Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Woman with the Red Chair

Known the first few years around here as "The Walking Lady" because I was doing laps around the complex, and last few years as "Lady with the Red Chair on her patio" (laps are now done on the college campus) residents accustomed to seeing the chair, as they stroll by, are going to think I moved.

The pieces are ready to be taken down to the dumpster when I return from this morning’s workout.

Rather than carrying the pieces down in bulk, wrapped in bags, I’ll have to transport them down carefully, piece by piece, in order not to impale myself on the broken vampire-killing stake like areas like these …

Next on the agenda is to prepare for tomorrow’s fasting blood test.

Shouldn’t be too difficult, as I don’t eat anything after 7 p.m. anyway and, as my appointment is 9 a.m., it shouldn’t be too rough to hold off on breakfast until after that time.

When I had that in-person session with the doctor last week, she mentioned a bone density test, which I declined saying "I don’t need it".

I strength train. My bones are fine.

Nevertheless, I got a call a few days ago — "Your doctor has authorized a bone density test" and after asking if I was in a wheelchair or had a hip replacement and other age-related questions I don't recall, an appointment was scheduled for next week.

It would have been a waste of my time and energy, but I let it go. THEN, after thinking about it, I got mad.

My thinking is that inasmuch as I only go the medical route when it’s something I can’t solve on my own through holistic measures, don’t bother the doctor for every little thing — even go outside of plan for eyewear because their Optometry does such a poor job that, when I do seek medical attention, it means I really need it and should get it.

That not only did not happen with the doctors I ran through with the rash situation, but I’ve yet to hear from dermatology.

I went in for a rash, ended up getting a Shingles shot and now scheduled for a bone density test — things I’m sure they are billing Medicare handsomely for, but no help with the one thing for which I sought help.

I called yesterday and cancelled the bone density test.

While still angry, though I no longer need dermatology (turns out the rash was an allergic reaction to brown rice flour), I called Member Services to vent.

They’ve sourced with an outside dermatology institute.

That’s interesting.

Dermatology used to be part of the medical center’s operation.

Getting the name of that outsourced institute, I went so far as to call.

No one answers the phone there.

Looking up Yahoo reviews, I learned the institute did me a favor by not following up on what the doctor ordered.

Their reviews are along the lines of "Horrible Service!!" ... "Calls are outsourced to a call center".

I didn’t get a call center. I got no answer.

"Office staff is rude and inefficient!" ... "Go to a different Doctor!!" ... "I would not recommend this office" ... "My experience with this dermatology doctor is very bad. If I had to give negative or 0 I would definitely give him zero".

Sounds like just another nightmare I don’t need to put myself through. So, if they ever call or send me an appointment card — which I doubt, it’s a big fat no thanks.

I’ve been with this HMO since my early 20’s. They've made some mistakes — like for decades diagnosing my food allergies as an ulcer, prescribing valium, et. al., and like killing my youngest brother's wife, but at least there was service.

As for HOW they killed my youngest brother's wife ... she regularly got mammograms but ending up dying from undetected breast cancer.

I guess they perform the tests but are not good at reading them.

They tried to kill Twin 2 as well. Poo poo'd her symptoms, prescribed medication rather than figure out the problem until I read her symptoms of fibroid tumors in a magazine and urged her to tell them what I suspected, insist on specific treatment, which she did and eventually got.

Now that there are not only mistakes, failure to diagnose correctly, but no service at all, I'm going to ask around to see if things are like this all over or if there is a better, more reliable, more responsible medical provider.

I did get a survey asking me to rate the doctor that looked at the rash, said "I don’t know what that is" and though disappointed in her lack of medical knowledge and giving me that shingles shot, which I now have to get a second dose and shingles shots every year, I don’t want to give her a bad review.

Being as how she’s a Black woman, her journey through medical school and being hired on by the HMO can’t have been easy.

I can’t give her a good rating. I won’t mess with a Black female doctor's career by giving a bad review, so I’ll not respond to the survey.

If it turns out she’s a lousy doctor, it will catch up with her but, from the lousy service I’ve gotten recently, seems she fits into the program just fine.


  1. Good for you! I'm not going to do any more bone density tests, either. All they tell you is that you are getting shorter (I know this) and to not fall (well, I'm trying to stay upright) but all these things I can figure out myself, and yes, I'm sure Medicare ponies up for these tests. Same thing with mammograms. I'm not doing those either. And colonoscopy...that's another one that I don't like because of the prep.

    1. It's really no-care medical care when they don't solve issues, just put a band aid on the issue with pills and tests they can charge back. I'm just grateful to not have a lot of medical issues, otherwise I'd be screwed.

  2. Oh those are bad reviews. I went though so many Endocrinologists before I found one that actually listened to me and didn't just say everything was related to my weight. Turns out I have a thyroid problem, an immune disorder and other things. Sometimes you have to see several doctors before finding one that fits with you.

    1. It's sooooo frustrating that no one seems to want to do their job any longer. It's all about pushing pills and procedures, solving nothing, getting paid for doing nothing.

  3. I've been going through the medical revolving door for a year. It's so frustrating. I've also had a bone density test. I'm fine.

