Category Archives: Health issues/care

Urgent Care Is Neither Urgent Nor Caring: Discuss

Saturday, 10:50 p.m.: Home from friends’ and 3-year-old finally in bed. College friend Chatterbox is spending the night again.

Sunday, 6:45 a.m.: Wakeup process starts.

9:30 a.m.: Church

11:30 a.m.: We brunch hard with an old friend/former student and her husband, visiting from TN.

1:00 p.m.: Discover Chatterbox can’t get back into her dorm until 3:00 p.m. Decide to take her to Aaron’s parents, who live just a mile away, to hang out until then.

1:15 p.m.: Chatterbox: “Why is he running in the house so weird?” Me: “I guess so the roof overhangs don’t drip rain on him?”

1:17 p.m.: Chatterbox, returning to car: “He cut his hand. He just said to get you.”

1:21 p.m.: Leave daughter and Chatterbox at Grandma’s, drive to nearby Urgent Care with my husband writhing and clutching his bloody left hand. He shut the truck door on his ring finger and sliced it open. And oh yeah, he’s on BLOOD THINNERS, which means he bleeds like a CSI extra when he gets so much as a papercut.

1:28 Arrive at Urgent Care. Scare the rest of waiting room.

1:45 See first nurse. Still bleeding.

1:55 Move to another room. Doctor thinks Aaron is close to passing out when walking, helps him get to room and lay down. He should really be paying attention to me, the World’s Greatest Fainter. But I pulled myself together. Aaron is given Tylenol. Because that’s what you get when you say your pain is a 50 out of 10.

2:05 Move to another room. Doctor-esque woman examines, consults with other doctor. Still bleeding.

2:45 FINALLY real pain meds, two painful shots in the finger that do mercifully numb the entire finger completely.

3:05 Go to another room for an x-ray.

3:30 Told the tip of his finger is fractured but they don’t do anything for that. Doctoresque woman cauterizes his nail to get blood out from underneath and relieve pressure. She and other doctor can now see under nail. Consult in hall. Tell us we have to go to the hospital because they will have to take the nail off to stitch it up underneath and he will bleed a lot. In fact, still bleeding.ifyoulikeityoushouldaputgauzeonit

4:00 Finger gauzed up to go (but oh, by the way, still bleeding). Glad we had fancy new phones to play with during this ordeal!

4:30 Arrive at hospital, check into ER

4:35 Seen by nurse.

4:50 Seen by doctor-esque guy. “I don’t think it’s actually fractured. Maybe, but you can’t really tell from the x-ray. I’m just gonna fix this up for you.”

5:00 Doctor is cutting, stitching, sewing–we don’t know, we couldn’t look. He said he put in about six (tiny) stitches. The nail is sewed back on just to cover the wound. Aaron has to see a hand doctor later this week to make sure it all looks good.

5:30 Leave hospital.

6:00 Pick up AJ from her unexpected long play day with Grandma!

6:25 Find open pharmacy, drop off prescriptions.

6:35 Hot and ready pizza, what an invention!

6:45 Pick up prescriptions, head home with overtired three-year-old whining she wants to watch the movie I said we’d watch when we were home and Aaron was studying (ha ha ha how’d that work out?).

7:45 Arrive home.

8:15 Exhausted child in bed. Food in me. Steelers on TV. Ahhhhh.

So if you’re keeping score at home that’s 2 care centers, 6 exam rooms, 4 doctors, 6 stitches . . . and as soon as the numbing wears off, a whole lotta Vicodin.

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Note on this post title: Okay, the Urgent Care people were caring. Urgent, meh, not so much.

This Little Piggy Flu Away…

…and found out she does NOT have H1N1 swine flu of doooooooooom.

But she does have some nasty flu-type virus. Wednesday AJ was at my parents’ house seeming warm and with a little cough, and by after her nap she was burning up and coughed up a big pool of slobbery mucus. At which point my mother began the process of FREAKING OUT more every hour and reciting swine flu symptoms and horror stories (what? you can’t imagine her doing this?) until I she had me freaked out too. Mostly because due to the continuing saga of our insurance/Medicaid adventures, AJ doesn’t really have a doctor around here that I could call.

AJ’s fever did respond to Tylenol, and after dinner she was up for her usual  jumping on the bed and yelling calmly playing and sweetly singing lullabies. But alas, at 6:00 a.m. her temp was 104 and I decided I’d better take her to urgent care (or my mother would kidnap her and do it).

The H1N1 test was negative so we were sent home to just do the usual (Tylenol/motrin, etc.) unless she developed trouble breathing. Her cough’s not getting worse and her temp is under control now that we got a different flavor meds that is not so apparently death-defyingly horrible that it required two people and a syringe to get it in her. Seriously, that girl can fight! Okay, okay, no cherry Tylenol. Duly noted. Sheesh.

