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More On How I Feel About the Medical Industry

First I will start with the general.

I do not like the medical profession laying their personal, or societal opinions on an individuals medical care unless they are specifically asked, “Well, what would you do?”

Then I will move onto a story about somebody I knew.

There was a woman who used to clean my house. She was nice enough, but unfortunately was entirely too chatty. As the result I know a lot more about her than is reasonable. Now you will know it too.

When I first met her she was barely 22 years old and had just given birth to her third baby. Her first one she had when she was 16. The first two were with one guy, this third one was with a different guy, but she still considered the father of the first two “The love of her life, that she knows she is meant to be with again someday.” She swore that they were using birth control for all three pregnancies. She told me that during pregnancy number two she kept telling her doctor she wanted her tubes tied when the baby was born. Her doctor insisted she was too young to make such a decision.

Prior to baby number three being born, one of the other girls suffered a severe head injury and became disabled. The woman was 20, no reasonable education, unmarried with two children and one of whom had extra educational and medical needs. During pregnancy number three she again repeatedly told her doctor that she wanted to have her tubes tied. Again she was told that she was too young to make such a decision. When baby number three was less than a year old she became pregnant for the fourth time, again swearing that they were using birth control (who knows if they’d ever been given decent instructions on HOW to use it).

A doctor finally agreed to sterilize her at that point, two kids after she started requesting it.

Finally we will get on to the personal.

I have one kid. I am pro choice. I meant to have that kid. I was not absolutely positively certain that we would stop with one kid.

We waited. We thought about it. We talked about it. We were pretty damn sure. We waited some more. We talked about it more. We decided. This took place over the span of years, not days.

I went and saw a doctor and told them that I was done. She laughed and told me that I would change my mind. She did not want to refer me to anyone. Nothing. She just said I was too young (which I think “they” term as under 30 with 0 or 1 kid) to make that choice, and that (I kid you fucking not, she said this to me) “It isn’t right to have your daughter grow up so lonely.”

I did not kill her on the spot. I hope somebody is as amazed by this as I am. As far as I know, she is still alive and practicing medicine. I never saw her again. If anything happened to her, it was not me.

Now all I was going to do was talk and get pamphlets. We were still strongly leaning toward him having a procedure rather than me having something done, but I was not done researching. At that point we knew one person who had a vasectomy that they were not happy with. We knew several who had them who were happy and felt it had been no problem at all.

After a bit of time (as I have mentioned before we tend to avoid doctors whenever possible) we finally got to a point where we set foot into a medical setting again. This time we let him try. We got a little bit further. They were willing to give him a referral, after he attended a class. This pissed me off to no end. I was furious. We are supposed to have medical privacy and being forced by insurance to go to a group class on any sort of medical condition or procedure as a condition to getting the care that you are requesting was completely beyond acceptable to me. I began throwing fits left and right and before we got very far with that our insurance coverage changed. Yes, I am choosing publicly to talk about this NOW, but that is my choice. They were holding the procedure hostage in order to force public discussion on it.

By the time we got back to the subject yet again we knew two more men who had vasectomies who were very unhappy with the procedure and the outcome. (chronic pain, decreased sensation from orgasms, etc) I know that the vast majority of people have no problem, and a lot of the medical community discount the complaints out there, but these were people who I did not think were likely to be having psychosomatic complaints. I needed more time to research.

Then I got sick. I’ve talked about that before.

Finally I was ready to look into everything again and this time I found Essure. That looked very interesting to me. First I contacted a retired gynecologist who happens to be a friend’s father to ask him what he knew about it. It had come about after he gave up his practice, so he contacted colleagues to get opinions and got back to me. He also helped me formulate some questions that he felt any decent doctor should answer.

I took his questions, did some additional research and added questions of my own. Pulling a list of doctors listed on the Essure website that happened to be covered by my insurance, I contacted fifteen of them. Fourteen by letters and one by email. The one who responded by email responded quickly and was great, but I was not thrilled with his answers to my questions. I liked very much that he communicated effectively by email, and I also liked that he was giving up the OB portion of his practice because that would make him a more effective doctor for me. However, he just had not performed the procedure enough times and with enough success that I was comfortable seeing him in this case.

