Wednesday, March 28, 2012

(AF) Ills Sneak Up On You - Conclusion (part 6) - The Check up

I recently went for my follow-up check up. For the first time ever, since I have been going to this clinic, I got to see a real doctor! yea!! (setting aside the dentist, of course, who is real and very good)

Once again I had a very short wait, being called in for my turn reasonably quickly.  The nurse (assistant) came in, took my vitals and went over my meds (all the standard stuff). She then looked down at her laptop (on which was my chart - sure hope they have hard copy back-up) with a puzzled look on her face. She asked me if I had picked up my new prescription for my blood pressure med, yet. I said yes. She asked if I had opened it and if it was correct. I said no, I hadn't opened it, I was finishing up my old bottle first. She was puzzled as she reviewed what my last prescription was for (dosage wise), then explained that the prescription for my last visit was written out for a dose only a fourth that size. WHAT!!!?

Okay, back up here a sec ..... In the past, my prescription was written out for a 10 mg dose at a month's supply, but I was instructed to take only 1/2 a pill each day (5 mg). That brought my cost waaaaaayyy down, and my bottle lasted 2 months. There isn't much price difference between the smaller pills and the larger pills, and the savings greatly helped. I sooo appreciated that the last PA helped me like this.

Now back to my story ..... Still looking puzzled, the nurse said, "According to your chart, your last prescription was written for only a one month supply of 2.5 mg doses. That would mean you have to take 2 pills each day to get the proper dosage, and your prescription will only last 2 weeks." Ugh!! That's crazy!
Without showing anger at her, I expressed my disgust. I was already upset that this new prescription was drastically higher than my last one (Same exact med... new price. Last one was a few cents over $18, this time it was nearly $55, and now it would only last me 1/4th as long!!!!). I am in here to get my blood pressure down, and these people are doing all they can to ELEVATE it!! I guess that sarcastic PA I saw last time just had to get in one more, hateful dig with me. I was really sick with infection then, went later that day to pick up my prescription, it hadn't even been called in yet, so I had to go get it a couple of days later when I was back in town (this included the antibiotics that I needed that day). When I picked it up, I had just come from having my tooth out, all drugged up. I had checked to be sure it was the correct meds, but, in my groggy state, hadn't thought to be sure the dosage was the same. I mean, we had discussed my dosage there in the office at the time of my appointment. Good grief!!

The nurse asked me if I wanted another prescription, so I wouldn't run out. I said that there was no way I could afford another bottle of medication! I told her how much more expensive it was than the last time (which caught me way off guard) and I had to borrow from someone so that I could pick it up because I had no idea it was going to cost that much (been too sick lately to work for even myself and sales of late have been nearly nil). She looked sincerely apologetic, said the doctor would be right in, and left. I heard her out in the hall telling someone what had happened with my prescription and that I couldn't afford another bottle. Yep, that means I have to run on half doses and less for a long time to come, and will probably totally run out. Plus, to get another prescription now, I will have to also pay for another office visit before a prescription will be written. Makes you wanna slap somebody, doesn't it?!

Shortly, the doctor came in with a very caring and friendly attitude (guess she was afraid I would go off on her about the meds, lol). She did the routine check over, but neglected to listen to my heart and lungs. She also did not check where the tooth had been pulled, which was what I was coming in here for in the first place. She took the time to explain excellent tips on things I could be doing to reduce my blood pressure. I told her what my blood pressure generally was, and that it only does this when I have infection. She simply said, "Well, you are getting older, now."  Ugh! That so ticks me off! People's blood pressure goes up .... they say it is simply due to aging, they hand you a fist full of pills .... and totally disregard finding out what is causing the blood pressure to go up so you can eliminate that. It just doesn't make sense (unless you are on the pharmaceutical end of things, of course). Although she never addressed my sinus infection nor the medication screw-up, she did ask if I had any more questions. I told her about the mini strokes that I had been having and described them to her (although they quit a couple of weeks after I had been on the antibiotics). She acknowledged that that is what they were, and said that they would continue if I didn't get my blood pressure down. Once again, the only time I have ever had those, was when I had a severe sinus infection. When the sinus infection is gone, so are the mini strokes, gone for years even.

