Struggling with Medical Care
Hello Fellow Humans!
Today I would like to share with you a few of the struggles I have had with getting the medical care that I need. This is a topic that weighs heavily on my mind. The purpose of this post is that I am trying to learn how to find a doctor and a dentist who truly cares about there jobs and to share that process with you. I KNOW that I’m not the only person who has had a difficult time with health care and I think that it is important for us to share these stories. We are not alone!
Strap in, cuz this story could take a minute…
About 14 years ago, I was diagnosed with HPV. I had a strain that causes dysplasia and over time, cancer on the cervix. Fortunately, this is one of the slowest growing forms of cancer and can be easily treated when caught early.
I was instructed to just come in for a pap every year so that my doctor could keep an eye on it. Each pap would result would come back abnormal and be followed by colposcopy and a cervical biopsy and each year the results would say that it was nothing to worry about. This is a painful procedure that changes the face of the cervix.
About 8 or 9 years later I was told that I needed to have a LEEP. This procedure included removing the outer surface of the cervix This is an operation that changes the whole face of the cervix. It was possible that future paps could come back abnormal, meaning more colposcopies and biopsies.
In the end, I chose not to get this treatment and instead read a book called Thank You for HPV. From this book, I learned how to take care of my body and rebuild my immune system by changing my diet and supplementing with vitamins. I learned how to slowly sluff off the dysplasia with natural ingredients like tea tree oil and replenish the healing tissues with vitamin e and vitamin a. I am now free from HPV. Why didn’t any of my doctors talk to me about this in 9 years leading up to the recommendation of a LEEP? How do I know if I even had HPV to begin with? How do I know it’s really gone?
About 3 years ago, I fell off of a unicycle and I broke my leg. It took 8 weeks to get any real treatment. Since we had just moved to the area, I hadn’t yet found a primary physician. So I went to our local medical center to be seen for this and was assigned a primary physician who I never saw.
On my first trip to the doctor, I didn’t know what was wrong. My knee was very swollen and I couldn’t straighten my leg or bend it any further. It was stuck at a 90-degree angle. My foot was also very swollen and bruised. On this visit, my doctor told me that I had a sprain and to wear a brace, ice it, take Ibprophen and stay off my feet. The nurse then came in and forced a brace that was too small over my swollen knee and sent me on my way. This did seem reasonable at the time, but after about a week, I realized that there was no change.
Throughout the weeks, I went in many times to be seen by many different doctors, since my “primary physician” didn’t have time to see me. I was given several different diagnoses including athletes foot and a bunion before a doctor finally recommended I get X-rays and an MRI. (I don’t have athletes foot or a bunion).
This doctor said it would take about 3 to 4 weeks to have an MRI approved by my insurance and that the doctor’s office would call me to schedule an appointment. After 4 weeks I hadn’t heard from them so I called to find out what was going on. They had forgotten to turn in the request. I then had to wait another 3 weeks for approval of the procedure. Then, when I went in for the MRI, the woman tried to force my frozen leg straight.
It took a very heated discussion with the “Head of Medicine” at this hospital to finally be referred to a doctor my radiologist recommended. My new doctor was fabulous! But what he found is that my tibia had broken vertically, when that happened the muscles froze around it so it wouldn’t move out of place. I was lucky! The bone was already halfway through the healing process and I was prescribed physical therapy. On my first day of pt, I was hooked up to an electric muscle stimulator, my muscles loosened and I was on my way to healing!
A Cluster of UTI’s
Shortly after I broke my leg, I had a urinary tract infection (UTI) and went to see a nurse practitioner about it. She took a urine sample and examined me and afterward agreed with my diagnosis of a UTI and prescribed me antibiotics. A couple of days later, her office called stating that my culture came back negative for a UTI and to stop taking the antibiotics. I knew that I had a UTI and told the receptionist that had called me that I didn’t think it was a good idea to stop taking them since I did have a UTI and it would not kill the infection if I stopped taking the antibiotics. She insisted that I needed to stop taking them anyway. I asked her if my nurse practitioner wanted to see me so that we could figure out what the problem really was if it wasn’t a UTI and she didn’t think that was necessary. She made it seem like if I did come in there would be nothing that they could do anyway. I did stop taking the antibiotics and of course, my UTI came back with a vengeance. I finished my original prescription and my symptoms subsided.
I found a new doctor right away. But antibiotics have to be taken as prescribed or it won’t completely kill the infection. Because of this, I had a time where I had a UTI once a month for almost a year! It finally ended in a terrible yeast infection from the overuse of antibiotics. My new doctor was treating me, but all of my cultures come back as negative for UTIs and the yeast infection and my doctor wasn’t really that interested in finding out why. In fact, it really made her uncomfortable when I questioned these results and asked her to look at what the problem could be if it wasn’t UTIs. My insurance will only cover one lab company, and it is my belief that they are not actually doing the job since I obviously had these infections.
