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Old 02-11-2019, 11:37 AM
aceplace57 aceplace57 is offline
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It's getting harder and harder to get Doctor Appointments.

My left ear decided to stop up ten days ago. I was experiencing a bad allergy attack. That happens sometimes because of the super dry air in my heated house. Tried Zyrtec first and then switched to Claritin to get relief from the runny eyes and mucus.

I hoped it was just dried up ear wax. Five days of Debrox hasn't helped. I occasionally get a sharp pain in the ear. Thankfully it's brief, so far!

There's a BIG Otolaryngology (they don't call themselves ENT anymore) clinic in Little Rock. They have 6 branches in the outlying area.

Called three branches and was told there were no openings before early March.

I got a appointment with a ENT APRN (nurse) in a couple days. She's due to have a baby next week. I sure hope that situation doesn't change. No sneezing!

I'm very surprised at how hard it is to get appointments. Especially with ear aches. I could develop permanent hearing loss if a infection bursts my eardrum. I can't wait three weeks!

I called this place because it has at least seven doctors. Thinking at least one had an opening.

Anyway, I'm thankful that I will see somebody, quickly.

I'd be SOL if this was a ear infection.

Last edited by aceplace57; 02-11-2019 at 11:42 AM.
  #2  
Old 02-11-2019, 11:56 AM
teela brown teela brown is offline
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And they wonder why people consult Dr. Google so much.
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Old 02-11-2019, 11:56 AM
Joey P Joey P is offline
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It's not doctor's appointments, in general, specialists typically have a long wait time, especially derms.
Regarding your ear, a few months back, one of my ears just ..turned off. I could hear normally one second and it was gone the next second. I also figured it was just wax and spent about a week trying to get it out with no success. I went to my GP and they said it was, in fact, just wax. They spent about 20 minutes working at it and sent me to an ENT who got it all cleared out.

I don't know what your symptoms are, but it's my understanding that docs (GPs and ENTs alike) take sudden loss of hearing fairly seriously. From what I read, while I couldn't hear, is that there's one or two things that can cause that and you only have about 2-3 weeks to get it fixed or you can end up with permanent hearing loss. It's possible that's why I got into the ENT in just a few days (GP was about a week).


Having said all that, if this is really bothering you, I'd suggest calling your GP or even going to a walk-in clinic. If it's just wax, you could be fixed and hearing again in the next few hours if you go to a walk in, probably by the end of the week with your GP. Sames goes for it being some kind of infection.

I see you might have an appointment next week, so that's good. But if you can get in somewhere sooner, I'd do that. At least partially because if the nurse goes into labor, you're stuck with the April appointment.

At this point, IMO, you need a medical type person to look in your ear. It probably doesn't have to be a specialist just yet.
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Old 02-11-2019, 12:03 PM
aceplace57 aceplace57 is offline
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I will call my PCP if this ENT appointment falls through.

I've had a long standing fear of going deaf. My grandmother lost her hearing in her late sixties. My mom lost her hearing in her late seventies. My first cousin is 68 and wears hearing aids.

I'm a musician and have always been very careful. I mostly play Acoustic and avoid amplified music.

I worry about the dept computer server and my workstation that was in my office for ten years. The fans were pretty loud. I finally moved the Server to another room.

I do want to get a hearing test after the current problem is resolved. Get a baseline of what my hearing is as I approach sixty.

Last edited by aceplace57; 02-11-2019 at 12:07 PM.
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Old 02-11-2019, 12:05 PM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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When I had an ear infection a decade ago or so, I called my regular (internal medicine) physician's group practice and another doctor in the practice saw me the day after a sleepless night, between patients. So I agree that you don't necessarily need a specialist visit.
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Old 02-11-2019, 12:20 PM
aceplace57 aceplace57 is offline
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I am going to look into getting a humidifier added to my HVAC.

I have problems every January from heated dry air. Whenever the temp drops into the low twenties my heat runs constantly. This years allergy attack was the worst yet.

I'll get this taken care of in the next few months. So next winter won't trigger another attack.

I don't need anymore ear problems.

Last edited by aceplace57; 02-11-2019 at 12:21 PM.
  #7  
Old 02-11-2019, 12:42 PM
Joey P Joey P is offline
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Originally Posted by aceplace57 View Post
I am going to look into getting a humidifier added to my HVAC.
I'd wager that it would be cheaper, and easier to get a small room humidifier (warm mist or cool mist) and keep it in the room(s) you spend the most time in, rather than installing an Aprilaire.

Also, I meant to mention before, if you've lost hearing, tell the person that answers the phone that. Many offices will consider that an emergency and get you in sooner rather than later.
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Old 02-11-2019, 01:04 PM
aceplace57 aceplace57 is offline
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Thank you JoeyP.

We're only issued one set of ears and have to take care of them.

My appointment is this Wed, so that's only a day and half from now.

