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Old February 15 2009, 04:41 PM   #1
hxclespaulplayer
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how to return to a medical clinic after a 1 year break

Hi, I've only recently returned to the 'States. As you guys (if anyone in misc has seen me in the BSG/SG section) may have seen, I sometimes post at odd hours - mainly because I've worked various hours in my previous job in Saudi Arabia, which has suited a medical condition of mine (pretty much hereditary insomnia) just fine. I had to change clinics, from one I had attended for 8 years, to a completely new one, a few months before I left the U.S. Now that I've returned home, I've found my current clinic has been given a big no-no towards the attitudes of sleeping pills. This was the case before but not as bad, however when I tried to return to my original clinic:

I first just wanted a medical summary, the receptionist refused to allow me to see the doc for this.

A little while later, I wanted to see the doc about a general health problem, again I was turned down (this receptionist claimed I was arguing, however, she was doing all the shouting - I'm no arguer, the doc himself said "that receptionist is a real bitch" (!) - she claimed my medical history had been transferred and thus I was no longer a patient. That turned out to be total B.S.

I next tried a little while later, and they really had transferred my history by then... they claimed my doctor was not taking new patients and not seeing returning ones.

I've had easy access to prescription drugs in Saudi that are "over the counter" compared to having to see a doctor in the U.S, however I have been in check with a doc there for the whole time anyway. There's no way I can get back into the workforce here, especially with the current climate, and with not being able to get a full eight hours' sleep. I have found that many doctors here "don't believe in tablets" (as a friend briefed me about) anymore.

Obviously making a complaint is not going to get any results before I run out of medication. I need a way to approach this receptionist in a way that I know all my rights, and will politely but firmly refuse to leave the premises until such rights are fulfilled.

Now I know there are a lot of people that are going to say that sleeping pills are bad, etc, however this has been my only real option for the last 8 years. They have been approved by 7 doctors over that time. I've found that the benefits have far outweighed the risks. It's just that there seem to be a lot of younger doctors in my area nowadays, who have been taught differently to the elder ones that can tell the genuine article from some dealer, and know what they're talking about. I appreciate any concerns for my health, but if anyone wants to tell me that I'm endangering my health, etc, please send it to me via PM, as this thread is really only for asking advice about how I can get to visit my old doc.
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Old February 15 2009, 05:14 PM   #2
The Sneeze Police
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Re: how to return to a medical clinic after a 1 year break

Bypass the receptionist. If you get a live person when you call the office during business hours, then ask to speak to your doctor's nurse. If that fails, then ask to speak to the business manager.

They should have kept your original medical record themselves...they would have sent copies to other health care providers. Regardless of transferring of your history or care to someone else, they will have records of your treatment at that practice.

Have you tried calling after hours to speak with the doctor or nurse on call? Maybe they would agree to call in a presciption until you can change practices.

Finally, many states have websites where you can look up doctors on line and find yourself a doctor who has been out of school for awhile. I know that will not help you as you run out of medicine.

By the way, if you have told the doctor and he/she acknowledges that the receptionist is a bitch - - you should change practices anyway and tell them why. There is no excuse for a patient who is feeling unwell or scared to have to deal with a heartless bitch of a receptionist.
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Old February 16 2009, 08:11 AM   #3
hxclespaulplayer
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Re: how to return to a medical clinic after a 1 year break

ELK wrote: View Post
Bypass the receptionist. If you get a live person when you call the office during business hours, then ask to speak to your doctor's nurse. If that fails, then ask to speak to the business manager.

They should have kept your original medical record themselves...they would have sent copies to other health care providers. Regardless of transferring of your history or care to someone else, they will have records of your treatment at that practice.

Have you tried calling after hours to speak with the doctor or nurse on call? Maybe they would agree to call in a presciption until you can change practices.

Finally, many states have websites where you can look up doctors on line and find yourself a doctor who has been out of school for awhile. I know that will not help you as you run out of medicine.

By the way, if you have told the doctor and he/she acknowledges that the receptionist is a bitch - - you should change practices anyway and tell them why. There is no excuse for a patient who is feeling unwell or scared to have to deal with a heartless bitch of a receptionist.
It seems that my name has been flagged on their computer as a "do not serve because he's transferred and we're full" patient. I was told that everything was OK, I just needed to have the new clinic request my records. The new clinic told me that *they* had to request them. The old clinic said something like "oh, well, we can't have you back then, we have a waiting list". I tell them of my desperation: "well, that's just unlucky I guess". So, I go phone the other surgery this doctor practicies at - I get a fairly nice woman who works at both surgeries. She was about to put me on this waiting list, but suddenly decided against it, pushing me to instead tell my current doctor to request other doctors in the area.

