Ok, so here goes……up close and personal, putting myself out there in the wide open.
I am 52, i have been doing work in this field for the last 26 years in some capacity or another, both as an individual and since 2007 as a public entity.
Since 2009, i have been operating our nonprofit full-time. That’s all i do. I have looked for secular employment the entire time since March of 2009.
I have never been on Public Assistance until the last two years and this last year is the first time i ever had to apply for Public Health Care due to being unemployed too long and receiving zero salary as Founder of Straight Ahead Outreach. I figure, if i cannot find work i may as well work my tail off doing something and Straight Ahead Outreach is it.
For the first time i went to the Public Health Department in Clearwater, FL – Pinellas County back on October 15, 2011 as i have not been well since about 2008 since i had a severe allergic reaction to something unknown which spread across my entire, and i mean entire body.
Basically, my body will begin to “shut down” as i say and there is nothing i can do about it. When it shuts down i must lay down and i really shouldn’t drive. usually i will be down for anywhere from 2-3 hours to 2-3 days or like this last time, two weeks! I cannot predict it. I am usually good for about 2-5 hours doing anything physical or stressful, so yes, it makes my job with Straight Ahead Outreach extremely difficult at times, although not all the time.
So, after last 10/15/2011 Doctors appt the Pinellas County Health Dept. Doctor sent me to a heart Doctor to have a Nuclear test done. Everything checked out good. Still my body was shutting down.
I tried to get a follow up appointment from November 2011 through this April 2012. It took 5 months. No one would return my calls. I had tried via phone and fax to follow up with the initial Doctor from the 10/15/2011 visit for a blood pressure med which the doctor was to prescribe and i never heard from her. Ever. So i waited for the heart Doctor two months later for that med for him to prescribe it. He did so in January of this year 2012.
On April 6th of this year i went as a follow up to the heart test in November/December of 2011. The head Doctor at the Pinellas Park Health Department locations first words to me were, “Well Mr. Greene, you sure had a lot of expensive tests done.” I had one nuclear test done prescribed by them. I am not the type to run to Doctors and did not really want that test but went along with it.
Mesothelioma Cancer: Because of my job as a brake specialist at the bus company in Minnesota back when i was in my 20′s, the Doctors on this April 6th,2012 visit decide to refer me to have a chest imagery taken and a CT Scan to attempt to rule out whether or not i had Mesothelioma. WHAAAAAT?!!!
I was in shock. Now i am simply angry. The Doctor gave me a letter which described that i was being referred and to wait 21 business days before i called if i did not hear from them.
4/25/2012: Well, i called and left a vm for the Referral Specialist inquiring about the referral. No response.
5/16/2012: Now over one month, I called the Referral Specialist and actually spoke to her. She had not heard anything yet and assured me it would only be a couple days and she would call me back.
End of May. Nothing. Beginning of June. Nothing.
June 11th, 2012: It is now the day of my scheduled appointment for the follow up to that Chest Imagery referral in order to rule out whether or not i have Mesothelioma Cancer. The referral i never received.
It has now been 8 months since they first seen me at the Pinellas County Health deptartment in Clearwater, FL.
At this appointment, the one which was to be the follow up to the referral, this June 11th, 2012, i went in order to see just what they planned on doing and what they could or could not do for me. They way i was treated by the Nurse Practitioner who seen me was entirely unacceptable and severly uncalled for. My fiance Pat was with me so i have a witness to all of it. This Nurse Practitioner, refused to speak to my fiance Pat even though i requested she do so and then turned her back to my fiance intentionally. I asked her to speak to Pat as i was too upset and frustrated over all of this and their lack of professionalism and did not want to escalate my frustrations. I was angry yes. On 5/18/2012 i had to repair the u-joints on our van and because of my health it took me 3 days and i almost collapsed while doing it….the result was it shut my body down for two weeks. It made me all the more upset. Today, June 12th i had a number of things to do and barely made it back home before my body “shut down”.
The Doctor stated to me that she could see i was there for a follow up to the referrals that I DID NOT COMPLETE (because they were never provided). She was accusing me of simply not going. I have to admit. I was furious and i let her know so. We argued and she was extremely out of line.
There was a knock on the exam room door and she left for about 10 minutes. I had a 1pm appt and it was almost 3pm now.
When she returned she apologized and told me that my referrals had been determined as “Not A Priority due to Budget Cuts”.
1) Why couldn’t anyone have told me
2) ARE YOU KIDDING ME? YOU, the Doctors of the Pinellas County Health Department have told me you think i may have Mesothelioma Cancer from asbestos due to my description, symptoms and past employment and it is NOT A PRIORITY referral????
3) Then what is????!!! Yes, i am furious. Sorry.
4) I was given an added RX to help lower my blood pressure because the current med is not doing it by itself.
5) I was told they would not be setting a follow up appointment until IF AND WHEN the tests are approved to see if i have Mesothelioma Cancer from Asbestos. I was told they did not have any idea if or when these tests would be approved.
6) I was sent away. With no idea of anything.
7) So, what is it? Do i wait i guess until i start coughing up blood or maybe bleeding it out my backside or maybe even my eyeballs? What???
7) The health System here does not cover Hospital Visits or emergency room visits.
8) ALL of this, ALL of this is why i always always try so hard to get those we help to do something better for themselves and avoid assistance from the system.
So, yes, waaaa waaaa, pout , pout…….I work my tail off helping others and here i sit, in a program i do not believe in, lost in the shuffle and wish i never had to be a part of.
If this is happening to me, it is happening to countless others across our country.
Most likely, i will never go back, especially if i do not hear from them for this test to be done.
It will just be what it will be and God’s Will, will be done.