medicine


Bureaucracy, n., A system set up to help large institutions waste the time, resources, and lifespans of individuals.
—PJ’s Devilish Dictionary

 

One gets the impression sometimes that large medical institutions would be happier if we would all just die and stop bothering them. Certainly, their bureaucracies have little regard for our individual stories and needs. Some of these institutions train their employees well, to be completely professional in their ineptitude. Others can’t be arsed, but it all works out the same.

Or maybe that’s just an American thing.

And let me just state for the record: I know I am lucky to have medical and drug coverage at all, given that I am an American and our pay-for-play medical system is an abomination.

As of November 1, I transitioned all my medical coverage from two systems to two others, medical and drug (actually, three others but I won’t get into the horrorshow of that). It took hours on the phone, but mostly it seemed to go smoothly. Most of my prescriptions from my primary care physician got through to the new drug pushers and I received a new supply in a timely manner. Unfortunately, the most vital medication I take, the artificial thyroid hormone that keeps me alive, did not. My thyroid was removed some years back because I had cancer, so I literally cannot live without the synthetic hormone. I have been on the phone with UCLA countless times since November 1 trying to explain to them that the old prescription service they’ve been blithely sending my prescription to is no longer my service. I even explained this to my doctor on my last office visit on October 29 when he electronically sent the prescription off to my old service while I was in the office with him.

“I’m sorry, doctor, that won’t work. They’re no longer my provider.”
“Oh? Well, call into the office with the new information and we’ll send it again. Next!”

I’ve called several times in the last month, explained the situation patiently, been reassured that the next time the doctor is in the office, they will send the prescription off to the service. Fortunately, I had plenty of pills when this started. I’m now down to about a two-week supply and once the Rx is sent, it will take about a week for them to send me new pills. So, I called yesterday yet again and this time I seemed to have gotten someone who not only sounded professional but acted it. She told me that their records said the Rx had already been put in (but I’d just talked to my Rx provider and it had not). I explained yet again that it had been sent to my old Rx provider. She took extensive notes (like the others before her) and sent it on to the doctor’s assistant, putting an expedite on it because I was getting so short on meds. She said someone would call me back by 11 a.m. today to let me know how it was resolved.

I guess I don’t need to tell you that 11:30 rolled around and still no call. I called once more. This time I got another professional-sounding person who finally admitted that the doctor’s assistant had changed the information in the computer only yesterday. But now the doctor won’t be in until Thursday, so that’s the soonest this can be resolved.

I lost my shit. I usually don’t go that route because it’s counterproductive and because I really don’t like being that person. I try to remain reasonable even in the presence of dumberheads and I try not to swear and do other things that turn people hostile. But this is my life and they are being careless with it. I may have said something along the lines of, “This is what you’ve said every time I’ve called and nothing gets done. I’m tired of you all and if I get sick because of this I’m suing the shit out of UCLA.” (I probably won’t and they know it.)

It did not make me feel better. In fact, it just made me feel more impotent because, essentially, we both knew I was impotent in this situation (the other reason I don’t like to go there). The professional-sounding person on the other end of the line listened and said very professionally, “I’m sorry I can’t do anything more at this time. Is there anything else I can help you with?”

Is there anything else I can help you with? is one of the more infuriating sentences in the world when you’ve been bashing your head against an intransigent wall. It is the last refuge of incompetent systems because they know there’s no reasonable reply to it except no. It is the professional equivalent of “Get off my phone and go fuck yourself.”

I have to say that there is some fine medicine being done at UCLA, and they have trained their personnel to meticulously professional phone manners instead of the old “Yeah, whatever” you used to get at UCLA. It doesn’t mean that they’re doing the job any better, but hey, they sound good. And UCLA would rather sound good than be good, if you know what I mean (and if you understand ancient SNL references).

I like my doctor there quite well. We’ve been together years and he’s a pioneer in the field and he’s done quite well for me generally. But this was not his finest hour, and the bureaucracy at UCLA is getting worse, not better. I may have to find a new endrocrinologist. Who is not associated with UCLA.

Random quote of the day:

“Death is the poor man’s doctor.”

—Irish proverb

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Random quote of the day:

“Medicine is my lawful wife and literature is my mistress. When I get tired of one I spend the night with the other.”

—Anton Chekhov, letter to A. S. Suvorin, September 11, 1888 (tr. Constance Garnett)

 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

 

Random quote of the day:

“Since theocracy is the rule of God or its priests, and democracy the rule of the people or the majority, pharmacracy is therefore the rule of medicine or of doctors.”

—Thomas Szasz, Ceremonial Chemistry

 pharma4WP@@@

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Siegfried and Roy, Leonard Maltin, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

 

14 Jul
Life: it’s kind of like being nibbled at by ants.

15 Jul
Huh. Because I’m a member of Amazon Prime I just received a tote of free samples from Amazon Fresh, including a one cup coffee maker.

