“Do you have an appointment?”

That’s a phrase I’m getting really sick of hearing. The answer is generally “no, because that’s what I’m calling to schedule.” The scheduler will then inform me that they have nothing open until March or some other ridiculous timeframe, and frequently add that “they don’t schedule that far out, so call when it’s closer to that time.”

Here’s the situation: I haven’t been able to work for almost a year. I’m on medical leave because my GP at least gave me a note for that, but my work’s disability folks and the SSA don’t think his word is sufficient for any kind of payout, temporary or otherwise. So I got a referral to a pulmonologist. He wanted to cut on me, swapped one med, and then couldn’t be bothered to see me for three month periods. He wouldn’t fill out any disability paperwork because he didn’t feel he had enough knowledge of my case, but couldn’t be bothered to see me in anything resembling a timely fashion so he could learn about it.

The local physical therapy folks don’t do the tests that are apparently required to show that I can’t breathe or move around well enough to sustain activity for 8 hour periods. So they referred me to someone else, who couldn’t see me for two months and wanted an $800 deposit to do the tests. That’s after insurance. Then they turned around and said they don’t do the tests I need, I need to talk to someone else.

So I get a new pulmonologist. She’s on the ball. She sees me two days after I call her, plays roulette with the meds, orders referrals to two places that will do the tests I need, schedules to see me again in two weeks, actually acts like she cares. Her documentation isn’t sufficient for that the disability/SSA folks need, either.

Call one of the places to schedule, they say they didn’t get the referral. Call the pulmonologist, she confirms she sent it, confirms all the info. Call back the PT place, they say “We have that. We’re waiting for insurance to confirm. Call back in two weeks.”

Call the other place – and apparently, I need both – and get danced with for three weeks with them before they finally find a “possible” opening in December. I have to be in Portland (which will be a 2 hour drive for me), skip my meds, no eating, no drinking anything but water for 24 hours prior and be prepared to spend six hours being subjected to strenuous physical activity to see how much it takes to break me… on a “possibility.” They can’t guarantee they can see me that day, but I need to be there in case they can. Otherwise, I’m out of luck until March.

Still waiting to hear about the first place. Disability doesn’t care; they’re of the opinion that “you’ve been messed up for this long, someone should be able to sign off on it.” You’d think so, but even having them on the line with the scheduling folks doesn’t change their minds or at least give me a grace period.

I’m not sitting here staring at the walls and doing nothing. I’m stuck at the mercy of the medical system. I spend hours on the road, shuttling between Salem, Albany, Corvallis and Portland and paying out the ass at every stop so they can tell me to wait longer or talk to someone else, and the net result overall is most of them want to cut on me (even though none of them will sign off and say “he’s broken, we want to chop him up and try to fix him, but no guarantees,” in a goddamn state where you can skip your vaccines because little Timmy doesn’t do shots on a day that ends in “Y” and where potheads and meth addicts can get treatment for free and immediately for problems of their own manufacture.)

It’s exhausting. And expensive. And my insurance is about to be canceled, my credit is completely shot, I’ve pawned everything I own that has any value (unless I really want the $20 I’ve been offered for my PS4, which will buy me some Popeye’s and refill my antidepressants, but not much else.) And I am just so done with all of it.

I don’t know why I keep trying; it seems like everything these days is rigged against you when you try to follow the rules and do things the right way. If you want to play lets-pretend, the identity game, or ignore law and order, you get a lot farther it seems like.

Anyway. Back to waiting on hold. Sorry for the depressing post. If you can help keep me afloat while the doctors sort it out, it’d be appreciated; I have a Patreon as well as a GoFundMe. If you can drop a dime or even just share the links around, it’d be super helpful.

As I’m fond of saying lately: Hold the thoughts and prayers. Send chicken. Popeye’s #3, Spicy with Coke and Mashed Potatoes.

KA Spiral no signature

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