Medical Care

April 22, 2009 at 11:15 AM 9 comments

Yesterday was the 2-year anniversary of when John and I started dating. Of course, we had been writing an insane amount of letters back and forth for the 2-3 months prior as well. Other than acknowledging that two years ago, John was graduating from Basic Training, I was visiting him in South Carolina, and we decided to start dating, we spent the evening curled up on the couch. We both had massive headaches. Grr.

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This morning, we took Béni to the vet to get some shots. He can play with other puppies now! I’m sure he’ll be thrilled about that once he stops being sore from the shots.

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I am frustrated about the military medical system: TriCare.

Over the past 2-3 weeks, I noticed that my skin on my legs and arms was exceptionally dry and lotion wasn’t helping. This past week, that dryness has been accompanied by redness and little dots. (Yuck, I know.) I am pretty sure it’s eczema. I had it when I was younger, but it disappeared when I went to college. Anyway, I knew I needed to see a dermatologist, so I called TriCare’s appointment line on Monday.

I couldn’t see a dermatologist, because they said I needed a referral from family practice (the GP). To make matters worse, they didn’t have any appointments until April 30th. This is like a cruddy HMO, and I’m really tired of it. I KNOW I need to see a dermatologist, and I shouldn’t have to waste my time waiting for an appointment to see a general practitioner who is only going to refer me to a dermatologist once he/she sees me.

Truly, I think the military TriCare system is even worse than an HMO. When I call for an appointment, I’m fairly certain that the priority goes something like this: officers, enlisted soldiers, officers’ spouses, civilian employees, enlisted soldiers’ spouses. Thus, I am at the bottom of the priority list. It’s ridiculous!

Every day, you can call the appointment line when they open at 7 am and hope to get a same day appointment. They fill up fast, and I think they run on the same priority.

I tried for an appointment again on Tuesday (yesterday) with no luck, so I decided to go to the acute care clinic (kind of like a mini-ER) just so I could get a referral. I waited for 40 minutes in the ice-cold waiting room before being shuffled to a bed. It was so hot back there. There was no a/c and no moving air form the windows (probably because I was behind a curtain). I sat back there sweating for another 30-35 minutes before the doctor came to see me. She spent less than 2 minutes with me, and that’s not an exaggeration.

She sent me on my way with some Vaseline-like stuff, some lotion, hydrocortisone cream and Benadryl…and a referral to a dermatologist, which is what I cared most about anyway.

Two last things…

I know this is gross, but I have to get my point across. I think I have some sort of toe fungus. The nails on my big toes have been discolored for about 6 months. The last doctor I saw here told me he didn’t have anything to prescribe for it and I should just go to the PX and get some OTC topical stuff to paint on. That stuff didn’t work. I showed my nails to the doctor I saw yesterday and she told me it didn’t look like fungus and I must have not gotten all my nail polish off. I insisted that wasn’t the case and that it had been like that for 6 months. She didn’t say anything else. GRRR.

This isn’t the first bad experience I have had at the acute care clinic either. I went in January because I was having searing pain in my elbow (so much so that it made me tear up every time my elbow touched something). The doctor told me he didn’t know what was wrong and said “it’s a headscratcher. Take some ibuprofen.” Geez. I despise TriCare. I want to choose my own doctors and not have to always get referrals through a GP.

Oh…oh…one more thing. I just got a letter in the mail that notified me that “hurray!” women no longer have to go see the GP to get a referral every time they need to go to the gynecologist. Really? I should celebrate that? Uhhh, shouldn’t that have been the way things worked all along?

Again, in case you missed it, I do not like TriCare.

– Sarah

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Master’s Degree or Elementary School Graduation? NIOSA

9 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Cat  |  April 22, 2009 at 1:58 PM

    TriCare is no fun! It was yucky enough having to deal with it in kid’s ER. =P

    Reply
    • 2. osarah  |  April 22, 2009 at 4:26 PM

      Ah so you know what I’m talking about! 🙂

      Reply
  • 3. annonymous  |  April 22, 2009 at 2:31 PM

    Good example of what socialized medicine would be for the US if it passes. We should all remember that the next time elections roll around. If you vote for someone who supports that you shouldn’t comlain. Obama supported that!

    Reply
    • 4. osarah  |  April 22, 2009 at 4:25 PM

      Obama’s health care plan is not socialized medicine.

      Directly from the White House’s website:

      On health care reform, the American people are too often offered two extremes — government-run health care with higher taxes or letting the insurance companies operate without rules. President Obama and Vice President Biden believe both of these extremes are wrong, and that’s why they’ve proposed a plan that strengthens employer coverage, makes insurance companies accountable and ensures patient choice of doctor and care without government interference. […] Under the plan, if you like your current health insurance, nothing changes, except your costs will go down by as much as $2,500 per year. If you don’t have health insurance, you will have a choice of new, affordable health insurance options.

      Read it for yourself here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/agenda/health_care/

      (Emphasis added was my own.)

      Reply
  • 5. CN Heidelberg  |  April 22, 2009 at 9:17 PM

    Aww, that is terrible!! Like you wouldn’t know nail polish residue from a medical issue!
    All the referrals sound just like when we lived in Boston…what a pain. 😦 (In the German system we don’t need referrals, thank God!)

    Reply
    • 6. osarah  |  April 24, 2009 at 3:48 PM

      No joke…I called today and finally get to see a German doctor. Yay! I highly doubt he/she is going to tell me I have nail polish residue on my nails 🙂

      By the way, I sent you a message on Twitter wishing you luck today. I hope all went well!

      Reply
  • 7. purejoy  |  April 24, 2009 at 4:42 AM

    i read what you wrote and shuddered to think how our medical system will work if we end up with socialized care. heavy sigh.
    on a completely unrelated note, i tagged you in my blog. i hope you have a minute to check it out and can play along.
    ps on your toenails, you can try tinactin or some sort of OTC spray, but they say less than 25% works. there lamisil, but it’s super hard on the liver and you need to have lots of bloodwork. there is a new procedure where they do laser treatments, but the FDA hasn’t approved it in the US.

    Reply
    • 8. osarah  |  April 24, 2009 at 3:47 PM

      Thanks for the advice. I’m about to head over to your blog now!

      Reply
  • 9. hannah  |  April 28, 2009 at 10:21 PM

    ahh i wrote a paper on TriCare for my health management and policy class a few years ago =p..rawr! health insurance is so complex!

    Reply

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