Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Military Medicine or Why Free Aint All Its Cracked Up to Be

I have a horrible cough and chest congestion. Not a cold mind you, I don't a have a runny nose or nasal congestion, I have a really really bad cough. A cough that has kept me awake for two nights straight. I finally broke down and called the base hospital to get an appointment. For the record, I don't call the hospital for every little sniffle and sneeze. I hate going to the doctor. I would rather suffer through a cold than go to the doctor. They aren't going to tell me anything new there if I go for a cold. Sleep, drink clear fluids, take some over the counter stuff, run a humidifier. Yeah I know all that. A couple of weeks ago, I did have a cold, which turned into an ear infection and I still didn't call the hospital. Why? I knew they would just throw antibiotics at me. It is what Military doctors do. Guess what? My ear infection went away on its own. No antibiotics needed.

So today when I called, I really needed to go. Instead of just making the appointment, the girl at the desk and I have this little conversation:

Her: What are your symptoms.
Me: Chest congestion and coughing. I coughed all night last night and didn't get any sleep.
Her: Well I will get the nurse to call you about your cold symptoms.
Me: I don't have a cold. I have severe chest congestion and a really bad cough.
Her: I'll have the nurse call you. Can I get a contact number?
Me: My number is XXXXXXXXXXX
Her: Ok well the nurse will give you a call.

It has been almost an hour since that call was made and not a peep from the nurse. I am still coughing my head off. I have taken Mucinex DM which is pretty heavy duty stuff for a cough. Not touching it. Now, I am all for having free health care, but really when I call for an appointment. I want an appointment. I don't want a nurse to call me. I don't want her to give me "advise". I want to see a doctor. Someone with a medical license. I want someone to physically look at my charts and say "Hey I see you have a history of pnemonia, lets get a chest x-ray just in case". Hell, I'll even take someone who just wants to throw antibiotics at me at this point.

This is what you deal with when you have free health care. You get triaged. Now, I could wait until 4pm and just go to the emergency room, skirting the "rules" but do I really want to sit in a waiting room for 3 hours this afternoon? Nope. I am trying to do things the "right" way, but I get triaged into the "Oh they just have a cold" department. Nice, real nice.

Well I will just sit here and wait for my nurse to call me and tell me that it is all in my mind. Cause I just have a cold. Yeah a cold with no runny nose. Asshats.

Edit- It has been well over 2 hours so I called back to the hospital. They basically told me the nurse was busy and she would get to it when she could. Nice.

Edit #2- Still no call back 4 hours later. I am debating the ER on base after I pick up LaLa from school. Really don't want to sit in the ER with 2 kids though. Hubby is working night shift so he can't watch them. Joy, Oh Joy!

Edit #3- Well that was a complete waste of time. Talked to the "nurse" who told me to drink plenty of water and take Mucinex. Screw this I am gonna find a way to go to the ER after I pick up LaLa from school. I can't stand this any longer. My chest feels like it is on fire.

28 comments:

Tara@Sticky Fingers said...

Never ever do things 'right'. Gets you nowhere. Fast.
Be a pain in the ass. Be loud. Then they'll just want to treat you and get you the hell out of there!
Get well soon. x

mo.stoneskin said...

That doesn't look like a valid number to me, are you sure you gave her the correct phone number? ;op

Mom in High Heels said...

I'm going to say ditto to what Tara said. Be a pain. I would have insisted on making an appointment. There would be no call back. I'd call back (hopefully you'll get a different operator) and insist (INSIST) on an appointment. I insisted on an appointment once for a really bad cough and congestion and they ended up putting me in the hospital for severe bronchitis and sinusitis. A phone call would not have cured that. Call back and make some noise!

colepack said...

I say just show up at the docs's office.....I have done that and it works, somewhat.

Bobby G said...

Id just go in! lol Maybe get the receptionist sick, thatd be cool!

Joanie M said...

When you do go, cough right in the receptionist's face.

John is retired Army and he has Tri-Care, or as he likes to call it, Try To Get Care. He's furious that he now has to pay premiums when he was guaranteed free medical care for life if he re-upped to 20 years. Granted, the premiums are ridiculously low compared to what civilians pay for medical insurance but he shouldn't have to pay anything. He also now has co-pays.

splodge said...

That's awful for you! You need to scream a bit and stamp your foot.

Until the nurse decides to actually do her job, I can recommend going to a chemist and describing your symptoms. They will probably prescribe something like Benylin, to tide you over.

I recently had a similar thing - ended up having to take steroids.

Badass Geek said...

You know, sometimes the nurses do a better job than the doctors.

