I’ve been reluctant to write anything because the past week if it could go wrong it has and honestly? Nobody wants to hear someone who’s whine mode is in overdrive.
My dog GSD Sasha received her first pair of custom boots from the shoemaker last Saturday ~ these are actually meant to be her water shoes as the river that abuts my property has a very rocky bed. She had some minor abrasions however from knuckling on the asphalt parking lot when we initially visited the shoemaker and until they were 100% healed I didn’t feel comfortable taking her in the river lest the one remaining open abrasion become infected. They seemed to be healing a tad slow so I switched from bacitracin to Calendula and the difference is amazing. My target date for *River Swimming* was Friday but it’s been raining all weekend. Hopefully she’ll get her everyday boots complete with Vibram soles next Saturday. For anyone interested in seeing a video of the shoemaker putting them on her for the first time as he explains everything or one of me describing just the boots, you can see them on her public You Tube channel called Sasha’s Journey. They are the (2) videos dated August 6. I also have a small photo album on Sasha’s public Facebook page that can be viewed by anyone with the link ~ one doesn’t need to have a FB account.
Boots aside I have a dilemma and not sure what to do at this point as the entire fiasco is causing me severe anxiety. The only thing I do know is that I’m tired of being treated like a second class citizen. Prior to my aborted AT hike in 2015 I went to an optometrist I’ve used a few times for eye exams and new glasses because the only local ophthalmologist has an excessive wait time for appointments; you usually have to book at least 8-10 months in advance. I gave her my existing pair (love the frames) to have new RX lenses put in plus ordered a second pair, new frames and lenses. Fot thecompletely new pair I even ordered transition lenses as I wanted them for hiking. For some crazy reason they were both approximately $415 which no one could explain. So after paying a bit over $850 I went home only to have difficulty seeing with the glasses. Yes I wear progressive lenses BUT I take them off for reading **Will get back to that**. I called and was told to bring them in for an adjustment. Fine. Didn’t work. Called again and had to wait (2) weeks to see the optometrist. She ordered a different RX for (1) pair of glasses. When they arrived it was like looking through vaseline coated lenses. Her response? Its been over 60 days so if I need different glasses she would be happy to schedule me for another eye examination but I would pay for the exam and new glasses. She said I had rapid cataracts (I was 49). Made an appointment with my ophthalmologist who I’ve been going to off and on at least yearly since he opened his practice. The only reason I got in at (6) months was because of a cancellation. He said I had beginning cataracts but they weren’t the rapid type. In November 2015 I had my right eye done and early December the left. Because with surgery ones vision changes, what his practice does is have you see the optical department, pick out new glasses and when they come in you take them home. Because your vision changed for medical reasons, health insurance covers part of the cost of the new glasses. The practice submits to insurance first and then bills you the remaining balance after insurance payment. The first problem was once my eyes settled down from surgery, I realized I could no longer read without glasses. I can’t even begin to tell you how shocked I was as he never told me that would happen. The Rx glasses came in the late December and I knew immediately they werent going to work but I had to wait until mid-February to get an appointment with him. His office has a prominently displayed sign that he is the “only ophthalmologist between here and the Canadian border”. But seriously? For a well established patient? Meanwhile I kept going into his optical department and the woman would adjust the frames to no avail. Finally saw him in February and admit I didn’t advocate for myself as I should have for I left with no changes. As the winter snow melted I started going in the yard more. I fell over icy chunks of snow, fell over the cat inside, the dog toy, I even fell over something in a parking lot because I didn’t see it. I couldn’t read with the glasses even though the ophthalmologist said I should be able to as they were progressive lenses. His staff would talk to me in an almost condescending tone “Do you know what progressive lenses are?” or “Did you realize you have to turn your head to see out of the different sections of lens?” (NO but do you know how to turn around so I can kick your ass???).This despite me telling them I’d worn progressives for years. I called again in a few weeks because the glasses had gone from being a nuisance to a liability. That was mid March and the first available appointment was July 13th. I was like “Are you kidding me?????” Explained that I couldn’t drive, was falling, couldn’t knit, but the best they could offer was to put me on a cancellation list. Fast forward to June. I was sitting in the waiting room at the dentist’s office and struggling to read a piece of paper. A patient came out from seeing the dentist and approached me with a big hello. I COUD NOT SEE WHO IT WAS! Here it was a nurse I worked with for over five years.
