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Newbie Here !

Started by Pela on 09/15/2011 11:05am

Hello

I've just been spending some time on the site, reading, learning and appreciating the connection I feel with you all..
A few weeks ago I was diagnosed with a bunch of things, multiple disc bulges, spinal stenosis and osteoarthritis. Previously in my teens I learned that I had Scheurmans disease with Kyphosis.
Lately my biggest struggles have been pain and finding a doctor who will accept me as a patient. My family physician is wonderful, but so far no surgeon has been willing to help me or even give me a consult. Rather than give up I will keep searching for someone who will offer me options.
I thank everyone here who shares their story, their pain, their tips and successes, it has given me hope.

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17 Responses

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May I ask what state you Live in.

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Hi,
I am in Canada so OHIP covers the Doctor. In my region we have very few specialists and they are accepting only worse case scenarios (spinal tumours, cancer, fractures) at least that is what one doctor sent to me in his rejection letter.
So although I get free healthcare, I may never receive it. I will not be giving up though..Thanks

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There may not be anything you can do. That is the downside of the medical system like yours. Ours (in US) has its own issues, and it is broken, but we can go to a specialist if we want to in most cases. If you consider that this is very disabling and very debilitating, you may have to foot the bill to see someone. How close are you to the US? Hopefully close to Seattle, or Michigan and eastward. I wish you well.

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Yes, I think I may have to foot a bill if I cannot get seen here, but I really do not have the money for that..I am close to Buffalo, Niagarafalls....Thanks for your imput, and I ll keep you updated..

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I'm here in the US, and have to pay out of pocket. The best doctors in my area do not accept insurance. It's your health and well being, money comes and goes, take care of you first!

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I couldnt imagine what the bill would be for back imaging/surgery..Thanks goodness my heart is good...haha..I can not give up so I will do whatever it takes even if it means going into the poor house. I have a lot of living to do yet, i'm only 35 ! I will let my family doc try to find a specialist and if it comes to it, I will go to the US to get the care I need...Thanks for the response and words of encouragement

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Hi,
I know how you feel, I'm 35 as well, and feel i'm just too young to be dealing with this. I have been paying full costs out of pocket for 2 years to see a pain management doctor as I was told 2 years ago my condition is beyond surgery. My nuerologist who treats me for headaches suggested I go for another consultation. The medications i'm on are not good, and are probably doing my body more damage. I just really hope the nightmare ends at some point.

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Becky,

It sounds terrible...What you are going through..I do not believe that surgery is an option for me either...Just dealing with it has been stressful for me and the many hurdles we all face...This site is great for advice and support though. Its comforting to have someone to talk with who can relate..Best of Luck to you !

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Pela, I know this must be very frustrating. Maybe you could go to Buffalo, to the med school and see a faculty member in dept of neurosurgery. Have a complete exam and interpretation of all of your films, records, exam, and have them come up with a "plan". Maybe you could then go back home and armed with all that, they hopefullly would give you whatever referrals or (I dont know how the medical plan works there) whatever you need to see a specialist in Canada. You can't live like this forever--it could potentially be dangerous (If you were in a high speed car accident for example) and its so painful all the time.

If you did this and the Dr. In Buffalo found that you needed surgery or other treatment, is there anyway to get reimbursed by the canadian health plan? It just stinks to be in limbo like this. but you have to sacrifice and see someone because you cant llive with this stuff. (I couldn't anyway).

A cervical MRI is around 600-1000$. There are outstanding dr's in the buffalo area, and all specialists take insurance. A consult with a neurosurgeon for a new patient is probably about 500$. I paid 400$ about ten yrs ago,so I am guessing that 500$ should cover it.

RE: comment someone made about insurance:
They may not take YOUR insurance, but to make a statement "the best dr's here dont take insurance" is wrong. I know they do or they would be bankrupt. There are some dr's who have started a practice where they see you on time, spend 30-60 min with you, and charge accordingly. They are generally family/internal med doctors, not things like neurosurgeons, neurologists, or orthopedic surgeons. They would not survive without insurance due to the cost and nature of their business. I think its called ala carte, or concierge medical practices, --they see you at agreed upon time, for an agreed upon amount of time. You are paying them for 100% of their time and attention during your appointment time.

That isn't "the best doctors here dont take insurance" though. That is a trend and there are not many who do it because I think its tough to make a living finding 8 hours of patients each day who will pay 300$ an hour or more.--cash, at time of visit, every time. I just want to be clear here.

Pela, I wish I had something more productive or helpful for you. LIke my uncle is the administrator for the insurance plan there or whatever, but I have nothing.

Keep me posted, and I hope you find a solution.

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Mtsaz

Thank you so much for your advice. I will wait a little longer for my Dr. to find a specialist. My family Dr. is good but has basic medicine and all he can do right now is prescribe pain meds. It's wonderful to be living in Canada with free healthcare, but the downside is the wait times. I am waiting to hear back from a Dr. Fehlings in Toronto and even if he accepts me there is a 6 month waiting list to be seen.. Financially, I cannot afford to pay for specialist services in the States. Even a 500$ consult would be difficult for me to take away from my family, but I will do it if all other options are exhausted. For now, I am hanging on and grateful for all the support here...

