HOW TO GET MEDICAL HELP FAST WHEN YOU ARE POOR
Poor people have discovered that there's no way to see a doctor for a painful condition and get treated quickly. Not if you're poor! Unless you go to EMERGENCY HOSPITAL and claim to be in deep pain, and only way in is the BIG, DRAMATIC ENTRANCE. I know, it stinks but you virtually have to lie to 911 and call an ambulance!. That's hard to do for us poor uns. The Chronically Disenfranchised don't have that kind of chutzpah! Or personality. But a poor woman in IDAHO assures me, you cannot WALK into an E.R. under your own power and expect to be seen for GUT PAIN. It may happen but then again it MAY NOT. But come in an ambulance, clutching your side, 'unable to walk' and you get some attention. THE MRI's go to those people. Often, they'll give you pain killers and refer you to a doctor in the abutting clinic, and that's good too. To go in under a referral to a doctor.
But the E.R. RHUMBA is for folks who have stones. For instance, I needed a dentist and a doctor last week. I had tremendous tooth pain. Guantanamo sized SEIZURES of absolutely nauseating tooth nerves were crying out, dangerous for me as any infection in the jaw affects the heart.. I have missing heart valves so we are the people who cannot have pus descending from the jaw into the heart and that kind of toxicity can kill us instantly.
How was I to get a doctor FAST? I emailed my pal the card-carrying pal the know it all SURVIVOR lady, "My medicare card will get me hospitals for a medical appointment that's weeks away, but no dental, no way to get tooth pulled. No tooth work whatsoever!
She answered: "Apply to Soc Security for the dental card. They have them. They give you an OK, then you call your local DPSS with the new "YOUR DENTAL ACCOUNT number" that the Soc. SEcure gave you but if you need help fast and are too shaky to drive, 911 is required by law to pick you up in an ambulance. They will (at your place, or wherever you call from,
I told her well that sounds fun, larky like you but I'm writing a serious article. I'd have to take out all the fun stuff. Have you tried this yourself?
I have not. I was an EMT and picked up blue haired old ladies in Stamford, CT
who got dressed up to see their drs and got their hair done, packed a little suitcase & called 911.
Plenty of times, once twice in a day. I took their vitals the second time at the E.R & asked why they called 911 exactly? They explained Medicare would pay for an ambulance ride, but it wouldn't pay for a taxi.
OK, so tell me the way it's done. And then, this ex EMT gal explained the entire riff.
"Here's how you get a doctor fast. Fall down on wet floor in the grocery store with witnesses, take your vital signs (this is heartrate, blood pressure, basics) and then when you arrive at hosp they are required to do that again. Once the ambulance people do your vitals that 2nd time & you got the free ride to hosp CHANGE YOUR CHIEF COMPLAINT and very loudly start complaining of chest pain. Scream (actress!) that you think you're having a heart attack. Let doctors do a full EKG work-up on you (it'll take 20 mins, so easy nowdays) and then CHANGE your CHief Complaint again to being about your dizzyness, shooting pain, jaw, chest,etc. If they will NOT let you change your chief complaint (sorry ma'am we already saw you for your one ambulance turn, run along) go ahead, right outside the hospital, call 911 for an ambulance again. Another turn on the ambulance, vital signs check again twice, and they'll give you right back to the E.R. It is the law. Do this until they help you."
So it's just slip, lie to emt, hope someone believes you, that's weak. Then lie to doc? hope they believe you? MAN. you ever tried this? chutzpah with roofing nails!
No, I've seen it done successfully by wily coyote seniors.. OK, you ready for the little details? They are these: Always have a plan for the pets you have in your home, in case they keep you 24 hrs for observation. So you want a cell phone to activate your cat keeper with a single dial up.
NEXT, little details. Be polite and light both. DO NOT come across as loony or they'll put you in the f-ing loony tank 24 hrs and give you no medical care, just "observation" to make sure you don't harm yourself or others. Once you get a qualified Dr helping you SHUT UP. Don't exhaust him/her with sob stories of poor senior health care or "idiot bankers" or any of your trevails. Just help them find the source of your infection.
If you're tidy and sweet you'll make them think of you as their own sweet grandmother in need of help. Take a moment to fix up before doing this. Look nice, wear lipstick. You may get a referral to an oral surgeon or periodontist INSTEAD of a plain dentist. That would get covered. Also, in NYC poor people get prescribed Ibuprofen (Advil's name) so they can get it free or with their co-pay. Otherwise it would cost $$ ! Where is your daughter Paloma in all this? I thought you said she was making great money. And you said Courtney Love paid you royally for the last 6 years & was all caught up....but that was 2006....so I'm behind the times.
