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As an aspiring writer, I blog about whatever happens to move me at the moment -- though some posts contain serious content, my big-picture goal is to bring a little humor into an often humorless world! Welcome, y'all, and make yourself at home! Please make sure you update your bookmarks!

When you are offended at any man's fault, turn to yourself and study your own failings. Then you will forget your anger...Epictetus

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Scariest Thing

I had my first colonoscopy yesterday -- it went well -- don't remember a thing about it -- praise be to God -- but, afterward, I nursed a headache and nausea all day -- probably a reaction to the narcotic. Still, it could have been worse and I'm glad I had it done -- next time, I'll know what to expect. And, yes, the prep is worse than the procedure.

I'm at that age -- nearly 50 -- where they recommend having your first one if you aren't having problems or don't have a family history of colon cancer; after that, it's every five years -- unless they find something -- which they did. I had one polyp -- now, chances are this is benign so I'm not worried (though I'll be glad to get the path report) but this means that I'll have to do this more often than I would have wished.

But here is the scariest thing -- with all the talk about healthcare, will I even be a candidate for having this done every three years? Or, will this come under the "not necessary" label? That bothers me -- because I don't want to end up with colon cancer -- or any kind of cancer -- because some bureaucrat decides that chances are I won't get it so, therefore, the test/procedure is not worth the cost.

See, here's the thing, people complain about unnecessary tests all the time. But, let someone not have a test but then get sick -- then they want to blame someone because they didn't have the proper test. You can't have it both ways.

But, I ask you, what would you prefer? An unneccessary test which showed you didn't have a disease -- or no test which might have shown that you did? For me, it's no contest. Give me the unnecessary test -- I'm not willing to play Russian roulette with my health or that of my loved ones.

Nor do I want the government deciding what healthcare I need or who I have to see to get it. And all I have to do is look at Medicare, Medicaid and the VA system to see how the government runs things.

If you've read my profile, you know that I'm married to a physician -- so I am able to see the situation from both sides -- I've been a patient many times and our insurance premiums (yes, we pay them, too -- as well as massive malpractice premiums) are skyhigh because I have high blood pressure, asthma, hypothyroidism, arthritis and diet-controlled diabetes. Yes, there needs to be some changes but making it so that your doctor is not the one who decides what you need is just plain foolhardy.

My husband is an excellent physician -- he would be embarrassed at me for saying that. I know I'm prejudiced but, honestly, if I didn't think he was, I just wouldn't say anything. He is caring, works long, hard, stressful hours, is frustrated because he can't see patients fast enough to suit them or him (he can't work 24/7), is fussed at by irate patients who think they are the only one he has to see during any given day (wait until he has to cut his time with them even farther if everybody comes running to the doctor because it's "free"), patients who get mad because he won't give them the drugs they are seeking, patients who think nothing of throwing a doctor's bill into the trash, though they wouldn't dare stop paying for their cigs or alcohol.

Yeah, there are perks to being married to a doctor but I can tell you from experience, that although I know my husband loves me and his children, the sacrifices have not been insignificant. Sure, if we have an emergency, he'll be here but our lives have always revolved around his schedule -- and the patients come first - because of duty. We are, however, a close second.

He says if he had to do all it all over again, he would not go into the medical field. The idea of anybody telling him what he can or cannot do for his patients just rubs him the wrong way -- you absolutely cannot do the best thing for your patients if your hands are tied. Unfortunately, I think a lot of good doctors will be retiring early -- and the best and brightest who might have chosen to become physicians will probably think twice -- which is sad -- and scary -- because, in my opinion, the people who are taking care of our health needs ought to be the best and brightest. Of course, it could be that they'll lower the standards for getting into medical school if they need more doctors.

Our youngest daughter, who is 17, is making noises about going to medical school. We will encourage her in whatever she chooses to do but the old saying about becoming a doctor holds true:

Don't do it unless it's the only thing you can think of doing.

Otherwise, pick something else which requires less schooling, less tuition, less stress.

And more family time.

Because you can't get that back.

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