“So,” said Steven B. Sotman, MD, Infectious Disease Specialist, “as far as what I can do for you, we’re done”.
That sentence, spoken about six months ago, concluded my initial, year plus Journey Through Medical Hell.
But let’s back up, start at the beginning, and I’ll share with you why I’ve lost faith in Western medicine, several Doctors and maybe give you some insight into how broken “health care” in America is for an insured, late middle aged, gainfully employed, white male.
In September of 2010 I found my eyes were bothering me, more than usual (I’ve been plagued with dry, blood shot eyes for a few years now). As time wore on they became by turns inflamed, puffy, swollen, weepy, painful and downright scary to look at.
The usual allergy pills and nostrums made no difference, so I scheduled a visit to the GP/PC who referred me to an ophthalmologist.
She is the daughter of someone I’d seen sporadically in the past, and I expected a quick resolution to the problem. Alas, that was so not going to be the case this time around.
Round One: Oral antibiotics, along with prescription eye drops (four different flavors; steroid, antibiotic, antihistamine, wetting agent) and the “Come back in two weeks” directive.
Round Two: My condition hadn’t really improved, so we switch drops and the directive this time is “Warm compresses on the eyes three to four times daily and come back and see me in a week”.
Round Three: She scratched her head, switched drops again, and I hear “Well, when you run out of those come back and see me”, which I translated as “Shit, I’ve thrown everything I know to at you, nothing’s stuck so far, I’m baffled, maybe you’ll just get disgusted and go away”.
Bear in mind, thanks to “cost cutting measures” introduced to our insurance plan, each of these visits nicked me for a $40 co-pay (this being a “specialist” visit) along with the prescription costs.
At this point the net result was I didn’t look *quite* as scary, it was only marginally painful on occasion, but I still looked like Steve Buscemi after a blunt fest bender.
I shared my misery with the leader of our usher team at church. She recommended me to her ophthalmologist who, she swore, literally saved her eyes ten years before.
Sounded like a hell of an endorsement to me.
So, back to the GP/PC for a referral, and on to the new doc.
He was old school, charming, cheap, (but in a good way, he likes to keep using his old equipment that works, rather than pay for shiny new toys and pass the cost of those on to his patients). He examined me and I’m set up with more drops, more antibiotics, more “come back in two weeks”, and a $40 co-pay.
To make a long story short, after massive doses of Tetracycline, ocular steroids and what not, my eyes return to their previous state.
I’ve also shelled out $200 in co-pays over four months, as well as the cost of the Rx’s, as well as having put massive amounts of foreign substances through my better-than-half-a-century-old frame.
So, even though he wanted to continue seeing me, I stopped after the fifth visit. It was getting hard to find enough change in the couch to have as gas money.
About a month goes by, and all is relatively well when, suddenly, my sinuses block up.
/sigh [The saga will continue soon]