In a few hours, I will be heading to a local Durable Medical Equipment company to pick up my Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine. Hopefully it will help me have more restful sleep and prevent me from waking up gasping for air as has happened twice in the last year.
I’m pretty sure my sleep doctor is more focused on the business side of being a doctor than he is on the efficient treatment of his patients. I say this because this adventure started seventy-six days ago. First of all, the sleep clinic wouldn’t see me without a referral, even though my insurance has no such requirement. Fortunately, I was able to get in to see my family doctor the day after I was told about the need for said referral.
They were able to get me an initial appointment fourteen days later, which I felt was reasonable. The doc evaluated my symptoms, and said that I needed a sleep study. Insurance pre-authorization was required, and would also dictate whether the study would be at home or in the sleep lab. They got the answer from the insurance company and got me into the lab for sleep study number one seven days later. This, too, was promptly enough for my liking.
Then shit went sideways. Doc required that I come in for a follow-up to discuss treatment after spending the night in the lab, and the earliest appointment was twenty-one days after I spent the night in the lab. On the day of this appointment, Doc spent less than five minutes with me. He said that I have severe sleep apnea, and that I stopped breathing an average of one hundred six times per hour. Treatment options were limited to a new treatment that I did not qualify for because of my BMI, surgery that he did not recommend, or a CPAP. Obviously, the only real option was the CPAP. Which required a second sleep study. Why the fuck couldn’t he have looked at the lab results and have someone call me and tell me that I need to get my ass back in for another sleep study as soon as fucking possible instead of making me delay treatment an additional three weeks, just so he could collect for another office visit?!?
Well, they got me back in four days later for sleep study number two, during which they played with the pressure on the CPAP to determine how to set my machine once they prescribed it to me. But wait.
Yes, you guessed it. I had to wait another seventeen days for yet another follow-up to find out my magic number before they would send over my prescription to the DME company so they could get me a machine and configure it. And it’s not like Doc needed this extra time to review either lab result, because when I went back for my second follow-up, he asked which room I slept in so he could go look at the file. Three minutes later, he was back. “You need eighteen centimeters of pressure. We will call over to the DME company today. Expect them to call you within the next few days to set up an appointment to pick up your CPAP.”
Motherfucker, there is no reason for yet another two and a half weeks of waiting for treatment. You kept throwing around the word urgent, but instead of taking five minutes to review my sleep lab data and having one of your flunkies call me and then the DME company, you had to make me wait so I could pay you for another office visit.
As promised, five days later, the DME folks called me and told me that they could get me in seven days hence to pick up my machine. That is in a few hours.
I’m all for capitalism and making an honest dollar. I would’ve happily paid for an office visit and never shown up for either follow-up. Just have someone fucking call me the next day so my treatment can move forward instead having to wait thirty-eight days longer than necessary, just to work me into your schedule.