Shoulder Update 03/15/2005

When I first started writing this article I decided to write about how bad the military health care system is and what a farce TRICARE (the military’s HMO) is. However, I think that’s not in the best interests of myself or this web site so I’ll provide an update on my shoulder (back, ribs, spine) injury. But, please allow me to say that you get what you pay for and, in the military, you don’t pay for health care.

Today I went to see my physical therapist. After a ten minute appointment I was told that we’ve hit a plateau in my treatment and that orthopedics needs to get back on the ball with me. So after being on hold with orthopedics for thirty minutes I decided to just go across base and schedule an appointment. I have an ortho appointment on the 12th of April (that’s the soonest they can get me in).

I’m coming out of the hospital and I noticed I had a voice mail. While I’m in the orthopedics clinic my doctor attempted to call me (but cell phones are jammed in the hospital). The doctor wants me to do two things before I see him again:

1) Get a CT Scan of my chest 2) Get a bone scan of my scapular region

I should mention that these two tests were mentioned to me six months ago but my doctor ultimately decided to go the cost effective route and get me some physical therapy. Six months later here I am, with doctors not talking to each other and certainly not talking to me (after being injured for a year and five months I think I have the right to be a little angry).

The CT scan will be handled on base. Which is okay I guess (a CT scan is a CT scan, right?). However, the bone scan will have to be handled through a TRICARE approved off-base office. So I went to the TRICARE office on base to square away an appointment somewhere. That didn’t go over so well. I think this sums it up (I was venting to a friend via AOL Instant Messenger):

Yea… It’s shit like this that makes me want to get out… I just got out of TRICARE and asked them WTF and they said you need to talk to your primary care manager because he has oversight on all this… I told him that was bullshit and in a perfect world that would be the case… So he investigated and turns out he was totally fucking wrong…

That’s the problem… If I didn’t question him I’d be a soup sandwich right now.

So tomorrow, or the next day or some time in the next two weeks when TRICARE gets back to me with an appointment, I’ll know when I’m getting a bone scan done.

This is my problem; I’m injured, I don’t want to be injured, and I want to be able to function as a valuable member of the United States Air Force again. If someone knows a way to expedite my impending repair please let me know.

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