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Medical Madness

Medical Madness

Even though I’ve been feeling much better after my initial bout with bronchitis, I’ve continued to have minor relapses. I exert myself and then feel funny in the lungs and fatigued.

So I made an appointment to see my doctor Tuesday morning.

And it was such a strange doctor visit.

  1. I was informed that my doctor would now be charging $10 for phone calls. In fact, I was given a letter about it, and I had to sign to confirm receipt. The nurse-receptionist blamed “Obamacare” but the letter blamed Congress. So if I get some lab work done, I can either make a standard appointment to discuss the results, or I can pay ten bucks for a phone consult. My insurance will pay nothing for phone calls, but my co-pay for an office visit is $30.
  2. Once I got into the examination room, I was told the doctor now wants patients who can type to enter their own symptoms directly into the system. In the past a nurse or intern would talk to me and take notes. I can indeed type (in fact I’m typing right now) so soon I found myself typing my symptoms into a computer. I actually don’t mind this because I’m fairly articulate and I can know exactly what’s being entered. Still, it seemed weird.
  3. The doctor’s first impulse was to test me for HIV. Since I’m having trouble shaking an infection, perhaps there’s a problem with my immune system. I guess that makes sense. I’ve never been tested for HIV, so I guess it’s a good idea on general principle. I just thought it was odd that this would be at the top of the list. He also tested me for asthma but that came back negative. I’ll get the HIV results next week.

For what it’s worth, I’m on an antibiotic now and feeling better than ever.

As long as I’m talking about medical issues, I should mention the other symptom that prompted me to see the doctor. I seem to have quantity of fluid in my maxillary sinus cavity. I can feel it draining from side to side when I lie down. Yet my nasal passages are mostly clear — I’m not blowing snot. I finally blew some last week, and it was an alarming color I’ve never seen before, a very dark brown. Might be some old blood in there, as I was having bloody noses a month ago. I’ve been doing sinus rinses daily but they don’t seem to wash anything out. I don’t think the antibiotic will get the mucus out of my sinuses. What to do? What’s going on here anyway?

Medical Madness / Juan Calos Herrera / BY-NC-SA 2.0

Published inBodyPolitix


  1. Brooks Brooks

    That was one very bizarre visit to the doctor’s office.

    Given that N.O. is the fungus/mold/allergy capitol of the universe, might you be sensitive to something in the air? It’s spring, after all.

    Neti-pots are great, but if your gunky sinuses don’t clear up soon, a deep irrigation, as administered by an ENT, can reach deep into the sinuses in a way that a neti-pot can’t.

    You may have a stubborn, lurking sinus infection. If all else fails, this cocktail (prescribed by my terrific ENT, and the only thing ever to knock out my rare, but stubborn sinus infections) is guaranteed to set you aright:

    “Ask your doctor!” about:

    Augmentin 875mg
    Medrol Dose Pak and
    Entex PSE/BID #60 with 6 refills.

    (Seriously: copy it down, and file it away for future reference.)

    Feel better!

  2. Anne Anne

    I agree, see someone else for a second opinion. That’s a really strange, negative, anti-patient set of policies. I like Ochsner pretty well– they type the sympoms in after chatting with you for a few minutes. I’ve always asked tons of questions and they are perfectly happy about that. They type them in. They answer them. You can call the doctor or email them in their new sytem, and they respond (for free). I see Dr. Sarah Holt at the Robert E. Lee branch, which isn’t very far from your office.

  3. Robyn Robyn

    I’ve thought about this a lot since I read it yesterday and my real problem is that the practice decided to politicize their price increase. I *GET* that doctors don’t get paid for a great deal of the work they do–talking to patients on the phone, managing prescription refills, etc. And I also *GET* that the way insurance companies manage pricing it’s very difficult to build those real costs into the pricing of office visits. In fact, doctors don’t get paid for the time spent talking to their patients at all. They get paid based on procedures, tests, etc. It’s all very counterintuitive and I can see how it’s getting more and more difficult to run a medical practice.

    That being said, the problem isn’t new, and it’s almost certainly not because of “Obamacare.” Have any of the pieces that would effect doctors even gone into effect? I have no idea.

    The practice should have simply informed patients of the new policy and given a non-political business explanation for it. That would have been the professional, grown-up thing to do.

  4. Breny Breny

    +1 to what Brooks posted above. That cocktail finally cured my sinus issues that lasted over 2 months last fall. It was the third round of meds for me.

    I sounds like you have some inflammation in your sinuses. That could explain the trapped fluid in your max cavity. Steroids will usually help that. I hate taking them, but they work (for me).

  5. Nasalcrom is an OTC non-steriodal anti-inflammatory nasal spray that I’ve found very effective during allergy season. Also, everything Robyn said.

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