The next ChronicBabe carnival topic is “how do you deal with the medical establishment.”Â Since I lost my insurance two years ago, I hadn’t dealt with them at all until last month when I had to go to the emergency room, and ended up in the hospital for 5 days with no pain meds. I had my first visit with a rheumatologist since Oct. 2007 on Monday, and that experience wasn’t a whole lot better. She wanted to give me a script for an antidepressant to help me sleep, because “lack of sleep is what causes the fibro pain,” (ummmm, lack of sleep isn’t the ONLY thing that causes the pain, I spent almost 33 hours sleeping Tuesday and Wednesday because I had a migraine, and was in MORE pain yesterday) and when I told her I can’t take antidepressants because they trigger manic episodes she gave me the # for the mental health clinic. Then I got to spend another 3 hours running around the hospital getting blood work and xrays, and left with nothing . . .
My current policy for dealing with the medical establishment is to avoid it whenever possible. If and when I can afford to go back to the rheumatologist that treated me for 11 years, that may change, since she and I had a decent relationship, but I don’t know. I don’t know if I can deal with the hassles of fighting off meds that I’m not willing to take because of the side effects and begging for the things that DO make a difference. I don’t know if I have the strength to be my own advocate, when I don’t even have the energy to get dressed on my days off, and I REALLY don’t know if I’m willing to give them $20 for a doctor visit, when that means cutting my grocery budget to $40 for a week for two people.
I think the real question is, do I want to give a doctor $20 to poke and prod, tell me things I already know, and try to give me scripts for things that I can’t take; or do I want to spend that $20 on a bottle of turmeric that will reduce the systemic inflammation that causes my pain and fatigue? Is spending 5 hours at the hospital having tests a better use of my time than spending that 5 hours writing an article that will actually bring some money INTO my budget, instead of taking money out?
I’ve felt worse in the month since the doctors got hold of me than I’ve felt in over a year . . . I’d found things that helped, and when I came out of the hospital the doctor told me I couldn’t use them any more, but didn’t offer me anything to take their place (except a pain pill that’s nearly useless, and that I can’t get any more of unless I shell out another $20 to go see him and he’s kind enough to write me another script. And who KNOWS if I’ll actually have the $36 to get the damn thing FILLED if I can get him to write it?)
I think my best bet at this point is to stay away from doctors unless I’m bleeding or having a heart attack . . . I have non-prescription options that work better than the pain meds they’re willing to give me, and I don’t have the money to waste on doctors that don’t do anything helpful and medication that doesn’t work as well as my other choices.
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