Last edited by aceplace57; 02-11-2019 at 01:05 PM.
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Old 02-11-2019, 01:10 PM
JcWoman JcWoman is offline
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Originally Posted by Joey P View Post
but it's my understanding that docs (GPs and ENTs alike) take sudden loss of hearing fairly seriously.
Not in my experience. A couple years ago I got a head cold that quickly turned into a bilateral inner ear infection so bad that over about twenty four hours I went nearly completely deaf. I was totally deaf in my left ear and mostly deaf in my right ear. Went to my doctor and all he could say about it was that if my eardrums didn't rupture on their own to relieve the pressure in 2 or 3 days then I should come in and they would surgically pierce them. The pressure went down on it's own without having to have my eardrums pierced (thankfully!) but it took months for my hearing to come back (as they told me it would). They treated me like a whiny child, (politely shooing me away) which I didn't appreciate. Sure, serious ear infections are a normal day's work for you doctors, but it was a novel and terrifying thing for me.

As for doctors being hard to get in to see, I totally agree. Some years ago I was having stomach pains and couldn't eat over a few weeks (so, not gas). Started to wonder if I had cancer or something. The soonest I could get in to see an internist was 4 weeks and then another 4 weeks after that to get in for an endoscopy. If I did have cancer, I shuddered to think how advanced it might have become by then. Turns out I was taking too much ibuprofen for my arthritis and it was damaging my stomach. Figured that out completely on my own, and stopped taking it and my stomach got better.

Last edited by JcWoman; 02-11-2019 at 01:10 PM.
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Old 02-11-2019, 01:13 PM
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ZipperJJ ZipperJJ is offline
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Have you had someone look in your ear at all to see what the situation is? You need to start with your GP, or a CVS Minute Clinic or Urgent Care before going right to a specialist. Why would you wait over a month and spend Specialist-Sized money before even having someone look in your ear?
  #11  
Old 02-11-2019, 01:46 PM
aceplace57 aceplace57 is offline
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I'm not waiting a month.

I kept calling different branches of the ENT practice until I found one with an opening. It's a APRN ENT Nurse but that's good enough for now.

Option 2 was my PCP.

My insurance will cover most of the cost. My specialist deductable is $35.

Last edited by aceplace57; 02-11-2019 at 01:50 PM.
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Old 02-11-2019, 02:31 PM
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Ann Hedonia Ann Hedonia is offline
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Do you have difficulty getting an appointment with your PCP?
I always start there. My PCP is affiliated with a large hospital system practice, there are lots of specialists in the building. If my PCP decides I need a specialist, she’ll usually make a call and send me upstairs right away. One time I had to wait two days, because it wasn’t urgent and the specific doctor she wanted me to see did not have office hours before then. But if it had been urgent I could have seen someone on the spot.

Last edited by Ann Hedonia; 02-11-2019 at 02:32 PM.
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Old 02-11-2019, 03:20 PM
aceplace57 aceplace57 is offline
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I can usually get into my PCP within 4 or 5 days.

I didn't think he'd offer much help with my ear. I wanted to save a step and copay fee by going directly to an ENT..

I remember in childhood family doctors were very hands on. Some even did simple procedures in their office. They put a lot of casts on kids broken arms.

In my experience, modern PCP's don't do nearly as much themselves. They do blood work, write prescriptions and give referrals.

Last edited by aceplace57; 02-11-2019 at 03:22 PM.
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Old 02-11-2019, 05:35 PM
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With our insurance we sometimes run into this regarding specialists:

No available appointment for 3 months.
Can you get one more than 3 months away? No: they haven't drawn up a schedule yet.

So sometimes you have to request an urgent appointment with your PCP who will then be able to request a timely appointment with the specialist.

All to save them money! Right.
  #15  
Old 02-11-2019, 08:26 PM
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Qadgop the Mercotan Qadgop the Mercotan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aceplace57 View Post
I can usually get into my PCP within 4 or 5 days.

I didn't think he'd offer much help with my ear. I wanted to save a step and copay fee by going directly to an ENT..

I remember in childhood family doctors were very hands on. Some even did simple procedures in their office. They put a lot of casts on kids broken arms.

In my experience, modern PCP's don't do nearly as much themselves. They do blood work, write prescriptions and give referrals.
Which is one of the reasons I left private practice 17 years ago for my current public practice. I can take care of 90+% of my patients' problem, including removal of foreign bodies from eyes, ears, noses; putting on casts, injecting a variety of joints, biopsying skin lesions, lancing thrombosed hemorrhoids, etc. etc. etc. But the specialists get paid MORE for doing the same things, so in the private sector, they're all shunted away from primary care and into the specialty clinics. While in my current setting, I get to do tons of procedures, if I want to. Or refer if it's beyond my scope.

I miss the old days of being the first surgical assistant at my patients' hernia repairs or appendectomies, doing the prenatal care of the expectant mom then delivering her and doing the newborn exam on baby. Then putting older brother's elbow back into place when it got pulled on too hard by dad, trying to get him into the car and giving him a classic 'nursemaid's elbow dislocation' (not abuse, just a place that can get dislocated easily in young kids).

