Why the Government has NO place in Healthcare

Living with a chronic illness, particularly the silent variety, is enough to drive you mad. As if the illness itself wasn’t bad enough, you also have to talk your doctors into believing you. We live in a world now where one feels comfort in finding out they have a diagnosis, no matter how bad. I remember feeling the overwhelming feeling of happiness followed by a sucker punch of every bad feeling under the moon when mine was handed down. Finally, I found a doctor to believe me. Finally, I found out I am not, in fact, crazy or making it up in my head. Finally, I wouldn’t be perceived as a pill seeker. Finally.

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Cue the affordable health care act. You see, now that I had a diagnosis, that also meant doctors knew which forms of treatment to try. This meant more trips to the doctors and specialist which meant I would come to better understand my insurance plan. I would come to know that the insurance I just trusted would have my back, didn’t. I would understand that the state I have lived in my entire life blocked the part of the health care act that might have actually helped me in my situation at the time. I would learn that there was much more to learn.

 

I believe that there needs to be an answer to better healthcare in the United States, I agree with Obama there. What I don’t believe in is rolling something out to the people that isn’t ready for market. This isn’t clothing or something material. This is the care given to people who are sick or to prevent them from becoming that way. This is about not killing off your people because they couldn’t afford healthcare. Politicians have no place in my health care benefits, decisions, plans of care, or any other aspect of it.

 

If the state of NY can say that a womans choice is hers and hers alone because it is her body and they can approve killing babies that would very much be viable then why on God’s great Earth can’t men and women decide who or what forces their health care providers and insurers to make the choices about THEIR body? Are we really saying that the murder of babies trumps the rest of the country’s ability to receive medications or treatments that would greatly benefit their quality of life?

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As if politicians weren’t enough obstacles to overcome we now have a new epidemic.  A few weeks ago it was time for my three month check up which I have had to go to for years. Each visit is to discuss my treatment and any needed prescription changes. Additionally, because some of the medications I take were controlled substances, I would need to attain three months of refill prescriptions. Every now and then, and also unannounced for obvious reasons, I would have to fail a drug test to prove I was actually taking all of the medications that were prescribed to me. If you have ever had to remain on medicines like this, you have been through this as well.

 

Given my frequent flyer miles visiting the doctor’s office every three months, you would think the information I was given regarding my medicines wouldn’t have come at such a surprise. You would think that what I am about to tell you happened would have been discussed at least at my previous visit.  There is a common word in my previous two sentences: think. This is a word you expect doctors to do since they have been through so much school and training, however, its become more of a thing of the past for most people in this day and age. We don’t need to use our God-given brains anymore, we have computers and algorithms and case studies on other people, places, or things to tell us right from wrong. Noone uses intuition anymore. No one trusts anyone anymore, least of all themselves.

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Back to the story of my doctor’s visit. I go to a doctors office who has a lot of residents there learning. I have always been okay with it. I have been of the impression that the younger people with less experience often prove to be better doctors because they aren’t poisoned by their past patients and thinking they know for a fact what is wrong with me based on what was wrong with Sabrina 18 years ago when she presented with the same things. Furthermore, they have more to prove. They want to stand out. They’re ignorant to the thought of having to make their recommendations suite their politician’s needs.

So, since I was diagnosed I have been through another doctor’s residency. The last appointment with her was appointment before this last one. I really liked her. I really liked the one before her. After all, she was the one that finally trusted me and eagerly helped me find out what was wrong.  She was my knight in shining armor. My hero. Her predecessor had big shoes to fill and I think she did, until last month.

So, I am waiting to meet my next partner in all things Melissa – the medical version and I think back to hearing the nurses discuss which medication group I would be under just moments ago and wondering what they were talking about. Finally, the doctor who didn’t look a day older than my 16-year-old son comes into the room and begins talking about every single medicine I am on and why.

