I have been depressed. Not that dark “can’t get out of bed” depression that some people get and that I have also experienced. This is the slow, grinding depression that accompanies having a lot of stuff to do that I don’t want to do.

As a start, I have to change doctors. Granted I’m not thrilled with my current doctor. He’s not a particularly caring, supportive guy … and he is far away. I will only go to see him if I’m sick enough to be afraid I’ll die … but that alone probably wouldn’t motivate me to change. It’s that my doctor is changing “groups” and the group to which he is moving doesn’t accept our insurance. So, I have to find another doctor.


If you don’t have a doctor, you can always take a hike

General practitioners or “family doctors” are in short supply. Of all the specialties, they are the most necessary yet the lowest paid. They carry the heaviest patient loads and burn out fast. The shortage of these basic providers is a national crisis. It’s worst in thinly populated areas. Big practices are mostly clustered around larger cities and we aren’t a city. We’re also short of good surgeons and all kinds of specialists. They make so much better money in Boston and there are good research and teaching hospitals there. Any big city offers better choices, medically for both doctors and patients.

All my whining notwithstanding, I have to change doctors. A lot of paperwork is required, including providing a full list of all my prior surgeries, illnesses, etc. Such a bummer. I don’t remember all the surgeries. I don’t remember the names of the doctors who performed them and in many case, the exact name of the surgery or in what country or state it was performed.

This isn’t because I’m old. It’s because there have been so many over the years.

Above and beyond remembering what happen, where, when, and who was involved … I am not exactly thrilled to revisit the experiences. There are a lot of rancid memories that go with this stuff and having to dredge it up again makes me sad. I don’t even remember the name of my heart surgeon and that was just two years ago.

Medical marijuana

Regardless, I need to take care of it immediately. There is some good news in the midst of the not-so-good stuff. I think this guy may be a better doctor than the one I’ve got … and his office is a mere few miles down the road. It will be very nice to have a doctor (again) to whom I can go without driving 60 miles through heavy traffic!

Meanwhile, before I do all the paperwork, I have to go to the dentist. I need a crown for a crumbling tooth. I’ve lost so many teeth, I cannot afford to lose another. I also have to figure out how to pay for it, since Medicare doesn’t cover teeth. Or hearing. Or vision. Or, for reasons best known to someone who isn’t talking, asthma medicine. I have — such an irony — tons of credit. That takes care of the dentist, but I have to then pay off the credit and that’s trickier. Fixed incomes are — well — inflexible.

medicare confusionWhatever is right with America, our health care system is pathetic … yet it’s far better than it was before President Obama.

Forgive me if this isn’t my best or cheeriest day. Today is full of purpose and a head-throbbing determination on my part to take care of business. Mostly, I want it to be over.


Categories: Health, Humor, Medical

Tags: , , , , , ,

31 replies

  1. While I’m generally opposed to health records being stored in the cloud, as is being promoted in some areas, it would be nice to know that a new doctor would have immediate access to your prior doctor’s records without you having to cart in a bunch of handwritten notes, or trying to remember all those details. When I finally realized today that I was sick enough to see my family doctor, my husband tried to talk me into going to the urgent care center instead. Fortunately, I was able to get an immediate appointment with my own MD (wonders never cease), and it was so nice to not have to give that entire history (again!) when I was feeling sick and cranky to begin with. Hope your new doctor works out – it’s great that he’ll be so much closer to you.


    • We have a terribly antiquated way of handling medical records in this country. I’m not suggesting a cloud, but certainly the various servers should be able to talk to each other. People move around. This is a mobile world. We’ve all had to change doctors and often, states and sometimes, nations. It should not be the impossible dream to collect one person’s records across servers. I worked in database design for most of my career and there’s no legitimate reason for such a mess. It’s just intra and inter group territoriality and politics. And a complete unwillingness of one IT department to coordinate with any other so that they at least use the same software and can read each other’s files. Stupidity. And who does it hurt? Patients.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Your health system in the US sounds so complicated and seem to require the patient to do most of the work while paying throught the nose for it. I’m not happy with some aspects of ours, it is in danger of going down the privatisation road but it’s better than what you have I think. I agree with Garry, like is not really appropriate for this post but you know what I mean I’m sure.


  3. I love Mark Twain. His advice to you is: “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” OK? Now, before you lose that tooth, go eat that frog!


