Thanks to the straight (and stern) talks from you, I went to see a doctor today. Just a random doctor since I don’t really have a family doctor. My Ob-Gyn is the only doctor that I “keep in touch” throughout the years. And oh, yes, my dentist. I have been forced to drop quite a few family practitioners in the past when they 1. suggested that I get my tubes tied after I had my second child, 2. ordered expensive tests that still cost thousands after the 80% insurance pay when the disgonosis turned out to be Achilles tendinosis (So no, nothing to do with my nerves), 3. mis-diagnosed my blood clog as a muscle tear.

I gave the good doctor the litany of my symptoms: nausea & vomiting, dizziness, headache, sinus discomfort (but not pain nor pressure), stuffy feeling in my ears. I shared with him my theory of this being allergy-induced since my “condition” started a month ago when Spring supposedly arrived. I appreciated his gallant efforts in not rolling his eyes in my presence. I also informed him of some new development: running nose, a fever, and possibly the worst chill I have ever had in my life.

After all this, his diagnosis? “Are you suffering a lot of stress lately?”

I am a working mother with two rambunctious boys working full time commuting downtown with the company headquartered in another state 800 miles away and a boss that is scheming to either get me to move there or to get rid of me and a husband that travels 50% of the time for work. So yeah. I guess I am stressed.

“Have you suffered from any head injury? Did you hit your head somewhere?”

Why? You read my blog or my tweets?

“I think this is tension headache.”

Hello? What about the nausea and the vomiting?

“Are you married?”

Do I look tired and not care how I look? Yes, I am married.

“You should ask your husband to rub your neck.”

I rolled my eyes.

“Ha ha. Yes. I should write you a prescription to get him to do this, and if I submit it to your insurance, they may even pay him! Ok. Here is what I want you to do…”

Miracle drugs?

“I want to get some blood tests done to rule out the usual: thyroid, glands…”

Really? Why am I NOT surprised?

“And then I want you to get an MRI. I am worried about the headaches. The MRI is going to come back clean, but I want to rule anything out before I talk to you again. So after you get your MRI, call me, and I can talk to you about Tension Headaches.”

Seriously? Is an MRI even remotely necessary in my case?

Like a good Chinese girl (brought up in a Chinese society let me emphasize this), I did not question the good doctor. And really, should I even question my good fortune? I am blessed enough to be covered by a top-notch health insurance plan: the free health insurance provided by my company is a Cadillac plan. It covers everything. No pre-certification required for most of the expensive tests. If the doctor does not even want to wait and wants me to get an MRI before he even talks to me more, which I am actually able to get right away without having to call the insurance company and go through the labyrinth of paperworks, unlike say people on Medicare, should I not be grateful?

Fine. Call me an ungrateful bitch. But here is what I thought as soon as I walked out of the doctor’s office:

Son of a bitch. He is worried that he may get sued if something happens to me and he did not order me an MRI.

How much of the root cause for the rising health care costs in the U.S. is due to the fear of lawsuits?!

(Yeah, I know. You will be wanting to see me eating my foot if the good doctor was right and the MRI does detect something. THAT will solve all the questions about “What the F is wrong with you?!” in more ways than one. And seriously, if something is growing inside my head, you cannot fault me for being a bitch so would you really still want to see me eating my foot?… So the way I see it, either way, my foot will stay as far away from my mouth as humanly possible. Ha!)

All this rambling reminded me of a post from February 18, 2009, “Americans pay $650 billion more for health care than comparable countries…” when there was absolutely no traffic to my blog…  Reading the conclusion I drew more than a year ago,

“In the United States, the ‘average’ consumer of health care pays for only 12 percent of its total cost directly out of pocket (down from 47 percent in 1960), as well as for 25 percent of health care insurance premiums, a share that has stayed relatively constant for the last decade.  Well-insured patients who bear little, if any, of the cost of their treatment have no incentive to be value-conscious health care consumers.”

This sounds familiar but now we have the numbers to back up our suspicions:

In order for any health care reform to work and stick, it is important that we carry out the education and cultivation of a new generation of patients that are “value conscious” and treat the burden of health care, even when they do not have to pay for it DIRECTLY, as ultimately their own INDIRECT cross to bear.

I am saddened and a bit ashamed, seeing how I will be getting an MRI after all, albeit begrudgingly. I am only human – I do not want to bear the unnecessary risk of not getting this MRI just to make a point, especially since it is readily available to me. So that puts us in a bit of a conundrum, doesn’t it?

Foot in my mouth after all.

{ 32 comments }

Jane March 24, 2010 at 6:52 pm

Check your email. This is seriously WTF! We need answers now!
.-= Jane´s last blog…Please Give Your Best Answer =-.

subWOW March 25, 2010 at 5:53 pm

Thanks, sweetie for the moral outrage. LOL.

