There are many people who are going through rough financial times today. I totally get that the economy and rising gas, food and prices of everything has many people panicked and has affected the way many do business.
Having worked for many doctors throughout my working career, I have dealt with patients who sometimes fell behind on their payment plans and such.
Many people feel that a doctor should think about the wellness of his/her patients before their pocketbook but sadly, especially in today's world, doctors are about the money first.
Yesterday I experienced an episode that caused me alarm. I am hardly a hypocondriac and if anything, I have a high tolerance level for pain.
Out of nowhere I again experienced some symptoms that had me concerned. I suddenly got dizzy, very nauseaous, felt weak, was having trouble breathing and had a strange numbness in my left arm. I then felt scared and decided to call my doctor for advice.
I had seen my doctor several weeks prior and due to the visit and it being the beginning of a new year, I had a balance because my insurance deductible had not yet been met. It was $43. Not a lot of money to some, but when you are living without a paycheck, it is a lot.
I totally planned on paying it off but as I am again struggling just to meet my rent, the urgency wasn't that great.
My teenage daughter recently lost her medical insurance due to her dad getting laid off from his job and being that she has an on-going medical condition, I have been focused on figuring out how to afford treatment for her.
I also do not have a car being that my husband's car had to be junked after he ran it into the ground. He has the job so he has the car.
Like I said, my circumstances are not all that unique. Lots of people are unemployed and struggling to stay afloat.
When I called my doctor's office, I was told that since I have a balance they would not see me without me paying my balance in full.
I was further met with sarcasm over my concern about my symptoms. Part of me feels that they (my symptoms) were NOT taken seriously because I have a history of anxiety.
Funny thing is that my symptoms are atypical of heart disease in women. I am 50 years old, a mild smoker and it is not unreasonable to believe that I could have been having a heart attack.
Had I felt my symptoms were that serious, yes, I would have called an ambulance. I did not want to go to the emergency room and be treated by doctors who don't know my medical history. I actually trust my doctor and felt the best care I could receive would be from someone who knows me.
I was angered by the response of the doctor's office. When money is more important than a patient's health it is a sad commentary on where we are as a society.
The emergency rooms are full of people who don't need to be there. They are there because they lack the insurance or money to be seen anyplace else.
When I see posts about how Obamacare is helping people I get angry. Obama has not done sh#@ for me. Yes I received 99 weeks of unemployment benefits after my boss closed his business. I have been unable to secure permanent work since then. Now without a car my chances are even lower of finding work. My plan is still to find something within walking distance.
I cannot afford public transportation.
I have health insurance through my husband's job that costs us a good portion of his check. The deductible is high and that is why I cannot use it. I just don't have the money to pay anyone anything right now.
I hope that my episode was "just" a panic attack. It wouldn't surprise me because of the mounting stress that I am living with.
I know I am not alone. I am not looking for pity. I am not looking for a handout.
I am disgusted, angry and fighting to hold onto hope that tomorrow will be better.
As for my now-former doctor, I wrote her a letter and enclosed a check for $5 (that I borrowed). I told her how disappointed I was in her staff's total lack of compassion and obvious greed.
Cutting ties with this doctor is spiting myself in a way because it was within walking distance of my home. Again I have another reason to lose faith and question how I am ever going to crawl out of this disaster that my life has become.
Although it seems like I am down, I am still kicking. I will continue because giving up is not an option.