Friday, September 11, 2009

A Rant About our Healthcare System

AS you know, I hurt my neck and back last Sunday. I went to the Chiropractor on Tuesday, and got some relief. Unfortunately, I have continued to have pain, numbness and a feeling that my arm is a dead weight. Yesterday the symptoms worsened and traveled to my fingertips. My arm feels like I swam 1/2 a mile.

The chiropractors office is closed on Thursdays, so I called my primary care Dr. I should say that my PCP is my treatment provider of last resort. I'm not a big fan of the medical Dr's and the insurance and drug companies they are in bed with. But the pain was significant, so I went.

The first issue I had was a big sign at the receptionist desk, stating that effective August 1, a new federal law required that they take a photocopy of my drivers license and scan it into their electronic computer system. That annoyed me for 2 reasons. First, I felt they should have sent a letter out to all their patients letting them know about this. Unfortunately, the second reason it bothered me was initially a gut reaction. That means, I couldn't get it into words while I was standing there at the desk. So, like an idiot, I handed over my license. Hey-I was in pain and not really able to focus on much at the time.

Now that I've had time to process my gut reaction, here's the thing: I think this Dr is misrepresenting the law. I don't think (but I could be wrong) that the law requires them to have a permanent record of my license in their system. Plus, the guise of the law, is that medical identity theft is on the rise. (Okay- I get that, and it opens up a whole other rant that I will avoid at the moment.)So, are you really telling me that the way to prevent identity theft is to add my drivers ID number to the list of things that could be stolen!?! I'm no computer guru- but I think there are a few flaws in this thought process!

The DR. I saw was new to he practice. I felt that she was nice and empathetic. And, while I was there she was thorough. She sent me for an MRI, and told me she would call with the results by the end of the day. She never did tell me what she was concerned about, except possible arthritis.

Sure enough. late in the day, Dr. L. leaves a message on my cell. It goes like this, "Hi. This is Dr. L. I have the results of your MRI and it shows that you have severe arthritis in your neck. At this time we would recommend physical Therapy. You can take ibuprofin for the pain. If you'd like to talk more about this, you could call me in the office tomorrow. I am leaving for the day."

A DR. should answer questions, not leave you with anxiety and 50 new unanswered questions. Like, What type of arthritis? Exactly where in my neck? What are some treatment options? Is this degenerative? What is the long term prognosis? What qualifies it as severe? And how did it get to that point? The list goes on....

It's very frustrating to me that somehow, this Dr. felt that giving me a diagnosis in a voice mail, with no follow up appointment or real instructions, was even remotely acceptable.

So, at this point, I'm still planning to race the Tri tomorrow. I don't see why I shouldn't. I'll see my chiropractor on Tuesday, and discuss everything with him. At least he'll give me some answers, other than "Take ibuprofin."


Mel-2nd Chances said...

thanks for stopping by my blog, and sorry that's it's taken me till now to stop by yours.. it's been a helluva week. Sounds like it has for you too! I'd be more than irritated by that dr's practice and voicemail diagnosis. Hope you get more answers very soon... and that you're feeling a little less pain.

PennyCandy said...

Wow Heidi; If your arm is that sore how will you swim and bike?

Yeah I would not be thrilled with the way that was handled.

HeidiTri's said...

Thanks mEl, for taking the time to stop by, when your life is really tough right now.
B- I'll side stroke if I have to, to get through the swim! And on the bike, I'll rely heavily on my right arm!

Anonymous said...

Wow, sorry about your discomfort. I would want to talk with Chiro - you should be able to have a copy of your MRI report for such too.
Certainly wishes for you to really go forth and finish the Tri tomorrow. Cheering you on for sure. Best of luck to you and love from Aunt .e