Poor Dental Care
I had been going to the same dentist for close to 10 years before I moved to a new area and had to find a replacement. I loved my old dentist, I used to rave about how great he was to anyone that would listen! I went into my new dentist’s office with positivity and naivety. The problems started with small things, like being made to wait an hour after my appointment times to be seen, feeling like the dentist and his assistants were talking over me about where they get their nails done and the latest shows they are watching. But then there were other, bigger issues like how every time I came in they were taking X-rays, even though I had just had a full exam with x-rays. When I asked about this, I was told it was just procedure for this office.
Because this dentist office is set up like an assembly line, I barely had time to really talk to the dentist, and when I did have the time he seemed rushed and uninterested in me as a human and moved the conversation along quickly. There were many times that he actually had his back turned to me while I was talking. He installed a crown that was broken or incorrectly made, so it’s in my mouth but doesn’t quite reach the gum line. It is also precarious to use for chewing. He filled a cavity in the tooth right behind it but left a piece of the framing material between my tooth and the gum line. Of course, I didn’t notice it until the novocaine had worn off. When I was able to finally go back, the dentist did remove the piece but didn’t finish filling the cavity. He also charged me $54 to fix his mistake. I still have extreme heat and cold sensitivity in that tooth.
At this point, I was having earaches, headaches and could not comfortably close my mouth. My bite was very off, but when I went back to have this looked at, I was told I had no money left on my insurance even though after my last appointment is still had over $100. I was then told that I had no right to complain because they had given me free dental procedures. I later learned that my insurance doesn’t cover the number of x-rays they were taking and these were the free procedures they were talking about.
This is when I decided that I need to take action and I turned my dentist into the Better Business Bureau and The Department Of Regulatory Action (DORA). My dentist didn’t respond to the better business bureau at all. DORA did an investigation that pretty much came to nothing.
I now have TMJD (termandular joint disorder) because my dentist didn’t really care about me and my health. This is a disorder that isn’t easily treated if it can be treated at all. It is a painful problem that sometimes has me down for days. I went in to see my new dentist while the investigation was going on and I heard him say to the receptionist, “I don’t want to get involved in a lawsuit.” I don’t feel that he was honest when he was contacted about the investigation, especially since I obviously had TMJD symptoms and he told me that the fillings and crown my previous dentist had done were way too big. How can I trust this new dentist now? It was never my intention to sue. Isn’t there any other form of discipline for doctors and dentists?
My Most Recent Physical
This year, my primary physician moved away and the doctor’s office replaced her with a nurse practitioner. There was no warning, only a postcard that came in the mail telling our family that she had left.
When it came time for my annual physical I was treated like a job that needed to get done so she could move on to the next one. She did examine me, but she didn’t ask about my history; if I am a smoker or drinker, what kind of vitamins I take or if I had any other concerns. I was asked by the examining nurse what kind of birth control I take and she wrote it down on the back of a scrap of paper. I had a tubal ligation a few years ago. They didn’t even have my chart pulled out! The nurse practitioner then asked during the exam again, twice, what kind of birth control I was taking. I went there to talk to her about my TMJD and what if anything could be done but didn’t feel like I had an opportunity to tell her about my issues. My nurse practitioner, who is acting as my primary care provider, doesn’t really care about me.
We live in an amazing time! I often think about what it would have been to suffer an infection before antibiotics were invented. I love having modern medicine and knowing that I get to live a longer healthier life because of it. I know that there are good doctors out there. I have had a few that I really liked and could tell they wanted to be good at their jobs, but the majority of my doctors are just in it for the money. They take vacations and don’t leave us with a backup plan. They are only in the office a few days a week making scheduling as difficult as possible. We are only dollar signs for them and medicine has become a corporate assembly line. It definitely seems dauntingly hopeless.
So what am I going to do about it?
It is important to take an active role in maintaining our health by eating right, exercising and being sure to floss and brush every night. Not everything is so easy though, we need doctors!
There have been times that I have known something was wrong with my treatments and didn’t say anything until it was too late. There are many reasons, but it comes down to a fear that if I disagree with a doctor they will;
1. Disregard my fears or concerns because I don’t have the education that they do.
2. If I complain and my doctor is disgruntled, I might not get the treatment I need.
3. Confrontation stresses me out! I don’t want to be seen by my doctor (or anyone) as being confrontational or difficult to deal with. I want to be liked.
4. If I complain nothing will change anyway.
But I just can’t live with the injustice of it! Even if I’m not the best at confrontation, I am still trying. When I see that there is an issue, I speak up. I take whatever action I can find to fight back, even if it’s fruitless. I look online for natural remedies as much as possible and they work! I am looking diligently for a doctor and a dentist that I trust and I hope that by sharing my story I am inspiring you to do the same. We need a movement! We need to take action together! Divided we fall, together we stand!
I know, I’m a dorky idealist, lol! Thanks for taking the time to read this long post, I hope to see some meaningful conversation in the comment section. Salud my friends!