Those days shall not come again.
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Old 02-11-2019, 09:02 PM
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Beckdawrek Beckdawrek is offline
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My clinic has an urgent care time every morning from 7-9am. I've used it twice and was seen by Nurse Practitioner. She was very helpful and kind when I had UTI. Altho' my t1 diabetes scared her. She asked me to come back the next day to see the Doctor. Which I did and he agreed on her instructions. I've come to trust her a lot. She's my first call if I'm have a problem, she has no issue with passing me on to the Doc or a specialist if she's unsure. She pregnant and fixin' to be off on her maternity leave. I hope she returns.
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Old 02-12-2019, 12:27 AM
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Guinastasia Guinastasia is offline
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OOoh, you have my sympathies -- ear infections SUCK.
And it could still be stopped up wax -- just because debrox didn't work doesn't mean anything. Years ago I had wax in my ear so dense that all the debrox did was soften the top of the wad and made it worse. It had to be flushed out by my doctor. *shudder*
So keep your fingers crossed.

Have you tried the Minute Clinic at CVS? Maybe they'll be able to help, or at least reccomend something?
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Old 02-12-2019, 08:25 AM
aceplace57 aceplace57 is offline
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The stabbing pain is hard to deal with.

So far, it only lasts a short time. There's always the concern it won't go away. That would make for a long miserable night.
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Old 02-12-2019, 12:27 PM
Barbarian Barbarian is offline
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This is the major difference between Canada and the U.S.
In the great white north, you see your GP first and always and get a referral if necessary.

Let's face it, most people are not qualified to diagnose their own medical issues, which is why you are seeking medical attention in the first place.
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Old 02-12-2019, 12:33 PM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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It's the same in the US, depending on your insurance. I think HMO members are required to get referrals before seeing a specialist.
  #21  
Old 02-12-2019, 12:50 PM
wguy123 wguy123 is offline
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Originally Posted by Barbarian View Post
This is the major difference between Canada and the U.S.
In the great white north, you see your GP first and always and get a referral if necessary.

Let's face it, most people are not qualified to diagnose their own medical issues, which is why you are seeking medical attention in the first place.
It's a very good thing we don't have socialized medicine like in Canada or the OP would have to wait to see someone.

Ducking and running out of thread. Hope OP gets some relief.
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Old 02-12-2019, 01:10 PM
StGermain StGermain is offline
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And some specialists require a referral as a matter of course. I worked for a neurologist who required a referral for a first appointment. She didn't want to see every person with a headache who thought they had a brain tumor.

StG
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Old 02-13-2019, 10:39 AM
aceplace57 aceplace57 is offline
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Just finished my appointment. I have fluid behind the eardrum. She said last weeks drainage was a tear that's already sealed.

She gave me a bottle of antibiotic ear drops.

I'm supposed to use Afrin nose drops 3 days to dry up any fluid.

I have a follow up appointment in 2 weeks.
They'll lance the eardrum if the fluid hasn't gone.

Last edited by aceplace57; 02-13-2019 at 10:42 AM.
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Old 02-13-2019, 04:33 PM
Rushgeekgirl Rushgeekgirl is offline
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Yeah I had to deal with that with my 14 year old seeing an endocrinologist for what was eventually diagnosed as PCOS. She was menstruating for over a year, every single day, all month long while she waited. She was also found to be anemic! Surprise surprise! It really took longer than that, because her pediatrician thought it made more sense to send her to an OB/GYN and that took a few months for the appointment and all that doctor said said she should have been sent directly to endo. After getting her on some meds the specialist said she could just get her pediatrician to approve the meds from that point on. I called the nurse when her second 90 day scrip was close to running out. They said no, they would not be able to write that scrip and to call the endo. Endo said she needs to come back since it's been six months... now she can't get her meds refilled until May 25th. I called in January. It's going to take five months just for her to get back on her meds after only being on them for three months. It makes no sense at all. This all started when she was 11. She's 14 now. The crazy thing is it's just birth control. I could probably just take her to the health department and get her on the pill in a matter of days!

Last edited by Rushgeekgirl; 02-13-2019 at 04:33 PM.
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Old 02-13-2019, 04:35 PM
Rushgeekgirl Rushgeekgirl is offline
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Originally Posted by aceplace57 View Post
Just finished my appointment. I have fluid behind the eardrum. She said last weeks drainage was a tear that's already sealed.

She gave me a bottle of antibiotic ear drops.

I'm supposed to use Afrin nose drops 3 days to dry up any fluid.

I have a follow up appointment in 2 weeks.
They'll lance the eardrum if the fluid hasn't gone.
Avoid Afrin if you can. It's horribly addictive.
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Old 02-13-2019, 05:06 PM
aceplace57 aceplace57 is offline
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They warned me about Afrin. Three days and then I have to stop.

It's supposed to dry up the fluid behind my eardrum. I sure hope it works.

Lancing, doesn't sound too appealing. But, that fluid poses a infection risk and it's got to go.

It's so strange that I never had an ear infection until now. I must have been very lucky.

Last edited by aceplace57; 02-13-2019 at 05:11 PM.
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