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…”
“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.