Ok, so another rant…The last few weeks have been hell for me, as I’m sure all of you are dying to hear about, so I shall just park all this bullshit right here….So, for anyone who knows me, they know I usually don’t run to the doctor every time I stub my toe, like most people around me…It takes a real true reason for me to go, and no, not because I’m cheap…lol. So, as of April 30th, I lost my health insurance and have been searching for some new stuff. Well, the marketplace is a load of crap, I don’t live biblically enough for the Christian-based health sharing programs, which by the way, ONLY 1 is approved through the ACA to negate you from paying the IRS penalty, the others will get you butt raped next year. (That one that is exempt as far as I can tell is right here in Ohio, BTW)
Anywho, on top of all the stress of my regular daily life, I’ve been having a lot of Thyroid-related issues. I can always tell when it tanks, cuz it’s almost agonizing. My joints hurt even worse than normal, I get more headaches, I can’t concentrate, or sleep. My irritability level is 100 out of 50, my energy level is -150, and I’m strung so tight I could kill at any moment. 2 weeks ago, to the surprise of the WW weigh-in lady, I gained 5.6 lbs., who was sure I was going to give her an excuse of, “But, I swear, I am sticking to the plan!” The sad fact, was, that I WAS sticking to the plan. But, nobody ever gives you the benefit of the doubt, they just always assume your fat because you love to stuff food in your face…Well, to be honest, that is true, BUT, it’s only a part of the problem.
So, I made an appt. with my PCP. While I waited for the day of my appt,. I started having new symptoms of some new malady that had yet to be identified. While out shopping with mom, I got dizzy, and very light-headed. I passed the first one off, but she caught the 2nd one about 30 minutes later. It was hard to hide because I thought I was going down, so I went to her and told her what was happening. She said that I had turned red and looked weird. (Wow, Great, now I can add looking “weird” to my list of sufferings. Or, who knows, maybe I have already always looked “weird”.) So, I found a spot and sat down for about 5 minutes, and when I was kinda sure that the sensation had passed, we finished up our shopping trip. That same night, as I was watching tv, I began to see things crawling around, and after a while I figured out it was eye floaties that I was seeing. I was also seeing quite the spectacular light show in my peripheral vision. It threw me for a bit of a loop, because I was seeing these things in both eyes. I felt a lot of pressure behind my eyes, and that’s when the “other” headaches started. I say other” because my normal is headaches, but more towards the back and sides of my head, while these were smack dab right behind my eyes. I told mom again what was going on, and she told me that she experiences the same thing once in a while and what it was called, which completely escapes my memory right now…(yet another Thyroid side affect.)
So, by the time I got to see Dr. Peter, I had a whole litany of maladies to discuss with him. He sent me for my thyroid blood work, which proved that my feeling was correct, IT TANKED! (Just for reference, this appt. would be the very last appt. I would have while being covered with insurance.) He told me that because of my recent concerns, along with the fact that my blood pressure was high this visit, my continuing and daily heart palpitations, that he didn’t want to raise my medication back up to where I was 2 months prior until I saw a Cardiologist. (Great! Wow, I can’t wait to SEE what THAT’S gonna cost!) Dr. Peter had lowered my thyroid med. levels because after taking the same dose of a different manufacturer, I actually went HYPER! (The pharmacist told me that they were unable to get my regular Levothyroxine due to all of the happenings in Puerto Rico, so I had no choice but to take a substitute. Well, I’ll NEVER do that again. Same meds, my ass!) On top of that, he gave me a prescription for blood pressure pills.
His other recommendation was to see an Ophthamologist. (Wow, looks like Gwynny is not only going to be busy, but broke!)
So, the saga begins…
No insurance now, so here we go.
I go to see my eye doctor, and am referred to another Doctor. He said no sense paying 2 office visits, and if he saw something, he would have referred me there anyways. At this point, I was feeling like I was getting a head of the game. That maybe things would start working out some. Boy, was I fucking wrong! I get to my car, and call up the new doc and see about getting an appt. and a cost rundown. Yes, they have menus, but never want to tell you about them. The receptionist said that she would make me an appt., and then give me the number to their billing dept. and they would be able to give me prices. So, I make the appt. for tomorrow at 11 am. My next call is to the billing dept. She tells me that it is $402 for the office visit. (“Just to walk in the door”, was her exact words.) Then, if the doctor did any testing, they would be added on. She gave me the names of the tests and their corresponding costs. I rounded the prices and added them up. $1100.00. Oh my fucking WTF! I then asked her if there was a discount for cash payers, and she told me that I could ask the doctor for a discount at the time of the visit. She couldn’t offer discounts. She said the doctors TRY to work with uninsured patients, but there was no guarantes. Great! So, here I sit. What the hell do I do?
Ok, so I arrive at the Ophthamologists office the next day a bit early. It wasn’t long before I was called back. The doctor was wonderful. She explained to me everything that she was going to do, asked me questions and spent some time with me before the exam. It’s nice when they do that. Makes you fell kinda like a real person, instead of their next payment. She gave me a basic exam said that she would continue to test after dilating my eyes. I waited once again in the patient rooms until my eyes were properly dilated. When she was done, she said that the “floaties” that I was seeing had nothing to do with any changes or damage to my eyes. It was more likely that I was having migraines. I told her that I had really bad headaches, but couldn’t say for sure if they were migraines.
Now in my experience when people ask if I had ever had migraines. I responded with, “I don’t know. I have real bad headaches, but I don’t know if they are truly migraines.” The reaction to this is always the same, “Well, if your having a migraine, you’ll know it!” WELL, That’s NOT true!
Now if I could regulate them and say ok, hit me with a regular headache….ok, now give me a migraine…I’d have something to COMPARE, BUT since headaches don’t happen this way, how could I say what I was experiencing?
So, the only thing that made sense to me was that all along I’d been having migraines and never knew. I though they were just regular headaches. Christ, I’m not a psychic. Different people have different pain tolerances, so…WTF?
She told me to make a follow up with my PCP and call her to let her know what he thought.
So, with her diagnosis and feeling thankful that I wasn’t going to die of a brain tumor or go blind from detaching retinas, I approached the check out desk. The receptionist said that the total for the days services totaled $315, but if I paid that day, she could give me a 30% discount, bringing my bill down to around $220. Although I was prepared to use credit if I had to, I had almost enough to cover it in cash, with a little help from mom, who went to the appt. with me. (She was in charge of driving because of the eye dilation drops.) I paid the bill in full, and left. I was happy. Broke, but happy!
The next day, I called my doc, and he called me in a prescription for migrain/blood pressure pill all in one.
After I started the new meds, It took about two weeks for the floaties to go away completely, having diminished a little every day, until their were no more.
Ironically, this was the exact same amount of time, two weeks, it took St. John’s Hospital to bill me for that 30% discount they offered me.
I swear, sometimes I just can’t catch a break!
(I called the billing dept. and got it straightened out, and didn’t have to pay that 30%, not that I would have paid it anyways…)