Chicago, here I come!

Soooo…..I’m pretty excited about this….Next week I’ll be taking a couple of days off and going to Chicago for the Chicagoland Patient Support Group meeting. Dr. Brady Stein (The doctor I went up to Chicago to see two summers ago) will be the speaker, which is exciting. 🙂 Is anyone else attending? Has anyone else attended in the past? Pros? Cons? Likes? Dislikes? Experiences in general? (I’m planning on tweeting from the meeting, and there will definitely be a new blog afterwards, hopefully with pictures and possibly video from Dr. Stein’s talk. )

I’ve never been to a patient support group, so I’m pretty excited to check it out. I wish there were one closer to home…I’ll have to look into it and see what it takes to organize a support group…I’m not sure what the interest would be around here, but I’ll certainly try to find out

Ordinarily this would be something my hubby and I would be attending together, however M recently changed jobs, and unfortunately does not have time off yet, so he can’t come with me. However…my awesome mama will be joining me for the road trip. This should be a lot of fun!

Switching gears a bit now….

Something I’ve been meaning to talk about here is one of the lovely “perks” that comes along with being a part of the “reluctant members’ club” as I like to call it. Visiting the vampires. Getting stuck. CBCs. Routine blood draws. Whatever you’d like to call it…we all do it. I’m curious if anyone else’s experiences have been similar to mine. My health insurance only covers routine blood work if it is done by one particular national chain of free-standing labs. Procedure at the lab I go to is that the first thing you do when your name is called is hand over your insurance card to be scanned into their system. My health insurance company changed a couple of years ago, and right after the change I brought my new card with me, submitted it to the tech, it was scanned in, and the old insurance info was, theoretically, deleted. Now, call me crazy…but I would think that after the new insurance card is in the system, and the old had been deleted that the new info would always be there? Yet for some reason…this particular lab repeatedly sent the charges to my OLD insurance company. Which, of course, denied the claim. Resulting in my being billed. Repeatedly. It took a lot of phone calls, being trapped in automated-purgatory for a while, but it finally got straightened out. But that’s just the start of the issues I have had with these places…

Because I’m a frequent visitor, my doc always gives me a prescripton for a standing order at the lab, which is on file and valid for 6 months at a time. You’d thik that would be simple to deal with. Walk in, tell them you have a standing order for a CBC/CMP and move on. But…apparently that’s not the case. On one particular day I walked in, gave the nice lady my insurance card, inform her that I had a new standing order for more frequent draws, replacing the one that is already in her computer, and had her the paperwork. She directs me to a room. I sit down and wait for her to come in. When she finally does, she starts asking me why her system had 2 different addresses on file for my doctor, and asked which account number we use normally…She didn’t seem to understand why I thought it was strange of her to be asking ME, the patient, which of the lab-assigned account numbers they should be using. She then told me that I should hold on to the new paperwork for my new standing order. I had to explain to her 3 times why we had a new one. She looked at me skeptically and said “OK…if you’re sure”. My appointment was for 11:45…by the time she actually started to draw my blood it was 12:15. We spent 30 minutes going back and forth about clerical stuff that should all be in their computer already…When she finally actually drew my blood I had to spend another few minutes convincing her that the vein I was pointing at was indeed a good one, and she did NOT have to try my hand. “No…this one doesn’t feel right…but the ones in your hand are visible. They’ll be easier to stick”. No. Just no. You don’t draw from hands. That’s just unnecessarily painful. She finally decides to try where I’ve pointed and says “OH…there it is….”, stabs the too-large-gauge needle in, and promptly blows thru the vein. Backed up, got the return on the needle, and finished up. After, she says “Hey…could you go online and review your experience with us today? I’d really appreciate a good review.” Seriously? Think about that for a moment. Not gonna happen.

Just another example of needing to be an assertive patient, and stand your ground. Don’t let anyone make you doubt yourself. Not ever.

I’m off for now, but I’ll write more later! Hopefully before the Chicago trip..no promises though lol.

Lina (aka The Prodigal Poster)

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