Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Getting Scheduled

Actually getting scheduled to see the neurosurgeon has been a thorn in my side. Here's the Cliff's Notes version of my journey...

First, I had the requisite number of friends telling me about their cousin or friend or aunt who had a great NS and how I should go to them. That might be fine under any other circumstance but with Chiari you REALLY need to see a specialist. Don't believe me?

Three of the five neurosurgeons I called had never even done a decompression before but "knew what it was." Folks, don't let them hack into your brain unless they have experience. Only get a recommendation if the person you're talking to actually has experience with Chiari.

I did find someone with Chiari experience in Louisville so I made the appointment. They could get me in within the week. Yay! I could bring the referral form, too, so the doctor didn't need to fax them.

Unfortunately, as soon as I got off the phone with them and started reading some reviews I was not impressed. In fact, the reviews were horrible. They scared me so much that I ended up canceling that appointment.

A friend who has Chiari and has been through the surgery told me about Dr. Tew and his new Chiari Center. I researched him and it appears that he is one of the top in the field. A call to his office revealed that he did not take my insurance. (He's in Cincinnati.)

I finally found someone (Dr. Choutka in Ashland) who had it on his resume and came with good reviews. I called his office and asked them if he took my insurance. He did! So, I called my PCP with the phone number and information and asked them to refer me.

And I waited.

And waited.

Waited some more.

After 5 days I called them. They hadn't done it yet. Said it wasn't a priority. I asked them to please make it one. The next day, they called me back. Come to find out, he did NOT take my insurance. (Then who the heck had I spoken to on the phone?) So, I called my insurance provider and asked to switch since I was still in open enrollment. She said sure, but that it wouldn't take effect for 7 weeks. If I had called the day before, it could have happened the next week.

So now I was looking at 7 weeks before I could even get the referral in. That sounded like too long.

Off to a new plan!

Frustrated, I called Dr. Tew's office back. After all, I had this new insurance now. Maybe his office would make me an appointment for April 1st when my insurance went into effect. A new call to his office revealed that he DID take my insurance-only it was the one I had just canceled.

So, I called my provider BACK and asked to switch back. Shew.

I then called my PCP and asked for a new referral, this time to Dr. Tew.

And I waited.

And waited.

And waited some more.

Two weeks later, I called my PCP. They said they hadn't heard any news yet.

I waited another week. Then, I called again. The office worker I talked to this time told me that it wasn't even in my chart or notes to make the referral.

Frustrated, I went in and got the referral myself. I faxed it and my records to Dr. Tew's office.

Two days later, I called his office. They didn't get it. Unbelievably frustrated at this point, my husband faxed it for me. I called the next day. They STILL didn't get it. So, I emailed it to them and asked my PCP's office to fax it as well. As in THAT DAY. They finally received it.

The guy in Dr. Tew's office called me the next morning and got a history. He also said that I would need to send him a copy of my MRI. My husband went out that day and mailed it. That was four days ago. Once they receive everything he said I should hear something about my appointment date within 4-5 business days.

Some people have to see several neurosurgeons before they find one they are comfortable with. I hope to goodness this one works. 

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