My Medical Fiasco: Get Me Back to Quality Care with a Family Atmosphere!

I am just thankful this was not a "medical emergency" for I would have been dead by now! I guess I would have just gone to the emergency room, but what is happening in healthcare these days?

After a total fiasco with my primary care doctor about getting a muscle relaxant so my back will not go out before I see my chiropractor on Monday, I switched primary care doctors because this primary care physician would not refill my prescription unless I came in and saw him, but he was not IN on Friday.

Even if I did see him, he would just tell me the same thing he told me last year when he would not refill my prescription – get massage therapy, do core exercises, and regular adjustments (with him [osteopath], but he is not as effective [or as accessible]  as my chiropractor!).  I do all those things now. I was not doing massage therapy regularly and started right after his recommendation in August 2012 to do it monthly. I admit when our finances were low from Feb on, I stopped but am planning on starting up again. This was a good thing that came out of that mandatory appointment last year. 

I understand that he wants to see me once a year, but I already get a regular check up with a PA in gynecology  but she cannot be my primary care doctor. My other option is his "new" female PA, but she almost killed me 23 years ago when she was working in another doctor's office and examined me before I got married. She prescribed PAXIL for just five days out of the month for PMS (Seriously - had suicidal thoughts the day of my wedding when I have never been that way and have not since. PAXIL should NEVER be prescribed in this way! Plus, I was NOT complaining about my PMS when she urged me to try this "new" drug.). I refuse to go to her, but I love my PA in gynecology at the other healthcare conglomerate in town. But for all other things, like my back, I have to have a "primary care physician" or a PA who is in Family Medicine and not Gynecology. 

I did not want to waste the time and the money to go to this primary care physician just to have him tell me the same thing as last year (And that he did not like sex on a Tempur-pedic mattress. Yes, he told me that during my appointment last year. Can you believe it?). I think he is a good doctor, but it just seemed redundant seeing me again, but he wants a general exam once a year, but I already have a general exam with my GYN PA! 

Not to mention the fact that he was not even in the OFFICE until Monday would make the need for the muscle relaxants a moot point because I was seeing my chiropractor on Monday!

This made me mourn the good old days of the small clinic that my primary care physician maintained. He had another small clinic when my babies were born with two other doctors. I had the female one (George went to high school with her). Then she left (husband died of cancer) so this nice older gentleman became my primary care physician, and I had his female PA do the GYN stuff. 

Then, his clinic got taken over by one of the managed care conglomerates in town (there are two). I saw an immediate change from three personal doctors to six impersonal ones. I had to see one of these new doctors in an emergency over my youngest son (possible giardia infection), and he was HORRIFIC (Got mad at me when I checked my calendar about taking a poop sample for my seven year old and accused me of not caring for his health. Say what? Just checking my calendar to see what I needed to CANCEL so one of us, my husband or me, could be there when he pooped. Totally misread my intentions and yelled at me in the office. I was in tears.) He has since left the area, by the way. 

The original founder was still the wonderful doctor he had always been. He hated the new set up as much as I did and went and started another office with just him. At one time, he sent a letter to all his patients saying he was leaving medicine due to the whole move to managing healthcare financially versus providing healthcare and the whole insurance thing, but he recanted to our rejoicing! (Here is an article from 2006 on his website about health versus healthcare:

This reinvented office was old-school and caring. For instance, one time I stopped on a walk to pay a bill, and he saw me when he walked by and noticed something ailing and diagnosed and treated me on the spot! 

He had to retire early due to cancer treatment (been cancer free for two years now), but his old nurse works in one of the two clinics that came out of the old one. This new doctor (my primary care) allowed the other healthcare conglomerate to swallow up my old doctor's wonderful office (I know it is hard to be on your own, but my brother-in-law has managed to hang on with a group of six doctors and done well.)  Now, I wait on the phone for too long to talk to someone who does not really care about you. I asked to speak to JUST the old nurse from the old office after speaking to one nurse who did not want to take my prescription request in the first place (She said, “Call the pharmacy!”  I knew, since it was a narcotic, that my primary care physician was going to have to approve it anyway so it made sense for me to call them instead of the pharmacy. I have called the office for years and have never had someone say to call the pharmacy, nor be so rude!) She reluctantly took it, but DID NOT CALL ME BACK when the doctor would not approve it without seeing me first, wasting 24+ hours when I could have maybe gotten in to see him on Thursday. He takes Friday off!