16 Jul
I ain’t greedy. A half a mill would do me nicely.

17 Jul
I love you, Jennifer Crusie, with great heaping <3 <3 <3 ‘s: http://www.arghink.com/2013/07/17/carpe-sharknado/ …

22 Jul
I bet making love to the Geico Made of Money guy would be kind of scratchy.

23 Jul
Medicare is planning to cut coverage to dialysis patients. Help protect access to dialysis. Tell Congress to stop Medicare cuts before they start. We need your help: http://bit.ly/DaVitaAdvocacy 

This disproportionately affects poor, sick people. Through no fault of her own my mother has kidney failure. She did everything right: ate healthy, kept active, took all her BP meds, but they could never control her high BP and eventually it destroyed her kidneys. Diabetes can do it, a severe e-coli infection can do it, many diseases can do it. This is not about people abusing their bodies. This is often just about bad luck, and the cost of the treatment is staggeringly high.

August 1 Addendum: This is basically a dispute between the drug manufacturer who charges exorbitant rates for anti-anemia drugs, the dialysis centers who make money off of kidney patients, and Medicare.  My mother’s kidney doctor says she does not need the drug that they are fighting over at this point. So that’s good news for us personally, but still potentially devastating news for other old, poor sick people. It makes me ashamed to be an American, frankly.

25 Jul
Worry and guilt are useless emotions. You have to learn to let them go. Fear is sometimes a life saver, but you’ve got to let that go, too.

26 Jul
The world is an illusion that we have to take very, very seriously.

28 Jul
The kind of day where I’m too tired to even get up for aspirin for a headache. Mom, cat and I dozing in our chairs watching the Dodgers. Bottom of the 9th and a 0-0 score.

29 Jul
Whenever I run into a really fussy person I want to tell them, “You haven’t got time for that. Whatever you do, you’re still going to die.”

29 Jul
Middle Class Problems: I hate it when the foliage is at the apex of its summer glory and the gardener decides to trim it back to a stub.

29 Jul
The Universe is so strange. Help comes from the most unexpected places.

31 Jul
Protip: When someone is frustrated and angry, don’t laugh at them. You won’t josh them out of it you’ll just make them more pissed. My glasses are held together with a paper clip. Hilarious this morning. Last night at the end of a trying evening, not so much.

31 Jul
There seems to be an unpleasant theme in anagrams of my name from the anagram server: Aha Moments Plop, Shaman Melt Poop, Anal Moppet Mosh, Ample Phat Moons. Hmmm. I had to stop reading after awhile. Aha Moments Plop is a lot how my creative process happens, so I have a certain fondness for it. The anagram server found zero anagrams for PJ Thompson so I had to use my Real Girl Name.

1 Aug
Hilarious and horrifying—one star reviews on Amazon of classic novels: http://bit.ly/15yoRxn 

2 Aug
CBS and Time Warner are both corporate Aholes for holding their customers hostage in their negotiations. Get off the dime, jerks

4 Aug
Channel 9 carries some of the Dodger games here in L.A. They are owned by CBS. They are blacked out. You know what’s really fun? Explaining to a 92-year-old with short term memory problems why she can’t watch her Dodgers (ad nauseam).

6 Aug
The Onion: I’m Only Really Happy When I’m Writing… http://onion.com/1b9ruYs 

8 Aug
Who needs bifocals?

bifocals photo smallishbifocals_zpsdf01c6c8.jpg

14 Aug
My latest Etsy admired whimsy: http://www.etsy.com/shop/Mindielee 

16 Aug
It’s amazing how busy some peoples’ desks suddenly get when there’s shitwork to be done.

It is done, and I am not merely dead, but really most sincerely dead.

17 Aug
I just spent $180 at the pet store. Not all of it was bird seed but a big chunk was. This is part of my expensive trip to the pet store. http://twitpic.com/d8w98j 

In my defense, I waited until it was 20% off. Min had a great time with it and can once again look out a favored window.

19 Aug
I want a house the color of orange sherbet with white trim: a Creamsicle house. I’ve been obsessing about it for weeks now. A neighbor down the block has burnt orange with mustard trim. Not as horrible as you’d imagine. Alas, my dreams of color will not be realized soon. No money and a “roommate” who does not appreciate…beauty.

23 Aug
I’ve decided, all things considered, that I am not going to knuckle under to blackmail. Do your worst, sir. I will persevere. Ultimatums are really not a way to persuade anyone to do what you want them to.

23 Aug
Seems like morning show hosts are irritating nerds all around the world.

 The Russian Army Choir doing Adele’s “Skyfall” on a Moscow morning show: http://avc.lu/16WvFbm 

23 Aug
Middle Class Problems: The cleaning woman threw out a brand new unopened large container of cottage cheese with a pull date in October.

26 Aug
A nice summer evening gathering around the fire pit last night. We had enough food for 25 people. Five were in attendance. I wanted to be sure no one left hungry. They’ll probably be dining on the leftovers for days. I know we will.

28 Aug
The irritating neighbor just turned scary. If you don’t hear from me for a week, assume the worst. My mother did the one unforgivable thing, apparently. She told the truth as she sees it. He couldn’t handle the truth. Why is it that bigots never recognize that they are bigots? Or maybe they do, they just don’t want to be called out on it. I shall be providing my mother’s transportation to and from dialysis from now on.

