Why and How I Advocated for Myself to Change My Treatment Plan

Sunday, February 21, 2021
I “messed up” my foot on the last day of the Texas Snowpocalypse. I stepped out in the backyard to harvest snow/ice to melt and flush the toilets, and my foot went through the top layer of ice. I tried to stay off of it as much as possible the rest of the day.

Monday, February 22, 2021
I took a personal/sick day, hoping my foot would feel better and to go to my parents’ for showers and laundry (and my kids were out of school). My husband was able to get our water issue fixed after work that day.

Wednesday, February 23, 2021
Went to work on crutches and later saw my PCP (primary care physician) for x-rays. She diagnosed a fracture, said to stay off of my foot and referred me to ortho.

Monday, March 1, 2021
Saw an orthopedic doctor (I think they had been busy due to ice-related injuries). The doctor confirmed a fracture. They briefly mentioned they would usually do surgery but since I was self-pay, it would be better to wait five weeks to see if it heals. I told them that I participate in a medical bill-sharing program instead of traditional insurance. That didn’t change their suggestion, and I agreed to the plan.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021
I read the notes the orthopedic doctor entered regarding my appointment. The notes said the doctor recommended surgery, but I asked for a more conservative treatment plan since I didn’t have traditional insurance. I immediately sent a message regarding the inaccuracies. The doctor called me and was clearly trying to protect themselves. They shared that they had put themselves in my position, but also said I could have surgery if I wanted. I was left feeling confused and pretty frustrated in the process. I decided to try to let it go and pray for complete healing as I continued to wait.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021
I went back to my PCP for a previously scheduled checkup. She asked about my foot and I shared with her what had happened. She said it sounded like I needed the surgery. My PCP also uses a medical bill-sharing program for her personal medical bills and gave me some suggestions on how to advocate for myself. Once home I called Samaritan Ministries to get coaching on how to talk to the facility/doctor – and they helped me get set up to share my incoming bills.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021
I called and was scheduled for surgery on Friday, 3/12. I would have waited until this week for surgery even if it had been scheduled initially due to my spring break schedule.

Thursday, March 11, 2021
The facility called asking if I would like to put the total cost of the surgery on a card or come in and pay it prior to my surgery. I explained my medical bill-sharing program and forwarded them an email confirming. They approved me to go ahead and have surgery without pre-payment.

The same day while I was going through this process, I read the attached post from my friend Rebecca. She is a Tyler native and childhood friend who now lives in London. She shared her local experience with the NHS (British National Health Service). The differences in my experience and hers with the NHS speaks volumes.

It seems when people hear “socialized medicine” they think Socialism, Venezuela, etc., and do not consider the working models in other thriving countries.

Friday, March 12, 2021
My orthopedic doctor consulted and prayed with me before my surgery. The surgery went well. I made it home just around dinner time and binged Netflix and Wing Stop.

By Jessica Taylor

Jessica grew up in Tyler and moved back to East Texas with her family in 2018. She is a member of Bethel Hope and her children attend Caldwell Arts Academy.