I went and called my doctor’s office to make an appointment. First of all, stating that it is my doctor is someone being naïve. I go to clinics to see whatever doctor I can get to take a look at me. I am a disabled veteran and I have the capability of asking to see a doctor at the VA clinic. But I only do that when I feel I can wait a month or two before getting an appointment to see a doctor. The VA doctors see so many different patients that when I do get into their office the doctor will act as if it is for the first time, because the doctor does not have any memory of my last visit other than to look at the computer. And so I when have a need to see a doctor as soon as possible I go to a local clinic. When I go to the clinic I’m not sure whether I will see a medical doctor or a nurse practitioner. The good part about using the local clinic is that I can get in to see the doctor within a short period of time. I’m fortunate that I live in a rural area and the number of people waiting to see the doctor are few. Unlike the waiting rooms at the VA clinics are in a major city doctor’s office, the waiting rooms here are clean and not crowded.
The reason I mention all of these things is because I use them as an excuse usually not to see a doctor. I noticed that especially men, older men; really do not like to go to see a doctor – any doctor. They especially do not like to go to see a dentist. The image of seeing the dentist usually conjures upon the thought of pain. Just the use of a needle to administer a numbing effect is awful. My last visit to the dentist ended up in my losing six teeth. Not that it was their fault that my teeth are so bad. But I’m sure just like many of you out there the thought of going to the dentist is one of the least likely places you’d like to go.
It usually takes some real suffering and then concerned about my condition before I go to see a doctor. To begin with it costs money to see the doctor. No matter what kind of insurance you have, if you have insurance, it is usually an expense you did not budget for. If you wait too long you end up going to the hospital via ambulance. The cost of the use of an ambulance is outrageous. It will cost you about $600 or more for those two medics to drive you to a hospital. I think most the time people call for an ambulance out of concern for one’s safety, without even thinking about the cost of the transportation. But I’ve been transported in non-emergency condition a few times and every time I am amazed what my insurance company pays for transportation. Now, I am concerned that my insurance is not as strong as before. It is a real concern for me on how to handle the cost of transportation by an ambulance. Maybe it is a good thing because I’m more likely not to let my health get so bad that I will not need an ambulance get to a hospital.
In today’s world when you get to the waiting room the first person you’re going to see is a clerk that confirms the appointment and then immediately jumps into how are you going to pay for this. I know when I have gone to an emergency room, when my father was in bad health, one of the first people that we spoke to was not a nurse or doctor but the person handling the billing. Most people even chase you down into the hallways to find you while you are lying on a gurney waiting for a room just to get your information on how to pay for the treatment. I know that the treatment is not for free and the time effort and education plus the cost of location need to be met for the hospital to survive. Maybe it is because so many people that use our emergency rooms and are planning to use it for free because they say they cannot pay the bill. Just like the illegal immigrants across our borders and then end up in our emergency rooms. There are many people who use the same emergency rooms and say they can’t afford to pay for it even if they can. They know how to use the system. Legally the hospital cannot turn them away. So if you’re someone who goes to that clinic or hospital and looks like you possibly could pay; a trained administrative professional will make sure that they get all the information any possibility of payment from you.
I do not like to be hunted down and questioned about my ability to pay before I even see a medical professional. I would hope that the first concern of the clinic or hospital would be my health. Because if I’m healthy and I am able to work and able to pay my bills. Maybe it’s because there are very few independent hospitals or clinics. They are all part of a bigger company or organization. And the fact that they cannot turn away someone at one location makes them latch on to anyone who walks into the location and looks like they can actually pay the bill. Some of those clerks work to find the money and stop at nothing to find someone either related to you or around you to pay the bill.
I, like many Americans worry that the cost of having insurance will make it almost impossible to afford to go to a hospital or clinic. And as far as the VA hospital goes, that’s just a joke. The system is so badly managed and overwhelmed that I will be nothing more than a number rather than the patient.
So do I want to go to a doctor because I’m feeling bad? Not really I will probably try everything else before going there. I will check the Internet to see if they have an answer for me. I will listen to advice that is given on talk shows. And I will usually consult with some family member, usually a woman, about my condition and how to treat it. I will do all of this usually before going to a doctor.
My thought for the day is that the United States of America must find some way to reallocate billions of dollars that is in our nation’s budget to address the growing needs of the many middle-class citizens need for medical care. No one in the middle-class is asking for a free ride. But there has to be a better way to make health care affordable and personal. I prefer the doctor look at me while talking to me rather than looking at a computer and just reciting my history. I would hope that the United States of America would quit spending billions of dollars on foreign countries and their relations. I would hope they would use that same money to help with healthcare system and on the fight to eliminate cancer. I know this will not happen with this Congress, the worst do-nothing Congress in history, but I hope for a brighter future with the next generation of congressmen and women.