Woman Struggles For Community Health Care Reform

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By Jan Rahn Faust

(This article first appeared in NorthCoastOregon April 1st, 2013. It is being republished at this time at the request of the author so that updates can be added.)
The author, Jan Rahn Faust, today in Astoria.

The author, Jan Rahn Faust, today in Astoria.

I am writing this because the public health has been put at risk as well as my own. I want to educate as well as have my story heard. I have had Cryptosporidium (Crypto for short), a parasite that causes diarrhea, for over two years. The occurrence of Crypto should prompt a physician to call the Health Department. The most recent occurrence of Crypto I have had was not reported by the doctor. I had to do it. I am a nurse and a social worker. I am troubled about all of our health and mine in particular. I have had an exceedingly difficult time accessing health care since moving here in 2004. I do not want this to happen to anyone else ever.

I have been on disability since 2002. I should have returned to work and that is still a goal. It has taken eight years to get to crisis level for me. I had polio when I was two and was in an iron lung for 6 weeks. I have several disabilities. I have a movement disorder, number dyslexia, ADHD, PTSD and post polio syndrome. I had to abandon my biological family because they were damaging to me. I have been ill since two years after I moved here and have not had enough contact with the community to make enough friends. Because of my treatment by the western medicine physicians in this area I now have other major problems. I was married for 12 years. I have a master’s degree. I lived in the same apartment for fifteen years. I took care of both of my parents until they died. I worked as an LPN for 30 years working mainly with old people in nursing homes.

Crisis issues for me are: 1) my shoulders; both need tendon grafts according to the local shoulder specialist and 2) my intestines Crypto is a problem for me and is a parasite that gets in your intestine. It is the number one reason for diarrhea in the US. Most people who have good immune systems don’t have problems they throw it off. Those of us who do have compromised immune systems have a harder time. The parasite is not killed by chlorine but hydrogen peroxide. These are the problems I have that are at crisis level. I have many other physical issues that need to be addressed too. The biggest problem I have had is that I don’t function if I don’t take Adderall. I was put on it because I stopped functioning. This is a clear case of discrimination. I have been called drug seeking. There was a misunderstanding when I first came. After working for four years to get access to dental and health care having just inherited $750,000 I could not get to the money. No one could see that. I just looked funny. Then I, because of too much trauma and this movement disorder was convicted of DUII. I was not intoxicated in any way. I was taking a medication that was prescribed for me and a medication on which I had been for 13 years. I have been discriminated against by the western medical system in the Seaside/Warrenton/Astoria area since just after I arrived.

This problem has gotten out of control. They say I burned bridges. I have been yelled at for not being able to keep a relationship with a doctor. I have had the same naturopath the entire time I have been here and as well as the same chiropractor. I have only been trying to take care of myself. I was missing a couple of teeth and then had all my top teeth pulled. I weighed 180 when I came here and now weight 120. I have worked continuously to get the care I need and have been called drug seeking the whole time. I went to Mayo Clinic where they gave me recommendations. None of the doctors I had seen even looked at the recommendations until five years later at which time there were so many more problems that it was impractical to move on them. I have been fired from almost all the practices in the area. I went to the Seaside ER for something for pain because my back was very painful. They told me I was just drug seeking. The pain specialist in Astoria also sees me as I am and has been very helpful with my pain issues. He found out my back is full of arthritis and has a protruding spike. I have not known so I kept pushing. This pushing has caused more damage. What follow are just a few examples I have many more.

The author, Jan Rahn Faust, when she first came to Astoria in 2004.

The author, Jan Rahn Faust, when she first came to Astoria in 2004.

Five years ago I went to the Seaside Hospital to try to get an MRI of my right shoulder. I needed some medication to enable me to hold still for the procedure. They refused because they said I was drug seeking. I tried to go to a specialty clinic for people with post polio syndrome but the clinic was told I had an addiction to deal with first so I could not go. Several docs went by, all of whom would not address anything but Adderall. I was barred from the mental health center. Now when I went to try to get services they will only allow me to go to treatment. I had been seeing a doctor for a year and a half before I gave up on getting help from him. I went to a doctor in Ilwaco, WA and he without even talking to me took me off of every medication on which I was. I followed every single instruction. Then when I could no longer sit, my muscles were in spasm and my thyroid values were way out of line he yelled that I was out of compliance and fired. At this point I could no longer care for myself and the Cryptosporidium returned I went to the Astoria ER three times about it. Each time I went the first thing they said was, “I am not writing any prescriptions for you.” Finally, the third time I went someone noticed I had lost a bunch of weight. At this point I thought I was saved. However, because of all the chaos I was given only one option for a doctor and that was the same doctor I gave up on. I had to go back to him, I needed medication for diarrhea. I took a friend with me this time because all of this. I wanted to discuss the Cryptosporidium and a swallowing problem with him but he would only talk about Adderall. He even accused me of asking for an increase in another medication. I did not ask for an increase and he had decreased the dose some time ago and I didn’t complain. And then there was the time the ER doc called the cops on me. And what about the time I got promoted to dealer by the nurse practitioner? I have many, many examples of abuse by the medical system here. How many other people are having the same problem but are afraid to speak up.

Normal human beings don’t go around destroying one another. I spent most of my money trying with no success to get medical care. They took my money and it seems they are trying to throw me away. Now that I have no money and am on Welfare the options are so limited and can’t come close to covering what is needed. I do have a naturopath and she is wonderful however the things I need are not covered by either of the insurances I have. I came hoping to add to the community to help the elderly here. I would like to have my health care needs met. I would like an attorney to help me with a discrimination law suit. I really just want my life back. I am tired of this fight for health. I would like to commit to keeping you posted on how things progress for me. I am sick so much. I will do the best I can.

One Response to Woman Struggles For Community Health Care Reform

  1. I want you all to know I am finally making some progress with my health issues. I am getting speech therapy for my swallowing issues. I did have to get my records to get the results of a test taken a long, long time ago to find the diagnosis. Once I found that I looked up the problem and then the solution. I took all of that to the doctor and then he agreed to let me have speech therapy. I finally have a helper a lot of the time. I have lots of work yet to do for my health. At least we aren’t going backwards.

    A major mistake was made with me and my care. The medical records I have from the Seaside hospital say that I am a meth addict. I wouldn’t know a meth if I fell over it. The drug scene went right by me. I am grateful for that.

    I have ten years of medical records that reflect people thinking I was a meth addict and looking at all my symptoms from that direction. I have a right to challenge my medical records. I am not going to do that it would take me 10 years. Someone way back when made an error and I have been suffering ever since. I have asked for a blanket apology. I have not gotten a response. What I have been told is that what the records reflect are not right and something will be done about it.

    I need to thank Joni Marks who works at CMH and saw the trouble in which I was and helped me. And thank you to Carrie Bartoldus who believed in me. I am finally out of the tunnel.

    From this vantage point I can say, “Don’t give up. Period!”