Sometimes I get mad about some perceived grievance and say to myself, “self, I’m going to write a strongly worded letter or blog post perhaps to address this situation,” but after some time passes and I’ve had time to stew it over I realize that my grievances aren’t so grave and my anger passes.
Tonight I’m going to write a blog post before I get over my anger.
I’ve always had very good health and this last year’s experience with 5 different healthcare providers on the same issue has left me scratching my head about the cost of healthcare, the amount of waste, the general quality of healthcare in America.
You may recall awhile back I wrote about my wrist and the yearlong problem its had and then the minor surgery I had on it. After the surgery experienced some wrist pain for about a week and had to limit my activity. After ten days I returned to get the dressing removed and stitches cut. I was very clear that I wanted concise directions of how to care for the healing wound. It was actually hard to get a good answer and it seemed to annoy them that I asked for clarification. The directions boiled down to, don’t cover the wound, don’t put anything on the wound, keep the wound as dry as possible.
Most information I’ve read in the past has indicated that keeping a wound covered and moist was better for healing but I figured these guys were the pros and I’d follow their advice. Despite my best efforts I got the wound wet a few times, and the scabish tissue that was in the wound was gone soon leaving a big open hole in my wrist all the way to the fat tissue below. I continued to follow my doctor’s advice and not cover the wound or put anything on it until one day I noticed that it smelled rotten. Civil war amputations passed through my thoughts and I said directions be damned I’m going to cover this again. I cleaned it up with hydrogen peroxide, slathered some neosporin on it and bandaged it.
The next day I went in for my one month follow-up with the surgeon. They were confounded by the big crater and swollen red tissue around it. It occured to me that maybe I should have called when I noticed the smell? They made me an appointment with a wound specialist and told me to keep it covered.
That was a week ago and I have seen alot of improvement since I started keeping it covered and anointed in ointment. Today I visited the wound specialist which just happened to be on the other side of the state. They were surprised that I was told to keep it uncovered and dry and told me that wound heal best when they are moist and covered. After I gave three people my life history and was told I had hypertension they washed the wound, applied a drop of some kind of solution, applied a special pad and wrapped a bandage around it. After 12 hours it already looks much better and it noticeably smaller then this morning.
So I’m left wondering, why did I get completely different directions for treating this? Why does it cost more for a 15 minute visit then I earn in a days of work? WHy do you have to fill out a questionair that no one reads, answer the same questions in person with a nurse, then a Physician’s Assistant, and finally a Doctor? Why does my waitress at KB BBQ treat me better than the doctor/nurse/PA? When stitches are removed why do they throw away a perfectly good pair of scissors and forceps? Why do I have to see a specialist and drive halfway across the state to get a special pad and a bandage? Why does my blood pressure go up 15 points every time I step inside a doctor’s office?
OK there I’m done. I’m sure that almost everyone has had an annoying or far worse situation with the healthcare system and I know despite my whining I’m lucky. I have good insurance, a good job and good health. Other people have to try to make through a system that can literally work miracles for those that can afford them.