Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Student Health Wants To Help You* Feel Better and Stay Healthy!

*Only applies to students who happen to fit in our schedule or can wait two weeks for an appointment. We reserve the right to refuse to make accommodations for students with special health needs. Those students are totally out of luck.

On Monday I finally confirmed with my rheumatologist that I ought to get a flu shot this year because (a) my immune system is already messed up from having two autoimmune diseases and (b) my immune system is being purposefully extra messed up by my infusions of Remicade. This makes me way more susceptible to infection than most other people, and hence I should get a flu shot to decrease my chances of getting sick this winter. Because sick = bad.

To my mom’s credit, she said I should ask about a flu shot when I got my very first Remicade treatment at the beginning of October. So, yeah, I probably should have figured this whole thing out a bit sooner. But, to my credit, it turns out I wouldn’t have been able to get the flu shot before now anyhow. Because, to avoid bad interactions with the Remicade, the catch is that I can only get the flu shot two weeks on either side of any Remicade infusion. Which means that the soonest possible time to get the flu shot is in the middle of the four weeks between Remicade doses 2 and 3. Which is, um, rightnow.

So I called Student Health, which is blatantly proclaiming on its web page: “You can still get a flu shot!” Here is approximately the conversation that followed:

Z: Hi. I need a flu shot, please.

Student Health: Ok. Our first available appointment is November 19th.

Z: Really? That’s almost two weeks away…
(It’s also literally the day before my third Remicade infusion, which clearly isn’t going to work since I need the flu shot to be about two weeks before the infusion.)

Student Health: That’s the first available appointment.

Z: Well, I also have to get this infusion and my doctor said that I need to get the flu shot about two weeks before the infusion. Isn’t there any way that I could get an appointment for a flu shot sooner? Like today or tomorrow?

Student Health: The first available appointment is on the 19th.

Z: And there’s no way to make an exception for my special circumstances?

Student Health: You could call back tomorrow morning at 8am and we can see if there is a cancellation, but there’s no guarantee. We don’t have that many flu shot appointments.

Z: And that’s it? There’s nothing else I can do? I can’t book another kind of appointment and get a flu shot then?

Student Health: You could try calling on Wednesday morning at 8am for a cancellation if you can’t get one tomorrow morning.

Z: Fine. In the meantime can I book an appointment for two weeks after my infusion in case I can’t get one in the next day or two?

Student Health: No. We don’t have our calendars out that far.

Z: Thanks for your help.
(Or, in reality, thanks for nothing.)

All this trouble for yet another appointment for someone to take 30 seconds to stick a needle in my arm! So frustrating!!

(a) Why do I even need an appointment for someone to take 30 seconds to stick a needle in my arm?
(b) How is it that I have to wait almost two weeks for an appointment for someone to take 30 seconds to stick a needle in my arm?
(c) Why can’t Student Health do anything to help a student with special health circumstances?

So, even though my flu shot is only covered by my insurance if I get it at Student Health, I completely gave up on them. And yesterday I went and got my flu shot someplace else. (Thanks to RK for helping me out with that!)

And the flu shot? It took 30 seconds.

2 comments:

~kelly marie~ said...

F to all student healths. They are evil. If the devil does exist, I am pretty sure that one of his extracurricular activities is running student health programs.

I'm so sorry they were such bitches to you, but I am glad you were able to get your shot.

Just say no to the flu!

Z said...

The idea of the devil having an extracurricular activity is pretty entertaining...~;o)