Firing the Doctor and Road Tripping to Franklin, Tennessee

Sigh. I guess that’s one way to look at it. It sounds a lot better than “thanks to my severely limited funds, but needing to breathe, I have opted to drive two hours one way to a town outside Nashville to avoid paying a $200 Urgent Care Clinic visit.”

So…a bit of back story: I had to fire my doctor in April of last year. Partly because he was condescending (but I overlooked that because he was a good doctor and got my asthma under control), but mostly because he knew I didn’t have health insurance at the time, needed my Advair prescription continued, and could not afford any more than the office visit and the medication itself. Those were expenses that I had anticipated and budgeted out well ahead of time. But I begged him not to send me to have labs done, and he refused, telling me that if I didn’t have the labs done and didn’t come back for a follow-up in three months, he would not continue to treat me.

I was rattled, to say the least. But I kept my composure, stayed in the office for a physical exam, took my prescriptions (I also use ProAir as a rescue), and got my ProAir filled. That was all I could afford at the time, being that Advair at full retail was over $300 for a one-month supply. I mailed my Advair prescription off to a wonderful and extremely helpful place called Canada Drugs, where it only cost me $88 for the exact same thing, but would take 2-3 weeks to make it to me. Then, I called the lab to see how much that would set me back. I was quoted a price I could reasonably afford, so I went in to have the labs done.

I told the lady at the front desk as well as the tech drawing blood that I was quoted x amount of dollars. Instead of facing me and letting me pay the bill after services were rendered, they told me they would bill me. In retrospect, that was a smart thing to do because what I was charged was about three times what I was quoted over the phone. Had I been told that in the office, I would have raised all kinds of hell. I should have raised all kinds of hell anyway, but life has me pretty exhausted and I figured I’d just pay it off bit by bit with each paycheck. Now, I know the lab fiasco wasn’t the doctor’s fault. But I was so pissed at him for making me have it done when he knew I didn’t have the money for any of it! I decided then and there that I couldn’t deal with this level of stress every three months and he was fired. I had a year’s prescription, and would find another doctor once my insurance through my employer kicked in.

I have managed to make a year’s worth of doses last a year and a half. I know I should have replaced my doctor by now, but for many different reasons, I haven’t done that yet. I ran out of my rescue inhaler a while ago, but didn’t sweat it because I still had Advair, and I rarely ever use the rescue inhaler. Then I ran out of Advair, and thought I had another month left – but I didn’t. Now, here I am. I was planning to go to the local Urgent Care Clinic since I am between doctors, only to find out – the long and short of it – that my insurance does not pay a cent until my deductible is met (I will never meet the deductible on doctor’s visits, which is a good thing, actually.). Urgent Care is $150-$200 for an office visit. A doctor’s office is $80-$120 for a visit. A tank of gas and a $15 copay to go to a Walgreen’s Health Care Clinic two hours away is only $55, though. I still have a few providers around here to call tomorrow, and if I can find one, I may just cough up the extra $25 to not have to make that drive.

On the other hand…ROAD. TRIP. After the week I’ve had? A quick jaunt out of town. Cranking the music up loud. Opening the sunroof to enjoy the slightly cooler temps. THRIFTING – I mean, sourcing for my store – from there as well as every little town, hamlet, and village on the way back. It all sounds truly wonderful! I’m just not sure it sounds as wonderful as sleeping late and doing nothing but getting caught up on all the tv I missed this week.

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