Vol. IV: Uncommon Common Abuse of Seniors and Elderly
©copyright 2008 Bonita M Quesinberry
At last, our series ends with this segment. Will it prove also an end to my plight and of all other seniors and elderly? Let us proceed to highlights of the previous installment:
Fir Tree Park (FTP) management company, Allied Group fired by California property owners, new company Professional Property Management (PPM) of Illinois hired, their site manager Michael— forgot to say he was hired by Allied just before leaving; so he knows me according to Allied’s twisted version and who now has threatened me with eviction— HUD’s discrimination investigation closes for Allied; then, segment III ended on a note about the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) cutting my Medicaid benefits while conducting an investigation, and finally a mention about DSHS contract doctors and hospitals. Today? I have no doctor. Where, when does it end?
Various events with my Port Orchard doctor and those in Shelton, are woven throughout the past year and a half— in other words, everything and so much more than presented in this series has happened simultaneously without so much as a break— so, I must step back in time for just a moment. My neurosurgeon made it abundantly clear to me, my daughter Maria, and Dr. Tieuseco, my primary medical provider, of my precarious position: I must not have pain as well as must get the blood pressure back to normal.
When asked ‘why’ regarding pain, for I’ve lived with pain since age 6 without medication, Dr. Shakar stated, “You’ve already had what should have been a fatal bleeder. That in itself puts you at high risk for another aneurysm compounded by long term Degenerative Vascular Disease— diagnosed at age 23— your vessels, veins and artery walls are very weak. Pain causes the body to tense and this further stresses your vascular system. The other thing you must avoid is outside stress for the same reasons.” Right. I don’t believe Allied Group, HUD, or DSHS got the message, despite having been advised.
Nevertheless, I could not take any prescription opiates available over the years; so, the doctor prescribed one I’d never taken, Oxycodone, although I refused to take it as prescribed: 10mg 6 times daily. In my mind and as I said to Dr. Tiuseco, that was the road to addiction and I have an almost manic aversion to addictions: my mother was prescription addicted from age 19 and died of a deliberate overdose at age 58.
Enough said and, while Dr. Tiuseco disagreed based on Dr. Shakar’s instructions and she did set out on the Rx “10mg every 4 hours,” she accepted my terms: I would take it as needed, which might be 5mg in a 24-hour period or even 10mg or at the most two 10mg doses in the same time frame: if a severe migraine or other severe pain was too much to endure. To date, I’ve never taken any more or less and have never increased intake. Even if I had, it still would have been less than the prescribed 6 times daily/every 4 hours.
As noted early in our series, Dr. Tiuseco’s office is an hour away from me in Shelton and it did not take long for me to realize I could no longer drive the distance— I found the trip back home dangerous in that I had to pull off the road 3 to 4 times because of almost passing out. DSHS, in view of all of their Shelton contract doctors refusing to take my case, provided a driver for appointments with Dr. T. The problem this presented was in not being able to see a doctor when something went terribly wrong: appointments two weeks away or more. This arrangement would prove to be even more of a problem.
My daughter Maria, of course, drives up from Oregon for any invasive procedures scheduled in that I must be monitored for severe reactions; albeit, DSHS has never paid Maria as my caregiver but only because she is certified in Oregon. Still, her bill was applied to my Medicaid spend down, while any payments I made to her counted toward rents. It is this caregiver billing that kicked off the more recent problems with DSHS.
Throughout the last seven months of 2008 I had begun to notice Dr. Tiuseco adjusting my pain prescription in a way that, ultimately, would make it appear I was abusing the drug despite not having made any change in how I take it. I left the late September visit angry, though I’d said nothing to Dr. T, went home and flushed the remaining doses of about 10: I was set to prove that I was neither abusing nor addicted. My next appointment would be November 7th, which would sum up over four weeks with no medication at all.
