Tuesday, October 16, 2007

An Adventure or A Misadventure

Well, this week I have had an encounter with our ever failing medical system and I am both pleased and furious. Yesterday morning I awoke feeling like crap -- kind of dopey and having intermittent strong chest pains. I, being me, decided to tough it out and let it pass and off I went to work. About half way to work the pain was mid-level on the 1-10 pain scale, but I pressed on. The pain subsided, but left me feeling bad. I ended up leaving work at lunch time (actually I went to lunch and could hardly stand the sight of food)and headed home. The pains were back though not quite as severe. As I sat at home worrying the heck of Ben, I finally decided that these pains had lasted long enough. I sought out a "doc in a box" (also called an urgent care clinic). Walking in the door cost me $90! Add to that a $50 EKG, and I was instructed very strongly to go to the ER. Well, I was worried enough that I actually did just that. The pleased feeling I referred to above was born out of the attitude and care I received at the clinic and at the hospital. Everyone I encountered with the exception of the receptionist at the clinic was considerate and compassionate, seeking to identify the source of suffering. The other side of the coin is the constant questions about my regular physician and my health care history. I am one of the ever growing thousands with no health insurance in this country. I don't even want to think about the hospital bill I racked up -- two more EKGs, a stress test, a couple of blood tests, and chest Xrays (just for starters) plus the cost of overnight hospitalization. The good news is that they didn't find anything wrong with my heart. The bad news is that they didn't find anything wrong. Yet, I sit here feeling mediocre, not knowing why, and facing a mountainous medical bill. Add to that a day and a half off work. And then there were the discharge instructions to -- you guessed it -- follow up with local doctors. Somewhere someone doesn't get it. If I could afford (with or without insurance) to do that, I would have been doctoring all along and never would have been in ER. To those who have good insurance and are opposed to nationalized health care -- think again! Oh, it is true that I could right now have some kind (not very good) health insurance, but the premiums are prohibitive. Why is it that in the "most advanced country in the world" people have to make choices between paying the rent or going to the doctor? Why is it that we can spend mulitple trillions on senseless wars, but we deny our needy children the care they need? Can someone explain it to me, so that I will be able to tell my grandson about the good old days when people cared?


Lemuel said...

I am happy to read of your good news (that they found nothing), but grieve with you over a system that discounts the poor and even the middle class as expendable.

stumpjumper said...

I am not a doctor but with what I have gone through in the past year and a half, I would suggest that you are under great stress and that can cause all kinds of problems. Stress can manifest in all kinds of ways since it first and foremost hits the immune system.

I don't know what it's like in MI but where in DE the hospitals usually will put the patient on a payment plan, and they make it as painless as possible. I owe thousands from the surgeries and tests, etc., from 2006, but they worked with me and I am paying them monthly. And they don't charge interest on the ongoing balance. You might want to check into that for your situation.
Take care of yourself. You're in my prayers.