Today is a horrible day. I woke up in a lot of pain in my bladder. I have interstitial cystitis, but I am almost positive I have a bad UTI (Urinary Tract Infection). I called my PCP (Primary Care Physician) to try to get an appointment. He’s out on vacation this week and the next. For obvious reasons, I cannot wait that long to treat this infection. I also have a primary immune deficiency and have an extremely rough time fighting off any type of infection. The option was offered to let me see if they could work me in with a nurse practitioner, but I declined. Why? Because every single time I have ever had to see another one of their providers when my doctor has been out it has been an absolute nightmare. The majority of the time, I do not get the help I need and it only brings me more stress and upset. My husband has also had issues with the NP. I could go on and on for days sharing all the problems and issues I have had with the other providers and why it is not a good option for me to see them. In fact, it is the very reason I tried to find a new PCP several years ago. Unfortunately, those efforts failed and I have continued to see my PCP of almost 20 years knowing that if I get sick and he is out of the office there is no one else in his office that I can see. It’s a bad situation. The last serious health crisis I had when my PCP was out on vacation, his partner refused to see me because of my complicated health history. He told me he was not comfortable treating me and I would have to go to the ER even though it was not an emergency situation. [Side note: Doctors who send patients to an ER for non-emergent reasons only add to the multiple problems with our health care system. I have no tolerance for that kind of stupidity. It’s truly unexcusable, and a patient should not be put in that type of situation. And I assure you, if you go to the ER with an infection that is not an emergency, you will be met with a pissed off, disgusted, over worked ER physician 9 times out of 10 who has no patience for patients who use the ER for non-emergency situations.] Then there is the physician at my PCPs office that I avoid at all costs. As crazy as it sounds, this physician has it out for me. This statement is truly no exaggeration whatsoever. Just like there are good and bad people everywhere you go, there are bad doctors who mistreat patients. The medical profession is not immune to mean spirited individuals with evil intentions to cause harm. Through the years I have had many negative experiences with this particular physician when my PCP was out of the office. The last experience, and I am putting an emphasis on the word LAST, I had to deal with him was so bad it was a sheer miracle that I even survived. I learned a long time ago that having words with your physician was the quickest way to an even worse situation of not getting help, but this LAST situation was so bad that I did have words with my PCP before it was over with. My family had words with him as well. It was very much warranted. Interestingly enough, a couple years after all of that happened I actually witnessed this physician giving my PCP hell in the middle of the hallway in front of me and other patients. His behavior was extremely disrespectful and unprofessional. And my opinion is that he’s an absolute ass who has no business being in the business of dealing with sick people which is 100% part of his job. Any mention of this person is a very sore subject for me. It spans over many hospitalizations and years of negative experiences that no patient should ever have to go through. For those reasons, I vowed to never allow this particular physician to handle my care again no matter what the consequences. I even made my family promise that if I am ever unable to speak for myself they will not allow this particular physician to come near me. I am not a person that likes confrontation, and I hate having to voice any type of complaint especially when it comes to my health. I will always look for an alternative if at all possible rather than voice problems. However, sometimes the situation warrants it and I always go about it in a respectful manner despite how disrespectful the other party is to me. It is extremely upsetting to me to have to deal with mean spirited individuals who have no compassion and throw up roadblocks to care just because they think they can. I feel that I have had to fight for every last scrap of care that I have received. Healthcare should not be this way. You shouldn’t have to fight your way through a system that is failing every single person that ever gets sick and needs to see a doctor. This leads me back to the crap situation I am in today. I don’t know why these things still take me by surprise. You would think by now that I would come to expect the worst, but the things that I go through just seem unreal to me. I CANNOT wrap my head around it, and frankly I hope I never can. When patients begin accepting bad care or the lack of care, all hope is lost. The healthcare system will never change, and it will never be better. Today, was a slap in the face revealing a harsh reality of a universal record system. Just one of many reasons why I will NEVER, NEVER EVER, support any type of universal healthcare system. PERIOD. I CANNOT emphasize this enough. In any type of situation that you take the freedom to make decisions away from the people the decisions are supposed to help, help goes to hell in a hand basket. And that is exactly where our healthcare system is rapidly headed, to the gateway of hell.
So this is how my day started this morning: Since my PCP was not in the office, I called for an appointment with another PCP that I tried for a while because I wanted a more integrative approach to my care. I am an established patient there and saw several of their providers. I found some help there that I would not have found otherwise. Unfortunately, the grass is not always greener on the other side and I did not get the full holistic approach I had hoped for. However, I have made sure to not let too much time lapse. After 5 years, you are considered a new patient at most facilities. So, I have went just enough to stay an established patient and have the ability to still see the other providers in the office that were helpful. Not an ideal situation at all, but a better alternative to nothing. I have went where I had to go to get the help that I needed. As a patient, I have this right. But today is the perfect example of how that right is being taken away.