    1. Frustrating is the right word for it. It's taken me a long time to get fed up and angry.

  4. Now that I'm 65, my doctor ordered my first bone density test too. Not because anything is wrong, but because they need to have a baseline result on my medical file to compare to any future developments or deterioration, if any. So. fine with me -- it's an easy test, just like an x-ray. However, our waiting list is longer here than for you -- my appointment is in November!

    1. Your long wait time just reminded me of how weird it was that I had to wait 3 months to see my doctor when I was having a problem, but only a week for a bone density I don't need. It's cra cra.

  5. The current shingles shot is two shots for life; not yearly. It is more effective at avoiding shingles than the one that came out around 10-12 years ago.
    Where your muscles attach to your bones are probably dandy; the remainder of your bones typically lose "scaffolding" as we age. The degree is important to know before they break, in spite of your exercise.
    Consider changing from an HMO to a Medical Supplement plan. (NOT an Advantage plan.) It's much better for people like you and your blog buddies (me) that don't like stupidity within the medical insurance industry. Yes, Part B of Medicare costs money ($170+-,) and a Supplement is about $190. Worth every penny to not frazzle my brain or unplanned expenses in my budget.
    The doc and nurse shortage is horrid everywhere. The cheapest plans and hospitals grab any breathing human with the correct initials after their name. I plan on my veterinarian son taking care of me as I croak if it gets much worse. Linda in Kansas

    1. Well thank God for the shingles being for life, not yearly like flu. I still don't plan to do bone density but I'm curious as to what happens with "scaffolding" found? Is it just another excuse to prescribe drugs, pills, a procedure? I'm definitely going to look into a Medical Supplemental Plan.

  6. Your bone structure inside is like scaffolding around a building or construction site. As we age, Mother Nature and Father Time pull out pieces of that scaffolding on the inside of your bones and our aging bodies don't replace bone as easily as when we were young. This makes the bones weaker. You've heard of people stunned that they fell and broke their hip. Many times it's actually that their bones are weaker, crack, break and THAT makes them fall. If it's paid for, I think Medicare does every2-5 years, get the scan. Then you'll have a baseline to see if your bones are thinner in the future. If you have bones that are too thinned out, yes, they'd be bad docs to not recommend one of several meds and methods to help keep and sometimes add to the bone structure you have. If you break your hip, I'm not sure I could come to California and deal with your fiesty type of patient! Oh my gosh!
    All companies offer the same thing in a Medicare Supplement Plan. Smaller companies, like Old Surety in OKC have the same plan for $20 less per month cuz it comes out of my checking account. AARP / United Healthcare costs a tad more.
    It's Plan G amongst the Supplements for the best plan. Covers most stuff that Part B doesn't. Linda in Kansas

    1. How about a fair trade. If you come to Cali, to deal with my "feisty type", you can haul your tons of photos with you for me to work on. LOL.

  7. Experience has shown me that many, maybe most, rashes come from something that you are eating. Docs don't seem too interested in investigating food allergies. We need to do the hard work ourselves which probably makes sense when you think about it.
    Thank you DrumMajor for information on the supplement. I have been trying to sort it out since I retired at 75 last year. I went with an Advantage (disadvantage) plan because it was affordable and I needed something quick. I really need to change to a supplement. Health Care in the United States is ridiculously complicated.

    1. Didn't at first know it was a rash. Just knew needed medical attention to identify the strange itching, burning bumps popping up. I would have expected that doctor could have known it was a rash instead of saying, "I don't know what that is", but once I myself identified it as a rash, I was off and running on fixing it. You're right about Advantage being disadvantage. A supplemental plan is looking good about now, but I think the period to change is towards the end of the year.

  8. I would like to read more about your holistic approaches. I have some skin issues as well and like you, I avoid the doctor except when absolutely necessary.

    1. Back in the day, I was led to the metaphysical teachings of Edgar Casey, also known as The Sleeping Prophet/The Father of Holistic Medicine. He so fascinated me that, not only did I read everything he’d ever written, but everything written about him. There are transcripts of his cures on the site. When the doctors recently failed me, I scanned his site for what he had to say about “skin conditions” and somewhere in there ran across the word “rash” and something about “inside out”, which led me to think the rash was the result of something I was eating. From there, I went about the process of eliminating what I’d recently added to my diet that I’d not eaten before, figured it was either red bell peppers or cooking with brown rice flour. Further research elsewhere on those two items indicated both caused rashes in some individuals. Lucky me — I’m one of those individuals. At any rate, I’m pretty much back to normal again. But, inasmuch as red bell peppers never bothered me before, not until I added brown rice flour to the mix by turning the peppers into tempura, I’m going to test out if I can add plain red peppers back. Louise Hay (Heal Your Body) is also a good source of determining what’s ailing you. A lot of physical ailments I've experienced have been dealt with just by reading the mind/body connection her writings pointed out. I imagine all this is going to be poo poo’d by a lot of people reading, but the proof is in the pudding. I’ve lived it, experienced it, used holistic — including acupuncture when doctors wanted to instead pump me with pills, medicine, Cortisone injections and I think my physical appearance shows there’s something to the holistic approach.

  9. Thank you so much. I will get the Louise Hay book.