Hope you feel better.

Larkin said...

Yeah, I would call back and tell them that you know your body, and your body is angry, and that YOU feel the need to be seen by a doctor. I don't go for that whole nurse-on-the-phone crap.

Hope you feel better!

Jess said...

Oh gah! Ok, I am going to say that you most certainly have the beginning of pneumonia there...fire in the chest is a sure sign of bronchial issues. Get some of that hard core tussin shit from the pharmacist. (NOT the over the counter one) (the one that makes you dream in really vivid colors) (oh! The one with codeine in it)

Sandiegogal2000 said...

My ex was military and I hated tiring to get in to see the doctors. I never could get in to see someone in a timely manner so I would just show up first thing in the morning and say I need to see someone today. That always works. If that doesn't work make sure to take your kids to the ER with you, fill them full of sugar and let them run around the waiting room of the ER. Screaming kids will probably get you seen sooner.

Mama Dawg said...

Eh, good luck. I feel for you!

Sprite's Keeper said...

I am so gonna call the diagnosis- bronchitis! Do I win anything if I'm right?
Take over the ER, tell the kids to sing their favorite rhymes loud and proud, and get yourself the GOOD drugs!

Captain Dumbass said...

I was really hoping you were going to tell us you just threw open your front door and screamed, "MEDIC!" That would be cool.

Susie Q said...

Chest on fire? Alternative could be pleurisy...and yeah, the administration wants ALL of us to have free health care? ONLY if I can have THEIR health care.

Take care and pitch a fit.

Cape Cod Gal said...

Get better soon! Nothing is worse than the doctors office.

Bee and Rose said...

I hope you get some help and fast! I agree with those bloggers up there...be loud and cough all over the nurses!

Sending you bunches of get well wishes:)

Jen said...

That sucks. I hope you get the answers that you want and feel better soon.

Chairman Bill said...

How can XXXXXXXXXXX be your number? That's your letters.

Hope you're better soon.

Michele said...

I'm getting here a little late today. I hope that you have been seen by a real doctor and given something to relieve your cough by now. Always remember the squeaky wheel always gets the grease.

Lola said...

My coughs seem to linger like that, and nothing is worse than coughing all night long. I finally have a good primary that will call in the cough med with codeine in it. Only thing that works. I love my doctor!

Hope you feel better soon.

Miss Grace said...

I hope the ER got you what you needed!

for a different kind of girl said...

I hope you're sleeping right now. I hope you're sleeping and you got something to help you feel better. I REALLY hope you're not still sitting in an ER!

steenky bee said...

When this happens to me I ask Jeremy to gently suffocate me with his pillow during the night. It never works out okay. GET SOME REST AND A CHEST X-RAY! But not in that order.

Heather said...

I hope you get to feeling better. I hate the emergency room too. Poor girl.

Katie said...

So since Kris is out....we have had the BEST healthcare! You wouldn't even freakin believe it. All I can tell you is....it will get better!! We laugh about it now whenever we have to go to the doc. We're in and out in less that 30 minutes, not a WHOLE day at the Med Group. I'm sorry, really there is no excuse and it is just no bueno....but it will get better!

Anonymous said...

My doctor did not repair me correctly after delivery of my child in October leaving me in substantial pain all of the time and excruciating pain when standing for more than a half hour. It took me 2 months starting in January for my PCM and Tricare to work through my referrals so I could get the surgery needed. Now in April I am still working on getting a follow-up with a qualified doctor/surgeon. It has been 7weeks since I returned to this area (I switched areas so I could get help from my family after surgery)and three weeks since I have been back on Tricare Prime! Military medical management sucks!

Noelle said...

You're actually lucky if they offer you antibiotics, here at Hill you could fall over and die in front of them and they wouldn't do anything. It's the worst med clinic I've ever dealt with. I could tell you about the time I broke my ankle and told the Lt. that my cousin had died from one 6 months earlier and he scoffed and said it wasn't broken. Then two weeks later they called me back to set up an MRI for my broken ankle. What broken ankle? You mean the one I've been hobbling around on for 2 weeks? Thanks! Or I could mention how I went in several times over the last two years complaining of recurring nausea, fever, stomach cramps,etc, and they told me I was manufacturing symptoms and here's some Prozac, come back in 30 days IF you still have the symptoms. Thank God I ended up at a civilian doc one day because I ended up needing my gallbladder out. Which wouldn't have happened if they hadn't dismissed me for so long.

I've spent the last month blogging about this on my blog but apparently it's still an issue :)
Sorry for the rant!!!