I called this PCP who I am an established patient with and got put on hold for over 40 minutes. Ultimately, the outcome was that they would not see me. Why? Because it popped up on their computer screen that I have seen another PCP since being seen in that office.
Thank you universal record system for making my access to treatment and the best help I can find that much more impossible! It wasn’t hard enough, so you found a way to make it harder by creating a big fat insurmountable problem which never existed until some fool who has never been sick a day in their life came up with the absolute worst idea for our healthcare system without considering any of the consequences!!!!! Somehow, in some universe that has never and will never exist, you think this makes everything better for all parties involved. You secretly know that it only helps the very people who have created the mess our system is in today, the insurance companies and drug companies just to name a few, instead of holding them responsible for their unchecked greed. The universal healthcare system. One size fits all. Every body is the same and all treatments work equally well for every body. Moving forward in the future, there will be no need for doctors as you can drive to your local healthcare facility, type your symptoms into a computer which will give you an accurate diagnosis and dispense any needed treatment or therapy you might need.
Sorry, not sorry for that rant!
After going round and round and being put on hold all that time, they finally said they would see me if I agreed to not see my other doctor again and only see them. I reluctantly agreed knowing full well that was not going to work. They then put me on hold again. When they came back on the phone a different voice greeted me and said they would not see me and I was told to go to urgent care. After a long pause, and not being able to think of anything nice to say I hung up the phone. I then burst into tears from sheer frustration, pain, and disbelief that this right to healthcare was taken away from me because of a universal record system these two physician offices have joined. So all this time I spent building a relationship with this provider who knew full well I was not going to change over until I was comfortable in trusting them with my care was ripped away because of a bullshit system that violates my rights and freedom to access healthcare that is best for me as a patient.
The ONLY person who knows what is best for a patient is THE PATIENT.
From the very beginning I was upfront about what I was looking for and why when I started going there. I was also upfront with my PCP of 20 years. I didn’t try to hide that fact, and I didn’t go to the two different physicians for the same problem. I was not doctor hopping, and I was being seen at the new office for things my PCP of 20 years could/would not provide because it was not available at their office. Without the help I received there, I would be in a much worse place today with my health problems. To be denied this right was devastating because I know all too well the repercussions of bullshit policies that take freedom away from their patients. Right now, my focus is treating this infection. But I am seriously considering either writing a letter, voicing a complaint, or even possibly speaking to an attorney.
This type of garbage that is being dished out as “care” and “policy” is only harming patients. It is upsetting and disturbing. But most of all it is scary. Think about it for just a minute. Try to imagine the situation this puts me in if you were in my shoes. For 39 years I have tried to find help. I have seen more doctors than I can even count. I’ve been hospitalized more than the average individual will ever be hospitalized in their life time just in my 39 years. I see multiple specialists that only address one organ in the body, never looking at my body as whole. Because of this, the root cause is not addressed. My PCP of 20 years either doesn’t believe in alternative therapies that have helped me and/or it isn’t offered at their practice. I hate change especially when it comes to changing physicians because it is starting all over trying to get help. I try a new PCP because I am out of treatment options at my PCP of 20 years. I find help that complements my other treatment, but the new PCP refuses to continue the current treatments of my PCP of 20 years despite the fact that it is the best treatments I’ve found for my illness. I am honest and up front with all my physicians. Neither of the physicians objects or voices any issues whatsoever. I do not doctor hop or double dip. Between all specialties and physicians I am receiving the best care I have ever received despite my illness continuing to progress. It took years and literally most of my life just to get to this point. Now I am told I have to choose one or the other and no matter which way I go I lose something that was helping and working. How is that right? How is that best for treating my illness? How is stripping away my freedom to choose the best care I have access to help me?
All because of a record system.
I didn’t ask for this illness. I didn’t ask for a body that is sick. I’ve diligently followed what my physicians have recommended. There is no danger to me as a patient finding what works best for me from my healthcare providers. It is my life. My health is my responsibillity to manage and take care of. No physician can do that for a patient. I have health insurance and my money is as good as anyone else’s. I am paying for a service. No doctor is doing me a favor by seeing me. It is a job that they are paid to do. And it is the only profession that I know of that still gets paid despite crappy service or a lack thereof without being put out of business.