 

I am thinking, in the back of my mind, why they need all of these tablet computers and physical files for if the doctors aren’t going to use them to keep up with my past encounters and medications so they could avoid having to go through this every single time I am seen. However, I indulge her. I speak on her level as I have learned to do since having to obtain my very own medical license from the University of Freak and Google. After all of this is over she tells me that she can’t write me a refill for my Adderall or my Ambien because “they” – whoever that is – won’t let her. She can’t write a prescription for both a stimulant and a barbiturate (downer) at the same time.  They are both considered addictive and counteract each other.  And so my reply was — I can understand what you are saying, however, Adderall has never acted as a stimulant to me. In fact, it has the complete opposite effect on me along with any other person who has been rightfully diagnosed with ADD or ADHD. Further, what law is this that you are speaking of because I haven’t read or heard about it anywhere, I replied. you-dont-look-sick-said-no-invisible-chronic-illness-sufferer-to-another-795aa

 

Her answer was pretty clear as well as vague, “a combination of your insurance and new laws clashing, New Year, New You” she said happily. I’m thinking of a lot of different 4 letter words I would love to reply but I didn’t. Instead, I sat there with tears rolling down my face because of all of the emotions I had suddenly been through right there at that moment. Each tear made me feel more and more like a drug-addicted pill seeker.  I am sitting here back at square one with doctors and how they have decided to help me. Matter of fact, I am before square one and back out in left field on the backside of hell. And she speaks these words which just add fuel to the flame for me. “I can write you for one, but not the other”. She sits there speaking words that indicated that she fully expected me to chose Adderall over Ambien while also suggesting some other medicines I have already tried before finding that Ambien works best for me. I felt like we were playing a medical version of “Go Fish” trading out medicines for other medicines. A “pick your poison of choice” eeny, meany, miny, moe game with pleasure pills (in her mind). I’m so pissed that I not only have to give one up for who knows why, but nobody seems to care at what this may do to their patients nor felt the need to warn me of upcoming changes on one of my last visits.

 

I tell her that I guess I would just start being a well-rested, non-attentive dumbass then because I have already been through the wringer with pain medications. I have already discovered that 99% of the medicines that would actually help with pain won’t be given to me because they don’t want to show up on some government watch list. The other 1 % insurance won’t cover and the monthly cost of it is more than the average person’s car payment. I have come to terms with these things but the ONE thing I know I can do to turn the pain off, even if for only a few hours, is take my Ambien and go to sleep and shut it out for the night.

 

Her reply? Okay, so you want to be taken off of the Adderall? YES! I do. I mean, I don’t but you say I have to so whatever.  Then she tells me that they also can’t write my Ambien for 10mg anymore. She goes on to say that they’ve (I’m still unsure who They is) decided that women should only be prescribed 5mg because their body doesn’t get rid of it as quickly as men’s. Men can still have 10mg.  At this point, think I could have spit fire.

 

I came to find out by speaking with the doctor that was my doctor before this new one, the little girl/doctor in training wasn’t spewing out new laws I hadn’t heard of to me. In fact, she was putting their doctor’s office new year, new rules policy’s off on the government. I really don’t care whose fault it was. I just don’t want to be treated this way and people who are already suffering so much just don’t want their medications messed with unless it is a stronger, better medicine.

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A week later my husband had an issue and was written a prescription for Tramadol pain medication. He received a call from WalMart Pharmacy to let him know they couldn’t fill it. They went on to say they could fill it, but they could only give him 7 days worth of them and the prescription was for 10 days. If he filled it, he’d lose 3 days worth of pills. They told him that he could take the prescription somewhere else and have it filled with no problems. This also wasn’t a law but a new rule of Walmart.

All of this brings me to this one common thought. The government and companies like Walmart need to get out of my healthcare. Our lives are being treated like some sort of red light special. Not only that, new doctors are learning to treat patients more like rules and numbers than sick people who trust in them to do what’s best for us. Patients are being forced to attain a Ph.D. on all things self health-related.

I’m sure you’ve all heard of the Netflix series “Making a Murderer”. I predict there will be a new show soon called “Making a Drug Addict”. The new show could feature any number of average persons and the guilty culprit will be a doctor or government agency. Mark my words.

July’s Abscence

warriorI haven’t been on here and written much on my blog. I have a lot of reasons why. The first reason is METHOTREXATE! This medication is the Devil and creates the atmosphere of Hell inside your body. I know that its intention is to suppress my immune system and keep it from fighting my body, but it is starting to feel like it kills whatever your immune system hasn’t already battled.

I’m hoping my body will eventually get used to the medication and the bad effects will somewhat diminish.  I start to recover and feel a little better around Friday. So for Friday and then Saturday morning I am back to normal, or my version of normal which still includes pain. Then Saturday I take these 4  Methotrexate pills and the battle begins again.

methcanOn top of the awful side effects of this Satan derived “treatment”, I have started working. I love my job. I am able to work around my schedule and it isn’t a hard job to learn or do. I feel like I should be working during any spare time that I have because I never know when I am going to be unable to interact with the world around me or go down for the count with this disease and side effects.

