I'm really angry at my so-called "health-care plan" right now, and I guess I just need to vent. As I've reported in several previous messages, I've been having a lot of teeth and jaw problems lately. Yesterday, I called my dentist to double-check on whether my problem might, in fact, be in my teeth rather than the muscles, because yesterday, the gums around my lower molars started hurting, too. I'm getting more canker sores, too, so sometimes I can't be sure where the pain is coming from. My jaw feels sore on the right side, and it seems to have shifted to one side, so that when the teeth on the sore side touch (which hurts), the molars on the left *don't* touch, which makes it hard to eat solid food. Unfortunately, my dentist was in meetings all yesterday afternoon, and I didn't get to talk to him until this morning. He was only in until 11:30 am today, too late for me to get an appointment. (I have one on Monday, at least.) My primary care doctor, meanwhile, was out today, and the only way I could see a doctor today would be to go to urgent care. Now, unless you're practically dying, that usually means hours of waiting in an area filled with germs from other people who are waiting. (Whatever happened to the idea of an "on-call" doctor to fill in for one who's taking some time off?) My dentist recommended that I get a TMJ set of x-rays for my jaw, etc., so that we could see more of what's going on. But again, my doctor was out! Fortunately, I was told that my HMO (Kaiser, normally a pretty good health plan) would honor X-ray orders from non-Kaiser providers. So my dentist faxed the order to Kaiser, with a copy to me. Unfortunately, the first slot they have for me is the afternoon of Dec. 24! And the first open slot I can get with physical therapy (with the PT who knows something about TMJ and fibro) isn't until Jan. 6! Meanwhile, I guess I'm just supposed to exist on a liquid--or at least nearly liquid--diet! I guess I should be grateful. This morning, the pain meds weren't doin anything, but my last dose of extra-strength acetominophen seems to be keeping things under control five hours after I took it. Of course, I haven't tried chewing anything--and thank heaven, I haven't sneezed! When that happens, my teeth jam together on the right (painful) side, and it feels as if I'm going to fly apart from the pain. I'm sure all of us have gone through some variation of this, but that doesn't make it any easier to bear. One thing I've reaffirmed, though, is that you have to be your own advocate. As little help as I'm getting right now, I wouldn't even have that if I hadn't spent a lot of time and energy making phone calls and yelling at people. To add to my aggravation, I wanted to e-mail my current neurologist the article linked at the Fribromyalgia Support home page titled "Post Traumatic Fibromyalgia: A New Paradigm." Although I've never had a TBI, I thought my MS might have cause some damage in the relevant areas of the brain and that if my neuro would review the article, we could at least talk about possible treatment options. Well, first, he doesn't have an e-mail address. Then, when I tried to fax the article to him via my computer, it didn't work. (I tried to explain to the nurse in my neuo's office that faxing was harder for me physically than e-mailing, but I thought it might be do-able if I could fax from my computer. Unfortunately, as I said, no go.) I'm trying to decide whether I want to try using my physical fax machine (an ancient machine that can be hard to use), or whether to just give up on this neuro. I'm not at all convinced he'll read it even if I send it. When I contacted his office just to inform them that I'd been diagnosed with fibro and wanted him to be aware of it in case of interactions between treatments for fibro and MS, the response I got was simply, "We don't deal with fibromyalgia in this office." That's why I want him to see the article about brain damage and fibro! Well, to those who haven't already stopped reading, thanks for bearing with me and letting me vent. I really needed this! --Laura R.M.