First consultation with neurologist

Posted by birdman518 @birdman518, Jan 17 8:52am

Hey all,

I have my very first consultation tomorrow with a neurologist. This is about what I think I have: cervical radiculopathy, or in any event I have nerve pain from my shoulder down my arm and numbness in my hand.. mostly thumb and index finger. I also have some unsteadiness in my walking and balance sometimes and have fallen 3 times in the last 6 weeks or so.

But my question is not about my symptoms.

I have health insurance through Florida Blue (an ACA plan) which has an $8000 out of pocket. I am 64 and will start on Medicare using a supplement plan G.

3 weeks ago, my wife had to go to the ER for something (about 3 hours and all is ok) and we believe we will be getting a bill for over $4000.

You can probably see where I am going with this. It seems like if I waited for any major diagnostic tests or treatment until after I am on Medicare I would be much better off with respect to. my out of pocket expenditures.

Would it be reasonable for my first visit to explain that I would like to try something like the cortisone shot before moving on to anything more expensive?
Obviously when I set up this appointment I did not know about the ER bill.

If it were not for having fallen, I would probably have postponed this appointment until after May, as the rest of my symptoms have been present for a couple of years, although they have worsened lately.

Any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated.

Liked by starfirey2k

First I would say yes to the wait until medicare….however if you need the treatment now, I would suggest that you look into a patient assistance program at your place of medical treatment, like the hospital where you used the ER, I am on medicare and would not be able to get the treatment I need without it. I did have some large copays also and I thought I would never get any assistance from the patient program but I am really glad that I gave it a shot, and they did help with all the leftover co pays…..ask if they have an patient assistance program and pursue it..I think you will be surprised. I also applied for assistance from the drug manufacture for my blood thinners and wow…..they have supplied me with all the blood thinners now for 3 years….for a total of about 4k per year….good luck and I hope this helps you get the care you need.

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@starfirey2k

First I would say yes to the wait until medicare….however if you need the treatment now, I would suggest that you look into a patient assistance program at your place of medical treatment, like the hospital where you used the ER, I am on medicare and would not be able to get the treatment I need without it. I did have some large copays also and I thought I would never get any assistance from the patient program but I am really glad that I gave it a shot, and they did help with all the leftover co pays…..ask if they have an patient assistance program and pursue it..I think you will be surprised. I also applied for assistance from the drug manufacture for my blood thinners and wow…..they have supplied me with all the blood thinners now for 3 years….for a total of about 4k per year….good luck and I hope this helps you get the care you need.

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Thanks for the advice. I will look into it. I would rather not wait but I since my OOP max resets this year, I could end up with a huge amount with my wife's bill already.

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I have a suggestion…As you know muscles and nerves are connected… I have all those pain areas and have gone to about 30 doctors in the last ten years and nothing but pain meds have been given me.. I am finding some relief now by a physical therapist who uses Dry Needling..(Look it up) he inserts needles into each group of muscles (one day for each area).. then once he locates the offending muscle (pain causing, knotted muscle), the next treatment he uses a TENS unit to give that muscle a little massage, loosening it up. With a few days, the pain is less in the spot. After it is painfree, he plans to teach me how to keep the muscles relaxed. Not acupuncture, not chiropractic, which only minimally comfort the muscles, but this targets the muscles deeply. Hope you check it out.

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@maryflorida

I have a suggestion…As you know muscles and nerves are connected… I have all those pain areas and have gone to about 30 doctors in the last ten years and nothing but pain meds have been given me.. I am finding some relief now by a physical therapist who uses Dry Needling..(Look it up) he inserts needles into each group of muscles (one day for each area).. then once he locates the offending muscle (pain causing, knotted muscle), the next treatment he uses a TENS unit to give that muscle a little massage, loosening it up. With a few days, the pain is less in the spot. After it is painfree, he plans to teach me how to keep the muscles relaxed. Not acupuncture, not chiropractic, which only minimally comfort the muscles, but this targets the muscles deeply. Hope you check it out.

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Thanks Mary. I have to admit that after doing a lot of Internet searches, I have not found much that is encouraging for this kind of problem. Still, one has to start somewhere!

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Post appointment followup. Me Dr yesterday.. he did a pretty comprehensive physical test for my affected areas.. he agreed that it looks like my own diagnosis of cervicular radiculopathy was correct, but he said that it looks like (and I agree) that I may have some ulnar nerve compression, and my hand numbness and tingling extends to my pinky and ring fingers. He said that I probably have at least *some* lumbar nerve issues that may be related to my unsteadiness and falling.

Until I go on Medicare in May, we are going to try some neck and back stretches and exercises, which I think is good. I have to see if my pacemaker is MRI compatible or not, for imaging going forward.

Although I am sometimes skeptical of these "PT" type of approaches, I am going to stick with this regimen and give it a shot.

Obviously, he said if anything changes for the worse I will see him again.

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