Tuesday, April 08, 2014

One Healthy Druid, Sort Of

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" I'm your host, Anne Johnson, and I'm healthy. Well, not really. If you consider mental health part of health, then I have a chronic condition. I take medication for the condition. If I miss the medication, I will become ill.

I take two medications. One is controlled. One isn't.

My local pharmacy fills my prescriptions automatically. When I went to pick them up on Sunday, the controlled medication wasn't there. The prescriptions had expired, and apparently my doctor, Doctor Mushroom, was out of town. So I got my one medicine (filled by some doctor I'd never heard of), but the other one was a no-show. That would be the controlled medication.

I had enough of the controlled medication to last two more days. So today I called Doctor Mushroom's office to get him to front me a 30-day supply until I could get an appointment. That's how it's worked before, once or twice, when this happened.

Recently, Doctor Mushroom merged his practice with another doctor. So there are secretaries working for him now who don't know me. I got one of these pleasant individuals on the telephone, and the conversation went like this:

Anne: Hello, my prescription for XXXXX expired, and I didn't notice. Can you get Doctor Mushroom to call in a prescription and make me an appointment?

Secretary: He won't call in a prescription for you until he sees you.

Anne: When can I come in? I'll need to see him some time today or tomorrow.

Secretary: His next available appointment is next Monday.

Anne: So what am I going to do for medication until then?

Secretary: I don't know. You'll just have to do without it. Why didn't you notice that it needed authorization?

Anne: The pharmacy has been filling it and calling Doctor Mushroom right along! Ma'am, I need this medicine. I've been a patient of Doctor Mushroom's since he began his practice. He knows me. Can I talk to him?

Secretary: He's got patients.

Anne: You can't work me in? He could always work me in.

Secretary: His next available appointment is next Monday. Do you want that appointment?

Anne: I can't go without my medication for that long. I can't believe this is happening. You mean to tell me if I had high blood pressure, I wouldn't be able to get my medicine for a week? I could be dead by then.

Secretary (patronizing): You aren't going to die.


Secretary: You should be more careful about your refills. Here. I've looked up your file. You haven't been to see Doctor Mushroom since 2012.

Anne: Wow. That can't be true.

Secretary: It's true. Your last appointment was July 2012. Do you want that Monday appointment?

Anne: I want you to go right now and tell Doctor Mushroom that it's Anne Johnson, and I need some XXXX, and he needs to call it in.

*beep*beep*beep* (on hold for about three minutes)

Secretary: He will not prescribe the medicine for you until he sees you Monday. Do you want the appointment?

Anne: Yes. Because I want to look him in the eye when I tell him that he has become a bad doctor who has forgotten his Hippocratic Oath.

Secretary: Well, whatever.

Anne: I'm leaving this practice.

Secretary: Suit yourself.

Anne: But I still want the appointment, as I said.

Secretary: Monday at @#:#$.

I hung up on her, with that snarky "you won't die" ringing in my ears. Oh, the stigma! It's only a mental health medication. How bad could I need it?

The cell phone hadn't cooled off before I rang up my psychiatrist, also a very longtime physician in my life. The difference between this psychiatrist and Doctor Mushroom is ... $120. Yes, it costs $130 to get the medication from the psychiatrist. Again with the stigma. Have you noticed that mental health professionals who are any good don't take insurance?

The medication was secured and an appointment made with the mental health professional.

Three hours later, someone from Doctor Mushroom's office called. He faxed in the prescription. But the damage is done.

I'll bet I'm preaching to the choir here amongst you broad-minded and thoughtful Pagans, but mental health is not really considered part of health at all. You see it all the time. Addicts are "weak," depressives should "just get over it," anxious people (like me) should just settle down. It fucking doesn't work like that, and medical secretaries should know it.

I haven't been to a doctor since 2012. Wow, the picture of health! On the surface.


Lucretia said...

