Sunday, December 21, 2014

Another Excursion Into The American Health Industry

I recently watched all 8 seasons of House. I'd forgotten what a good show it was. A brilliant doctor, surrounded by over-achievers solving complex cases while spouting highbrow humor.

In most of our hospitals, those patients would have died.

I get tired of hearing people say "We have the best health care on the planet." No, we don't. We probably have some of the best TRAUMA care on the planet, but the rest of it sucks. They can re-attach your arm pretty good, but they're clueless outside of that.

Case study:

Friend was admitted to the ER with pain. They run the standard tests, which of course show nothing. ER doctor decided friend doesn't look "happy" (is that a diagnosis?) and admits friend. It takes hours of waiting in the ER for admission to happen. Among the standard tests was an X-ray. Is pain supposed to show up on a picture that only shows bone? By this point, I figured I was smarter than the ER staff.

Friend is finally taken to a patient room. Stress test to be run "the next morning". Friend is placed on food restriction pending stress test. Stress test doesn't happen until late the next afternoon. Stress test shows nothing. Friend is finally able to eat that evening after the stress test, finally ending a period of 24 hours in which friend was not allowed to eat pending a stress test that took all day to get set up. Oh, yeah, friend is diabetic, during which a 24 hour period of not eating is considered dangerous by this same health industry.

None of the tests showed anything, but a friendly, obviously over-achieving doctor stopped by for 3 seconds to say "I'm glad we know it's not the heart". Thanks, doc, you going to pay for these unnecessary tests? It's not the foot either, but at least you didn't test for that.

I wanted to tell doc that I would get fired for that kind of sloppy work. If my boss told me to get something done and the answer I came back with is "Well, we know it's not X", I would get my ass chewed. But somehow this passes for acceptable in the American Health Industry, the obvious "best on the planet".

Friend was finally released about 2230 after waiting the rest of the evening for test results showing nothing to come back. Friend was still in pain.

By this point, I was too tired to read, making the rest of the wait incredibly boring.

Friend was discharged and told to follow up with family doctor. I guess he has some kind of magic health tools the hospital lacks. They didn't seem to have that fancy magic MRI machine House kept destroying.

I have no faith in the majority of doctors. They obviously think they're brilliant, but it's an act. Most doctors I've encountered are useless unless your symptoms match the pharmacy brochure.

If you go to a doctor, if you're lucky, you'll be told to "rest and drink fluids". It's just a waste of time and a co-pay. Otherwise, they'll put you on what they call a prescription. I call them "subscriptions". You subscribe to taking a medication. Often, this causes side effects, so you're placed on another subscription and so on.

I used to get a very sharp abdominal pain about every 3 to 6 months. It hurt, and left me doubled over. It usually lasted for 3 days. I finally broke down during one of these attacks and went to the ER. They obviously found nothing (this is back when I was naive and believed in the Health Industry). ER discharged me (still in pain) and referred me to a GI doctor (gastro, spell checker no use).

GI doctor did an endoscopy on me and gave me a subscription to Nexium. Subscription company switched me to Prevacid a couple years later. I kept having the attacks. In 5 years, I faithfully paid my subscription to Nexium/Prevacid, had 3 endoscopies, an MRI, and an ultrasound. Nothing. GI doctor finally told me it's IBS and basically to stop calling.

I looked up IBS, and discovered it's a collection of symptoms our brilliant American doctors can't explain. So I took it up myself. I began observing what happens around the attacks, something left out of the supposedly invaluable history the doctor is supposed to do. AND I SOLVED THE DAMN CASE MYSELF! I don't get enough fiber in my diet. So now, when I feel an attack coming on, I take some Benefiber or something. Eat a big salad. And the attacks rarely happen anymore. Maybe once every 2 years. Much better than every 3 months.

So I shrugged off my Prevacid subscription and never looked back. It was $75 a month at that time. 5 years on that shit- for NOTHING. I didn't even need it.

In America, only belief passes for "the best in the world". We BELIEVE we have the best health care/health insurance (they are not the same thing) and probably the best public schools. Unfortunately, most Americans just wave patriotism around and never stop to take an objective look at anything. Just keep believing what the media and government tell you, despite their proven track record of lying.

America, F*ck Yeah!
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