Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Let's Go Shopping!

Yesterday I received a notice from my neurologist that she was moving on, so with that, and the upcoming court appearance of my psychopharmacologist, its time to go doctor shopping. Quick, dear, grab the catalogue!

Back when I was a kid the only catalogues I was interested in was the Sears and Montgomery (or Monkey) Wards catalogue, and then only in the weeks prior to December 24.

Now my interest is not in electric trains, or GI Joes, but now its in what people in the area can keep me functional and/or happily drugged, and more importantly who will pay for it.  My health insurance did not pay for my psychopharmacology visits so that was $90 a pop, then the script co-pay.  Now I need to start over.  My regular doctor recommended a group, and I'll go head after them for my bipolar scripts, but as far as the the neurological stuff, it gets tricky.

Now this is all personal opinion but it seems that some doctors specialize in different drugs from different companies, drugs such as Copaxone, Rebif, or Tysabri (and others).  My Copaxone costs $48,000 a year, and I'm sure the other drugs are comparable.  Fortunately my health insurance kicks in and I've only got the copay.  Gee what do people do who have no insurance and need that drug?   Right, Tea Party folks they should get a job that provides health insurance.  Hmmm, I am in constant though livable pain, my brain is foggy perpetually, and its time for another nap?  Or how about this one, I'm the ticking time bomb guy at your office, the quiet one who is nice and polite, and one day comes in as the Joker and you know the rest.  I'm sure you'd like to hire me, Tea Party person?  Fortunately, I have drugs dosed out to me to keep things on an even keel and for the most part they are.  But its my responsibility to make sure for the benefit of myself and others that I take what drugs I need to be the best Tom I can, no more and no less.  I  am sorry for those who have no insurance, and need meds as much or more than I do.  They do with less or without.

But the drugs also hide behind the suits.  Leaving my present neurologist, I contact a respected doctor's office locally, following the directions on their website, which said call for a preliminary appointment.  Once I got an answer on the phone, the receptionist immediately contradicted what the website said.  "No, we need your present doctor to send us the medical information, and then our doctor here will look it over and decide whether he wants to accept you as a patient."

Accept me as a patient? This doctor does MS.  I have MS.  Seems workable.  Although having Primary Progressive MS (no cure, no treatments, remember?) may not turn me into a real money maker for anyone, but at least you can count on consistent visits for a while, anyway.

OK, well you've got some forms you'd like me to fill out here on the website.  Should I-

"Someone from this office will contact you following the review of your medical material, and let you know about an appointment time and what you need to fill out."

Not what it says here.


So for the small fee of 75 cents a page that Albany Med will charge me to copy information only helpful to me, I can get you this packet, may I drop it off?

"Mail it.  Someone will contact you."


The really neat part is I'm going to be stuck doing the same thing for my psycho drugs soon (arraignment is July 27 for my psychopharmacologist).  There are few doctors in the Albany area who do what my doctor did, but that search will go on using the InterWeb.  The scary part here is, I've seen the size of my case file at my psycho.  Hope they ain't charging 75 cents a pop.  Did you ever notice by the way that little cent sign — ¢ — is gone from your keypad?  Probably been gone for years, and I'm oblivious.  But I started using an actual manual typewriter, kids!  

Mine was black.  I guess these were made before Corona met Smith.  I wrote two entire horrible and 
deserve to burn in Hades, reform and burn again novels on that machine.

And now with all this technology I can search and compare and search, and hope I find a psych before I run out of pills.  And tell everything all over again, and hope this person sees it clearly.

Then again, there's always...

More to come as the shopping spree continues....  

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