Rheumatologist appt

Our national healthcare, Medicare, is excellent! Never any waiting period, very low co-pays,
I am very glad that this has been your experience, JamieMarc!

Just want to note that this is not the experience of everyone in the USA who is on Medicare or Medicaid. To see a specialist, I have waited 6 months or more, and some tests that my doctor has wanted to order I have not had done because the "co-pay" is so high that I couldn't afford it.

Seeing a regular doctor can be a wait as well. It depends on the doctor. Mine will usually see me pretty quickly - within a couple of weeks - but other people I know have waited months to see their GP.

It may also be different depending on what part of the country you are in. In some places there is more availability of health care than in others.
Hi SBee
I also get flustered easily with important appointments, even with all my lists and questions in order. I too find that one of my biggest fears is not being believed. Also if/when that happens, I tend to clam up and then the appointment really goes to waste.

I’ve found that bringing someone with me truly helps. They can step in if I get flustered or if the doctor starts gaslighting me. It’s like having two against one. Also, since I bring someone who’s close to me, often times they’ll think of a symptom I hadn’t thought of or ask a question that hadn’t crossed my mind.

I know this suggestion might not be available to everyone but it’s an option. Sometimes I’ll bring my Dad and even though he can only hear from one ear, just having him there is enough. Hope this helps!
Thank you @Amesalot it's weird away often advise some people to take someone in to appts with them,to hear bits we may ourselves miss. But I never actually want anyone with me! I think I would worry they might hear something they may find a bit distressing so I will be distracted thinking about them instead. And therefore I wouldn't always tell it like it is, I would try to sugar coat it instead and that keep so detrimental. But good idea, as I will ask my husband if I have missed any symptom of detail he feels may be important.

I do have a history of feeling I have not been believed but I am trying to get over that. I am a bit stronger and more able to stand my ground now.
I am working on the good advice from here on keeping my notes concise,that way I can keep my thoughts clearer without resorting to waffle. And I remind myself I have ' proof ' from scans, xrays and other drs follow up letters of proper diagnosis of osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia,but latest results and my own gp suggest RA going on these results and also other actual symptoms that do not fit into these two conditions.

I will take a few drops of rescue remedy prior just to calm me as well. Thank you
@sunkacola and @JamieMarc it seems most countries medical services are struggling one way or another. In my own experience I can't fault our local surgery, luckily within our village. Getting a face to face appt can be a long wait, especially if you do want to see a particular gp for ongoing service. As for hospital or specialists appts, they aim for a max of 18 weeks wait.

But during and after covid, our local how surgery set up a quicker system of appt by telephone, and also we can use an online form where you can get a quick reply by text if you have a simple query, or, as in my case I can write a more detailed query writing it down which helps me keep things in a logical manner. I use this regularly as it is convenient and I like the quick response.
Thank you!

I would be willing to bet that the people you are referring to are on Medicare advantage plans. Medicare advantage plans are total scams. They are for profit insurance plans. If it's an HMO you have to stay within their Network and yes, the waiting times will be long often. Not to mention they deny many services and medications, or make you jump through so many hoops that you give up.

I never have and never will be on a Medicare advantage plan. Only original Medicare! On original Medicare you can go to any doctor who accepts Medicare, which is pretty much all of them in my experience, at least in my part of the state of Florida and everywhere else I have lived. No waiting times. Low co pays. You don't need a referral from anybody. You can just call and make the appointment yourself.

Anybody reading this who is on a Medicare advantage plan, during the next enrollment period, I encourage you to switch to original Medicare. Yeah, they try to sell their plans (Medicare Advantage - Part C) by touting their vision coverage and other minor coverages. Just so you know, I only pay $4.38 a month for my vision plan. So, it's not costing them anything to add those little benefits with many caveats that the general public seems to think are worth thousands of dollars. Not the case!

In 2018, only 18% of Americans were enrolled in a Medicare advantage plan. In 2023, more than half (51%) were enrolled in a Medicare advantage plan, more than original Medicare. Insurance companies aggressively market their plans, especially during enrollment period, while at the same time increasing costs for patients and reducing services. Again, these are companies who really only care about the bottom line and keeping their shareholders happy. I can't tell you how many calls and mail pieces I get trying to sell me on some health care plan. They always go directly to the trash. Lol 😂

I've been doing this for a long time. I am anal retentive about researching, and I have compared original Medicare to every single Medicare advantage plan, line item by line item, on a spreadsheet, and original Medicare wins hands down every time. But, most importantly, I speak from almost two decades of personally experience with original Medicare.
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I hope that the NHS gets better in england. I have other friends over there and they are fed up with the NHS, almost every one of them. The wait times that I hear them tell me about are mind blowing. And I hear a lot about telephone appointments versus in person appointments when an in-person appointment would be the only effective way to help the patient. Utterly useless. I think it's wonderful that England does have a national Health Care system, all countries should, but as you said it needs a lot of improvement, and ours could use them as well. Personally, my pet peeve is that I think Medicare over here should cover massages as they are so beneficial for people like us fibromyalgics.

