In A Nutshell

My photo
Despite being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia about a decade ago, I was able to work and lead a "normal" life, until I became severely ill with MS type symptoms one month after being laid off in June 2009, which meant no health insurance to properly address the problem. I spent 3 days in the hospital but since they initially did not want to keep me (one doc said I may have MS, but was overruled), I did not qualify for the financial aid for hospital bills because they did not think I belonged there. I was misdiagnosed with Labyrintits and sent on my way. I was told it would go away in a few weeks, that was 3 years ago and I have had the symptoms of dizziness, balance problems, vertigo, and pain every day since then. I went to a local free health clinic until they told me they exhausted all their options and could not help me any longer. I cannot drive nor work outside the home and only walk briefly with the aid of a cane, but also can't get disability because I have no real diagnosis for these particular symptoms. These are the chronicles of my (so far) dead-end journey riddled with bodies of good intentions.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Battle Rages On

Well, this morning I had my appointment at yet another health clinic for my "assessment." (refer to this post).

I must admit, after my prior bad experiences with "free" clinics and the "system" in general, I came in expecting the worst and with my virtual Xena armor firmly in place. Arriving 15 minutes early, despite knowing how this works (when is the last time even a regular doctor's office has processed you on time?), my bad suspicions seemed confirmed when they asked me if I had already filled out my paperwork and if I had my prescription bottle on me.

Since they had only told me to bring financial documentation to this appointment, I thought to myself: here we go again. After some word-wrangling and my explanation of the above, they gave me the paper work and I sat down to fill it out.

Half way through, I stopped, read again, and had to start laughing. Other people stared at me, but I am used to that anyway. Walking around with balance problems and a cane has gotten me used to that. What was so funny? Well, the health questions. Did they ask me about cancer, smoking, diabetes and all the usual suspects? Nope. The first question was: "have you had sexual partners since 1979? If so, more than one?" From there it got better: "Have any of your partners done IV drugs, are any of them bisexual?" There was more, but I must have blocked it out because I can't remember the sordid details. And this was just the financial screening, not a health appointment!

The following page had me in hysterics again: I had to sign off on a statement that said: "We are committed to treating you with the ultimate dignity ..." Again, I can't remember the rest, probably because I was laughing so hard. Whether it was that or my loud comment "dignity is for people with health insurance," they saw me right after I dropped the paper work off at the desk, despite a full waiting room. I bet all the other patients were glad.

The intake specialist simply looked over my paper work, asked some other, less probing questions, and I was done. I have my actual first doctor's appointment February 29, that is the first available time slot they had. They did write me a prescription for my thyroid medication because I literally begged because I have been taking way less than I am supposed to to stretch the dose. What happens if you don't take it? Well, it's not pleasant, but I digress.

Free here, like anywhere else, does not mean free of course. I was informed that I would have to pay for my own specialist tests (so much for trying to get a diagnosis), and prescriptions.

It isn't that I am expecting anything free. And, to silence the other tax payers who do not want to pay for "riff raff": Yes, I do still pay taxes on my writing income. I simply expect those who do not need these services to stop telling me that I can get "free healthcare," if I just looked. Also, this is Crossover Ministries, a faith-based organization totally dependent on donations.

Regardless, I went to get my thyroid prescription filled and I am grateful for the services I received today, even though it takes away from more important things in my budget. What is more important than health, people may ask? Good question.


Anonymous said...

"Free" means we let you in for free, but you have to pay for all the outside services, and sometimes a pro-rated amount for inside services. I have never been asked such questions! Wow. I imagine they get a lot of that there?? Who knows. Even when you have insurance, it gets rather expensive to pay all the co-pays.... I can't imagine what happens without it. Thanks for sharing. Angie

Red said...

Sanity. Peace of mind. Dignity. Just to name the first three which come to mind.

No justification necessary. You have contributed and still contribute. You are as worthy as, and I daresay more worthy than, anyone else who needs a hand.


Alexandra Heep said...

Red, of course you get it. However, this does not silence those other voices who are on the outside looking in.