I think it's both decent insurance and just sheer good luck. I do live in the US, in Memphis, TN (maybe being a relatively small city helps). Our GI treated my husband when he was at his worst in the hospital, and when we call, he knows it's usually because something is brewing. He is so very nice to us, and fits us in and quickly as he can, because he has seen how badly this disease has affected our lives. He is a wonderful doctor and a very caring person, who cares about the quality of our life - we are very grateful to have him. He is young, and in the process of making a name for himself within the practice, versus already established, and only doing clinic a few days a week (my husband's old GI only worked 3 days a week, and he was totally impossible to see even if you had an issue. The nurse would say if you couldn't wait for the appt to go to the ER).
I remember once when my husband was well, having to wait 2 hours to see him. But when we saw him, he apologized for the delay and said that he fit in a few people who were not doing well. And we completely understood - I want him to fit sick people in, versus routine visits. I don't mind waiting when my husband is well. When my husband had c-diff, and it came back in Sep 2008, I remember, he did a colonoscopy for my husband at 7 am on a saturday, to get answers fast, and to upset his med routine as little as possible. He is quite knowledgeable, but pretty conservative - he won't take too much risk unnecessarily. I know we got lucky here, and for as long as we are here and he is in practice, we will continue to see him.
I got lucky with the Orthopedist and the Rheumy - The orthopedist is new in town (he joined the practice in town in Oct), and is building his practice, so he could see my hubby right away. The rheumatologist is a referral from a friend who has lupus, and she had a cancellation, and so could see us right away. Once you're in their books, the docs seem pretty willing to see you quickly.
The cortisone shot and 40mgs of prednisone seem to be holding my hubby steady for right now (knee still slightly swollen, but much better). I am hopeful that the 40mgs of pred + the cortisone shot will stop it from getting football sized again. I also hope the remicade on tuesday will help. The c-diff has been at bay so far, and I hope that continues to be the case.
Gail, I do try to be very proactive about my husband's health. I try to find doctors who are both knowledgeable and who fit people in who need the help, and I try never to abuse that (only insist on seeing them, when there's really a problem). Often times, with my husband's illness, I feel entirely useless, completely helpless, because it feels nothing we do ever helps. But I can see how waiting a month to see a doc would be catastrophic to my husband's health - he'd pretty much have to go to the ER all the time. I guess I can count that one blessing today, thanks for pointing that out to me!
I hope we all have a better week around the corner.
Husband with Crohn's
Diagnosed March 2003 Ulcerative Proctitis
Diagnosed March 2008 Crohn's & C-diff, hospitalized 45 days
Canasa, Lialda, Remicade, VSL#3, Florastor
In Remission since June 2008
Stopped vancomycin for c-diff Jan 1 2009
C-diff free, until Sep 2, 2009
Fighting c-diff, I guess for life