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Thursday, January 5, 2017

Clusterdoc in 2017

It's now officially ridiculous.

Healthcare in the US seems to be what I hear Brits say they fear. Months to get an appointment, denial of healthcare, stressful, demeaning and fairly insane.

Last July, my GP recommended I see a dermo to look at the mole on my nose, recently inherited from my mother. First it had to be a dr that accepts Medicare- not as easy at it sounds. Then the moving threats, deaths, real move, and holidays happened. I was finally scheduled to see this Dr. Rebecca Jones today, 6 months later. In the meanwhile, mysterious blisters had been breaking out on my hand and arm (the right, with the thumb that's now on strike) which I thought she ought to see. I told them I need accessibility, they assured me they were accessible, they have a ramp. So I went thru the maze of getting funding for help to get there, Gal Friday rearranged her schedule, and all was set.

Today I got up after little sleep, showered, got ready, planned how to get out of here and back via wheelchair (and walker if the path was too steep), etc. A lot of aforethought has to happen when you're on wheels. Gal Friday helps me out to her car, we drive downtown, park in the patient parking, transfer, push and pull over the ice humps, down the broken sidewalk to the far side of the office entrance. There, the ramp starts in mud. It's a rickety wooden-slat ramp, with one handrail on the building side and nothing on the open-drop-to-the-sidewalk side. Up we go, to a small wooden platform, too small to turn any wheelchair around on. The wide door opens out. And there's a cement block, around which is a 2" gap between it and where the wooden platform surrounds it. Just wide enough to swallow any wheel. But that's nothing compared to when we got the door open and saw a step up. Yes, a step. About 6" high, with no handgrips, no way to turn a wheelchair to even face it, and obviously not accessible by any stretch of any imagination.

Gal Friday went in and told them we couldn't get in. An office flunkie came out to the door, chewing gum open-mouthed, stood there a minute, didn't apologize when I told her I was told it was accessible, shrugged her shoulders, said the snowplow had hit the ramp, and we left, backing carefully backwards down the ramp. I got a sliver in my arm from the one handrail. We came home. No dermo was seen today.

About 3 hours later I was in the bathroom when the phone rang. I came to the desk to play the message. It was Dr. Jones' office, saying they understood I "had a problem with the ramp". If I wanted, I could make an appointment with her at her Whately, Massachusetts office- some hour's drive away- where "there is no ramp". Wow. Just wow.

So if you ever hear bullshit about what great quality healthcare we have in the US, remember this story. We have for-profit healthcare, and it sucks.


only slightly confused said...

Wow....that's all I got, just wow. That is disgusting.

Elephant's Child said...

Hiss and spit.
And our current government wants us to go down your path - in health care and a few other areas.

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

What a horror story, Laura. Since the American Disabilities Act, I thought all public buildings and healthcare facilities had to have handicapped access. What kind of doctors would not provide what many of their patients need - apparently not caring ones. I am so sorry that you had to go through such a traumatic experience. I hope you can find another dermatologist who can see you soon and has the appropriate ramps to accommodate you. Do you have an Urgent Care near you where someone can at least look at your hand and give you an opinion. I hope you can get help quickly.

Geo. said...

Would it be possible for your dermatologist to assess mole and blisters by photograph? I went in to my electrophysiologist's office 3 years ago with upper body turning impossible colors a week after a pacemaker change-out but he was operating on somebody else's emergency. His nurse took photos of my problem to show him later. She used her little cell-phone, but I think I-Phone has an app for this.