Anne, I am SO glad you don't let those people boss you around or tell you that you can just "deal with it"! My husband has several controlled meds like that, but fortunately the office staffs of all his doctors AND our pharmacist are terrific and totally on the ball about things like that, so he ALWAYS gets seen ASAP if this happens, which is actually pretty rare. That woman had no reason to act like that toward you, as you obviously don't make a habit of forgetting!

I once had a friend who called her doctor's office and tried to get an appointment because she felt very ill and was in pain. His nurse told her that she wasn't "really" sick and refused to schedule an appointment for her. I told her to take her husband and GO IN, and tell them they would sit in the waiting room until the doctor could see her. Thank the gods, she did. Turns out she had cancer... I will NEVER forgive that bitch who called herself a nurse; I hope she rots in whatever hell her religion believes in, and if she's an atheist or agnostic, then I hope they send her to the Christian hell, because that's where she belongs. And if that's hexing, so be it. And I hope all the Gods and Goddesses ARE listening.

Sorry for the rant. And again, I'm SO glad you stand up and speak up when you need to! Don't ever change!

Debra She Who Seeks said...

That's right, Anne. Don't take their bullshit. Good for you!

Katie @ Horrific Knits said...

I have moderate to severe PMDD. I was diagnosed in 2005. It's only now, close to 9 years later, that I'm really getting my medical team to pay attention to what's going on. And the kicker is that they're only paying attention because I had a break down in the office the last time they had me come in for a blood pressure check.

My particular brand of PMDD will make me almost non-functional at time, including extreme panic attacks. My med team keeps playing games with me with my meds-and the only way they didn't mess with them again was because I had one of my patented panic attacks in the office. I looked at them and said this is what happens when I'm medicated. Imagine what it's like when I'm not.

Mental health care in this country is beyond broken. I don't even want to feel good, I just want to not loose a week out of every month until I hit menopause.

Athana said...

Anne, I love you! It's true, people have a prejudice against people with any kind of ailment that can't be viewed with the naked eye the way a missing finger can, or a leg in a cast. I hate it! But I admire you greatly because you are fighting against this. Could you move to Maine? We need more people like you here.

But speaking of secretaries and receptionist people, I've had more than my fair share of run-ins with them, even without them knowing I have any mental disability. My dentist's receptionist, who found out I wrote a book about the Goddess, is a BornAgain (Goddess forbid), and she effectively prevented me from ever being able to contact my dentist. I can laugh about it now, but then it made me see so much red that I changed dentists. (!)

After all, most dentists can fix your teeth, but not all dentist receptionists make you want to tear your teeth out so you never have to see them (the receptionist OR the dentist) ever again.

I'm not saying you should switch doctors, but then again, if you could find someone to recommend a new one, why not try her/him?

Frankly, I don't think doctors and dentists realize how important their receptionists are.

Lori F - MN said...

The only thing worse than bad receptionists and bad secretaries at medical offices is having all your prescriptions out of your hand and 'automated'. My meds are sent to me for 'my' convenience. I drive past the pharmacy 2x a day, minimum. I actually like having control of my medications and being responsible for them.
Make sure Dr Mushroom knows that his staff is the reason for you leaving.


I am so lucky I have Dr. Cujo and Old Corner Drug..if my prescription gets down to the last one, ocd calls dr cujo and tells him and he says give her a 30 day supply and tell her i made her apt for tomorrow morning..(he knows i have no life.)tada..that's it..and if for some reason dr cujo can't be reached for a refil Kirk gives me enough to last till I see dr cujo..love them.

Lori F - MN said...

THAT is what I miss about handling my own prescriptions.

Anne Johnson said...

Yeah, Jackie Sue's hometown has had its share of tragedy, but it still operates like a small town. All doctors should be Cujo!

Anonymous said...

Our whole medical system sucks. We've been dealing with it a lot lately (my partner broke her neck, with no insurance.) and they just don't seem to care.