On September 18, 2018, I received a letter from what I have been referring to as “the clinic for the poor people”. My wonderful doctor, who actually had a lot of knowledge about my allergies, has left the clinic.
This unexpected situation left me without an assigned doctor (or, primary care doctor) during flu season. Not a good situation for a person with three autoimmune diseases who is trying to get on Disability.
The letter from “the clinic for the poor people” informed me that my fantastic doctor “is no longer with” the clinic. The letter said they were “actively recruiting a new physician to continue your care.”
I took them at their word, and waited for them to call me. Eventually, it became clear that I was going to have to call them and find out if I had been assigned a new doctor… or, if not, when they expected to find one for me.
The best thing about “the clinic for the poor people” is that the workers who answer the phones are exceptionally patient and kind. The woman who helped me didn’t get irritated when I forgot what my phone number was (and explained that I’m dyslexic). She took the time to find out what doctors were taking new patients and gave me the name of one.
This helped me feel a bit safer. If I get the flu, and get incredibly sick, I will have access to a doctor. (My three autoimmune chronic illnesses make it dangerous for me to get the flu shot). I’ll also have a doctor to call when I return from a video game conference with what is often referred to as “Con Crud”.
Or, maybe not. The helpful woman on the phone couldn’t tell me what my new doctor specialized in. I’m hoping that he is someone who is covered by my health insurance – because I sure as hell cannot afford to pay out of pocket for health care.
The part I’m incredibly nervous about is whether or not this doctor will agree to fill out a form that I need in order to begin the process of trying to get Social Security Disability. (This will be my second attempt after getting denied, and denied, and denied). He could be mean and refuse to help me.
I’m also not looking forward to “training” a new doctor about all of my chronic illnesses and how they interconnect. The new doctor could decide that I’m too much work, or too much research, or maybe that he isn’t being paid enough to help me.
Or, he could be really awesome (like my previous doctor was). There’s no way to predict how this will go, so I refuse to get my hopes up
Despite this setback, I have made small progress on my attempt to get Disability. My wonderful acupuncturist happily filed out the form I needed. It’s possible the new doctor will do the same.
And then… I have to track down my Rheumatologist (who diagnosed me with Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia) and see if he will fill out the form I need. The office he used to be at appears to be empty now, and I’ve no idea if he retired or just relocated.
This is a whole lot of work to expect a disabled person to do all by themselves. At the time I am writing this, I’m fighting a bad cold (that I’m hoping won’t turn into the flu). I literally don’t have the energy to chase down doctors and beg them to fill out the forms I need to get Disability.
The photo at the top of this blog is from Pexels.
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