Wicked Shawn March 24, 2010 at 7:24 pm

First, I am really glad you went to the damn doctor! Even if he is an asshat, who totally ignored the main part of your problem, which is the constant vomitus maximus. maybe try throwing up ON him at next visit to drive point home. Just sayin.

Second, what bothers me with the MRI, is a CT Scan could be done at a fraction of the cost and show him if there was anything there of concern. You clearly do have good insurance. He clearly noticed it while flipping through your chart. My mom sees it all the time in the hospital. The patients with top notch insurance plans skip straight to MRI’s and even PET scans, while the uninsured or underinsured start at x-rays and if absolutely necessary, slowly work their way up.

Great, now I feel like throwing up. 😉
.-= Wicked Shawn´s last blog…Wicked Girl Who Doesn’t Care Much For Happy Endings, Except My Own, Of Course =-.

Vintage Christine March 24, 2010 at 7:36 pm

Mike Vanderboegh told me to throw a rock through your window, you healthcare reform commie, you.
.-= Vintage Christine´s last blog…Oh, I Hurt THEIR Feelings? Wah. =-.

subWOW March 25, 2010 at 5:59 pm

LOL. Don’t call me a commie though. That will get me into trouble when I go back to Taiwan. 😉 A staunchly anti-communist country because of the histories…

Linda from Bar Mitzvahzilla March 24, 2010 at 8:31 pm

Everytime I went to a doctor and they ordered an MRI too fast my husband had one cynical response: the doctor must own part of the MRI facility. Awful, right?

Anyway, aren’t you glad he didn’t ask you about your hormones? My least favorite question: are you still getting your periods? I don’t mind it from my OB/GYN but I do mind it when I’m talking about something completely unrelated. I’m allowed to have valid concerns about various issues without being invalidated by my sex.
.-= Linda from Bar Mitzvahzilla´s last blog…Head Laundress =-.

Merrilymarylee March 24, 2010 at 8:47 pm

He did do the blood work today, right?

Don’t be grumpy about this. It’ll give you a headache.
.-= Merrilymarylee´s last blog…Smocked? I Think Not! =-.

Miss B March 24, 2010 at 10:25 pm

Mmmm…I have to say, that although I totally see your point and it is probably unnecessary and also the doctor maybe needs to work on his bedside manner…well, as someone with MS, I can also say that dizziness/balance issues/the resulting nausea and blech-ness easily lets my mind jump to (probably absurd, but still within the realm of possibility) conclusions. So…yes, we have a shitty and imperfect system, and yes, you probably do not need this expensive thing at all. However…it isn’t totally crazy. Just saying.

Also, I wish a doctor would recommend that I get my tubes tied. In this fucking country, if you are under 35 and don’t already have at least one child, everyone is certain that you will eventually wake up and realize that you love children and want to start spawning them, as befits your station as a woman and nobody will even consider doing that for you — or not without a year of mandatory counseling first. But a man can go get a vasectomy without a problem at all. *grumble*
.-= Miss B´s last blog…Background Noise =-.

Robin March 25, 2010 at 8:01 am

Doctors shmoctors.
.-= Robin´s last blog…What Is Fun About PG-13? =-.

Amber March 25, 2010 at 8:48 am

So, I am probably going to sound like a dissenter, but I want to bring in a different perspective.

First off, doctors work their d*** butts off. I’m talking like 60-70 hours per week. Even though they’re social skills are not always the best (they don’t have them take a personality test before entering med school), they are constantly thinking through the recent literature, analyzing your symptoms, and trying to find a way to help you. Yes, sometimes they are wrong with their diagnoses. But WHO ISN’T??? Every person makes mistakes in their job. EVERY PERSON. That is why you can go and get a second opinion: doctors understand that they may be wrong. This is especially true with Primary Care Physicians (PCP). They are basically “do everything” doctors.

Second, the health care reform. Oh the health care reform. I am not suggesting I am against it (or for it) but there are some major issues with it. But, I will save you the soap box and just tell you to check my blog sometime next week. I will be talking about my concerns with this reform.

As you can see, this is very near to my heart. My husband will be attending med school next year and we have become very familiar–and close to–with many doctors of all specialties. It is not an easy road and doctors are often heavily criticized. Oy.

(P.S. Don’t hate me!)
.-= Amber´s last blog…I Can Find Alone Time! =-.

subWOW March 25, 2010 at 5:57 pm

Amber, I don’t hate you! On the contrary, I appreciate your voicing a different opinion in such an even-handed, level-headed way. A calm voice. I look forward to reading your post on HCR. And since you know I am all for HCR, warts and all, I may not agree with 100% of your POV, but I welcome the chance to hear your perspectives, again, all the more because you have a way of seeing all perspectives and present your own thinking on serious subjects.