I have been incredibly happy and incredibly grateful two and for medicare. Being on original Medicare as opposed to an advantage plan, and I know that doesn't mean anything to you, I have never had any of the problems that a member stated in the previous post here. I see about six or seven specialists regularly, and even when I do need to see a new specialist, I have never had to wait more than a week to get an appointment.

Even when my drug insurance plan denies a medication because it is not on their formulary, my doctors are always super helpful at getting an exception from my drug Insurance company so that they will pay for it.

I am just very grateful and feel very blessed to have the health care that I have. I hope to see continued work on improved healthcare for everyone in England and the United States and all over the world. 🙏
Medicare or Medicaid
Since Florida never did adopt the Medicaid expansion, I don't have much experience with Medicaid. I expect I think that the wait times would be longer with Medicaid. However, I do get limited assistance from Medicaid, like they pay my medicare premium for example.

And I am in complete concurrence with you regarding where you live in the country. Access to healthcare varies widely among the states and across the country. Rural areas especially are underserved, as well as minority areas. Things are changing for the better in that regard, but like all things government it happens gradually, slowly. Still, any progress is good progress.
Well,.it's been an interesting day today. Long awaited rheumatologist appt this morning which has stirred things up a bit more now.
So I knew I had osteoarthritis, then fibromyalgia confirmed in December, but there was too much specific pain and stiffness in my hands and fingers and wrists , so after numerous tests the rheumatologist today confirmed that on top of everything I have a form of seronegative arthritis.
atm unable to find the exact form, but as it is inflammatory, it will be treated as rheumatoid arthritis.

Still had to have further bloods taken, and had the joy of a steroid injection as no one knows which of these 3 conditions are causing which symptoms. Just to add to fun,the nurse at the appt said my BP was very high yet neglected to advise me. So once home I casually mentioned it to my GP surgery who said it was so dangerous I should never have been released from hospital.

You couldn't make it up could you? 😠
Now need BP medications, will need lifelong arthritis meds to avoid further damage and naturally the stress of today has kicked to fibro symptoms in. Back feeling encased in concrete.

Will take the weekend to get used to everything before I begin researching everything, and getting used to yet more heath stuff to adapt to and deal with. Fingers crossed so can get a bit of luck health wise.

Thanks for all the advise. I may need more when so get my head round things...
Loads of hugs, take care. Yes we need that hug button. 🤗 🤗 🤗 🤗 🤗 🤗 🤗 🤗 🤗 🤗 🤗 🤗 🤗
Than you @BlueBells I am finding myself in need of hugs today, but I send many more back to you 😻 appreciate you.

I feel like I'm doing that spinning plate thing at the moment. It's hard enough working with the fibromyalgia side of things, other health stuff ( like many others on here) and now the rheumatoid arthritis symptoms and the whole future with that as well, and all the meds that work\side effects etc.

Just feel a bit overwhelmed again. Just try to get on top of one thing as best you can then get kicked back down to the bottom of the pile again? although I suspected this was the case, the reality has hit me a bit hard.

So if anyone else is in a similar situation, or can just kind of make me see some sense today I would appreciate it.
Sorry to hear about your new diagnosis, but I know it was not totally unexpected for you. Doesn't make it any easier.

Unless I'm missing something, I'm surprised you were prescribed blood pressure meds after just one reading. If it were me, I would want more than one reading and, in fact, wear a remote monitor for a week or two, however long as usual in these cases. Have you had consistent high blood pressure readings in close proximity to one another? Do you have a blood pressure monitor at home?

I know it may be too soon to know, but I'm curious as to what lifelong arthritis meds have been prescribed for you if any yet?

Sending big big hugs out to you! A lot of new stuff for you to deal with. I'm here for you if you need me.. always.
@SBee loads of hugs, the warm fuzzy ones 🤗 🤗 🤗 🤗 🤗

I've not got other issues at the moment, and I know I am indeed fortunate.

The site has been incredibly quiet, a few on and off, but no comments. I'm sure someone will pop up.

I so wish @JayCS was still here, I sure hope he returns. I'm sure he'd come up with something, he seems to do that.

more hugs 🤗🤗🤗💐💐💐
Guess I am in a similar situation as my trigger finger in both hands has not resolved yet. I may need to move the August rheumatologist appointment up and also get injections. Ugh!

Like I said earlier, if you're not already doing so, get your hands on a blood pressure monitor and monitor your BP at the same time twice a day for a week or two and keep a diary. Or ask your physician about a remote monitor to wear. Not sure if they had those for blood pressure but I do know they use them for arrhythmia etc. I wore one 15 years ago for some reason or other.
I miss seeing Jay around also.

As for myself, I've got too much on my plate right now to be able to get into and engage in the forums as much as I used to at this time. Doing the best I can though to stay engaged, even if it is just once a week. Trying to pick and choose the post where I feel like I can contribute most, or where some response is needed most.
Thanks @BlueBells I am feeling a bit fragile right now, so really do appreciate you propping me up! Am sure so will get my head around things it's just piling up a bit, that's the way it goes. Maybe I am just get everything all at once and then it will all slow down ( the more hysterical laughter )

Thanks 😻 xx