This is what happens when you cut things like Medicaid.
I probably have strep, having picked it up by talking to a sick friend for a bit on Tuesday. By Thursday I was debating whether or not I wanted to hit the walk-in clinic, on account my left tonsil was swollen and covered in white patches and hurt like hell when I swallowed. But as I didn't have any kind of fever or any other symptoms, I decided to wait one more day and see if it got better on its own. The clinic opens at 0900. I woke up at 0830 Friday morning with both tonsils swollen and painful. Due to the illness slowing me down and getting a little turned around while traveling, I didn't arrive until 0940. I took the VERY LAST morning appointment, which was at 1140. Got to watch the poor bastard after me get turned away and told to come back for the afternoon walk-in which starts at 1430. Having done this before, I know it is best to wait because you might be slipped in early if you do.
Settled down with a good book. Sure enough, at 1110 I was called to the back and saw the doctor. The rapid strep test came back negative, but when she looked at my throat it looked very much like strep. The rapid test is only about 80%, she told me, and is prone to giving false negatives.
She started me on antibiotics and took a couple other throat swabs for different things it could be and told me to start the medication for strep right away, but that the official test results wouldn't be done until Monday (at which point someone would call me). I went direct to the pharmacy, where they proceeded to misplace my initial prescription and then, forty minutes later, inform me that my insurance (which is unison, the DC equivalent of Medicaid) wouldn't cover high-strength amoxicillin, it needed prior authorization.
"How in hell is someone supposed to get pre-approved for amoxicillin? Should I just call in if I think I'm going to be sick sometime soon?"
The pharmacy tech agreed, but there was nothing she could do. Thankfully, amoxicillin is super-cheap so I just paid for it. After an hour waiting for meds, I was able to finally go.
Only they didn't call me with test results yesterday. I waited all day; no phone call. Early this afternoon I called them and left a message with the nurse for my results. A couple of hours went by and they didn't call me back (and I was on hold for 30 minutes just to leave that message). So I went to the clinic again, figuring it might be easier in person.
At first the front desk wanted me to use the phone in the waiting room to call the nurse's office, but I explained to her I had already done that and no one had called me back. So she went back to see what was going on. Turns out, no one had called me back because all the nurses had already left for the day (this happens when you are frighteningly understaffed from budget cuts). This is also why, although they have three front desk terminals, I've almost never seen more than two being used at one time (and many times it is just one person looking very stressed).
"The only thing I can do is leave a message for the doctor who saw you." I unhappily agreed. There's a good chance that doctor might not even be working today. All this is very frustrating, because as usual, the amoxicillin is about to give me a horrific yeast infection (I made sure to have the doctor write me an rx for that at the same time) and will probably start causing diarrhea soon, so I'd really like to know if I need to keep taking it. And for some reason, it is drying out my mouth this time around so I also have 4 canker sores where my teeth rub against my cheek, with a 5th one on the way. If it's a virus I don't need antibiotics, and if it is something besides strep it might require different antibiotics (in either case, all this awful is for nothing).
I'm pretty sure it IS strep, on account I'm feeling so much better throat-wise. And I'm still taking the meds, of course. But I wish there weren't so many continual budget cuts to healthcare. I wouldn't have had to pay for my antibiotic and someone would have called me back by now. Not to mention it wouldn't take a million years for a regular visit and you wouldn't have to sit at your doctor's office for three hours infecting everyone with strep.