A Vapid Blonde March 25, 2010 at 2:04 pm

Instead of doling out useless tests what they really should be doling out is happy pills of the pain killing type….oh my god I sound like an addict.

I am going now.
.-= A Vapid Blonde´s last blog…Voodoo Ass Twitch =-.

Velva March 25, 2010 at 2:53 pm

Honestly….I think your doctor did the right thing. I think the MRI is a good idea. If it’s clean, then he is prepared to talk to you about what he suspects. Don’t poo-poo tension headaches, they are wicked, and they will make you feel is exactly like you are feeling. Not taken care of and they will lead to bigger problems. So, with that said, we are expecting a follow-up on your blog :-)
.-= Velva´s last blog…Roasted Pork Shoulder =-.

kitty March 25, 2010 at 3:25 pm

I’m sure the MRI will come back clear – you have a lot on your plate so no wonder you’re stressed! x

Jana@Attitude Adjustment March 25, 2010 at 4:41 pm

I have no idea about this, but I really want to here some thoughts out there from women in the blogosphere about health reform. (And I can’t really tell where you stand on this.) I don’t quite understand the negativity about it. I really don’t. Because if it’s so easy to use taxpayer dollars toward war, why do people get upset if it goes to making us all healthier (or at least moving toward that goal), requiring our employers to give insurance without 90 day waiting periods and such, and not letting insurance companies deny people with issues? I just don’t see how arguments about morality and arguments about tax dollars always get put in the same pot and stirred around. It makes a sour stew.

(Sorry for my rant.)
.-= Jana@Attitude Adjustment´s last blog…Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, and Other Myths =-.

subWOW March 25, 2010 at 6:25 pm

Jana, you never have to apologize for ranting on my blog, well, as long as you don’t call me fat, or say “Me love you long time”, then everything is cool. 😉 Actually if you say “Me love you long time” with the appropriate quote fingers or Jazz hands then tis encouraged actually.

Eh, where as I? Oh, yeah, I have opened up this place as a ranting place for all my peeps, so yeah, feel free to come ranting and cursing (if you don’t say bad words over in your place because you know, for example, your mother-in-law reads your blog).

Here is the bottomline for me as far as HCR goes:

“No one should die because they cannot afford health care, and nobody should go broke because they get sick.”

And I am with Jon Stewart

Jana@Attitude Adjustment March 26, 2010 at 2:23 pm

I am in love with Jon Stewart. Seriously in love. When I’m having a bad day, watching a snippet of his show makes me sort of giddy.
.-= Jana@Attitude Adjustment´s last blog…Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, and Other Myths =-.

subWOW March 25, 2010 at 6:11 pm

I know I would sound like a bratty spoiled child: Wah wah wah. I have such a good life and it’s somebody’s fault! My heart is with HCR and I am very excited that the bill was passed and saddened/outraged by the negative, ugly reactions to the passing of the bill, the law suits, the Militia men, the attacks on government officials. My rant came from the deep-seated belief that to be a responsible HCR supporter, we also need to try to rein the overall healthcare costs down by putting a stop to the vicious cycle of “Don’t care how much it costs because I am not paying for it out of my own pocket”, and my sudden, deeply personal realization that if I, a self-prescribed HCR supporter, cannot bring myself to help bring the healthcare costs down by becoming a responsible value-conscious “consumer” when the opportunity presented itself to me, i.e. to get an MRI or not, how are we going to change the behaviors of the millions of people?

I do, as I tried to emphasize, understand and appreciate how fortunate I am that if I so choose I don’t need to give whether to get an MRI a second thought, I can just go ahead and do it since it was handed out to me like a cookie. I did agonize whether to write about this since there is no way I could prevent from sounding like Bill Gates lamenting, “OMG. I am so sad I have so much money! And everybody seems to suck up to me even though I know being sucked up is wrong, but goddamnit, I like it!”

Well. If I were Bill Gates, look under your seats, you all get a car!!! Just sayin…

Diane March 25, 2010 at 8:25 pm

I think he was right to order an MRI. Any good doctor would have. I still think, though, that he should have addressed the possibility that it’s vertigo. (Listen to me, like I know anything about medicine.) On another note, there is a wicked flu going around here (Florida) where people are very suddenly getting sick, throwing up, dizzy, headaches. Someone in my husband’s office had it and laid down on a conference room floor, she was so sick. My mother-in-law was on a plane today sitting near someone who suddenly threw up and had to lie down. So I guess you never know. An MRI is good.

Amanda@Brilliant Sulk March 25, 2010 at 8:59 pm

I’m sure you’re fine. Trust me, I’m no doctor but I do cut up chickens and chop vegetables for a living…

All this insurance, healthcare and doctor talk makes me angry and nauseous. I’m far too drunk to comment any further.
.-= Amanda@Brilliant Sulk´s last blog…Would You Eat This? =-.

