As usual, I've been sent to a new doctor. I had a dermatologist, but she left the area shortly after my first set of skin tumors were pulled off. That was the year the county just decided all on their own that I didn't want health insurance anymore. No that was a fun fuck up to clear up.
But anyway, this is why we need single payer in this country, or failing that, California. A few weeks ago I noticed some rough stops on my back that were painful to the touch. Having had this before, I knew I had to see a dermatologist. But I can't just call a dermatologist. No, first I have to make an appointment with my primary care doctor. So he can look at me for five minutes and agree that I need to see a specialist.
As an aside, almost all my doctors are Asian at this point, from all across the spectrum. This become relevant soon, I swear.
Having done my job in informing the primary care, I wait for an authorization letter from Anthem Blue Cross, who do the paperwork for my version of Medicaid. Now let's recap: I've had benign skin tumors before, but there is no guarantee that this batch will be the same. I, and my doctor, have both said "is cancer? Could be!" to the insurer. Which is why after a long week's wait, I finally called my doctor back to ask where my referral was? Another few days, and I finally get a phone number.
Call that, get an appointment. Place in Milpitas, right along Montague Expressway, where they are building the Bart extenstion. Nice little office block. Find my building and suite, go in, and . . .
It's a clinic that mostly caters to Vietnamese folks getting cosmetic laser surgery. It's an eye-rounding clinic, folks. And I'm in there with my poor-folk insurance. Fuck My Life.
At least the staff speaks English, mostly.
Meet the doctor, who seems a bit brusque. Go over medical history, quick exam, schedule biopsy date. All what I should have been able to do before! In one phone call! This is the part that drives me insane!
Anyway, after several weeks of tumor growth (I'm paranoid about cancer for some reason) I finally go in Monday. Which is when I learn that I really need a new dermatologist. First of all, one of the receptionists, who was very soft-spoken with a HEAVY Vietnamese accent, was trying to get through some insurance providers phone tree. On speaker. Those things don't work in perfect conditions half the time. The better part is I can her the identification numbers the machine is asking for and the numbers she's replying with! This is the equivalent of reading your credit card number out loud on a bus.
Go back, and learn that my skin-care physician isn't brusque, he just has the personality of a bag of wet sand. I'm not kidding. I got nothing close to a human reaction the entire time I was there. Medical robots in Star Wars have better patient skills. The biopsy itself was easy, lidocaine is awesome. But here's where I got mad. After explaining that I'm a stroke survivor and really need instructions written down, he just told me what to do for wound care and sent me out the door. Not even a good-bye.
Luckily, I remembered what he told me. Mainly because it was kind of weird (I've never been given a lesson in how to apply a band-aid before.) Made my appointment for the stitches removal and discussion of what was found, and got the hell out of Dodge.
But I can't help think how much easier it would be with single payer. I'd call Dr. Son and say I need to see a dermatologist, can he recommend anyone? Or just look up a local dermatologist and make an appointment. No fuss with referrals and who is in network and who is out, just calling a doctor when you need one.
Same goes for ER visits and ambulances. If you need to be rushed to the hospital, call 911 and get a cool ride! If you're like me and have a stroke, you shouldn't wake up and immediately wonder how you're paying for it.
We are the only industrialized Western nation that doesn't offer single payer. Let's elect people who want to fix that.