Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Such Crap!

I have Crohn’s disease. Apart from occasionally being able to fart like a trooper and it keeping me thinner than I would be otherwise, it is mostly crap!
In the UK my access to doctors was fantastic. I would go to my local hospital and see a specialist every month to 6 months depending on how I was. If I needed any blood tests I would walk along the corridor and wait in a queue for about half an hour while people moaned about the queue and the state of the NHS. My results would be sent to my local GP and my consultant and if I needed treatment it would get magically co-ordinated. I was lucky to be able to have any of the delightful associated procedures done privately with the same consultant I saw on the NHS.  Same doctor so the only difference was a date that suited me, a private room and some nice sandwiches after.
My experience today should demonstrate the madness of Health care in the USA. When I got here I had to find my own Gastroenterologist. (‘Bum Doctor’ for short, although this is misleading because I suffer more frequently with mouth ulcers than anything further south!). I did the strangest thing that they just don’t do here, I asked my GP to recommend one since I felt he was better qualified! My new Bum doctor didn’t seem to believe my condition or have the patience to wait for medical records from the UK so he sent me for diagnostic blood tests that were not the norm. ‘Not the norm’ reads as not the normal insurance ‘co-payment’ of $25 I have to pay every time I see a medical ‘professional’. Last time I had tests the total bill was $2500 of which I had to pay $200. Tests to confirm I had Crohn’s! I already knew that!
When my UK records arrived he didn’t seem to believe those either and seems to be sending me on all manner of diagnostic tests to diagnose something I have had for 15 years. I have been tested for celiac’s disease several times in the UK with negative results. In America there appears to be a belief that they do everything better and anything else from anywhere else is not as good. I should not have been surprised by his latest diagnostic quest. He wanted me to be tested for celiac’s...again…properly…by Americans. I really should have said ‘read the notes’ but maybe they can do things better here. Maybe you do get what you pay for. So I agreed to have the blood test. Seemed simple enough. So here is my day:

Visit Bum Doctor a month ago
Receive letter 2 days ago telling me I need some blood tests (he must have given it some thought!)
Yesterday I phone Doctor’s office to see if I can call in for blood tests. Affirmative!
– Leave house and drive 18 miles to doctors
– Arrive and wait
10.00am: called through for blood test – to be told my insurance will no longer cover the extraction of blood from my doctors office as they are not in my insurance ‘network’ My doctor is in the network but the office down the corridor where they take the blood isn’t!
10.10 Leave – cross and confused. Drive 12 miles to a place I am told can take my blood because they are mates with my insurance company and my doctor
10.30 – read sign in waiting room – Appointments take priority, walk-ins will be seen in between ‘to be serviced’. Concerned. I only wanted some blood taken. Not sure I want to be serviced.
10.45. Blood extracted by Phlebotomist who tells me she wants to live in Canada because the USA health service is in such a mess. She also tells me they only extract the blood here. It gets sent else where for testing. Consider accompanying my blood to San Diego for a trip.
10.50 Leave and drive another 12 miles home, reflecting on the madness of 3 different medical groups being involved in a blood test and the cost of that.

Having Crohn's disease here really is a pain in the bum!

Call today from Doctors office. The place I finally had the blood taken yesterday is not authorised to do one of the tests (even though they took the blood) and I have to go somewhere else. This is after I double checked by phone and got told the wrong thing twice. No! they can't just pass my blood on to the right place.  And guess what? I'll get charged again!


  1. Perhaps having to go to all those different places is actually regional enteritis

  2. Maybe that's where the cure can be found too! It is enough to make anyone anally retentive!!!

  3. I have always been told that America were the forerunners in Medicine, that may be true but at what price. What a rigmerole just to have a blood test. People whe complain about the NHS should think again and realise how lucky they are !!Just keep farting for England.

  4. ugh, I hear ya. My hubby was diagnosed with Crohn's. Well they said possible because nothing else "fit". He had the symptoms, but the bloodwork didn't come back saying it was 100%. He did the nice camera up the ah you know what test. They did a biopsy and no real answers, except the doctor telling him to come back when he lost weight. Well considering he was so bloated from not being able to keep anything in, good luck. Finally we found out it was something else, through another situation.

    I live in Canada and while we don't pay for our stuff, thank goodness, we have our issues here too. Mostly, it's a doctor shortage.

  5. something that is NOT crap. You have been awarded the Stylish Blogger Award!!!! Check it out here

  6. Take these exams seriously and prepare properly, and you’ll be on your way to success with your online phlebotomy certification.

  7. There's an idea! It would keep me occupied and I could take my own blood!
    What could I practise on?!