I know you’re not supposed to put medicine in food because you might not know how much they ate. But I was home alone and she’d bested me at wrestling. I made sure she ate it all, all at once, by taking pictures to get her to ham it up slurping it so she’d keep eating. Desperate times are creative times.

Acetaminophen-laced applesauce . . . ahhhhhh! Refreshing!

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Let the record show that this was the Joygirl’s first trip to a doctor for sickness of any kind. Parting gift from a third world orphanage: one kickass immune system.

Seriously, that girl can fight!

Income-based, My Asset

We failed in our quest for government health insurance because we have “assets” (although it does look like AJ will get some coverage). If they had simply published the surprisingly low asset limit somewhere, anywhere, I could have saved myself a lot of time and the taxpayers some money (on processing our application and mailing us unhelpful papers).

So I paid our first private health insurance premium.

Then I threw up.

But hey, once we’ve used up all our assets on health care, which shouldn’t take long at this rate, we can reapply and maybe then they will, well, cover our (ahem) assets.

46 Million Plus 3

The number of Americans without health insurance is 46 million—and three.

We do not have health insurance.*

My husband has a fairly serious medical condition called Marfan Syndrome. He’s had eye surgeries. He’s had heart surgery. He’s part mechanical, and he’s on blood thinners that have to be checked by a lab regularly.

We have a child. She loves the playground. There’s wood chips, sure, but I’m just sayin’—she’s two and a half. Things happen.

We need health insurance. We want health insurance. We have been trying to get health insurance—but we have not been able to get it.

This has been the biggest obstacle, frustration, and fear relating to our move and Aaron going back to school. We knew he should do it and honestly, the church couldn’t keep him on much longer—our health insurance costs were breaking them—but as soon as he left his job, we would be without insurance. We could not get COBRA because he was essentially a one-man group policy. And the “market” does not want you when you have a preexisting condition; they will turn you down.

I determined that we had only one choice (well, it really isn’t a choice when there’s just one, is it?) in Michigan, the “insurer of last resort,” as some states call it, which has to take everyone regardless of health. So weeks ago I called Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and confirmed that we would be lucky enough to pay them hundreds of dollars a month so that after we pay thousands of dollars out of pocket, they will help us out if anything really terrible happens. They said we could get coverage starting July 1 and that in place of Michigan driver’s licenses, since we couldn’t get those until we got to Michigan and we couldn’t go to Michigan until after Aaron’s job and insurance ended, a letter from the seminary confirming enrollment and lease would do.

Can you guess?

Three business days before our Oregon coverage ended, we got a letter saying our BCBS application was rejected due to the lack of Michigan driver’s licenses. Yeah, there’s a B.S. in BCBS—you said you would take the letter! And also, thanks for letting me know at the last possible moment before I am totally screwed and for keeping your underwriting people under a cone of silence ensconced in a fortress of solitude behind an impenetrable wall of unhelpful peons so I can’t even find out if they even got the letter they supposedly asked for.

Finally I was able to reach the helpful person I’d originally talked to, but it was a no go; underwriting would not cooperate. All we could do was get our Michigan driver’s licenses the first day possible, get them the numbers to restart our application, and hope they’d retroactivate our coverage back to the 15th (Aaron had to get one blood draw done without insurance anyway because he couldn’t wait any longer).  As far as I can tell, unless you have a job waiting, there is literally no way to move across state lines without a gap in insurance coverage.

This is not right. We are trying to do the right thing and stay insured. We are willing to pay, even though we can’t really afford it. The system wouldn’t let us, because it’s not really a system—it’s a hodgepodge, and it doesn’t work.

I have been hoping and praying and campaigning and harassing my representatives for health reform since I found out firsthand in 2006 that the reason this system doesn’t work is that it doesn’t work for usit’s not on our side. As soon as you need health care, you become the enemy of health insurance. Never confuse the two.

I have been following the legislative battles over health care reform closely and oh yes, my senators have heard from me (they actually do work for us, you know). I hope it will not be long until the tears of frustration I’ve shed over this issue can be replaced with tears of relief that a fair, affordable public plan is available to me, and my precious daughter, and my bionic husband whose health so greatly depends on it. If you can tell me what I could have done differently in my quest for insurance in 2006 when my husband’s vision hung by a few stretching tissues or this year when I did everything asked and still got nothing, you can tell me we don’t need a national public insurance option that’s open to all. If not, I hope you’ll either be pleased that we’re resorting to Medicaid or join me in pushing for major health care reform as soon as possible.

46,000,003 people are waiting.

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* It’s possible we just got insurance, since I got a huge bill from BCBS today, but it didn’t come with anything helpful like a card or contract number or letter saying hey, we’re insuring you now. And until I see that, it’s just a bill. A bill too huge to pay. *Sigh*