Wednesday, February 04, 2009

At this rate, I should manage to get lunch around dinnertime

I have only gotten to coffee a little before 10:30 this morning. My breakfast--a hearty oatmeal--is cooking on the stove.

I blame some of this on the internet's ability to suck me in. I really need to develop the willpower to limit myself to a quick check of a short list of items in the morning, but it never quite works out that way.

Did you know that low blood pressure and heart rate can cause lack of concentration?

Anyway, what kept me away from food and coffee the longest this morning was an attempt to make a couple of the appointments my primary care physician wants for me.

The first is with a cardiology center for a 24-hour blood pressure monitor. That part wasn't too hard. But as the receptionist took my information, she remarked that she doesn't really know my insurance, so I should check with them to see if it's covered or if I would need prior authorization. I decided to heed her advice, even though I knew we'd pay out-of-pocket regardless. (Trillian is quite a bit more scared by the whole fainting thing, but I'm determined to follow this rabbit hole to the end since, if I can figure this out, I will likely have some answers about problems I've had for as long as I can remember--way back into childhood.)

I hate dealing with our insurance. They're bad about covering Scooter's visits to the pediatrician, even though that clinic is in our network, and they have also required a written explanation of his "custody situation," withholding any payment of outstanding claims in the meantime. And of course they have one of those automated phone systems, a maze of options, that attempts to take verbal cues, but has to verify them and still gets your words wrong.

Today, I had to listen to a ton of general information about my benefits as I attempted to find out about this one, very specific, item. At one point, I ended up in a menu about doctor's office visits. Did I want to hear about benefits for in-network doctors, out-of-network doctors, or both? I knew that it would spout a lot of general information at me, regardless of my choice, so I tried to get out of the menu. 'Previous menu' just repeated the current one; 'Help' gave me a definition of in-network, etc; a frustrated 'No" got "Did you say both?"; 'Go back' finally got me to a human, because "I'm sorry, I'm having a hard time understanding you." Finally found out this should be covered.

Then I tried to track down an ear, nose, and throat doctor. "Has anyone ever sent you to an ENT?" my doctor asked when I mentioned, matter-of-factly, that I've had these dizzy spells ('near syncope') my entire life. Um, no... it was always treated as something I had to deal with due to low blood pressure. Nobody ever went any further with it.

So I now go to my insurance's website to look up otolaryngologists in my area. Only thing is, I can't find it under 'Other specialties,' even though the help link I click on seems to suggest they have that category. I finally find it under 'surgery.' Which brings up the panic of "Oh crap, what if they have to cut on me?!" The guy in town is in fact on my insurance; he even shares an office in Capital City with the guy my doctor usually uses. I then call the otolaryngologist in town, only to have a fax machine pick it up. I check the number again and dial carefully, just in case I read the wrong line the first time. Nope, definitely the fax.

That's when I decided to make breakfast and have some coffee. I'll deal with otolaryngologist (I like that word) later.

If I can remember... this concentration thing is a bitch!

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