There’s a price to pay for living outside the US…Disappointing day…

The view from the veranda at the holiday home we rented in Madeira ten years ago.

Yesterday, I was enthused about the physical therapy appointment at Wellspring Wellness Center. With exercise physiologists on staff, I felt confident they could help me improve my mobility while awaiting my future appointments at the end of August and subsequent open heart surgery at Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.

How little did I know that I’d be turned away? Based on the fact they had no record of me having treatment and tests in Minnesota, after consulting with their medical director, they all agreed it was too risky to treat me. They feared my heart condition would make such treatment too high risk and, let’s face it, the potential of liability if something went wrong during such a course of treatment.

I walked out of the facility disheartened and frustrated. They suggested I see a cardiologist (I’ve already seen three in the past year) for the type of treatment that would be suitable for me. With countless tests upcoming in August, I wasn’t about to go through the uncomfortable and time-consuming process of going through a litany of tests here in Minnesota, especially when Cleveland Clinic does its own tests.

The risk of a lawsuit is driving influence in medical care in the US. This is not the case in most other countries where medical malpractice lawsuits aren’t nearly as common as in the US.

But this was only the beginning of the day’s frustrations. I’d made an appointment at CVS Minute Clinic, which I called and assured me I could get prescriptions for my high blood pressure meds, which I am running out of. Remember, I got 13 months of prescriptions from Doc Theo in South Africa before we left at the end of April last year. Now they are running out and I have to figure out how to get them. They won’t accept written prescriptions from South Africa.

When CVS stated they’d write prescriptions for tourists running out of medication, I quickly made the appointment for yesterday at 5:00 pm, figuring at least this would be out of the way.

Alas, when we drove to the CVS for my appointment, and after waiting several minutes for my appointment upon prompt arrival, after filling out forms and signing privacy documents, I discovered, once again, that they couldn’t help me. They couldn’t find any record of any doctor prescribing any medications for me, nor was there a record of any tests or medical appointments to substantiate the necessity of my taking such medicines.

The PA agreed to give me a one-month emergency prescription as a tourist, but one month didn’t do me any good. I am not going to CC until the end of August, a full 3½ months from now.

I walked out empty-handed, frustrated and wondering what I would do. My only option, so I thought, was to book an appointment with a cardiologist or, in the worst case, a primary care physician and see if they’d write the prescriptions without having a litany of tests. I could run into the same scenario, and if I refused to take tests, I could walk out empty-handed again.

Deciding I’d think about this for a day or two since I had enough pills left to get me through two weeks. When I awoke in the middle of the night, I checked my old account at ProgressiveRX and found an old prescription in their records that could supply me with the meds I need. I had looked earlier, but I looked under the US names of the meds when, in fact, they are named differently in India, where most of the world’s drugs are produced anyway. They have everything I need.

Today, after posting, I will order the meds and have them in three weeks at the latest. After digging through my pill bag, I found the same unopened pills that could get me through until the shipment arrives at our mailing service, which in turn will mail them to me. What a relief!

This explains why living outside the US for the past almost 12 years has left us with no medical records to rely upon for future medical care in the US. We are left without medical records when we have had no US health insurance all these years, only carrying health insurance suitable for people outside the US. It’s another fact of life for world travelers. Any medical care we’ve needed all these years, we’ve sought outside the US, mostly paying out of pocket.

Thus, I’ll be able to get the meds I need, and yesterday, after all of this, I started working out, once again, in the upscale fitness center in this hotel. I will carefully monitor my heart rate and perform ECGs on my Fitbit each time I work out, being as careful as possible. Despite my current condition, all three cardiologists I visited explained that exercising is good for the heart muscle.

In less than an hour, my friend Chere is stopping by for a visit. We’ll hang out in the lobby and catch up.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, May 15, 2014:

No photos were posted on this date due to a travel day.

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