Another side effect of the disease and/or medications is my inability to sleep. I don’t quite understand it, but I can be so tired and want so badly to go to sleep, but when I lay down I CAN NOT get any sleep. I take Ambien, which is obvious if you have read any of my late night posts. But I ran out of them this week and I was also out of refills. I contacted my primary care physician Monday to inquire about a refill. I had an appointment with them Thursday.  They wouldn’t call the medication in until I was seen. I understand it is a controlled substance. But they have been prescribing this to me for nearly two years. By the time I got there on Thursday I was ill. I was mad at the world. I was mad because I was tired and I couldn’t sleep. breakdown

I started my conversation with the doctor by telling her that I was sorry, but I can’t think straight because I haven’t slept in 3 days. She assured me that she would be sending my Ambien in along with some other stuff she was going to try since my insurance wants $480 a month for Lyrica.  Again, I ended the conversation reiterating my need for my Ambien TODAY. She again, told me I would get it.

I had a late appointment. The pharmacy closes at 7:00 pm. I went to Walmart to get this promised medication and it had not been sent it. All of the other medication had. I called the doctors office again. I was told that the doctor had to sign off on it since it was a controlled medicine. The doctor I had seen was a practitioner. Well, 7:00 rolled around and still no sleeping medicine. At this point, I could spit fire and nails. I literally cried right there in Walmart.

I am not a crier. I just don’t cry in public usually. I am the type of person who will wait until everyone’s asleep and then lay in bed and cry.  I know I shouldn’t keep my feelings bundled up to myself, but I feel as if I appear weak if I cry in front of anyone. Don’t ask me why.

In addition to me not being able to get the Lyrica, my rheumatologist advised me to quit taking the muscle relaxers and Neurontin and didn’t give me any refills of them either. Nor would she refill my Ibuprofen. Ibuprofen is fine, I can get that OTC. The other two, not so much.

So here I am, in pain, now sick from the Devil medicine, with absolutely NO pain medication, NO sleep medication, NOTHING! To say I had a come-apart would be an understatement. Mixed connective tissue disease and rheumatoid arthritis are enough for me to have to deal with. I am going through a lot with it. Is it too much to ask the doctors to DO THEIR JOB? It is so aggravating.

methotrexatepFinally, around 4:00 pm on Friday my Ambien was called in and I got some good sleep last night. My spirits are up a little more today. But today is a Methotrexate day so we’ll see how long that lasts.

I hate to be a Debbie Downer in my posts, but I felt a need to rant and vent about it.

I hope you all have a great weekend!

It Runs in the Family

I was lucky enough to witness a miracle last week. What miracle is that you ask? LIFE!

My sister finally had her baby. Welcome the newest addition to the family, Mason. Isn’t all 9 pounds 1 ounce of him adorable? Just look at those cheeks!IMG_3549

If you follow my blog you have already read my delivery story in “A Labor of Love and Pain“.  That story is about my first experience with childbirth and this one is about my sisters’ second experience. I was present for both, however, she didn’t really need me for her first. I would venture to say that she didn’t think she would need me for this one either.

I have some memory problems with this disease so the specific weight of her first born isn’t tucked away in my mind. I do good to remember these with my own children. But one thing I do remember is that his head was the largest noggin’ that hospital had measured in 7 years. I don’t know if he still holds that record at that hospital but suffice it to say, he had a BIG head! When she got done delivering him she looked me dead in the eyes and said, “THAT’S how you have a baby!” I wanted to knock her teeth down her throat. I mean, does anyone really think I hadn’t rather taken the easier route? I forgave her quickly because I knew she was under the influence of a lot of pain medications.

I wouldn’t wish my experience in my first delivery on my worst enemy. That would be pure evil. Unfortunately, as the day unfolded, it was seemingly being reenacted by my little sister.

I arrived at the hospital around 11 am. She had started the process of being induced around 5 am that morning. She was still only 3cm dilated. We had a long way to go. She had already been given her epidural but was still in a great deal of pain. Similar to my experience, her’s wasn’t working for her right side. If you recall, mine didn’t work for my bottom half, below the belt. They gave her additional doses several times and things seemed to be getting better -until they weren’t.