  4. What about the extra Medicare you can get that will cover dentist/eye doc? Or is that cost prohibitive?


    • There is no such thing as extra medicare to pay for dentist or eye care. That’s just private insurance you can buy. It only covers a part of the cost … at a high price.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I wondered about that. I am not on medicare yet and it sounded good but I wondered about the price. High….but, of course. Thanks, Marilyn.


        • Medicare is pretty good, but it just covers doctors, hospitals … straight “medical” and apparently seeing, chewing, hearing and a lot of medications are not medical. Some of the Medicare HMO (advantage) plans include other stuff (extras) … like discounts for eyeglasses. BCBS includes (now) a significant discount on hearing aids, about which Garry is REALLY happy. But they keep cutting back on benefits. You can blame congress and the conservative GOP for most of it … although everyone gets to share at least part of the blame. It’s good for what it’s good for, but anything else, you’re on your own. Unless you are SO poor (you have to be pretty much living in a crate) that you can get some extras from Medicaid.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. When we change doctors all we need to do is sign a form allowing for our records to transfer to the new practice. Then the first appointment is double time for the doctor to get to know you and then you are good to go.I belong to a practice that also allows for walk in appointments. That is if you feel ill then you don’t need to have an appointment – they will see you anyway. And if you look really ill, like I did a couple of weeks ago with gastro I was taken straight through to the doctor – no waiting. There is a few beds as well. I had to have a drip which didn’t cost me anything – there is a reciprocal agreement with the hospital where the hospital will pay for that treatment. Saves going to the ER and waiting for hours to be seen. We may moan about our health system but I am really grateful for it, after reading about yours.


    • It depends on the doctor’s hospital affiliation. In this case, the new doctor is affiliated with UMass Memorial which is part of the University of Massachusetts system. Being state affiliated, there’s all this ridiculous amount of paperwork. NO other group requires it. But any time you have anything to do with the state, they bury you in paper. Normally, you just call the insurance carrier, tell them who you are changing to and from and you’re done. This being UMass Memorial hospital? 10 times the work and 20 times the paperwork.


  6. I’ve been bounced around to four GP’s over the past decade. Two left their practices and the third one was trying to kill me. The one I have now is a real piece of work and conveniently moved his office out of my hometown last year…. but damn if he isn’t the only doc to reign in my blood pressure without me actually having to…. you know,… lose some weight.


    • I’m not sorry to change doctors. I don’t even like this guy. He’s an arrogant jerk … but I have such a ridiculous medical history, it’s always a big deal to start with a new doctor. I’m hoping this one will be an upgrade. At least he’s nearer to home. That’s a plus.

      There really is a big shortage of GPs … and it isn’t getting better.


  7. I feel your pain. Because of the nature of hubby’s work, we’ve had to switch doctors a few times now, and I’m in the process of doing the same. I have a “new” doctor, but her nearest appointment is in July. >_<

    In a moment of clarity (they are few and far between) about five years ago, I sat down and listed all of my past surgeries — year, date, reason, and whatever else I could remember — and listed all of my diagnoses (when I was diagnosed, what past treatments I've tried, &c…) and what current treatments, medicines I'm on. In the end, it's about two pages long. It took me about three hours initially looking up everything. But! Whenever I need to change doctors or go to a specialist or anything! I just update it if anything’s changed, print it out, and Bob’s your uncle. I don’t even fill out their stupid medical history paperwork anymore other than to say “see attached form” or something like that.


    • I basically just did something like that. At least it’s now in the computer and Garry has a copy. He has to do the same thing and make sure I have a copy. We are a dollar short and a day late because I’ve forgotten a lot of stuff. I think I remembered the really important stuff, especially anytime I nearly died or they took away another body part. I love the checklist of diseases. Then they ask … “anything else” and I wrote … “You mean, this isn’t enough?”


  8. What’s the matter with that guy can’t he forward you medical records to the new guy? Not only is it depressing, it is down right maddening if he doesn’t do it.


  9. Shift happens when we go into darkness. I see your light my friend!


  10. Seems inappropriate to “like” this post given the subject matter. Nothing to like about the imposing paper work, the dread in choosing a new GP/PCP and anxiety over the doctor’s support staff.
    Paging Marcus Welby.

    Liked by 1 person

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