October also was DSHS review time, so I copied all my records for the prior six months and sent everything 10 days early. Come November the first, I receive a letter from DSHS announcing that ALL med benefits had been cancelled because I failed to send in that paperwork. Ack! I called, it was a computer glitch, and several days later I receive a new letter advising I no longer had Medicaid coverage because my spend down had not been covered. What? Again, I call, so certain it was a simple mistake. After all, the only time I required a caregiver was for invasive procedures; while some DSHS clients have caregivers three or more times per week.
“We cannot use your caregiver bill because we can’t validate it, Ms. Quesinberry!” I almost was stunned speechless but said, “What do you mean? You have hospital bills, doctor bills, lab bills, MRI bills, and in the beginning you were provided with the reasons why I must be monitored following any invasive procedures.” I was informed she would have to turn over the matter to her supervisor, who would call me within twenty-four hours. So far, this meant I had to pay for everything incurred henceforth November first that Medicare did not cover. There was no way I could afford to do so: meaning no prescriptions filled and no doctor, primary or specialists, or emergency hospital visits.
The general caseworker had made one give-away statement, “We can’t validate it.” It was word-for-word what Allied Group had said to my attorney about my caregiver billing statements: with either entity, the charge of invalid billing is a preposterous lie. I suspected then that Allied had found a way to further raise my stress levels in their permanent absence: make it look as if she is defrauding DSHS. Why not? As far as Allied was concerned, I had caused them to get fired; didn’t matter that there were five cases against them or that I had not been the one to file complaints with HUD. Despite the fact DSHS had approved Maria as my caregiver in 2005, for the purposes as set out, that proof obviously became lost in their mountain of paperwork over the next 3 years.
Of course, there also is raging drunk Rachel who functions on the premise of “do unto others before they do unto you,” she who is defrauding both DSHS and HUD and she knows everyone at FTP knows it, which means I know it. Still, it did not matter that I defrauded no one, did everything by the book and in accordance with law: all it took was one phone call to DSHS by a vengeful someone claiming I was committing fraud with false caregiver bills. Thus, without any notice to me, I was denied benefits to which I am entitled and must do without until DSHS completes its investigation.
Between my last doctor’s appointment and the next, I developed severe pain in the liver and pancreas; but, my doctor was on vacation. It became bad enough that I called Dr. T’s assistant to advise her I would be going to Mason County Hospital, just up the hill from me in Shelton, and I would let her know the results. My concern was a relapse of the pancreatitis experienced in 1971 and which was in remission only.
My friend Gwen took me and, upon arrival, I was quickly taken into emergency. A Doctor Short came in, discussed my symptoms, then asked rather hatefully, “How do you know it’s the liver and pancreas hurting.” Because I’ve been there, done that. He then had the nurse draw blood and later came back to tell me both enzymes were okay, “See your doctor in Port Orchard.”
What! It takes more tests than just blood to identify Pancreatitis, but this idiot was sending me home? I reminded him that my doctor was on vacation; still sent me home after the nurse did come back in to ask if I needed a prescription for pain, to which I irritably said, “No, I don’t. I need to know what is wrong.” Needless to say, nothing has been done about these particular symptoms and Dr. Tiuseco never gave me opportunity to tell her about any of the symptoms of MS and Lupus that have been worsening.
Before I knew it, November 7 rolled around and my driver took me to Port Orchard. In a way, I was a bit excited to inform Dr. Tiuseco of what I had done: 4.5 weeks with no pain medication. It would be satisfying to see her realize her mistake. Now, as my certified caregiver daughter told me, “Mom, an addict could not go twelve hours! Muchless four and a half weeks.” I knew that, and I expected the doctor to know it, too. I also wanted to tell Dr. T about both the escalating diseases and a documentary I had seen several weeks before: renowned doctors and scientists who had conducted a long term study on patients taking prescription opiates for long periods of time, one of which they were addressing being Oxycodone— an answer to why some become addicted and some don’t.
Interestingly enough, the above study had proven who I am and why I have never been addicted to anything, period and despite my mother’s addictions based on no health problems save tension migraines— which I’ve never had. It seems there are two factors indicating that a patient, even one on long term opiates, will not become addicted: 1) they take the medication for “only real pain” and, 2) they have a “mindset that is almost obsessively against addictions. Patients who become addicted take the opiates in an absence of pain to become numb to reality, to escape as it were.” The latter was my mother. Well, I never got the chance to relate anything to Dr. T.