29 Aug
omg I must still be a writer. I just got a gobsmacking idea for my next novel. That I have neither time nor energy to write. I guess I’ll let it simmer for an ice age or two. I’m wondering if you can still be a writer without a consistent or predictable time to do your writing.

30 Aug
I’ve got so much to do today: reading, sitting on my butt, dictating into the phone and seeing what VOS comes up with. Oh wait, I meant VRS. Or as VRS wrote, “to be our ass.” (Don’t ask me.)

30 Aug
Mom: “How do I tell if WiFi is on?”
Me: “I’ve told you 100 times.”
Mom: “But I can’t remember the other 99 times.”

30 Aug
Watching an H2 mockumentary on the zombie apocalypse and Mom is all “Wuh?”

31 Aug
It’s too hot for lap time so Min is making do with pillow and towel. http://twitpic.com/dbbhle   She has such a tough life.

31 Aug
Only 1.8 days left on my initial backup to a cloud service. Damn, I’ve got a lot of junk on my Mac. My internet service is decent most times but not for stuff like this—and there’s a lot of junk on my harddrive. This is a one time upload, though.

2 Sep
Backup complete at 78262 files, 21.6 GB.

2 Sep
Min had a pretty good day yesterday: people tuna for dinner, fresh catnip on her carpeted kitty stairs, steak for table scraps, lots of lap time…All in honor of her 12th birthday. Live long and prosper, baby girl.

All is right with the world. http://twitpic.com/dbonfg 

3 Sep
The news was not all bad at the doctor’s office. In fact, there’s a glimmer of hope. I may be able to have knee surgery after, all but there are too many variables yet to be determined.

6 Sep
My hair’s been on fire all week at work, and I’ve also been dealing with Los Angeles County Department of Social Services. OMG. So ready for the weekend.

But Putting It Out There works in mysterious and unexpected ways. I end the week in more hope then I began it. Praise the Universe!

21 Aug
I never thought I’d be this person. Life catches you unawares. I’ve spent a week battling with unmovable insurance companies and uninterested doctors. I need a flamethrower.  Now I’ve released a breath I didn’t know I was holding. And if you know how much I hate that cliché phrase, you know that’s something. The doctor finally faxed what she was supposed to. Now we do battle with the insurance again in the a.m. Progress.

22 Aug
The main goal of medical insurance companies seems to be to exhaust you so you give up and stop bothering them.

26 Aug
Sometimes it’s difficult to tell the difference between making excuses for not doing something and facing the reality of the situation.

31 Aug
Never disappoint an old lady. She’ll not only rave like any disappointed child, she will tell you everything you’ve done wrong since birth.

2 Sep
After using red food coloring to mix four batches of hummingbird juice for our four feeders I now possess a Red Right Hand. This time of year we get them in epic numbers. “I’ve never seen so many hummingbirds!” people are wont to say. Every bird within a mile knows where the best juice is concocted.

2 Sep
The Nag Hammer may be a blunt instrument but that just makes it effective at chipping away resistance.

4 Sep
I am letting my puppy starve. That’s the message from last night’s dreaming.  As I do not have a puppy, I think this one was a Jungian puppy.

4 Sep
The Krusty the Clown bird is out in the tree again this morning. It’s a migrating bird that’s been hanging around the feeders for the past couple of weeks. Looks like a giant mourning dove with long fan-shaped tail, but as lovely as it looks it makes the strangest call. You know that noise Krusty makes when he’s upset or caught doing something he shouldn’t? Take that sound, raise the pitch a couple of notches, and you’ve got a fair approximation of this bird’s call.

4 Sep
The Krusty the Clown bird is identified: the Eurasian Collared Dove. To listen click here then click on “3.3 harsh calls.”

4 Sep
Michelle Obama is a rock star.

6 Sep
Yesterday while listening to a John Cage tribute on NPR I stopped my car at a light.  A fountain hissed and burbled on one side, the hum of a healthy engine droned on the other, and Cage’s “prepared piano” music played in the middle. “He’s right,” I thought.  “Music is everywhere around us.”

7 Sep
“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

7 Sep
So much can’t in my vocabulary these days. But hopefully no cant.

8 Sep
Every day on the way to and from work I pass a section of land near the wetlands that has been stripped of the wild marguerites which perennially bloom there in the spring, then leave behind a wildwood tangle. Someone has done a couple of plantings here and there in the bare earth as if hoping something more acceptable will grow. These plantings have refused to spread out for some time now. One clump at first looked like white lilies as I sped by at 50 mph but I finally realized they were white morning glories. Lilies would have been appropriate. Surrounded by dirt, the patch had been planted in a bunch that resembled in shape and size the grave of a child.

Still morbid after all these years, folks.

8 Sep
There’s a million wild finches, sparrows, and the like singing their hearts out in the tree next door. Every evening at this time.

8 Sep
I have discovered something wonderful: Von’s market home delivery. Surprisingly affordable, but more important it saves me pain and exhaustion.

Random quote of the day:

 

“Wherever the art of medicine is loved, there is also a love of humanity.”

—attributed to Hippocrates

 

Disclaimer:  The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Siegfried and Roy, Leonard Maltin, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.