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Health Care

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Breaking Rules (and Regulation)

Regulation.

Sounds like something that an old person would wish upon their own bowel.

I run to the gutter today, as I believe that is where the nation (as a whole) is headed.

Actually, to the sewer.

Well, I realized that I had said that I would try and keep this column from getting too personal.

As a (former) student of journalism (I’ve now crossed over to a full embrace of Public Relations), but as a former student I remember all-too-well the journalism professor’s admonition to “never get in the way of the story”.

I also remember them telling us that such stories (articles, which EVERYONE always referred to as “stories” – a concept that warrants a future diatribe in another column) – telling us that such stories belong on the OP ED page (opposite the editorial; the editorial page is the page upon which seasoned journalists get to “opine” and / or “vent” (you make the call) — “OP ED” is the page where you (read “kooks” as in “anyone who would take the time to write in to the newspaper), but it is the place where you and I can “vent” and “opine” just across from those professional “kooks” who get paid to be kookie.

Well, what is a blog if not an OP ED page (and thank God, I don’t get paid).

Health Care, revisited

So what rules is ol’ Precipii going to break today?

How ’bout all of them (at least where ObamaNation is concerned).

I try and not make a huge deal out of this, but I suffer from a malady known as Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA, for short).

It (RA) affects my body in such a way that my immune system (which I have learned is much, much more complex than what they teach us in health class; it is more than just white blood cells (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6).

Now the reason I’m spending so much time on this is that I am “stretching” my rules about getting personal as I think my experience here speaks volumes about the coming health care system.

Yesterday … wait, back up.

Six weeks ago, I began thinking I need to get a flu shot.  I started researching what is going on, and I learned that the greatest success rates on the swine flu indicates that the hospital workers who took the mist (the one containing the live virus) were having fewer incidences of catching the flu than those who took the injections (containing “dead” virus).

So, I have to stop taking my arthtritis meds, which lower my immune system.  By going off the meds, my immune system re-bolsters itself in about four weeks (I think two weeks, actually, as my arthritis started back again after about two weeks) – but anyhow, my immune system is “cooking with gas” four weeks into it.

So, yesterday I go to the health clinic in my nearest, large, metropolitan city and I fill out the paperwork (being careful not to lie, which in hindsight, I should’ve done anyway), but they ask me if my immune system is compromised.

Now I have a note from my doctor telling them that I’ve been off my immune system-inh8ibiting drugs for well over four weeks and that he’s instructed me not to take my arthritis meds for another two weeks, but the nurse has to go talk to her supervisor anyway.

Her supervisor (of course, being smarter than all the other doctors in the world, combined, and for God sakes being from the GOVERNMENT and all – (probably just promoted from the DMV) TRUMPS my doctor and says I only qualify for the dead virus).

I endure four weeks of arthritis pain, not being able to sleep, just so some nit-wit in a public office can over-ride the prescription set out by doctors who have earned degrees and somehow have careers that lead them into actual practice, rather than playing god in some public health care facility!

WELCOME, america, to the new health care system!

The bottom line, I ask the nurse “does the injection work equally well against the swine flu as does the mist” to which she replied “yes”.

Now, her answer is not consistent with the research I’ve been reading on the subject (1, 2, 3) (note how public officials, health care workers and police and firemen are getting the MIST !!!).

The bottom line is that here we have yet another public official playing god.

I am told, by a health department (and contrary to my regular doctor’s orders) that I am not “qualified” to take the mist (I wonder if the health care system is “qualified” to give me a vacation or something to make up for the agony I’ve been through while off my RA meds?).

Well, I know I’m whining over these sour grapes, but you know what – you will be too, one day.

This is what the future of YOUR health care looks like.

On top of this, I get home from the health department visit only to read that there are new “studies” out that indicated that cheaper (and much more dangerous to my over-all health) drugs are available that work equally well to the more expensive drugs I know take (those that actually work and cause much fewer side effects).

Welcome, once again to your future.

Now a panel of medical scientists (equally adept, I would bet, to the all-knowing, all-seeing supervisor down at the public health clinic – oh, which I had to go to because it was the ONLY place in an expansive vicinity that had the flu mist) – but this panel of scientists (public-funded, no doubt) now says that I can do equally well on the other drugs.

Let me tell you about the one they recommend.

It’s called Methotrexate, and it “used” to be used to treat pediatric leukemia…and it really, really makes one ill.

I really did not pay much attention to how much better my arthritis was when I was taking it, because I was constantly dealing with have zero energy, feeling clammy (you know that feeling you get when you have a high fever, like say for instance when related to, oh, I don’t know, say the swine flu?)…and then there was the nausea, the sore muscles, the over-riding feeling that this “treatment” must be doing more harm than good.

Then there is the baseline liver biopsy that they have to do.

They take that device they use on pregnant women (ultrasound) and some technician scans your liver.  Then you lie in that room for what seems like an eternity.

Then they wheel you into this next, big room where they take all your clothes off (not that a gown constitutes clothes) and you lay on a cold, steel table waiting on the doctor and nurses.  He comes in with this big gun and places it on your iodine-covered side…get’s it into position and then gets cold feet.

“How long before he had the ultra-sound?”, he asks (a real confidence builder)…”too long…too long (and he cusses, under his breath).

