By Tanya Dodd-Hise
Tuesday and still no appointment for the tests. I am going nuts. It is so hard to not lose it, melt down, and really let myself actually come to grips with how scared I am. I KNOW that IF I do have a bad diagnosis that it is VERY treatable. I know this. It doesn’t change the fact that not knowing is probably scarier than knowing – because with knowing comes a plan of action. Right now I have nothing to go on.
I got so excited when I saw the number calling on my phone just before lunch today. I quickly answered it, while sitting in my Jeep in the parking lot of Walmart, and answered all of her questions regarding my information. After ten minutes and going through everything that she needed to know to get me into the system for the program, she tells me that she has me all in, along with my doctor’s order for the tests, and that a nurse will be calling me to schedule my appointment – within the next FEW DAYS. Oh dear God are you serious? I mean, I know that I’m not the only one, but REALLY? I hung up the phone, near tears, and realized that THIS is life for the uninsured with a possible serious medical condition.
Now don’t get me wrong – I am extremely grateful and thankful for the programs that are out there available to men and women who are uninsured or underinsured, so that they can get treatment and/or help in the event of a serious medical condition. But there is most definitely a difference in how treatment timeframes play out between the insured and the not. When I found a small, pea-sized lump in my right breast in 2008, I still had insurance through my job. I made one phone call to my doctor, got in the next day, and got the order for the mammogram. I made one phone call to the mammography department at UT Southwestern and made the appointment for probably within a day or two. I went, I got the test done, and got the results right then. Had there been something to worry about, my doctor would have referred me to a surgeon for a biopsy probably, and I would be on my way with my treatment. This time? I made several calls before I realized that I needed to go to my doctor for confirmation. Fortunately, they got me in same day and got me the order I needed. Unfortunately, it was two phone calls and a message left before I spoke to a person regarding the program that would provide the diagnostic tests. She got some information and requested the order be faxed; then told me to wait. Then today’s phone call came as a teaser, because then I was told to wait some more for yet another phone call. Once I get THAT phone call, who knows how long I will have to wait before I actually get to have the testing done. I don’t even want to think about the wait for the next step, if a next step needs to be taken. And the reason for all of the waiting is because I am not the only one with a suspicious symptom who doesn’t have insurance; and this is one of the few programs in the metroplex who offers low cost or free diagnostic screenings – so they are constantly backlogged. I understand that and can appreciate that.
I just. want. to. know.
Originally published on The Domestic Dyke.