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Posts Tagged ‘“CVS Minute Clinic”’

Under (Health) Insured

I have tried getting health insurance so many times, I have stopped trying. Rejected for a biopsied mole here, an Upper GI test there, these tests are on my permanent record like something I accidentally wrote in pen instead of pencil and I can’t find the Wite-Out. And even though I’m trying to redeem myself, waiting “x” number of years for “y” issue on my record to disappear so that “z” insurance companies don’t question my “past history” health responses and hold them against me, a game I cannot win, it’s like they only look at the flaws, not the progress I’ve made: less tests the last few years, mainly because they’re too darn expensive without insurance. So the cycle continues… I get the tests taken, paying cash out-of-pocket should I be so lucky to have spare cash, knowing full well my chances of getting approved by a health insurance provider have probably just decreased… again… But at least I got that mole checked.

I know health is supposed to be our #1 priority; that’s what others tell us, “good health is everything” and “if you don’t have your health, you have nothing.” Though the sentiment may be free, why can’t the execution be more affordable? “Nothing” is expensive.

Some people become alarmed when they learn I don’t have health insurance, “What if something happens?” Good question. I want to tell them I’m not avoiding it on purpose. Others think it’s nice that I don’t have to pay a few hundred dollars a month for it, saying they rarely use theirs. But isn’t there comfort in knowing it’s there if you need it? Plus, all the “cash patient” expenses–the doctor’s visits, the tests, the medications–add up. Fast. And there’s always that unpredictable “What if something happens?” looming in the background like a vulture waiting to attack.

Since Sunday, I have had a throbbing ear ache, throat pain, and fever that I hope is a sinus infection, not the start of another two-month flu-turned-cold-turned-bronchitis like I had just a few months ago. I have no time for that. None of us do.

For an uninsured person, the question is always: Do I wait it out – or spend hard-earned money to go to the doctor? A non-clinic doctor ranges in price from $200-400 in L.A. (believe me, I’ve called around), plus they don’t have any available appointments for 4-8 weeks. Never mind. Urgent care is about $100 and the hours are more flexible. The CVS Minute Clinic (which I love) is $80, though the last time I went to one, what they prescribed did not work and I had to end up finding another (more expensive) doctor, anyway, paying two doctors for the price of one. Of course, there are the free clinics, though if time is money, I should be working instead of waiting for an appointment all day.

I have been waiting it out, taking allergy medications, hoping my sinus/cold symptoms would disappear without my needing to pay to see a doctor. Nine times out of ten, said doctors say it’s allergies, anyway, then point me to the appointment desk, where I can pay on my way out, hoping my debit card isn’t declined. (I don’t use credit cards, but that’s another post.)

Yesterday, a friend told me about a Health Truck (think Food Truck with Band-Aids instead of tacos) that goes around L.A., from TV studio lot to TV studio lot. Supposedly, if you don’t have insurance and work on such a lot, a doctor or nurse (I’m not quite sure) on the truck will see you for only $25, which sounded like the answer to my waiting game. The truck happened to be at my lot yesterday. I did a walk-by and I must admit: I was afraid to go in. I imagined the inside looking like a dilapidated motor home, bloody bandages on the floor like an L.A. emergency room I was once in.

I walked into my work and thanked my co-worker for the idea, but said I couldn’t do it. He nearly pushed me back out the door.

The nurse and doctor I saw were probably the nicest, most knowledgeable ones I’ve ever seen. They confirmed my suspicions: a sinus infection. At least I’ll take the right medications now instead of guessing between cold and sinus pills. They asked why I didn’t have health insurance, even though they knew the answer as several other patients had the same response as I did.

I can’t wait for the day I don’t have to worry about being rejected by health insurance providers as though I am waiting for college acceptance letters. That, or the day when no matter what job I take, it comes with insurance, no questions asked, and no wrong answers if they do ask.

In the meantime, I am grateful to Health Trucks like the one I went to yesterday.

Do you have health insurance? Through work or on your own? If not, what kind of clinics or doctors do you go to?

Thanks for reading!

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Please don’t shake my hand… if you’re sick

Did you know that more germs are spread from shaking hands than kissing? (Check out: http://www.science-facts.com/quick-facts/amazing-human-facts/ and http://www.independent.ie/health/health-news/dont-shake-hands-itll-be-safer-just-to-kiss-1710134.html!) Scientists say this is because our hands have contact with much more bacteria than our mouths.

That said, I am probably one of the most germ-conscientious people I know. In fact, I once took years off from shaking people’s hands. Ever since I started again, the last few years, I have gotten a very bad flu every six months or so (including the swine flu in 2009). I’m not implying that all these flus were from infected hands, but it’s just interesting.

Sunday, my current flu-with-bronchitis-mixed-in-just-for-fun turned three weeks old. I am ninety-nine percent sure I got it after a handshake-gone-awry. I touched my eye a moment later, then heard the handshaker let out one of the worst coughs I’ve heard in a long time. I was about to go wash my hands and eye, yet the guy insisted he was not sick. The line for the bathroom was very long, so I believed him. Silly me. Why couldn’t he have just kissed me instead?

More and more often in the last few months, I will be at an event and meet someone new and they’ll shake my hand, followed up by a few coughs and a variation of the line, “I’m trying to get over this cold.” Um, then you shouldn’t have shaken my hand or the other 101 in the room. I also think a lot of people mistake having a cold for allergies; but when in doubt, keep your hands to yourself. 🙂

When I’m sick and someone tries to shake my hand, I tell them I have a cold/flu/what have you and ninety-nine percent of the time, they thank me for letting them know and quickly retreat their arm (as well as take a few steps back). (Once in a great while, someone will say they need some sick days at work and beg me to shake their hand, but even then I refuse!)

If someone still wants to shake my sick hand, so to speak, like the nurse at the CVS Minute Clinic* last week, so be it. (She immediately washed her hands afterward.)

So I’m asking each of you for a favor. If you’re sick, don’t shake people’s hands (not even at church during the Peace be with You). You may feel rude for not doing so, but take it from me – it’s better than getting your friend sick. (And don’t forget about karma!)

Aside from taking medicines and trying to be patient (since there is no real cure for the flu, just things to alleviate the symptoms), I’ve been drinking a TON of homemade garlic or ginger tea. (Luckily, I am still cat-sitting, so don’t have to fear getting a couch host sick. Hopefully, the cats will be fine!)

What kinds of potions – drinks/foods – do you make when you’re sick?

Here’s more reading on why handshakes should stop: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2047048/Its-deal-lets-touch-elbows-Health-expert-urges-ban-shaking-hands-prevent-spread-flu.html and http://protectdontinfect.com/germ_facts.asp.

*By the way, this was my second time visiting the CVS Minute Clinic and I cannot say enough positive things about the experience (aside from the fact that I was there for the above). The nurse was friendly, knowledgeable, no lines to wait in, etc.