Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Singing the Health Care Woes ... Yet Again!

I've been going to the same doctor for years and years now but when I first started going to Dr. Joe way back in the mid 1990's, I lived a lot closer to his office. When I moved to Norwich I moved a lot further away from his office which is located in Brooklyn which is about 30 miles north of where I currently live. Still, I really like Dr. Joe and didn't see the need to change to a doctor closer to home until recently when gas prices went through the proverbial roof.

Dr. JoeI didn't like Dr. Joe simply because he looked a lot like the actor Jon Lovitz and I continuously expected him to break out into a routine from Saturday Night Live but because he never talked down to me and didn't dismiss any of my concerns. I've been with the man for many years and many problems but now the high cost of gas has made me look for a doctor closer to home here in Norwich. Sigh ...

To that end, I had an appointment with a new doctor today who seemed more than qualified as she had held several doctor's jobs in San Francisco and had recently started her own practice here in Norwich. Though she seems nice enough, I'm not sure if I'm going to stick with her or haul myself the 30 miles to see "my" doctor as there just seemed to be something missing during the course of the appointment. Maybe my expectations were just too high or something. Well, that and I just couldn't picture her saying, "yeah, that's the ticket!"

At any rate, during the course of my physical I told her about my ongoing back issues and how I'm almost afraid to do anything these days for fear that I'm going to throw my back out again. After all, last time I was in pain for three days simply because I bent down to put yogurt containers in the refrigerator; something like that most definitely gives one pause and makes one overly cautious. Being able to tell the weather by how bad my leg aches is getting kind of old, too!

The new doc asked if I had ever tried lidocaine patches and I told her that I had heard of them but never tried them. She told me that some people have great success with them while they do absolutely nothing for other people but if I have chronic pain (which I do!) then perhaps they might be worth a shot. If you've never heard of a lidocaine patch, it's a form of topical anesthesia that you apply directly to your skin to stop the nerves from transmitting painful impulses to the brain. Considering that a lot of my current pain is due to residual nerve damage from when I had that pinched and mangled sciatic nerve, I figured that it wouldn't hurt to give the patches a try. With a glimmer of hope starting to spark, I went to the local CVS Pharmacy and ran smack into a brick wall ...

As the pharmacist typed the information into the computer for my insurance she stopped, looked up at me, and asked me if that was the only insurance I had - perhaps I had a secondary insurance that was better? Uhm, no ... I only have the one insurance but I could have sworn that I was told that our prescriptions were of the $5/$10/$2o deductible sort ... was it more than $20? Yep ... a lot more ... $166 more! Had I decided that I really wanted this prescription filled my co-pay for 30 days worth of the patches would be $186 ... that's just $14 shy of $200 if I'm doing my math correctly! Nothin' for nothin' but I'm a single working Mom and I just don't have that kind of money sitting around collecting dust. Plus to have to come up with it every 30 days ... nope, not happening!

Sigh ... so even though there seemed to be the possibility of a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel where my back pain was concerned it turns out that it was simply the headlight from yet another oncoming train set to flatten me if I didn't jump off of the tracks in time. I swear ... I need to either qualify for Medicare, Medicaid, marry a guy with a great insurance plan, or move to Canada because my health insurance is depressing the hell out of me!

The really sad thing is, I doubt I can afford the co-pay to go to a psychiatrist to talk about my depression!


  1. You tickle me, Linda. I've heard women talk about marrying a man for money, but you want to marry a man for a good insurance policy. Seriously, that wouldn't be a bad idea at all considering the prices of drugs. And it is a shame that you have to think about changes doctors because of gasoline prices. This country is in a terrible bind in a lot of areas just because of the high prices of gas. It's a shame.

  2. well this totally sucks. and since you don't know if it will even work it triple sucks. sorry...

    hugs, bee

  3. Aw F*&%. This really sucks. Maybe the doctor has some samples? Though...then you'll know what you're missing when you can't get them again.

