So one of the things I was supposed to do after getting out of the hospital was to "immediately" make follow-up appointments with all 27 doctors who allegedly were involved in my care while I was an inpatient. Obviously, the word "immediately" means something very different in the medical industry than it does in the rest of the universe, because I've been out of the hospital for two weeks and I'm still trying to get see some of the doctors.
But the real treat was when I tried to make a follow-up with my cardiologist, which was "VERY important!" according to the hospital staff. Well, it may have been VERY important, but it was also impossible. We called both of the cardio practices affiliated with Adventist Healthcare (owners of the the local hospital) and were told the same thing: "We don't take self-pay patients. Our fees and test are just too expensive for someone like you to pay." We tried to explain that no, we don't have insurance, but we have somehow managed to pay all of our bills in full for the last eight years. No joy. Cardiologists are different than every other specialty.
Uh huh. Right.
So we tried another tact; we explained we were in the process of getting me on Medicaid as part of the whole disability thing. "That doesn't matter. We don't take Medicaid either."
There are a few things about this that bug the hell out of me. The first is the sheer arrogance on display here. I've been to pretty much every other specialist in the medical industry and I've never paid more than $150 for an appointment. Who the fuck do cardio docs think they are? Just how much will a simple follow-up visit cost? And why would it cost an order of magnitude more than any other specialty? And even then, how in the hell does some receptionist in the office know what I can and cannot afford without even asking? I could understand giving us a heads-up about what office visits and follow-up test are likely to cost, and that we will be expected to pay for them up front. OK, that's just logical. But to assert on the basis of zero evidence whatsoever that I can't afford it? Fuck you and the horse you rode in on, bitch!
The second disturbing thing is that calling two allegedly independent practices got us nearly identical responses. It was as if they were both reading from the same script. In any industry other than medicine, this would be called collusion and would land the companies involved in court. But not the medical industry. It's just business as usual, like all the hospitals in Michigan colluding to keep nurses wages rock bottom through the Michigan Health & Hospital Association.
Of course, there is also the class/race dimension. How better to keep all us smelly spics, white trash, niggers and other deplorables away from your bright shiny cardio practice than to refuse to even make an appointment? I mean, seriously. You let in just one Medicaid patient, and the next thing you know, you have some homeless guy in the waiting room cooking a rat over a campfire!
Other than that, everything is going about how we expected. More tests, more tests, and more tests and still no idea what caused my kidneys to shut down. Now the kidney doc is leaning towards some massive infection (rather than my CLL drug) as the cause, even though my blood cultures all came back 100% negative, and at no point did my temperature break over 100 (and was mostly at or below normal) through the whole ordeal. Must be some new kind of infection. Possibly extraterrestial. Maybe I should be talking to Scully and Mulder instead of all these doctors....
And still no movement whatsoever on the job and disability fronts, so we continue to live off what little is left of our savings. It seems everyone is more interesting in jerking us around than in doing there jobs. No surprise there. At least we're getting caught up on our reading and movie-watching.
Well, I need to get busy scanning in yet-another butt-load of paperwork to send off to some government office where it can be quickly ignored.