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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

On July 16 I gave you 4 important reasons to buy the AmeriPlan MD Plus discount medical plan.

Today I'm going to give you an example of how well the program works!  Now, keep in mind this disclaimer:  AmeriPlan programs are NOT insurance, however the plans can be used by anyone, with or without, insurance.  In fact, the MD Plus plan, which includes Dental, Prescription and Hospital Advocacy in addition to the AmeriDoc Telemedicine is one I will never relinquish!

First, the medical Hx:

On Sunday I started with what I thought was a sinus problem.  I've been prone to sinus problems for years, and usually my allergy medication keeps them in check.  When I have problems, however, one of the first things I do is to use a neti pot. 

A neti pot????
Example of Neti Pot

If you are unfamiliar with this item, it's simply a way to irrigate your sinus cavity with warm filtered water containing a saline solution.  It is not an activity for which you want an audience.  You fill the pot with the solution, position your head sideways over the bathroom sink and pour half of the warm solution through one nostril, allowing the water to pour out the opposite nostril.  You then reverse the position to pour water through the other side.  It's very simple and takes just a few minutes.
The procedure works quite well when you have a head cold as well.  The salt in the solution soothes the membranes in the sinus cavity and the procedure thoroughly washes away any disgusting junk that was harbored inside. 

If you suffer from seasonal allergies that include pollen, using a neti pot in the evening before bed will help remove the pollen, giving you relief. 

The pots can be found in your local drug store, and on the Internet and often come with little packets of saline used with the neti pot.  They are available in various materials, shapes and prices.  Since I keep mine tucked up in a bathroom closet, I prefer something simple and unbreakable, similar to the illustration above.

Moving on to the topic at hand

I used my little neti pot, but the pressure and pain I was developing throughout my sinuses was not relieved.  That was my first clue about the situation.  Usually one session with the neti pot relieves both pressure and sinus pain. I still had the pain.

In fact, I developed a good deal of pain as the day continued, and Monday it had reached the point where cold compresses did not help for long, and the OTC pain relievers worked for only about 2 hours.  I was constantly clock-watching and counting hours between doses.  Not only that, I just could not concentrate on anything but pain.

I had been operating on fits and starts of sleep lasting no more than 2 hours at a time, and that alone was taking a toll.  The worst was yet to come.

And then there was swelling

Monday evening the left side of my fact began to swell.  Oh, this was just lovely!  As if I didn't look and feel miserable enough, now my face was puffing up and I was beginning to look like a lopsided blowfish.  Not to mention the FGXpress pain strips I had placed on the left side of my face, which just added to my weird appearance.  FGXpress Power Strips are wonderfully effective, strips coated with all natural pain relievers.  I had about 5 strips placed strategically on the left side of my face, and by 7pm last night the pain was negligible.  (The Power Strips will soon be another blog topic).

Despite all my efforts to self-treat, it was the swelling that pushed me over the top.  The situation worsened overnight.  I have difficulty sleeping with more than one pillow under my head, and laying with my head somewhat flat did nothing to dispel the swelling.  Tuesday morning I looked in the mirror and it was really and truly an awful sight to behold.

AmeriDoc to the rescue!!

I spent a few early morning hours trying to sleep sitting in a comfortable office chair, but I realized I was fighting a losing battle.  

I'm like everyone else with a computer:  I input symptoms to see what's causing my problem.  (C'mon, admit it, you do the same's too easy to do, and wow, the diseases you discover are just amazing in their scope!)

I had already decided I needed a prescription to recover from what I now suspected to be a tooth abscess.  Odd, I thought, because I didn't encounter pain while eating or brushing my teeth, but the situation could not be ignored! I also decided to take advantage of my AmeriDoc plan as soon as reasonably possible.  Even though I knew I could call for a consult 24/7, I decided to wait until daylight.  

I accessed my AmeriPlan member account, and requested the consult. I was happy I had input my medical history into the system when I purchased the program...before I needed to use the plan, as I was in no mood to list everything this morning.  It was such an easy procedure!

I filled out a brief form and described my problem.  Since I was pretty sure I needed an antibiotic at this point I requested a medical consult.  Less than one half hour went by and my AmeriDoc doctor was on the line to talk to me.

The doctor was very pleasant, asked pertinent and thorough questions and then gave me the diagnosis:  tooth abscess.  He asked if I was allergic to any antibiotics, told me what he was going to prescribe and gave me follow-up advice to call my dentist in case the abscess needed to be drained.  There I was, in my p.j.'s, sitting in the family room, talking to a licensed and certified medical professional!  He had access to my entire medical history (which he was able to review before he even called me), and spent the same amount of time my personal family doctor would have spent with me at his office. He also called the pharmacy with the prescription.  

All this happened well before 9am.  Had I called my family doctor I would have had to wait until 9am, then I would have had to wait to be fit into an appointment time.  I know from past experience that Monday mornings are a very difficult time to schedule a same-day appointment.  I was saved from having to drive to the doctor and then wait for the prescription.  My dear husband was able to go to pick up the prescription for me, and I had my first dose of antibiotic before noon.  We had to wait a bit for the prescription to be filled as they didn't open before 9am, but waiting for prescriptions to be filled nowadays is a commonplace procedure.  

To top it off, the cost for the consult was only $17.50.  That alone saved me money as my insurance co-pay is higher.  Plus, I didn't have to drive the extra distance to the doctor's office (saving in gas money), and I didn't have to wait until sometime this afternoon for an appointment.  Having the option of calling AmeriDoc was truly wonderful and I finally got to witness first-hand the value of this program.  I will never hesitate to call an AmeriDoc doctor. Naturally if you are experiencing any kind of medical emergency, you are directed to dial 911; my family doctor's office has the same advice when I call.

Had I not needed a prescription, but was just looking for medical advice, the call would have been free.  Each time I walk into a doctor's office, it costs me money.  Each time I have an infection of some sort (and we all know when infection sets in), the doctor will require an office visit.  And if I call with a question, well, it's time to schedule an appointment.

Now I know as well as anyone that there are circumstances where I absolutely need to be seen by my family doctor.  But if I'm out of town, and I cannot reach my doctor or if I don't have access to an Immediate Care facility, having AmeriDoc is invaluable.  I know for a fact that had I visited either my family doctor or an Immediate Care facility, the cost for the consult would have been not only more money, but more physical discomfort.

As for the prescription, in this case the cost for the antibiotic was $9.99 with or without the prescription card.  Usually when you are prescribed a generic drug, the pharmacy already has discounted it to equal the discount you'd receive with the prescription card.

I love this new Ameriplan MD Plus discount plan!  Imagine how much more valuable it is to someone without an established physician!

Follow up advice

Yes, I know, I still need to see the dentist!  I do have a broken tooth, and that most likely was the site of the bacterial infection.  Fortunately for me, I can use the Dental portion of my AmeriPlan MD Plus program to locate a participating provider less than 5 miles from my home!  

I really, really, really dislike going to the dentist, but I'll give you a report after I've seen one. For now, I'm hoping the chipmunk cheek will slowly disappear.  The FGXpress Power Strip I placed on my cheek is taking care of the residual pain, and I still have the ice packs to help resolve the swelling.  

For a Monday, the day is actually improving!