Those ladies out there who’ve had a UTI know the symptoms, so I won’t get into the nitty-gritty. Suffice it to say that I felt one coming on starting on Monday.
Normally, the symptoms start if I’m a little dehydrated. So I just have to get very dedicated to drinking my water all day, and within a day or two everything clear up.
Unfortunately, I’ve been sleeping so much that my normal routine (including drinking water) has been completely thrown off. I get up, get through all the emails as fast as possible (without making mistakes) and then immediately lie down. I’m so focused on the emails that I forget to drink water, and obviously I’m not drinking it while I lie down. So it’s early afternoon by the time I get serious about hydrating.
I did my best — mainly because I was pretty sure I’d have to see my gyno rather than my PCP. Which entailed a $25 co-pay and cajoling to get an appointment asap.
I really thought I could make it, until yesterday evening why my low-mid back started aching. Ya know, the kidneys area?
Fine, I’ll go… somewhere
I slowly padded out to the living room — moving too fast jostled me uncomfortably — and called my insurance to find out where an urgent care clinic was. Which is when the drama began.
The first call got me bad information, which I discovered after calling a place that turned out not to even be an urgent care clinic.
The second call was a bit more fruitful, but my options seemed to mainly consist of various locations of the same two companies. One of which had closed at 5:30. (Which I found out at 5:39 p.m., by the way.) And what the hell is the point of an urgent care center that keeps doctors’ hours?!
The place that was still open was the site of a debacle last year during Tim’s bout with pancreatitis. It had been listed on the insurance site, but they said they didn’t contract with HealthNet anymore. But it appeared to be one of the only options and potentially the only one still open.
A waste of time
I tried to call the place myself to verify that they were now working with my plan. Turns out I’d have to go in to be sure… but the CSR at the urgent care company’s main line said that they didn’t generally work with HealthNet.
Not really sure how “generally” is a policy, incidentally.
But it was definitely open and probably covered and there was an uncomfortable pressure in my kidney-region. So we sucked it up and drove over.
Turns out, we shouldn’t have bothered. When I finally got seen at the front desk — the guy had to check one patient out and schedule an appointment for another — I was told that the wait time was around two and a half to three hours.
Apparently, the urgent care company thought it was okay to have one doctor on that day. Seems like a good business plan.
To the ER!
I could’ve come back home, checked the website to get other options. But I was about 80% sure we didn’t have any. Or that they would close around 7 p.m. too. And it was 6:49 p.m.
So we just drove off to the ER. I designated which one, since there were two equidistant. But we’ve gotten much better care at one location. (And yes I’m aware that most people probably don’t have a favorite ER. It must be nice.)
Given my discomfort, Tim was slightly panicky and impatient. Which meant he was speeding a bit more than usual and was very anxious at the lights. I kept telling him that I wasn’t going to die of a bladder infection in the next 10 minutes. I tended to reiterate that right after particularly unpleasant bumps/dips in the road. Those aren’t great on already-whiny kidneys.
Luckily, it was only 15 minutes away. (Tim made it 10.) It took me almost half as long to waddle through the parking lot. In retrospect, we shouldn’t have taken the first parking spot we saw.
Anyway, about two later I had a confirmed UTI (but probably no kidney infection) and a prescription for some antibiotics. And a much calmer husband.
So what did we learn, class?
Well, I learned that I should really stop trying to save money with doctors. Because by avoiding the “hassle” of wheedling my way into a last-minute appointment, spending the time at the appointment and paying $25, I caused myself the hassle of two hours in the ER, a $75 co-pay and the headache of my insurance’s urgent care coverage.
So the moral of the story is to just get seen at the damn doctor at the first sign of trouble. You’ll save yourself time and money.
Oh, I also learned that I’m still about six years old. Because the pain relief med’s side effect (bright orange pee) never fails to make me giggle.
Have you ever caused bigger doctor bills by trying to take care of things yourself?