    Damn...I'm sorry!!!

  4. That is terrible. For a patch?
    Anyway....you don't need a psychiatrist. Blogging is good therapy - as long as you're sitting in a nice comfy chair.
    I'll let you borrow my crown.

    Will that make you feel better?
    If it doesn't just lie to me and tell me it does....

  5. Yeah, I had to change insurance this last year and I went to the new doctor that the insurance company assigned me. After they did x-rays of my heel they told me that they were no longer under that insurance plan and I would have to pay the full amount. The joke was on me. I called the insurance company and they didn't even know he wasn't with them, good grief!

  6. Anonymous12:06 AM EDT

    Insurance is really a crock isn't it?! We're in sad shape, this country. If you didn't work, sat at home and popped out kids by the dozen you could have those patches at your disposal with no hesitation! Grrrr...

  7. This subject really gets my dander up. My cuz had no insurance at work and was going to Tijuana for her meds! She finally got Medicare but the things she had to do without before hand...
    I was so spoiled working for the county - the insurance was fantastic! Since I'm not working and am on hubman's policy I'm finding out how bad things really are! We're paying over $500 bucks out of pocket for really suckie insurance.
    Something's got to give but I sure hope it isn't socialized!

  8. Did you try to look them up on-line in one of those Canadian pharmacies? Maybe it would be cheaper there, even with the shipping charge...

  9. Linda, I'm so sorry about your chronic back pain. Can I ask "Are you against taking ibuprophen or naproxen?" Taking these drugs short term will do a world of good and probably no stomach problem. Aleve taken regularly (the trick is taking it regularly in the acute period) will help. The reason you take it regularly is so that the drug builds up in your blood stream and kills the pain for the time you take the drug. Take it when you go to Boston for those days so you can enjoy yourself and forget your back. Now I'm not a doctor so "what do I know?" I felt I had to say that. But I've suffered with chronic back pain for a long time and this has worked. Hope your back gets better.
    Thanks for visiting my Creative Photography post! Say hello to Mags!

  10. Oh Linda I know what you mean. $54 co-pay yesterday for one child for a month.

    Maybe we could both go the psych together and get 50% discount.

    Cheers dearie

  11. Although most people think our Healthcare is free in England we have to pay £6.90 ($13)for every item on a prescription. If you have say two items it's £13.40 ($26) etc., etc. That's every month if you are on regular medication. Not so free, until you get to retire - prescriptions are free once you're over 60!

  12. I would totally marry a dude for better insurance, honey.
    I mean, a few blow jobs a week in exchange for a good co-pay? Done!


    Time to try duct-taping those refrigerator magnets to your back...

  13. Anonymous3:02 PM EDT

    Linda, There are avenues for getting what you need... just make take some bush-beating and advocating.

    There are several prescription programs out there... worth a look. Maybe it can help lessen the gap.

    Also have your doc write a note to the insurance company and see if there is a way they can work with you. Filing a script may be easier than repeated doc visits...

    Also check to see if your isnurance company has a chronic pain program. This has been a hot-button issue for a few years now...

  14. Anonymous3:06 PM EDT

    I'm sorry you are in so much pain! I too have chronic pain that is muchly related to a disk and sciatic nerve damage problem....my family doctor prescribed gabupentin (sp?) (an epilepsy med) to dull things. I take it once in the night and it helps me sleep better which makes me better able to handle the pain during the day. In the day I live on Advil. Just wanted to clear something up as far as Canadian's and prescription meds, You must have a drug plan and dependent on your plan some may be covered and others may not.
    If you have no drug plan you don't generally get free drugs unless social services kick in. Sorry to prattle on but for an fyi

  15. Sorry to hear you are in such pain.

    What about that plan that Montel Williams advertises?

    We have crappy insurance right now. It's catastrophic, I guess you'd call it.

    I now get my prescription at Wal-Mart for $4 a month, and Ralph's too.


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