Thirteen doctors ignored me completely.

One other had his nurse call me to give me the answers to my questions. I wasn’t thrilled with having the nurse call, but the answers to the questions were decent. I booked an appointment to meet him in person.

I arrived on time to a fairly empty waiting room. I had to wait for 40 minutes before they took me to a room and another 20 minutes for him to appear. We spoke and were okay with the responses to each others questions. He remembered the letter and we talked a about his history with the procedure. He actually wanted to know if, should I go ahead and use him and do the procedure, whether I would be willing to be filmed for the local evening news. We also decided I should get a shot of Depo because that gives the best chance for the procedure to go well (condition of the cervix and endometrial lining) and we worked out when the right time for the procedure would be. Sounds good, right? Then it turns out the do not have the Depo in their office and I have to go downstairs to the pharmacy to get it. They write a prescription and send me down. This eats up more of my day as I have to wait.

In the meantime I called my husband to discuss this television news idea. On the one hand I despised the idea of having a camera anywhere near me. On the other hand it seemed like the doctor would work extra hard not to fuck it up if a camera was there. Also I very strongly believe in getting any and all reproductive choice options out there for people to be aware of. We decided it was creepy and we were not comfortable with it, but that assuming all the details, as ironed out, worked for us, we should go ahead and do it.

When they finally had the prescription filled for me they tell me insurance will not cover it. It is ridiculously expensive. Insurance won’t cover it because they will only pay for a 30 day supply from a local pharmacy and it lasts for 90 days. They will only cover it if the doctor has it in their office and it is used as part of the office appointment.

*sigh*

So I paid the exorbitant fee for the liquid and returned back upstairs because, of course, they only give me a little bottle, no syringe. I give the pets vaccinations, surely I could give myself a damn shot. Diabetics do it all the time. Instead I went back upstairs to the doctor’s office and was forced to wait again in the waiting room. Finally they stuck me back into an exam room where I waited some more. Eventually a nurse showed up and gave me a shot.

I asked her when the procedure will be scheduled for. She told me that the scheduling person wasn’t in, but that she would call me within the next 10 days. She said that if I didn’t hear from the woman within two weeks, I should call.

Now, here is the thing. They are running a business. They get real money to do this procedure on me. They actually have a woman who gets paid specifically to schedule procedures and book the operating rooms. That is her job. I am the customer. I already reached out to get the process rolling. I do not want to be having to chase people down to convince them to do their damn job.

I explained to the nurse that it is very important that the scheduling person call me, because I will not call back. I point out how many years it had been since my last pap. They needed to call me. She said that she usually calls and she’d be sure to mark my folder correctly and put it in the right pile.

I told her that I had spoken to my husband and we were willing to do the TV show, so she said the doctor would speak to the PR person from Essure and they would get back to me on that with the details and paperwork.

I left. I had been there for four hours. 4. Not, 3 hours – 4 hours. I had to go home and load the car and drive to Seattle. Really, no problem I don’t mind it taking four damn hours to spend 20 minutes interacting with the actual medical people.

They never called.

I’ve now switched insurance, so I can’t go to him anyway unless I want to pay it completely out of pocket, and why would I want to when their office staff can’t fucking get it together enough to call and schedule me an appointment. They had months in which they could have. This is when I was willing to do them the favor of being their promotional poster girl on the evening news!

But wait, the reason I am writing this is that I was reminded once again when I got a past due bill from them. They need $80 from me for giving me the injection (which I only got because I was supposed to have the procedure) which my insurance would not cover because they were injecting something that was not supplied by their office. They want 80 fucking dollars to have some fucktwit put on latex gloves, tear a package with a syringe in it, stick the syringe into the vial, draw the liquid into the syringe, and then stick a needle in my ass and depress the plunger. It took her less than a fucking minute.

So there you have it, yet another example of why I am always so aggravated whenever I even think I might need to deal with anything remotely medical.

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