When I finally got a hold of the old nurse (she had a three hour meeting at the conglomerate hospital), she and I lamented about how much we missed the old doctor. He would have just filled the prescription because he KNOWS me. (This is a long-standing prescription that this old doctor [or maybe his old PA] recommended. I keep it on hand in case my back gets really tight and I do not want to drink wine all day to keep it loosened up – I went through thirty pills in 7 months this time, but it is usually much, much longer.) When I requested a refill, his old nurse would look and see that I was not abusing pills (seriously, most times it expires before I even get through a whole bottle) and would ask my old doctor for a refill and he always filled it. The old nurse saw the ridiculousness of the whole thing (especially since the new doctor couldn't see me until Monday or later anyway - he couldn't even find it in his heart to give me a small prescription to get me through until I could see him, heartless in my humble opinion)  So, we brainstormed about an alternative.

Sigh. She offered the General Medicine PA (who could be a primary care doctor), but she is the PAXIL PA I mentioned above. The old nurse went and found another female doctor who was willing to fill a small prescription for just 10 pills (more than enough to get me through the weekend – I often just take ½ pill a day, usually at night to loosen me up) and just see me at my annual check-up in November (because the old nurse knows me and could explain my predicament and this female doctor had COMMON SENSE!). This was at 4:45 pm on Friday after this doctor had closed her office, but the old nurse indicated she has a heart like my old doctor. So, I am happy! Although I will miss the GYN PA I found at the other conglomerate in town, it makes sense to have one general female doctor do it all because of this need to have my prescription refilled periodically! (I do not like a male physician examining my private parts and have always had a female person who does that, with the exception of a blood clot in my uterus treated by my old doctor and mastitis treated by his old co worker in the small three person office 21 years ago.) 

I can digress for a moment to say that I was told by the new office receptionist that I needed to make an appointment before I would get the pills, but the old doctor's receptionist, who works with the new doctor, called ten minutes later to say she would go ahead and call in the prescription as long as I made a new appointment in the future, but then the new doctor came into his other office on his day off (yes, my doctor has TWO offices now, very confusing) and told the old nurse he would not give me any pills, but I went to tea, and did not get the old nurse's message until after I went to the pharmacy totally expecting them to be there! The left hand did not know what the right hand was doing! More hours wasted and no relief (It was not OUT but often when the muscles are tight like that, they eventually cannot hold on very much longer and spasm out – such an explosion in my back when this happens, cannot even begin to describe it and for some reason, it has happened four times in the last three weeks, and it has not done that since 2010.)

The pills are now waiting at the pharmacy, but I ended up not needing them after all because while I was waiting for the old nurse to talk to this new, female primary care doctor, I went for a walk to de-stress and called my chiropractor to see if I could get in before Monday after all. (If I say it is an emergency, his receptionist always gets me in, but when I called early this week, I thought I could "work it out" with stretching and self-massage. NOT! So, she scheduled me at the next available appointment which was a week away.)   After this late Friday afternoon call, he said he would see me at less than an hour and stayed late to do it! Relief in sight. Honestly, I prefer back adjustments to pills any day. Maybe I should just work for him? He adjusted me for 45 minutes, and I am fine now!

I should have just told his receptionist last Monday that I needed to be fit in. He is so good. He has even had me come to his house and adjusted me for free on a weekend! Now, he told me to keep that Monday appointment, and he would make sure I was OK for free! He is my friend now. I just need a primary care friend!

The good thing that has come out of this is I have a new female, primary care doctor who gets the old nurse's seal of approval. On top of all of this, she is a ten minute walk/1 minute drive from my house with the nice and caring old nurse and the other office (taken over for the old doc) is on the south side of town (fifteen minutes by car) with the snotty nurse. WIN-WIN! 

So, I am glad this all happened. The only downside is that I loved my GYN PA! She gets such good reviews from EVERYONE! If this new doctor is not to my liking, I will go back to seeing her. 

My old doctor is part of a dying breed of doctor who have a personal relationship with their patients. Sigh. 

End of long rant. We will now returned to our regularly scheduled blog posts. 
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