shireal: kadaj is devil (Default)
[personal profile] shireal
So. I don't have health insurance. I am poor, in debt, and don't qualify for medical assistance.
The local ER has charity assistance, so I can go there in an emergency. Yay.

Unfortunately, I can't see a normal doctor. Or dentist. Or fill a prescription that isn't at the ER pharmacy.

Anyway, I finally was able to afford a new pair of pants. And I wore them to work. I came home, showered, and I freaked out when I found a rash on my legs. I got rid of the pants, but the rash didn't fade. It shifted positions on my legs, faded and returned in different places, and didn't itch. It also looked nothing like any rash I've ever seen or had. A couple of weeks go by, and I decided to go to the ER.

It turns out I have/had allergic vasculitis. Allergic vasculitis is hypersensitivity to a drug or foreign substance that leads to inflammation and damage to blood vessels of the skin. A weird looking rash on my legs, basically.

The ER doctor diagnosed it. (Lol, he had to look it up in a book.) It's mainly caused by a reaction to a drug. It can also be a symptom of herpes, and liver(kidney?) problems. It can sometimes be just a normal allergic reaction, thank god. The  Doc ran some tests. No to herpes, drug reactions (like I could afford medication for anything more than the common cold), and liver(kidney?) problems. So I have allergies. To what I don't know.

The ER doctor proceeded to lecture when I asked if there was anyway to treat it without seeing the specialist. I have no insurance or money with which to see a specialist. His entire tone throughout the conversation was off-putting. It was the 'Ick, Poor Person. Why don't you have any money?' tone I've come to know so well.

'ER Doctor: This isn't really something we do. We're not specialists. I can't even begin to tell you what to treat it with. You have to find a way to see specialist. Save up for it. Do something. They have to find out what you are allergic to. Go to a specialist.
Me: But I don't have insurance or any money...
ER Doctor: See a specialist. I can't help you.'

So I call the local dermatologist, the only one in there area.

Me: How much would it cost to treat and diagnose the cause of allergic vasculitis?"
DO (Dermatologist's Office): I don't know. That would depend on what you have and the treatment for it.
Me: ...I have allergic vasculitis. How much would treating it cost? Could you or the doctor estimate?
DO: The doctor would first have to evaluate what's wrong and then determine the course of treatment.
Me: I've already seen a doctor. I know what I----(cut off here)
DO: The doctor would still have make a determination.
Me: Alright. I don't have insurance. How much would I need to pay upfront?
DO: ...All of it.
Me: You don't bill people?
DO: No, ma'am. Not if they don't have insurance. All the money has to paid at the appointment.
Me: And the doctor can't estimate what that sort of treatment would cost?
DO: No.'

Great. So people with insurance can be billed. Not people that actually need the billing or the payment plans.

So I could have to pay anywhere between $50 to $5000 at the office. I began to wallow in self-pity. I thought I would be stuck with the rash spreading slowly up my body for years before I saved up enough to see a doctor.

Since the rash had to do with the blood vessels I decided to start taking an aspirin a day.  Aspirin helps with blood flow, so it seemed like a good idea.

And it was. The rash is gone now. It turns out that allergic vasculitis is often treated with aspirin. WTF, ER Doctor. You could have mentioned that maybe?

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shireal: kadaj is devil (Default)
shireal

February 2012

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