August 25, 2015

affordable care part II

     I lay face down as the tech prepped the area where they would be drilling a hole guided by a CT scanner into my bone to collect a bone marrow sample all in an effort to finally determine whether I have cancer or not.
     "Are you sure you don't want to be sedated?" the tech asks with a slight bit of concern. 
     "Trust me. Neither I nor you want me getting propofol or fentanyl. I'll start vomiting. And I'm talking projectile style. And y'all will have to clean up an awful mess. I'm fine with a small dose of dilaudid and versed."
     "You're the doctor."  Even as a patient, I'm addressed as doctor. I can't help it. It's not that I'm pretentious or want the prestige. It's just who I am. While waiting, a nurse began asking about diabetes drug options so I gave a list of options to bring up the next time they saw their doctor. The patient, sorry I was the patient and they the healthcare worker, walked away armed with far more information than they had before. And it just feels so natural to me. 
     The IV meds are pushed and the metal rod about the size of a good sized Phillips screwdriver is bored into my bone. The interventional radiologist scans me with the CT and then readjusts it. Repeat several times. And I'm not thinking about the physical pain. Acute pain I can handle just fine. It's the chronic one that wears me down. No, I'm wondering why did this take so long? Why did I wait with the potential diagnosis of cancer looming over me? In a word, Money. I had it scheduled before I was to start residency. After all, it was a lot easier to do then with respect to scheduling. But with my "affordable" care act insurance, this procedure was going to cost me $4,000. To quote the infamous Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride to the government, "I do not think that word means what you think it means." So I had to wait until I started residency and got on a good insurance plan. So here I lay with a rod being shoved back and forth now able to get the necessary test run because I'm fortunate enough to be in the right labor pool. I am grateful for being able to finally get the test but I'm also not naive enough to think that our healthcare problem and it's looming insolvency is moving in the right direction. 

No comments: