I am writing as much to the insurance companies as the physicians themselves.
Let me start by saying, there are amazing doctors in every discipline out there. I know there are. I am privileged to be seen, or have been seen, by some and to know some on a personal level. I also know, that our level of care here in developed nations is much better than many, many places.
But my eyes are still overflowing with tears. I am trying to find a doctor who cares to help all of me. Who understands mental illness. Who knows it affects all areas of my life, but not to write off all medical issues to the Bipolar Disorder. Yes, that happens more than you care to admit. You give your history, you mention Bipolar and suddenly, all you need is some Valium. Never mind that such treatment helps not at all and shows you to be disrespectful to me and my healthcare when you can’t understand that maybe, not being able so swallow might be caused by something other than an anxiety attack. Call me crazy, which I am sure you do, but I might be pretty aware of my anxiety level and how it typically manifests. You might find listening to me a just a bit useful. You might find your bedside manner improves when you care about the words that come out of your patients’ mouth.
Those of you who live with mental illness, if you have a doctor who gives a damn, hang on, at all costs, because most don’t. I had one that I thought did. My insurance changed due to job loss. He doesn’t take the new one. When I approached him about a cash scale I was told he only accepted full payment, you know the amount he does NOT get from my insurance company, and that I should look elsewhere. Pretty much what I was afraid of but I had really thought he cared. I am more than a little devastated to find out he is just a good actor when you are sitting in his office.
Yeah, that’s what I needed to find out–he didn’t/doesn’t care either. It isn’t about the patient, it is about the dollars.
Just go to the hospital. Yeah. Would you like to know what happens there? A body cavity search, most things taken away from you, a doctor who comes in once a day with no plan whatsoever on how to treat you; his plan is likely to take you off all meds and send you home. Trust me, the hospital is not for care, it is to make sure someone is watching you so they can’t be held liable for your death by suicide. It truly has nothing to do with taking care of the person, just saving face. And each time you go, just brings more stigma and shame. So please, don’t tell me the hospital is going to help me, they are not. And if you happen to go on the weekend, the level of care plummets even further.
I was told again by a doctor office today that I can’t be seen because of the type of insurance I have, and that they will not work with me for cash pay, when I know they have in other instances. I have been crying ever since.
Right now I see a doctor who is trying. My appointments are 15 minutes long. Not much time to sort out what is going on and happening. And I am seeing a student therapist. It’s okay for the 8 weeks until they rotate out. But, that amount of time gives you time to maybe begin to trust the person, not to make progress.
Get help, I hear. Take care of yourself, I’m told. So I try, I do. I take the meds that have a myriad of side effects, I exercise til I can’t think, I do the next right things, but that doesn’t always cut it.
You see, I have these three little girls and this amazing hubby and a circle of friends and family who love me. I want to be there for them, but the battle is long, the battle is hard. I need a doctor to come alongside me and to listen and care, to go beyond meds to understand how my issues manifest so maybe they can actually be treated correctly and wholly.
I’m okay, I am not giving up, but each door that slams in my face just proves again, there is very little hope, for me, for many.
Dear healthcare works and insurance companies, please give us hope. Please.