The Monday Peeve is where Paula Light invites us to vent about something that is annoying us. I try not to let too many things (outside of politics) get to me. But today was yet another attack on my sensibilities.
I called the medical center early this morning. After being on hold for an extended period, I was transferred to a different office. I did not want to talk to the people in the office 40 minutes away, I wanted to talk to the office 15 minutes away, whom I had called. After more transfers, I was back to the office I called. Not a good start to my medical adventure.
I explained that my back was in agony and I needed to see someone. I told them this has been going on for 3 weeks. Happily, they told me I could see the NP today and offered various times that were available. I accepted the earliest appointment. I figured I would do a few other chores after the medical appointment. The fewer times I leave the house the happier I am.
Once I checked in, I politely told the front office that my patient portal had indeed stated that I was to see the doctor for my well check at the beginning of September, and not the NP. She said that I did get to see the doctor, so all was well. I explained that I was grateful that I got to see the doctor, but that was the plan all along even from their front office. I had the appointment for 4 months. She started to get defensive. I again stated that I was glad I saw the doctor because I had some concerns and the doctor took a lot of time to listen to me. (Not that I gave her much of a choice.) I also reminded her that I am not on Medicare so when I have an appointment with the doctor, I should be able to see the doctor.
As today’s visit was a same day appointment I was more than willing to see the NP. After the usual questions about what meds I was on and taking my stats, the NP came in. She did an exam of my back and neck. Then she asked when this all started as well as what I had tried. I explained about the Epson salt baths, the prescription strength Motrin, the heating pad, the back massager, the Biofreeze, and the acupuncture and chiropractor treatments. She manipulated my legs and back to see what hurt. Most everything did. I was happy that I was not getting a rushed exam.
She advised I continue taking the Motrin for my back as well as my hip. Her evaluation was that I did something to strain my back, which is very possible. She ordered x-rays of my back and sent a prescription for muscle relaxants. She told me to take the Motrin whenever I am in pain. (I guess she didn’t realize I am in pain most of the time.) I brought up my concern about the Ibuprofen on my kidneys. She agreed that too much would definitely cause damage. So, my question was how much is too much. Of course, she had no answer to that. It is frustrating to be told to do something. But don’t do it too much, and by the way, they have no idea what is too much.
I left there and got Annie her dog food at the pet store. Then I went to the other medical center where they do X-rays. They don’t take appointments so it was a crap shoot if I would be there minutes or hours. I made it through the screening and checked in at radiology. I only had to wait for 15 minutes so that was great. The tech told me she would be doing films of my neck and middle back. I was surprised because the main issue is my lower back. She asked me to call the doctor’s office back to see if they could add it to the order so I would not have to make the trip again. There was no cell service in the lead covered room, so the tech asked the check-in station to call the doctor’s office. They were at lunch of course. The tech returned and said she had read the orders incorrectly and I WAS supposed to have a full spinal set of x-rays. Just another glitch in the medical system.
After the x-rays, I went to the pharmacy to see if the prescription had been filled. It is not an automatic given that things get filled on time. The pharmacy tech got all strange when I asked for my prescription. She handed me over to another tech who said the order did come in, but the insurance company would not pay for it. I was beyond frustrated. I could not understand why if it was deemed necessary for my treatment, why the insurance company refused to cover it.
The pharmacist came over to the counter and asked if I was over 64. I told her I was, and she informed me that no insurance company will provide a muscle relaxer to anyone 65 or older. I was appalled once more. She explained that insurance companies worry that if someone over 65 takes a muscle relaxant and falls when they wake up, then the insurance company will be held liable. I asked the price of the meds. $50 dollars for 10 pills. I didn’t feel like I had a choice. I will only take them as needed and hopefully, I won’t need them for long.
The pharmacist and the techs were all complaining about the lack of availability to get proper treatment once you are over 65. Just when you really need to be taken care of, you are treated like less than an equal. Ageism at its cruelest.
My peeve for the day, week, month, and year is that just because I reached 65, it does not mean that I am dispensable.