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Hi Pela
I understand where you are coming from as a fellow Canadian, I understand you are close to Buffalo?
I am just outside of Goderich, yes tornado town. I waited 11 months to get into a specialist, only to be told I wasn't a surgical candidate (too many problems). Like you multiple discs bulging, stenosis, facet issues and the list goes on. It is very frustrating, but I understand where they are coming from. I have had 4 previous back surgeries, last 2 done in London. Why won't a Orthopedic Dr see you, has your family dr explained this? I first got into see orthopod by going to a sports injury clinic.
Like to hear from you, I worked in the medical field so know some short cuts.
Polly

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I made the comment about doctors not taking insurance. The spinal surgeon and pain management doctor I see do not accept insurance, not one plan. Once I reach my deductible for out of network doctors I will get reimbursed 70%. The doctors office will not file any claims and will not deal wiht the insurance at all. All office visits must be paid upfront. Also the nuerosurgeon i'm seeing in 2 weeks doesn't accept insurance at all, again all office vists must be paid upfront. If i want the best I have to pay out of pocket, i can go to other doctors who are in my plan, but they might not be the best in the field in my area. If i'm contemplating surgery on my back, I only want the best. But please belive me these doctors DO NOT ACCEPT INSURANCE.

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Polly !

Hi ! Where are you? Clinton? LOL..I used to live in Southampton, and Lionshead..Playing the waiting game sucks..I will wait it out for a while, but eventually I may have to go south to get better care..Take out a second mortgage or whatever it takes....The specialists are swamped with patients so they are picking and choosing due to the severity of the injury, and I guess mine does not fit the bill, yet..Maybe when i am paralyzed... I am going to see the family doc tomorrow and possibly he will have an appointment for me...

Off topic..but does anyone use a pain patch? I am having difficulties with mine (butrans patch) I actually removed it today because of the itchiness, swelling, welts, throwing up, and headaches..meh..what can you do...

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Hi all

I forgot to mention that if you want to see my MRI results, I have an earlier post titled " MRI results" from a few weeks ago...

I keep checking back to see all your responses..It becoming as addicting as FB..

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Hi - a fellow Canadian here who has had a lot of experience in our system. My initial wait from symptom to surgery was 7 months for cervical fusion. Since then I've had a second level done. Toronto Western is the place to be, in my opinion and Fehlings is one of the best. I had Dr. Chris Wallace who left this summer due to politics. I know many others who have been to Fehlings with great success.
Anyway - I think you need to push your GP harder. I find that even though you have all these issues they often act as the gatekeeper and drag their feet in an effort to save the system money. When it was determined that I was a candidate everything moved really fast . I also know that imaging isn't perfect and Doc's want more of the story. This is why your GP has to get it and move it along with force!

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Pela, I agree with Jimmy. Although I am not in Canada, Iam very familiar with managed care and the squeaky wheel does get the grease. I guarantee you if you are assertive enough with your gp, he/she will do SOMETHING to stop the squeaking. Be persistent about your symptoms, call them daily to ask if they have a referral yet, and demand that your pain be treated appropriately. Do not lose credibility by saying "my pain is 10/10 and I need mega doses of narcotics", but be real. If its 8/10 and whatever you have isn't working for pain, tell them, and don't just say, "the _____ tablets are not working. I get little to no relief. What can we do to get my pain under control".

The biggest mistake people make is losing credibility. They demand strong meds, say the pain is much worse than it possibly could be, and at that point the dr just wants to get rid of you, which may included discharging you.

Dont give up if they shut you down, "I am afraid we have done all we can', so you demand them to get over-rides or exceptions or whatever in the system. If the specialist wont see you, have the GP call their office to make the appt. That usually is much more effective and will get you in much quicker than you could on your own.
I know this is all common sense, but its sometimes forgotten when frustrations are high, patience is low, and all the wheels are falling off the bus so to speak.

Keep me (us) posted on how its going and go in there and fight for your rights!!
Mark

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Jimmy and Mark

Thanks for the great advice..I did see my family Doc today and I asked him about the specialist. He said that I have been turned down by the other docs anyways so Dr. Fehlings may just do the same and that it may be time to see a pain management doctor..I was kinda pissed because I think my family doc is out of his area of expertise and he should be standing behind me, not passing me off. I have a plan..I am going to email the executive assistant of Dr. Fehlings letting her know that I understand the wait is long, but I would like to be put on a cancellation list as I am only an half and a half away from Toronto Western...Im hoping that this puts a little bug in her ear and she may email back with an appointment date at least..What are you thoughts on this? Aside from me corning the Doc in the underground parking, I do need to try and wait for a reasonable period of time. I really dont want to piss my fam. Doc off either... Thanks for your help...
Cheers

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