Falling March 26, 2010 at 12:45 am

Without getting into the healthcare issue now (because the baby’s asleep! Dear God, why aren’t I?!), please just know that I’m thinking about you and hope that all tests, unnecessary or not, paid for by insurance or by pawning your locket, are quick, painless, and informative. j

Wishing you a speedy resolution to the ickiness, my friend.
.-= Falling´s last blog…I Am Full of Good Ideas =-.

Don Joe March 26, 2010 at 4:27 am

You make a very good point. I have been thinking about rising healthcare costs lately. I agree that fear of litigation is a major issue but I also think advances in medical treatment (more sophisticated and specialized treatments with advanced techniques, skills and higher customer expectatons) is also at play.

For most industries you will find supply grows to match demand (more or less). With healthcare you have a case where demand can grow to match supply because we all want the best treatment possible – if you can supply a new form of improved treatment damn right I’ll want it. Its a fascinating economic conundrum.

Also, separately, thanks for being a damn good follower/commenter on Workforced. I actually popped by to thank you for that as much as for any other reason.

Best,

Don

William March 26, 2010 at 7:44 am

“Do I look tired and not care how I look? Yes, I am married.”

That right there made me crack up.

Speaking the truth.

Elly Lou March 26, 2010 at 10:12 am

Call me a nerd but I can’t really get all worked up about the health care stuff until I know you’re all ok and feeling better. Then maybe I’ll try and write something profound, witty and insightful. Until then….I’m going to chronically fret. It’s what I do.
.-= Elly Lou´s last blog…Bodies by Bob =-.

secret agent woman March 26, 2010 at 6:10 pm

The MRI may well be unnecessary, but what if it’s not? So, I’d get it done, and then follow-up. Still, your symptoms don’t sound like mere tension headaches. And oh.my.god. to any doctor who would suggest getting your tubes tied – it would make far more sense for your husband to get a vasectomy.

Keep us posted!
.-= secret agent woman´s last blog…So y’all think the squirrels are so cute? =-.

Ry Sal - aka @bwdstudio March 26, 2010 at 6:38 pm

don’t you love it when the dr. says – get the MRI. Nothing will show up on it, but get it anyway. it’s like our dr. that told me that I had to get the flu shot… and then asked me why I wanted it.

yoga. no dairy or eggs (not kidding this helps with sinus&stomach&stress). and a trip to NYC in August. hugs.
.-= Ry Sal – aka @bwdstudio´s last blog…This is just plain silly. =-.

A Vapid Blonde March 26, 2010 at 6:51 pm

I think this is the best information for Subwow yet. AUGUST!!! WHOO HOO
.-= A Vapid Blonde´s last blog…I Have Sweaty Palms, And No It’s Not For Any Sexy Reasons =-.

Unknown Mami March 27, 2010 at 10:01 pm

Hmmm. This is a nice problem to have in comparison to someone who might need an MRI, but can not get one. I’m just saying as far as dilemmas sometimes the moral dilemmas are easier to deal with than the ones cause by lack of insurance or access to health care.
.-= Unknown Mami´s last blog…Hasta la Vista! =-.

subWOW March 31, 2010 at 8:35 am

I agree with you. It is indeed a nice problem to have.

lagunatic March 30, 2010 at 6:47 pm

Hey,
My big brother had a brain tumour a few years ago. Luckily, he had an MRI, but he’d had it for a long time and it was pretty dangerous.
Get the MRI – having kind of been in this situation, you’re better safe than sorry. <3
.-= lagunatic´s last blog…How to get a bikini body by summer. =-.

subWOW March 31, 2010 at 8:34 am

Thank you again for the well wishes. I thought I’d give you an update: yes I went and got the MRI “just in case” because I was afraid of “what if…” It was an interesting experience (and I could still laugh about it till I receive the bill since I still need to pay for a portion of it). I called the doctor’s office and found out, as expected, everything looks normal. The nurse didn’t think I need to see the doctor again. WTF? The doctor was out yesterday so I could only leave a message, asking whether I should go back and see him because I still have the friggin’ headache and it’s getting worse?! I got a call today from the doctor’s office, telling me to go see a neurologist. SRLY?! All this after he talked to me for less than 5 minutes??!! I am looking for a new doctor right now.

Jen @ NathanRising March 31, 2010 at 8:42 pm

Totally WTF!!! Wow, I am so glad you have such awesome health insurance! But yeah, someone still has to pay the cost. And, like you said, I think it’s the fear of lawsuits that drives all this unneccessary testing. I hope they can get to the bottom of what is causing your headaches and vomiting!
-Jen
.-= Jen @ NathanRising´s last blog…Uniquely Nathan =-.

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