Posts Tagged ‘Harvard Pilgrim Health Insurance’

Appeared in the Boston Herald 9/22/2014.

Appeared in the Boston Herald 9/22/2014.

I was most pleasantly astounded by the results I received from the course of TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) I completed in June 2014. (Thanks again to Dr. Bruce Kaster in Needham MA and his wonderful nurses that administer the treatments.)

I felt better than I had felt in decades…for about 7 weeks. 

Now, the depression has returned. Full force. The F5 tornado has enveloped me again. And no one gives a damn. And if I had a quarter, I have no one to call that cares – yes, that is a reference to a well-covered country song…)

I send my [dripping with sarcasm] “thanks” to the resurgence” of my debilitating depression to my insurance company (Harvard Pilgrim) and every ignorant individual that makes decisions about peoples’ lives without even doing their own research or listening to those that have been helped by treatments that insurance companies “dismiss” as “sham, ” unproven” or “invalid.”

Why?

They refuse to let people that are helped by the treatments continue with maintenance treatments recommended by those that have done the research on TMS. 

Simply put – THAT IS INSANE.

So, I suffer, my husband suffers, and the insurance company spends more and more money on doctor visits and treatments they DO approve that DO NOT work.

As someone with genetic drug resistance (my body doesn’t metabolize drugs properly, which causes harmful and miserable side effects), I am literally left without options. I cannot take the medications offered for depression, anxiety, and PTSD. I know. I have tried more than 20 (twenty) of them over the past 3 decades. All kinds. Even “off-label” usage of anti-you-name-it drugs (when that was allowed by the FDA…shhh, don’t tell them, it’s STILL being done!)

I refuse to let my brain be mangled and disintegrated by ECT (electroconvulsive shock therapy) – odd how the FDA breezes past the myriad of reports of general log and short-term memory loss, “inability to recall autobiographical facts,” personality changes, loss of intelligence (measured by IQ points by those in the white coats). Why be treated just to be left live a life that is truly no longer your own? (Who am I to make this statement???? I base everything I say on personal knowledge  – in this case, personally knowing some sad humans that have suffered through this archaic form of treatment and become mere shells of whom they used to be – my education, my work experience and my ongoing research into treatment alternatives for depression and PTSD.)

So, as an alternative to the TMS treatments I NEED but cannot afford since insurance deems one course of treatment “enough” for a lifetime and denies all requests for any follow-up care despite professional recommendations for such care, I ordered the famous “Fisher-Wallace Device” (also NOT covered by insurance). Basically, it is a simpleTENS unit (powered by AA batteries!) that is allegedly modulated for various wavelengths for different ailments and claims to treat everything from chronic pain to migraines. And  – the FDA approves of this device!! WHAT??? And, the FDA allows them to market as “an alternative to TMS.”

BULLSHIT.

I call BULLSHIT.

Why?

I have been using this thing for 3+ weeks now. My insomnia is worse. I cannot sleep at night  – now, I get incredibly tired during the day and MUST sleep  – where ever that may be – so I am hesitant to leave home. I average 2-3 hrs of sleep per 24 hr period. Real healthy, huh Harvard Pilgrim??

My migraines, which had abated thanks to the TMS, are back in full force – 3-4x/week – making it impossible for me to drive at times. Thanks F-W Device. 

Everything from the cheap sponges that barely fit into the plastic holders that I have to wet enough so it will send the electricity “through my hair” (SPONGES?  This is like a “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” flashback), to the way the lights flash on the unit even when the sponges fall off out from under the cheap elastic headband (they are supposed to flash only when “properly placed” per the instructions). And, not even a month of use and the headband is already stretched out of shape. What the hell is this thing? Seriously. I cannot believe this is something that is allowed to be sold on the open market – with a recommendation from “any medical professional” (including massage therapists, acupuncturists, chiropractors, physical therapists, etc.) – that claims to be a cure for a long list of ailments. The word” snake oil” comes to mind. As does the word “SHAM.” 

This is the perfect device for someone that will feel better if they are using something that feels as if they are being “treated” by an actual medical device – ya know, the good ol’ placebo effect.

I am not one of those people.

I am now just simply appeasing my husband and will use the thing for 45 days than demand my money back (less their insane $70 fee they charge for the return of the unit – oh- and they won’t credit your credit card back – they send you a CHECK. Wow – get with the 21st century folks!!). The same types of units can be purchased for less than $50 on the internet. This thing cost me more than 10 times that amount. 

I am probably going to stop my counseling sessions as well. It has reached that point of me just sitting there and being told I need to change how I think about things. Ummm, I WAKE UP depressed. I EXIST depressed. I don’t have to think about anything. 

No one had better mention meditation, yoga, Qi Gong, Tai Chi, Tong Ren – OR ANY OTHER PLACEBO-ESQUE THING I HAVE ALREADY TRIED. I have spent 35 years trying everything to feel better – to be “happy.” 

I did find something that works – TMS –  and, that essentially proves that there is something screwy with my brain chemicals – but I am not allowed to have it. Noooooo. I’m not rich enough. I’m too old. I don’t have the intrinsic value that other human beings have. Ask the insurance company that we pay for “coverage” – along with the government, they don’t think I am worth the cost of the treatment (but yet they give free care to people that aren’t even taxpaying citizens and consider them more of a priority and find it more ethical to offer FREE care to them instead care of their OWN people that have been and ARE paying for care).

Ouch – it really puts things in perspective. It really shows that no one really cares about anyone else. It is all just political posturing. 

If I had the physical ability to go back to work in biotech/medical research, I would work my ass off to prove how cruel it is to withhold care from someone that desperately needs it.

Take away message: don’t waste your money on a Fisher-Wallace Device.

Better to save it for your body disposal expenses. (Yes, there is a cost even if you donate you body to science after “demise.”)