Before she closed my appointment, she looked at my chart and said, "We haven't done blood work on you since last May. We need to get that done again"  Oh, boy.... here we go again. They actually have it in my chart that I got that blood work done!! (refer to part 4)  Once again, I reminded her that I didn't get my blood work done then, that an elderly relative ended up in the hospital and I was running hard for a good while to take care of things, missed my appointment, and time got away. She said that they would have to order it again. I reminded her that it was already paid for. She said that that was last year, the books had been closed out and started over, and I would have to pay again.I said that I still had my lab order slip. She said that it was expired, I would have to pay again.  I said that that just wasn't right, I shouldn't have to pay twice for the same blood work. She just shrugged her shoulders and said that they had lab costs to keep up, it had to go in on that, and I would have to pay again. ^%*&#$@#   (no, I kept my mouth clean in the office, but I was sure thinking it)  I told her I absolutely couldn't pay for the same work twice, I couldn't and it was just wrong. She politely said, "That is your choice. We can just go with the medications and check-ups for now." (she ignored the fact that I didn't have enough medication, that they had screwed it up)

They may have an in-office lab now, but a year ago, they were contracted out to outside labs, as they were in a smaller building that didn't have a lab. Here is how I think it went (my personal opinion) . . . . . . 
   . . . . . It is a sliding scale clinic, meaning you pay a percentage of your visit/lab work, depending upon  your income. Lab work is paid in advance. I was scheduled to go to a lab in my town, as a drop-in, no specific time and date, just a time-frame, to a lab that they were contracted out to. (Keep in mind, the clinic already had my lab order and payment for my share of the percentage). Due to a family crisis, I didn't make it. It appears that the clinic has it in their records that I did. As if my lab work had been done, government funded clinic falsely sends in to the government to collect the remainder of the percentage for my lab visit (majority of the cost) and collects, but doesn't have to pay the lab they were contracted to because I never went and they never got a bill from them for my lab work. This is FRAUD!!!!  (again, this is my opinion of how it happened, judging by all events that took place and the lack of straight answers I could get) This falsified activity fraud's the patient, the US Government, and the American tax payer. And it happens daily, all across our nation, in one clinic after another. This is the second clinic I have been a victim of this very thing. Also, as you can see, there were no lab costs associated with me a year ago when I never went. I never used the services of their lab, at either location.

Since this clinic has it in their record that I DID get my lab work done last year, I am very curious to know what my results were. One must wonder if they just make up results, use someone else's results, or have a standard set of results they use specifically for this fraudulent purpose. Which ever method they use, I don't like being used for someone else's financial gain. I went to a clinic in a life/death crisis, and came out feeling victimized. Folks, this is Oklahoma health care at it's finest!! And I don't expect it will get any better. But I don't intend to sit back and let it all fall down the tubes without at least doing my tiny little part to help mend it.

You know, once upon a time, I worked 3 part-time jobs, had a decent liveable income and did my part to help everyone else possible. Then life's hard knocks hit and I am in a 'down' at the moment. My health became life or death and I had to swallow my pride and go to this clinic for help. But regardless of where you have been in life, where you are now, where you are trying to get, etc... from the moment you step in the door of this clinic, and I am sure others like it, they make you feel like you are beneath them, like you aren't worthy of receiving their services, like you are a nobody. It's that kind of attitude, those kinds of jabs at a person's self worth, that instills feelings of low self-esteem in people while they are down and hinders them from being able to pick themselves up and move forward again. So now, after completing weeks of strong antibiotics, my sinus infection appeared to be gone and the mini strokes completely stopped. But two days ago my sinus infection returned with a vengeance, along with the frustratingly scary mini strokes. They let all the wind out of me and totally exhaust me for days.... just in time to have another. Work isn't getting done around here, and no work, no money. Yet I need money so that I can go back to that clinic for care, so that they can gouge me and our government a little more. It's such an unfortunate Round Robin of events. But until then, until I can go back for another stressful, blood pressure elevating, degrading appointment, I am searching deep and hard for every natural remedy I can come up with to help me - both my sinus infection and my blood pressure. I would love to hear, and greatly appreciate all of your wonderful suggestions of natural remedies and your opinions on this entire subject. Please feel free to post them here in the comments. I would also like to hear about any similar experiences you might have had.  Thank you!

ALSO READ:   Part 1      Part 2      Part 3      Part 4      Part 5

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