Health Care – Doctors VS HMOs

One of the most irritating things about going to the doctors now days is HMOs. Our doctors see us regularly. They know what we need and don’t need most of the time. If they say you need a given kind of medication then you should be able to get that medication. If they say you need a walker or wheelchair you should be able to get one. No ifs, ands or buts about it.

Since HMOs were created doctors no longer have authority on what you should or shouldn’t have without going through a lot of red tape. If the HMO turns down a doctors scrip for medication or for a walker or wheelchair then you will be forced to pay more out of pocket or not receive the anything at all. What people is calling Obamacare will be exactly that kind of thing only worse.

Over time insurance rates will increase more and more. To qualify for things you will be required to jump through even more red tape then ever before.

OK, I hadn’t planned on ranting and raving about HMO or anything on this blog. Kind of got carried away. Before I put this subject away let me explain where it stems from.

Recently, my girlfriend was giving a scrip for a wheelchair. She’s on 6 liters of oxygen due to C.O.P.D. and Congestive Heart disease. When she walks around she has to be turned up to 8 liters (or cc depending on how oxygen is measured). Even on 8 liters of oxygen her levels drop from mid 90s to low 80s, sometimes mid 70s. So a wheelchair will help her get in and out of house, stores, and other places. Right now we’ve been waiting over two weeks to Healthplus, her insurance, to approve her wheelchair. Doctor said she needs one. He wrote the scrip for it and we turned it in. Why should it take so long to get something so important. Thank God she at least still gets her oxygen tanks and machine.

What a Winter We Had

This winter has been one of the hardest I have experienced in my lifetime. I don’t think many people in the United States didn’t get effected in some way. For me and my family it was quite stressful. Sadly it seems as if our stressful winter started with the rain we got in late November or December and continued thru til well into this week.

We rent a house and have a pretty good friendship with our landlords. Our landlords are an elderly couple my girlfriend has known for over 3o years now. Both of them are 74 yrs old. This house they purchased back in 2007 and we’ve lived here since then. Haven’t had a lot of problems with the house until lately it seems. Oh sure its a bit drafty and yeah it seems like the old hard wood floor never warms up. But its a good house made from old red brick back in 1922 or 1923. They have spoken a couple of times about wanting us to buy it from them. I’m willing but my girlfriend isn’t wanting to live her. Plus her health is an issue so she’s concerned about me affording it if something happens to her.

As I was saying this winter and the stress of it all started with the first freeze. We had a rain storm hit us one day and lasted til the next day. That rain turned to ice. As you can see from the picture

Icy roads and trees after a heavy rain and freeze winter of 2013

Icy roads and trees after a heavy rain and freeze winter of 2013

This icy condition lasted most of the next month and half. Thankfully I managed to avoid any accidents while driving to doctors appointments, the store and other places. Unfortunately, we ran out of ice salt quickly and so did all the stores in the area. Every store for 20 miles around was out. I wasn’t able to purchase any kind of salt to help thew the ice til mid-January.

About a week after the rain and ice we got snow and then more snow. Then if that wasn’t bad enough we got even more snow. I was so tired of the cold weather, snow and ice by the middle of December I wanted to move South West somewhere. It seemed like my neighbors and I were shoveling our driveways twice a day just to get in and out to go places.

Around the middle of December this area had a major power outage. Thankfully we never lost power nor did at least 5 other house across the street from us. But I would rather have lost power because the day after the power went out in this area our internet and cable went out. So we were stuck home with no internet or cable or for that matter a radio. Yeah, I know I could have gone out and purchases a radio but neither my girlfriend or I care for listening to the radio that much. It took six days before power was restored and another day before cable was back up and working. Consumer Power got power turned on December 25th around 9:30ish. We had family over celebrating Christmas here as always.

The following Friday after Christmas things really got interesting. I am an administrator for an online league and hosting tours that night until about 1:30am. It was then I noticed it was getting cold in the house and that I had not heard the furnace start for a while. Yep, you guessed it. Furnace went out. We called Consumer Energy to have them come out and check it. I had purchased the appliance protection plan so it wasn’t going to cost anything for them to come out. They told me on the phone the soonest they would be able to make it was after 8am. I wasn’t happy by this but what could I do.

After getting off the phone we made arrangements to get my girlfriend someplace to stay. She is on oxygen and has C.O.P.D. so she couldn’t stay here for sure. It was below zero outside and getting colder inside. She went to our landlords daughter’s house which is just around down the street four houses. I stayed in our house so I would be here when Consumers Power came out the next morning. Before my girlfriend could finish getting ready I noticed lights outside.

When I looked out it was Consumers Power company van. After the man finished inspecting the furnace he informed me it was shot and put a red tag on it. He also informed us we’re lucky to be alive because of the large cracks in the coils leaking carbon monoxide. I called our landlord right away waking him up. He said they had doctor appointments all day and wouldn’t be able to look into getting a new furnace until Monday. I said OK and left it at that. About 3 hours later (around 8:30am) my landlord called back and asked me to call around and get some pricing, etc. We found a good deal. Landlord showed up when the furnace company was here and they talked. By 6pm same day we had a new furnace.

OK, all good again and now I could go back to complaining about the cold weather, right? Nope! January rolled in with a blaze – literally a blaze when the neighbors house caught on fire. We were awoken by a phone call about 7:30am from our other neighbors informing us of the fire. The house that was on fire only sets about 6 feet away from where we store my girlfriend’s oxygen tanks. Needless to say I rushed out there and started bringing tanks into the house away from our back wall. Another neighbor came over to inform us of the fire also and noticed the oxygen tanks. She left and spoke with the fire department captain. The captain and a firemen came over to check things out. They assured us were we had the tanks was good for now and that they were aware of them if something happened. Again we made arrangements to get my girlfriend out of the house to a neighbors house. She finally returned home about 3pm when the fire was finally out.

neighbors house on fire in January

neighbors house on fire in January

Finally April comes and warmer weather. All is good again – until?

Last night (April 9th) my landlord came over with his son to cut a big branch out of the tree you see in that picture above. The problem was a combination of the ice, snow, and wind caused a lot of branches to brake off. You can see some of them laying on the ground in the picture. One branch was directly over my yard and barely hanging onto the tree. It was of major concern to my landlord and myself.

Landlords son set up the extension ladder to its full height and climbed into the tree just below the branch he needed to cut. My landlord was standing holding the ladder, which was outside our fence. When the branch came down it landed perfectly in the middle of my yard like it was suppose to do. However, it bounced back up almost 6 feet and up and over the fence heading to my landlord. Landlord started moving as soon as he could but not fast enough. The branch hit him square in the lower back and floored him and pinned him to the ground.

Right now my landlord is in the hospital with seven broken ribs and a punctured lung. The only good news to this is he’s alive and will heal. Because of his age, 74 years old, they say it will take longer for him to heal then others might.

It seems lately I keep saying I can’t wait until next year because things have got to get better. So far that isn’t the case. Right now I’m convinced things can’t get much worse then what we’ve experienced this winter. Praying summer is filled with joyful memories.