My doctor doesn't agree with my regular treatment. He will not reccommend anybody for me. He's of the opinion that all doctors are the same as him. And, I have no idea now about how to get on this magical waiting list (strange that a taxi driver, who I heard about the guy practicing, is a new patient). I honestly fear that if the wrong receptionist is on at the old surgery, and I ask about getting put on the list, I'll get a good hollering and possibly have them try to phone the police (there are these signs that they have warning abusive patients about that, but I'm more likely to just have a seizure at the bad news instead of continuing an arguing match with them). There are really good doctors there, but really lousy receptionists. I think one is a nurse, but she doubles as one of said receptionists. I don't know how on earth I'd ever get the number of their business manager, if they're "rude on sight" to me, they sure wouldn't put me on directly to the doctor, either, as they would recognize my voice (it's not as if they're a small-town practice, but I have had them recognize me before...)

Last edited by hxclespaulplayer; February 16 2009 at 08:39 AM. Reason: adding minor additional info
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Old February 16 2009, 08:38 AM   #4
nx1701g
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Re: how to return to a medical clinic after a 1 year break

One sure fire way (I'm not joking with this) is to say that you feel you're being discriminated against and that you will be contacting a lawyer regarding this immediately. That usually gets you through - but should only be used as a last ditch.
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Old February 16 2009, 04:35 PM   #5
The Sneeze Police
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Location: East Coast of the US
Re: how to return to a medical clinic after a 1 year break

You probably have come to the conclusion that medical treatment in the US is going to differ from outside the US. Medicines have differing availaibity and indications in the States. That being said, I see insomnia medicines advertised with some frequency here in the US, and I find it hard to believe that there isn't a doctor somewhere in your area that isn't willing to treat insomnia (although possibly with a different regimen than your current regimen.)

I wouldn't stand to be treated the way you have been treated by this doctor's staff...no matter how good the doctor...it sounds like he isn't going to prescribe the medicines that you have used in the past anyway. If they have some problem with you, they should tell you what that problem is (I am not saying you are any of these but maybe they perceive you as "abusive" or "drug seeking")...not give you some run around...honestly this waiting list thing sounds a bit bogus especialy given that you have a history in this practice. Doctor's practices do get full, though, so maybe it is legit.

Google New York online access to health care and in their website they have a link under Health & Wellness to US physicians. That should help you find the Medical Board website in your state. You can look at year of certfication or year of medical school graduation...to see their level of experience.

Until you get situated with a doctor or specialist that you like, you may want to go to one of those "docs in a box" clinics which have sprung up. They see folks as walk-ins, and many maintain patients like any family practice.
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Old February 16 2009, 07:30 PM   #6
hxclespaulplayer
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Re: how to return to a medical clinic after a 1 year break

ELK wrote: View Post
Bypass the receptionist. If you get a live person when you call the office during business hours, then ask to speak to your doctor's nurse. If that fails, then ask to speak to the business manager.

They should have kept your original medical record themselves...they would have sent copies to other health care providers. Regardless of transferring of your history or care to someone else, they will have records of your treatment at that practice.

Have you tried calling after hours to speak with the doctor or nurse on call? Maybe they would agree to call in a presciption until you can change practices.

Finally, many states have websites where you can look up doctors on line and find yourself a doctor who has been out of school for awhile. I know that will not help you as you run out of medicine.

By the way, if you have told the doctor and he/she acknowledges that the receptionist is a bitch - - you should change practices anyway and tell them why. There is no excuse for a patient who is feeling unwell or scared to have to deal with a heartless bitch of a receptionist.
I will have to try and practice some of this, mind you, it's going to be slow going when there are days when you just can't get out of bed (and I don't have enough medication to bring me up to a normal dose...).

A friend advised me, about having this seizure, to not go to a doctor about it, but to an ER, as it may scare the crap out of this doctor, thinking the seizure was caused by the medication drop, into prescribing the proper amount again. However, the treating doctor reccommended ceasing *all* medication, and taking Prozac! *shrugs* - I'll edit this post, perhaps, when I can think of some more answers or have made any progress, however keep the advice flowing if you wish...
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Old February 17 2009, 09:54 AM   #7
Richard
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Re: how to return to a medical clinic after a 1 year break