So Bring a good book with you. do NOT be a bothersome pest to docs or nurses, plenty of whom are your age & do NOT consider themselves seniors and won't have much sympathy for you. YOU are USING the LAW which is that they have to help you at a certain minimum...then you will re-use it (calling 911 again soon after release) for more help with the dental pain. They see hundreds of people mis-using the system each day trying to get pain meds they can sell on the black market, or that they are addicted to. The fact that you need pain meds will send a red flag & a team of irritating young doctors (residents) will come in
to use their anti-pain meds jargon on you. "Are you sure you really need it? On a scale of 1-10, what's your pain like?" They are talking to you to see if they think you are an addict. The more friendly & cheerful you are at this point, the less they think you are in real pain. Snap at them horribly, and they'll write in your chart "addict behavior." Play your cards right, everyone's sweet grandmother who fears the dentist & that's what has kept her away from dental care! Think this out & know how you want to present. Get all your stuff together, prepare kids/ cats for 24 hrs without you & call 911 from a good spot with plenty of witnesses. First have a slip and fall. Have a pretend heart attack. Have attention to the dental infection. I see this as possibly 3 separate 911 calls. Then you'll top it off with a 24 hr stay in the think tank for acting just too weird at the end when your blood sugar drops and you snap at a nurse that you'll strangle her. I'm kidding about that last part. Ask for fruit juice. DO whatever you can. Last bit of advice. Do this RIGHT NOW do NOT wait until weekend. All E.Rs are zoos on weekends, esp in
cities. Fri & Sat night there is nowhere worse to be than the E.R. That's why you get the poor unlucky stiffs with no seniority who drew those ugly shifts. No seniority also means drs & nurses with little experience. Hardly the experts who are there now on day shift. They are dealing with gunshot wounds, domestic violence, etc. Trust me. Go get this over with and be home with pain meds by 5pm. I hope everyone treats you well. Keep a tiny notebook in your purse. Get the correct spelling of everyone who treats you or looks at you the wrong way in case today is going to turn into a lawsuit of epic proportions. ;-) note nametags
Good luck, I'm pulling for you. This is still America. They made it so we have to use 911 now, so use the system to your advantage. By the way, do not tell them about any pre existing conditions. Always tell them you HURT but you don't know why. Let them discover those conditions as if it were a brand new ailment. Be surprised when they tell you. THE REASON IS, the whole medical system is prepared to dislike anyone who has a malady they know about and shows up looking for freebie help.
Very interesting. Another friend wrote me, "SIGN UP FOR FOOD STAMPS and VITAMIN SUPPLEMENTS so it doesn't GET TO where you're ill"
He has a point. I have been unable to buy romaine salad for months, it's too costly. Luckily my arugula which grows flash fast and reseeds itself, gave me enough seeds to plant in AUGUST when the heat abated somewhat, and I got baby plants in areas where I'd put some potting soil (I trade baby citrus trees for bags of potting soil,) My orange and UGLI GRAPEFRUIT tree give me a great daily beverage. And I now do have salad daily. Food stamps would be a delight though, for me and the cats. SSI DISABLED monthly CHECK for 540$ says I am over the limit to get Food Stamps. Couldn't get to a market anyway. My 83 Honda civic wasn't street legal, (smog certificate, costly tags,) and to get to WELFARE OFFICE to sign up, park somewhere safe where tags cannot cause car to be taken/ towed...hard to do. My 4 Kids are in other states, unable to drive me to market. But for you all, if no disabled status, you can get food stamps -- SEE: THE FOOD STAMP PROGRAM, HOW TO DO IT, GOV'S FREE "SNAP" PROGRAM
NOTE It's 2015, as I rewrite this. Still no car. Still no food stamps. Obama lowered DISABLED check to 539$. Still haven't gone to dentist, I medicate a bad tooth I've had for TEN YEARS, so it won't become too bad of a jaw infection ---heal it using daily citrus juice, tree-ripened, until it falls off the tree. I do not eat any citrus ON the tree. It is fresh squeezed. Though I have been known to bottle a few cups for the week. As for seeing docs, I would have to use ambulance if I at age 75, got ill. The L.A. Cops took my car in 2010. (No license, no tags, no insurance, I deserved to be a car-less senior in their eyes). Couldn't get to a hospital if I needed one. I've found biking is too dangerous ---to go a mile and a quarter to supermarket. Seniors easily go over the handlebars, especially with bags of groceries swinging from their shoulders. So I eat arugula and oranges, cook up year old beans and stay healthy. But I know that ambulance ride is there if I need it. FREE. The way I like it.
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