He looks at the nurses, then decides to go ahead with it anyhow (just before telling me he is worried because organs like the liver can “float” within your body and he uses the ultrasound to be certain he is hitting my liver).

The big, spring-loaded “gut” that he places on my side has a very long, very heavy gauge needle that he pushes through my side to pierce my liver (thank God for local anesthetic) and once inserted, he pulls the trigger which drives another needle down the first to essentially take a “core” (like coring a pineapple) sample of my liver.

I’m supposed to get this procedure done on a periodic basis with the Methotrexate-treatment option (the one favored by public health clinics, and publicly-funded “pseudo-scientists” who come up with such studies – same guys who predict how much vaccine we will need to prevent the coming pandemic – probably also predicted by publicly -funded “scientists”.

Again, welcome to your new health care system.

Are you cozy yet?

Under capitalism, and free choice, I am still able to take my biologics, which, by the way, actually treat the disease (and not the symptoms) and I don’t get all sick on them, and I don’t have to have my liver ruptured on a periodic basis.

But God knows the public option has to be the best for THIS patient.

To quote ol’ Lynard Skynard in “Freebird” – “Now I’m as free, as a bird now ‘how ’bout you, Atlanta?’

I just wonder how long we (how ’bout you, America?) will stay free in the coming Obama health-care system with all its egomaniacs, sham science and people with Napolean complexes down at the local clinic playing god with the health of OUR bodies, human.

 

By the way.  I wouldn’t even bother with the flu vaccine, but the biologics I take (and the same goes for Methotrexate) lower my immune system making me more vulnerable for contracting the swine flu.

Since I’m a guinnea pig in all this, just had to share my experience.  I think it offers great insight into what awaits us all in the coming years.

I’m so appreciative to Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, the Clintons and Obama for all this “love” they so kindly share.  Now, why don’t you bug off and leave us be. We’d like to get on with taking care of our own bodies (as the doctors all tell me – the decisions for my treatments all rest with me).

The Valuable and the Invaluable

Over and over the term “value” comes up in Congress’ debate over health care.

No one can argue that anything is more valuable than one’s own right leg, until that is the use of it is weighed against the use of one’s mind.

Lose the brain, and the leg becomes less important.

Such is the nature of economics.

It is said that an item’s worth is measured by what someone else will pay for it.

This begs the question, “of what use is my own right leg to you?”.

If I am helping you carry a piece of furniture, it becomes very important (the two of us need all four legs to carry a sofa).  The same can be said if you apply this concept of work to the economic system on the whole.

We each need what the other brings to the table.

I once had an acquaintance who was paralyzed from the neck down.  She could still use a blow pipe (similar to Steven Hawking, if you’ve seen him) and she could use it to enter data in spreadsheets for companies.  She made her living this way.

She also contributed to the tax system.

She did not need to move furniture, but could earn money to pay the fellow’s legs who did (need to move furniture, that is).

When it comes to health care, how does one measure value?

Would you trade a leg for the knowledge required to manipulate data in a computer with a blowpipe?

If my acquaintance could get her legs (and body) back, I feel more than certain she would trade the blow pipe for the use of her hands.

I do not feel so inclined to put body, heart and soul (literally) on a roullette wheel.

When I was a boy, I would sometimes travel to a resort in Georgia to play golf with my Grandfather.  He had a friend down there who would play with us sometimes – a banker from Canada.

He told us never to allow our government to bring about socialized medicine.  He said that he was on a quota system in Canada (this was 20 years ago) and that to get a procedure to fix a faulty heart that it was a crap shoot.  You were constantly waiting for your number to come up – good, or bad.

You’d either get the procedure, or you would “check out” of this life.

He told us he went to Michigan for all his health care and paid for it out of his own pocket.

Somehow, I just don’t feel comfortable heading South to Mexico.

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In spite of all this, there is some good talk about competition going on in Washington.

Competition would have a grand effect, I believe, on health care.

Doctors might be required to compete with one another for the service they provide.

Think of “pain-free” dentistry.

For once, they have us and our needs in mind.

That is not to say that my other physicians do not do a good job of treating me (they are excellent).

But there is room for improvement where the services are concerned.  The health care system takes on an aire that is similar to what I’ve seen down on the farm.

Herd ’em up, send them through a shoot, keep them waiting in line (or waiting room), lock one in a head-gate (or exam room) and then come in lickety split, and treat them.

The farm animals are subject to a slap on the posterior, but at least they get to go back to the feed lot.

We have to again stand in line and pay for all this indignity.

Granted, it is a trite example, but one can begin to feel like a number.

Compare this to your experience at a five-star restaraunt or a fast food counter.

I think there should be a sliding scale of service in health care.  You get what you are willing to pay for.

If you have a sore throat, go to a clinic.  If you want your heart operated on, go to the Mayo clinic.

But then the question becomes “who pays?”.

The same thing can be said for eateries.

If you have two bucks in your pocket, you can go to the Burger King and get a breakfast sandwich and a cup of java.

If you have a hundred bucks, you can go to a five star and get Eggs Benedict.

Service should be based on economy, and what you most value.

Alternately, you can look at any line at any government “service” outfit and answer the cattle call.

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