Sunday, November 24, 2013

I don't think I'm asking for much

One question that occurs to me time and time again is: Why is it so incredible hard to get the most basic of help? When my health issues began, doctors skipped important tests, prescribed the wrong meds, blew me off. My normal day to day existence was hell on Earth and healthcare providers blew me off as a malingering fool. I was choking on solid food and one doctor ran 3 simple blood tests then came back to me and told me I'd "simple have to learn to deal with it". Situations like this are so common it's become a monthly thing in my life.

This months craziness was at the hands of my Traditional Pain Management physician (TPMP). My friends have a different name for him, but I'm trying to leave major profanity off my blog (or at least use less than I normally do). For 2 or 3 years now, I've used a topical arthritis gel called Voltaren. It's an NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) and while it's active ingredient is hard on the organs when used orally, in topical form it has very few side effects and is incredibly safe. Well, as long as you don't accidentally lick your hand. Then it might give you headaches... And yes, baked cheetos were completely behind that particular accidental discovery.

TPMP is normally a big fan of options that aren't going to murder my liver. Reasonable, right? He also likes the least aggressive option. Also reasonable. Voltaren fits both of those categories very, very well. It's only drawback is price. Woah, is it pricey. So I always make sure, when I need a refill, to get it done when I have a full tube, or about 2 weeks to 1 month at my current rate of usage, left. That gives me time to get insurance coverage lined up. Three months ago, I asked TPMP to call in a refill to my local pharmacy. "Sure!" Alright then, check that off my list. Except.. it never got called in. I called the docs once that month, they apologized, said they'd call in right away. Never happened.

The next month rolls around. I ask again in person for this med. Get another apology and assurance. Once again, nothing. I am now out and using a tube left over from when my mom hurt her ankle. I have called nearly once a week for the last month. Each time, I'd get an apology, and assurance, and no prescription. They've called in other things to the same pharmacy during this time, so it's not a file error. I called again on Thursday and had by far my worst ever phone call with a doctors office. The woman who answered the phone informed me that there was no record of me ever calling or asking for this med, so clearly I was just lying. When I called her on calling me a liar, she denied it, then placed me on hold with zero warning.

Eight minutes later, someone else finally picked up. I got another apology, another assurance, and still no bleeping med! In order to get a refill, as I've now decimated the last tube I had access to, I had to call the clinic after hours and demand the answering service contact the on call physician. He agreed to call it in, but failed to put a quantity on the script, so I ended up with 1 tube. Which means another fight for a script. I see TPMP in person Tuesday- I don't think he knows quite what's coming. Because you had better believe there will be a riot act read and I will NOT leave without a paper prescription for the Voltaren gel. It's against their policy to write a paper script for anything non-narcotic, but I don't really care. I'm DONE. We play by my rules now.

All I want is correct medical care. It doesn't seem like much, but wow, is it ever. And it seems to be impossible for the vast majority of doctors and their office staffs to provide. (To be fair, sometimes it's a great doc and bad staff, sometimes it's great staff and a bad doc, and sometimes they both stink to high heaven.)

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