American Rural Health Care, You Stink

I have spent the past two days trying to get a chest x-ray, you know, because my chest is full of fluid and probably horrible fungal growth. I am concerned, you see. I am beginning to see why people just use the emergency room as their primary healthcare provider, because trying to AVOID such things and not go into debt over a cough is a pain (in my chest and brain).

So, I went to the nice little clinic in my home town that is not affiliated with the corporate mega-system I am not fond of. They said yep, my lungs are rattling and wheezing, so I needed a chest x-ray to help diagnose. I also got blood work, after two tries, because Worker A probably had never drawn blood out of a living human and left my arm looking like this:

Old woman with bruised arm

Worker B then arrived and took the four endless vials of blood out of the other arm. Sigh. I won’t know if I have the fungal infection or other issue until the lab results come in. So, merrily I cough along.

Merrily coughing at sunset, when normally I’d be horsing around

I was so short of breath yesterday that I didn’t dare try to groom the horses or ride them, though I did sit and look at them while they ate, then spent a long time just hanging out with Apache and massaging his poll (top of head), since he asked for it.

The others were busy scarfing up leftovers

Anyway, of course the nice little clinic doesn’t have its own radiology department, so I consented to go to the only place in town that has a machine, which is operated by the company I am not fond of. When I arrived with my paperwork in hand, they informed me that their x-ray machine is broken. I could go to another town to another of their facilities, but I declined.

Goldie backed me up. She doesn’t like crowded scary places, either.

This started me on a health care odyssey to get an x-ray elsewhere. By noon today, I’d made six phone calls, left numerous messages, got many corrected phone numbers, and lost my patience. Usually I’m a fairly patient patient, but I didn’t feel very well, as I soldiered along recording myself talk and pausing to breathe a lot.

Let’s take a break and enjoy all the henbit that’s blooming right now. It will get mowed soon, so I’m enjoying it while I can.

Finally, after I’d gotten irritated enough to get in the car and drive back to the clinic to try to talk to someone in person, they called to say they’d faxed my orders to a place that was associated with my OLD doctors in Austin. Soon they actually called and said it had gotten through.

Did I make it to Temple, Texas in record time? Of course not. I got behind a very strange-looking semi-truck that plodded along at 60 in 70 mph zones, trailing up to twelve cars. Thankfully, they pulled over at a turn and let us all go free.

I thanked my lucky stars, as well as the moon, Jupiter, and Venus.

The place I went was clean, spacious, and NOT crowded. though a little hard to find. The facility did please me. How long did the x-ray take after spending 20 minutes filling out paperwork? I’d say 65 seconds. Now, let’s see if I get any results from all the testing and perhaps get treatment. That would be nice. I just do NOT want to get sick enough to go to a hospital. I really don’t like hospitals and all their germs.

The sun is setting on this struggle.

I just wish we had our old local hospital back, where you could get an x-ray and labs, and get looked at quickly. However, it’s now the county office building. Rural health care in the US is sad. I can’t imagine how it would have been if I didn’t have insurance.

I promise happier news in the next post.

Other Habits to Change: Food and Drug Edition

TW: This is about medications and managing the types of food I eat.

The doctor I’d been going to since I moved to Texas retired recently (and somehow I missed being informed of that…guessing it went to some old email). She was a really nice, calm woman who never got excited about anything. She’d say we could try this, we could try that…what do you feel most comfortable with?

I’d been to other doctors in that practice, and all were fine, but since I have moved closer to another affiliated clinic, I decided to try one closer to home. Argh. Changing primary care physicians is NOT easy, since so few of them are taking new patients. I finally found a couple who didn’t have horrible reviews and chose the woman, just because, I guess.

My “Drug Habit”

I don’t like to take pills. Only if absolutely necessary. Photo credit @erimar via Twenty20

Yesterday at 7 am, minutes after I woke up, her office called to brightly ask what medications I need refilled and to inform me that “the doctor doesn’t do refills of alprazolam, just so you’ll know.” Well, huh. That drug is Xanax, which I’ve had as an “emergency backup” for decades. I generally take about 6 a year, maybe fewer, especially now that my panic attack issue is much better. So, I was interested in finding out more about that, perhaps when I was more awake. At least she didn’t say they were taking away my fluoxetine (Prozac), which makes me feel like a stereotype, but also makes me able to cope with stuff like a pro.

Continue reading “Other Habits to Change: Food and Drug Edition”
something poetic

(formerly The Lost Kerryman)

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