That did it. The proverbial straw. I went home, typed the ophthalmologist (using the cheater glasses I keep all over the house) a nice but firm letter detailing the struggle I’ve had with the glasses he prescribed. How I’ve worn glasses since I was 20 and never experienced anything remotely similar to this. I also wrote that I was disappointed he was unable to see me in a more timely fashion considering I was one of his first patients when he established the practice. I mentioned that he never told me I would lose my ability to read without glasses nor did he inform me of the option to have a complete corrective lens implant (Multifocal IOL’s) and pay the difference above the insurance payment. I ended by saying I was not paying the $213 balance (I had received the bill a few weeks prior) because why on earth would I pay for glasses that were a health hazard? I took the letter, a copy and the glasses to his office. Even though the answering machine says open 8-4 apparently they close at 2 pm on Mondays as only one staff member was there. I asked her nicely to sign the copy to acknowledge receipt of the glasses. Well my God she acted like I was an axe murderer! If I hadn’t recorded her reaction I wouldn’t have believed it. She refused to sign, refused to accept the glasses and tried to slide the window shut as she tossed the glass case out and towards me. Since I’m ambidextrous I caught the case with my left hand and tossed it back in just before the glass shut. Then I left. I really thought I’d hear from him but I didn’t. That rather surprised me as we had always got along rather well, sharing a mutual love of dogs and hiking.
Then I received another bill ~ with a late charge added. I wrote yet another letter only this time more stern. I laid it out in precise terms that I was not paying for glasses I couldn’t see with, I’ve been his patient for 10 years yet he made no attempt to ameliorate an unsatisfactory situation. I closed by saying I had recorded the interaction with the staff member when returning the glasses plus I had hard copies of all phone bills indicating the dates and length of calls to his office. I mailed it certified with restricted delivery. What happened? Tuesday I received a typed letter from the office manager saying since I was unkind to the staff it was best if we parted company (as if I would go back there), that I had “forgotten your glasses at the desk” and she’d be happy to mail them to me. Also wrote she will send my records to a new ophthalmologist for me (yeah right and they’d mark it with PIA) but I will continue to be billed and accrue late charges until such time they turn my account over to a collection agency.
Now I couldn’t make this nonsense up if I had to! I think I’m living in the twilight zone or there’s something in the water because in my entire life I’ve never encountered such difficulty with medical providers, insurance agents, car dealers, plumbers ~ you name it. I feel like I’m in some kind of alternate reality. One could say “Is the $213 + interest worth a battle” considering I just ended a four-year legal issue. But I already paid over $850 in 2015 for glasses that I couldn’t see out of now this? That’s over $1,000 in a little over a year and I still need to get glasses I can actually wear and see with. I asked my husband what he thought but he gave me his stock answer “I didn’t know”. I kid you not ~ that’s his answer to everything so not sure why I bothered asking. I could report the problem to the licensing board but that entails another battle. It gets old. It’s draining. Yet paying for glasses I can’t wear feels like I’m giving in to bully tactics.
I would be less than honest if I didn’t say how much stress this entire “eye” issue is causing. If truth be told I had a terrible winter because of my inability to read without glasses AND not being able to read with the cheater ones as clearly as I would like. As for knitting? Forget it. Perhaps if my near vision gradually worsened there wouldn’t be an issue but to lose it overnight was upsetting. I’m one of those people who actually like glasses. I went the contact lens route in the 90’s but more for fun as I got them in a different colors. For work (nursing) I always wore glasses so as to have the best visual acuity. I also think that the entire vibe of the ophthalmology office upsets me, from the assistants talking to me was if I was an idiot, to the woman acting like I was a deranged axe murderer because I wanted her to accept/sign for the glasses and ending with the doctor with whom I’ve had an excellent report for a decade.
I’m trying to work on PTSD issues which include feelings of self-worth but this “stuff” keeps getting in the way. I’ve noticed I have increased insomnia and have caught myself clenching my jaw. I won’t even get into the headaches from continual eye strain. How can something that’s supposed to be relatively easy i.e. getting new glasses turn into such a fiasco?
I’m really open to suggestions. And for what its worth, I really don’t like the cheater glasses.
PS: I found out AFTER the fact from my church committee that most people don’t use the local optometrist nor ophthalmologist because of less than stellar experiences.