My doctors are not all in the same hospital network either. If they were, then the computerized notes would be accessible to them all. Along with all the tests I have had, the test results and well, everything.

Instead it works something like this, I feel my flare worsening, I make appointment to see my rheumatologist who looks  me over and may prescribe a medication. As I leave his office, I pay my copay which is $35. I know there are many out there that would love to have that kind of copay and seriously, I am glad I do too. However, after leaving I then go to my pharmacy and pay anywhere from $2-??? for a medication. Easy peasy right? Wrong.

In a couple of days after this fictional appointment, I get a raging asthma attack. Add using my inhaler and/or nebulizer. I call my family practitioner and make an appointment because I have really had a bad one and feel like crud. After seeing  me and perhaps giving me medications, I leave and at the desk pay my $35. You see the issue here yet?

Now I have run out of my migraine medications just when I have a big bad one. The neurologist will not refill unless I see him. Off I go and another $35 spent plus medications (mine cost $30 for this one). 

So, in one month here, I have already spent over $100 or more, and so now I have to decide how to recoup that money. I am on a fixed income, very fixed income, and when unexpected illness or injury occur, it costs me to see each individual doctor for the different illnesses

I think sometimes they do it on purpose, although I know that the laws make them see us just for a refill. It sucks but it is part of the “game” we have to play when we have a chronic illness. Sometimes though, I wish just once that if I had to make an emergent appointment, they would allow for some slack. Not free, but just some slack. 

Years ago, I worked for an orthopedic surgeon. He has since retired but he was a wonderful person with a quick wit and sense of humor. I personally watched as he would see elderly patients at remote clinics that we traveled to. They would bring in produce, or other things because they appreciated his care. He would talk to them, ask after their families and then give them their refills and write N/C. No charge! Can you believe that? Oftentimes, these folks didn’t even get a prescription refill. They just came in to see the doctor. He understood that they were lonely and he graciously took time out to see them. Plus, the veggies were pretty good too!

In this day and age that would never happen! I cannot remember a single time when the doctor wrote N/C on any of my paperwork! Wow! Not once. I guess it goes to show that the ones who need to see the doctors are also the ones who bear the heavy burden of taking literal food out of their mouths, just to get what they need to live a longer life and survive! It is sad but true.

This is not about any one doctor or another. It is generally about them all. Unfortunately, we make just a little too much to get help with this so we are in the crack that no one realizes is there. 

That is all I have to gripe about right now. I guess it hit me because my husband cannot go see his doctors because we owe a balance that we have to pay prior to coming in. So, he is going off his medications and because of his condition, that makes him very susceptible to a GREAT deal of issues that will be presenting themselves sooner than later. Ah well, the joys of modern medicine