The moment I advised Dr. Tiuseco of what I had done following the previous meeting and how long it had been since I had taken any pain med, she turned on me to glaringly and vehemently state loudly, “That is suspicious, Bonita. I don’t believe you! That cancels your pain contract.” This, while she is madly typing into my computer file and canceling said contract, which means I can never again get the prescription refilled. She then cuts me off when I attempt to relate the health issues and says, as she is storming out the door, “I’m running behind. You’ll have to tell me about it in our next visit.” Well, that visit will never happen as far as I’m concerned but I said nothing.
If one is seeing a DSHS contract doctor (public) and said doctor is prescribing opiates to him or her, then one must sign a contract to the effect he or she will never sell or give away said pills and a lot of other gibberish designed to get the doctor off the hook by canceling the contract. Any idiot can read my medical history and diagnoses and comprehend that I am never pain free. Any idiot also can determine that I am not an abuser of opiates when the fact is I tolerate a great deal of pain for long periods without medication, despite my neurosurgeon’s admonition that I must remain pain free.
Still, from the beginning I had suspected that Dr. T really did not want my case any more than did Shelton doctors. Why any are afraid of my case is beyond my understanding. Yes, it is a complicated case with, as a friend recently said, more diagnoses than anyone should have to bear; but, I put no pressure on doctors, for I believe my life or death is solely in God’s hands, not the doctors’. Nonetheless, the fact Dr. Tiuseco called me a liar is all the reason I need to never see her again. I could care less if I ever see any doctor again or regain Medicaid. Besides, where would I find a doctor or hospital?
Within a week of my initial call to DSHS, I was told the case was being turned over to their Medical Administration department and should receive an answer within 2 weeks— “If not, call us.” Well, here we are into January 2009 and I have yet to regain Medicaid benefits. Oh, yes, I did call and was put off. To top this off, our esteemed Governor Chris Gregoire announced plans to cut DSHS benefits that we paid into during our working years, as if there were an overabundance benefits in the first place. As it stands now, DSHS and Dr. Tiuseco have put my life at risk— well, at more risk than it was already.
I cannot stress enough that I have rather made light of my case in this series, in that so much more happened and is happening. Alas, it would take a book to get it all down; but, I needed to highlight some of only the worst incidents in order to keep the series short enough to at least get it to the public. Thus far it is only on the Internet and not garnering much reading at the three sites available to me. Please help get this to everyone!
This is not all about me. Seniors and elderly across this nation are suffering at the hands of unethical subsidized apartment managers and their companies, HUD’s failure to uphold their protective laws, DSHS’s constant demands on said recipients, along with DSHS contract doctors and hospitals failing to truly take care of their patients. Public Medicine? My driver said to me, “The hospital HAS to treat you, even if the doctors won’t!” Well, apparently they are not obligated any more than those public doctors.
So, what good is DSHS and its Public Medicine? They treat whom they choose and DSHS does not intervene. In answer to the question at the beginning of this segment, “No,” my plight and that of all seniors and elderly has not ended. In silence it goes on.
We need a majority roar to rise up all over the United States about these injustices; so, please, share our story with everyone you know: friends, Senators and Governors and our President Obama, television as well as newspapers. The more people who spread it about, the louder we shout!
We are the largest demographic in this nation and have a lot to offer, yet we are being thrown away and/or subtly murdered: yes, families could come back on these entities with charges of reckless endangerment, reckless homicide, and wrongful death; but, they shouldn’t have to file such suits or criminal charges. Copy the 4 segments of this story to your blogs, websites, and email to everyone you know urging them to do the same.
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End of series “Uncommon Common Abuse of Seniors and Elderly”
The entire series can be found at http://allpoetry.com/bonnieq – scroll down page, click on “Critical Articles” where each is listed: click on to open