This past Monday, June 4th, I had the joy of visiting the physical therapy department at Wishard. I’m no stranger to this office, having had numerous appointments with them for my leg issues. It was Kristen, the therapist, that recommended I start to use a walker when going around the house and for short trips in and out of buildings. With my perchance for falling to one side, and landing either on a wall, table or flat on the floor, it was her professional opinion that a walker would be a delightful addition to my means of locomotion.
However, this visit wasn’t for my legs or exercise, it was for an evaluation. As I wrote several months ago, I had a nasty fall into the door frame of the hallway, and hit my left shoulder right at the joint. It has given me grief since then, and I finally asked my primary care doctor if there was something that could be done. Dr. Seele referred me back to physical therapy for an evaluation, and so on the fourth I got the pleasure of Kristen’s company again.
We did the all the ROM (range of motion) things, strength testing, a bit of pushing and prodding, and finally I was given a verdict. Yep, something is not quite right. Kristen is a wonderful young woman, short, perky, with a no-nonsense attitude towards treatment. Yet she gives off a genuine air of concern and compassion. I am not a huge fan of P/T, having to go through multiple regiments over the years, and never truly finding them to be all that much fun. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the efforts to get whatever joint or part of my battered body back into some sort of working order, it is that I am of the philosophy that “No pain, no pain.”
She is going to contact Dr. Seele about getting some sort of patch that I can wear on the shoulder. This patch gives a trans-dermal infusion of medication, medication that hopefully will reduce the swelling and pain that I am experiencing in the shoulder. If that approach does not work, then it will be off to the ortho to see what is going on.
This is where the difference between private and public healthcare butt squarely up against each other. Truth be known, I am what is known as “accident prone.” My dear departed mother used to call me “klutz Ordower” due to my perchance to get hurt in the strangest and most ludicrous fashions. Once, while a teen, I was in a high school play, and while moving a table to the end of the stage, I literally fell off the end of the stage into the orchestra pit, hurting my neck and back, and giving myself a concussion. That little adventure ended with several days in the hospital for tests, bad food, and a month’s worth of headaches. Another time I was playing with my children, they were perhaps eight and five, and I ran up a “kiddie slide” and plowed right into the cross-bar at the top of the slide. That little showboating ended in a broken nose, and an eight year old little girl standing over me saying, “Papa, you’re bleeding.” But, in those wild and adventurous days I had private insurance, and when I would go to the doctor with whatever part of me was tattered, battered, bruised or broken, the doctor would send me off for an X-Ray, C-Scan, or MRI. The idea being, let’s see what’s inside, and then decide the course of action to be taken. Now, I have to rely on Wishard Advantage and Medicaid for my medical treatment. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful that there are programs out there that do provide coverage for the ever-expanding medical issues that I have. And I would be ungrateful for all the efforts that the various doctors have done to make my life a bit more easy and livable. However, due to the monies coming from the public sector versus private insurance I have to jump through the hoops and over the rails that are the obstacle course of public healthcare.
Where once I would go see the doctor and get an appointment within a few days for a MRI or other diagnostic procedure, I now wait weeks and even months to get shoved into a tube and be bombarded by X-Rays or giant magnets. While I appreciate a conservative approach to my medical treatment, as I have stated before I am not a fan on being cut on, it would be nice to know if in fact I have torn or in some other way damaged what is under the skin. But, as the French would say, c’est la vie. It is what it is, and unfortunately it is something that I will have to continue to deal with, if I want to continue to receive some form of healthcare.
What frightens me most is the prevailing attitude that the best course of action in America is for everyone to have, or be forced to have, some form of healthcare. I have witnessed first-hand the overcrowding, overworked public hospital staffs trying their best to treat all the patients that come in. It is a situation that is untenable, and as with all things that are overloaded and overburdened, the system is destined to collapse. And then where will Americans be? The idea that a national healthcare, Obamacare, system is going to be the rule of the day, rather than a short lived blip on the American landscape scares me more than not knowing from one day to the next what my body is going to do to me.
Those in the public healthcare sector know that they cannot continue to face the onslaught of patients and regulations that are coming down the road. I have talked with those that do the yeoman’s share of medical labor, the nurses, and they all say the same. The system is heading towards a cliff, and unless or until something is done to stem the tide, patients will receive treatment, but not the timely and proper treatment needed. There will be hoops and rails to jump while each and every one of us is forced to learn how to navigate this new and laborious system. In the meantime, persons such as myself will have to endure weeks, months, or longer waiting to see where things will go regarding treatments.
I have my own ideas on how to reign in the costs of medical care and treatment, but that is for another post.