The contractions were hurting her so badly that she developed the chatters. They were so familiar and all I could do was hurt for her because I knew all too well what she was going through. It really isn’t any fun at all to see your little sister going through so much pain. Sure, my sister and I haven’t always gotten along. There have been times (as noted earlier in this post) I wanted to wring her neck. There have been times that I just really couldn’t stand her. But she is MY little sister. It is okay for ME to feel that way, but not anything or anyone else. They’ll have me to deal with if it comes right down to it. (scary isn’t it)

My sister and I are two very different people. She tends to take things and blow them out of proportion. Everything is on a much more grand level for her. And that’s okay. Everyone is different. But because I knew these traits existed with her, I knew it was important not to lead on to her that things weren’t going fine with all that unfolded during this day.

Her doctor came in and checked her again around 3:00 pm. She was still only 5cm, but the doctor said she was now considered to be in active labor. She said she believed she would have the baby around 10:00 pm. Not long after that is when the extremely painful contractions began. The baby’s heart rate kept dropping a good bit after every contraction. The nurse was now staying in the room to monitor this.

Things were getting increasingly scary.

The doctor had been coming in and checking her progress every two hours. For reasons still unknown to me, she came in and checked her again about 45 minutes after she told her it would be 10 pm before time. I am assuming the baby’s heart rate issue was coming into play here. To everyone’s surprise, she was ready to start pushing! In hindsight, I now believe this was God’s way of making sure baby Mason was delivered into this world alive.

And so it began:

The doctor made an announcement that they needed extra nurses on standby to prepare for a shoulder dystocia delivery.  I was thinking to myself, “a shoulder dis-what”.  I could sense concern in her eyes and her urgency on the matter. My sister started pushing… and pushing… and pushing… I reminded her that not all deliveries required just 15 minutes of pushing like my mother had insinuated to me all of those years ago. I tried to make light of the situation and encourage some laughter.

She was in extreme levels of pain. I’m not exactly sure what makes those epidurals work so well for one pregnancy and nearly not at all for others. Does this problem just run in the family? Who knows?  In all, she pushed a little less than 45 minutes. Still 3 hours shy of my experience, but still longer than anyone would want for a delivery where the epidural wasn’t doing its job. Between contractions, the doctor was making “serious” eyes at me. I had no idea what she was trying to tell me, but I knew it wasn’t good. I knew she needed someone in the room to know that things could turn out bad. Things may be wrong, stuff could be about to take place that isn’t desirable for any involved. I think my sister also saw the doctor making these expressive looks at me because she kept looking at me and asking “what’s wrong?”

I have never been a good liar. I learned at an early age not to lie because my face always gives it away that I’m being untruthful. I can’t lie unless I have to. You may recall my writing about my acquired poker face. Here I am, using it again on yet another family member. I kept telling her that everything was okay. Just push, I would say. Just. Keep. Pushing.IMG_3550

Finally, Mason made his grand entry into this world. He was huge. He was huge, but he wasn’t crying. Immediately, I noticed his head was bleeding. I assumed it was associated with the force used trying to pry him out of his mother’s womb. You see, he was stuck. And the doctor had already anticipated this. I would later learn from Google and the real life experience happening before me what shoulder dystocia was. You can Google for yourself and see, but the most apparent thing to me was that it was SCARY for all involved.

His color wasn’t right. His head was almost blue along with his arms and feet. He wasn’t breathing right either. My sister kept asking me if he was okay. Me and my poker face kept telling her that he was. Then they sent the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) in to assess him and see if he needed to be moved there.  I looked around the room and told my sister that I sure hoped no one else was ready to deliver because it looked to me like the entire staff was in our room. I lost count of them all. Again, she was asking me over and over what was wrong with Mason. I kept lying and telling her they were just being extra cautious because he was such a big baby. Another 45 minutes later, they were still in the room. Still, this large baby hadn’t even been weighed yet. There were too many other more important things going on. IMG_3534 (1)

He had bruises on his arms, bruises on his head, bruises on his side, but still, he pulled through. He was okay. He didn’t even have to go to the NICU, praise the Lord again!

I returned home and when I got here I got a text from my sister telling me the weight and length of the healthy baby boy that is now known to everyone as Mason. My new nephew. Welcome to the world Mason!! I hope the world is easier on you than you were on your mother’s body. (kidding) You may have come into this world a bruised up baby, but you have left your mark on the hearts of many already.