I live overseas but it is probably the same everywhere: go to the first doctor you can find unless there is some pressing reason that you have not shared with us. If you can, bring along evidence that you have been overseas and have received a benzodiazepine drug; whether you can or not, tell him that you have had serious insomnia for years and have taken 20 mg or 30 mg temazepam (tuh-maz-uh-pam) every day mostly with success. If you prefer alprazolam (Xanax) then you can say that you have had one milligram per day but you are more likely to be turned down. The tablets are 10 mg each (usually white or orange) so you'd be taking two or three per day, just in case it comes up somehow. You would say that the drug really has been a godsend, but you did not really think about it when you found that you had run out; after all, for years you had slept really well. However, to your surprise, it did matter: that night you had the worst episode of insomnia in your life and you feel terrible now and even have been having this strange mild anxiety ('It's like how I feel when I have a cup of coffee....'). Also have an extra cup of coffee an hour before making the visit. While you are giving your spiel, ensure you have talked about all the things you have tried over the years for your insomnia: this includes setting a concrete hour to wake and sleep; a so-called sedating antihistamine (e.g. diphenhydramine); have ensured a pattern of only sleeping in bed; trying not to lay around if you are just not able to sleep; increasing exercise; and even meditation. A lot of doctors seem to make the above recommendations before prescribing but you can speed up things by suggesting you've done it and it doesn't work.
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Old February 18 2009, 08:52 AM   #8
hxclespaulplayer
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Re: how to return to a medical clinic after a 1 year break

Richard wrote: View Post
I live overseas but it is probably the same everywhere: go to the first doctor you can find unless there is some pressing reason that you have not shared with us. If you can, bring along evidence that you have been overseas and have received a benzodiazepine drug; whether you can or not, tell him that you have had serious insomnia for years and have taken 20 mg or 30 mg temazepam (tuh-maz-uh-pam) every day mostly with success. If you prefer alprazolam (Xanax) then you can say that you have had one milligram per day but you are more likely to be turned down. The tablets are 10 mg each (usually white or orange) so you'd be taking two or three per day, just in case it comes up somehow. You would say that the drug really has been a godsend, but you did not really think about it when you found that you had run out; after all, for years you had slept really well. However, to your surprise, it did matter: that night you had the worst episode of insomnia in your life and you feel terrible now and even have been having this strange mild anxiety ('It's like how I feel when I have a cup of coffee....'). Also have an extra cup of coffee an hour before making the visit. While you are giving your spiel, ensure you have talked about all the things you have tried over the years for your insomnia: this includes setting a concrete hour to wake and sleep; a so-called sedating antihistamine (e.g. diphenhydramine); have ensured a pattern of only sleeping in bed; trying not to lay around if you are just not able to sleep; increasing exercise; and even meditation. A lot of doctors seem to make the above recommendations before prescribing but you can speed up things by suggesting you've done it and it doesn't work.
Let me just get this straight... I should tell the doc that I'd been taking tablets that I've never taken before? I've found that with these kind of drugs, every new doctor you go to wants to see a list/summary from your previous doctor before they will even believe that you take what you claim you're taking. Medical records seem to stick to me like glue, especially since every medical visit you're had is associated with your SSN/medicaid.

I'm just not sure that I've got you straight, about saying I've taken tablets that I never have before. "skipping" their suggestions definately sounds like a good strategy, but I can only think of that being useful if I'm going to a new doc, and complaining about the cut in pills that my current doc is trying.

I've had some really weird stuff happen in the 2 or so weeks I've been back/had tablets cut down - a seizure (though the ER didn't think it was one, my friend did, who lived next to a guy who had them), a lot of panic attacks, sleeping 2 hours out of every 40, really scary shaking of hands (I've hardly been able to eat the last 12 hrs, I just haven't been able to hold anything still enough)... the other big problem is that every doctor I've encountered in the last 8 years (whenever I haven't seen a regular, and even with medical history shown) has just gone on about the evils of sleeping pills... even as rude as "I'm not prescribing 3 xxxx a night!", "I can't (more like won't) prescribe these", "this isn't the proper treatment", etc. That last guy, I told him how much of a sleep expert he must be, and said I was very eager to see him as a regular doctor to treat me - that really scared him off!

Sorry, I just need a bit of clarification about this saying I've taken the pills you listed, when my medical history is going to say otherwise, and from experience, I will have to show medical history to get anywhere...
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Old February 22 2009, 06:40 AM   #9
Richard
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Re: how to return to a medical clinic after a 1 year break

Your symptoms (and signs) suggest benzodiazepine withdrawal to me. I do not understand why you would have a problem obtaining a prescription; just say that you do not have your medical records from overseas because it never occurred to you at the time that you would have this sort of catastrophe if you went without your medication. Or else, if you are more patient than I am, just tell the doctor you are going through a rough period - of a few month's duration - and have tried everything, etc. Good luck, and I'm sorry I took so long to respond. You can order these drugs online, anyway, pretty easily (as far as I know) but as far as 'abusable' drugs go they are very easy to get.
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