Monday, April 18, 2011

To Your Good Health! (Warning - may be a bit graphic for delicate stomachs.)

There is much to be said for good health. Of course feeling great is always the optimum target, but in this case I am not talking about your basic cold or allergy attack or even a sprained ankle. All these things can be over come by a little care, Jewish Penicillin, maybe some allergy meds or an ace bandage depending upon which garden variety, or not so garden variety (appendicitis) emergent issue you have.

It becomes an entirely different story when there is an underlying, chronic medical condition causing just as many problems when it interacts with said emergent situation. For example, in my case today, take fibromyalgia, a bad night's sleep and throw in, just for good measure, the stomach bug that has been making its way towards our family since January or February by way of my son's preschool. It took that lovely little stomach bug that started in my son on Friday and lasted through today (am counting when he finally had his appetite back, not when he stopped throwing his guts up) landing on my already precariously stacked deck of cards to make the whole thing topple into the emergency room.

Yes, starting at about 3:30/4 PM today, I was hooked up to machines that beep, cuffs that bind and tubes that rest inside a vein. All this so I could, eventually, come home and be somewhat human because for me and my never out of a flare fibromyalgia, it takes more than Pepto Bismal unfortunately. My husband, on the other hand, without chronic issues that we know of, can get sick and be done in a few hours and even eat dinner. (I have no idea how he did that tonight after getting this bug as well.) Me, I am counting my blessings that I can drink ginger ale a sip at a time alternating with mint tea a sip at a time and not get sick again because getting sick again will land me in the hospital again and that's a trip I do not wish to make. (That and I am holding out hope for a Passover Seder redo sometime later this week.)

So, what does this have to do with the link I included today defining the US Health Care System?

Well, those of us who do have underlying conditions (fibromyalgia is just one of them in my case) can make any of the simple things so much worse. An ingrown toenail on a diabetic means something completely different than someone who doesn't have to watch their sugar, carb and calorie numbers every day. (I said doesn't have to - I am not saying you shouldn't at least on carbs and calories!) A fever means something completely different if you are going through chemo for any reason be it cancer or lupus or MS than if you just have a fever. And if you are asthmatic, being out of breath is never that first, never.

Sometimes, though, these chronic, underlying diagnoses can make identifying the issue and treating the case tricky at first. "Oh, she has a stomach virus. Let's get her Phenergan through IV." Yeah - only if you want me to have blood clots in my arms for thext 2 weeks. Cold feet - put on a pair of socks! WAIT - that patient has Type II Diabetes. First you need to check reflexes in the legs, then the toe nails and then the skin before you can put on a pair of socks, because that coldness in your foot could be something else entirely.

And more and more Americans are being diagnosed with chronic illness. Why is that happening? Could it be that managed care is a bit too managed? Or is it not managed enough? Are we creating silos where individual doctors and nursing staff never really get to discuss a case, just words like "Room 14 needs someone from Building environemtnal services or finding out which shows were to be watched when they got off shift. We needed to find people to find my nurse - but because she worked at a different desk (on the same floor in the same ER) no one who was on the floor knew where she was.

So why is medicine as messed up as it currently seems to be right now? I have a few theories, but they aren't yet fully formes. As they get there I would love to bounce them off someone. Anybody want to be a voice on a new theory that may get no where but inte ret glory - please let me know!

Obviously feeling better than 12 Noon m

Quite honestly - I have theories, but none of them based in study of science. And for all I know - there are more than theory out there. Any ideas, ladies and gents? The soapbox is yours.

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