Something's bugging me and it's not the fact that the bug in that photo is slighly out of focus.
A few months ago, my brother of TravelMarx, had a bad flu or virus. Despite having a flu vaccination, his illness was out of the ordinary, symptoms were severe and hung on longer than usual so he went to the doctor. His doctor brushed it off as a flu, made him feel that he was a hypochondriac and sent him home, with no testing. The flu-like symptoms eventually went away.
A few weeks ago, my brother was having difficulty reading. His eyes grew very tired and he even had some trouble seeing. Eventually he covered one eye to check his vision, he discovered one of his eyes had a huge portion that was completely blurred and grayed out. He immediately went to an eye doctor who diagnosed a severe infection. They'd never seen an infection take such an aggressive approach. The doctor took DNA samples (needle stuck in the eyeball, yikes) immediately as well as gave him a shot in the eye of antivirals just to be safe and to get a jump-start at preventing the infection from spreading to the other eye. At the time, the doctor had no clue to what the infection was but took enough samples to run many tests. Meanwhile, the doctor gave him the grim news: he lost 40% of his vision in one eye--permanently.
Testing came back a day later: toxoplasmosis, an infection you can get from cat feces or eating or raw pork meat. My brother doesn't have a cat. And I'm fairly certain he ensures any pork he eats is fully cooked. But the point is, a simple blood test done 2 months ago, when he was exhibiting unusual and severe flu-like symptoms, would have saved his vision.
This is no different from what thousands of Lyme patients face regularly from their doctors. Doctors continue to diagnose patients who exhibit a variety of symptoms with hypochondria, depression, anxiety disorder and somatoform disorder. I've even seen cases where doctors have yelled at teenagers telling them to stop pretending while the teenager is having a grand mal seizure. Meanwhile, the infection from Lyme and other tick diseases go unchecked for years until it gets so severe, the patient is debilitated, unable to work, function or move.
I have many problems with the healthcare system in our country. One being that medical doctors continue to diagnosis psychiatric conditions. They hand out antidepressants and anti-anxiety prescriptions like candy and few seek to actually refer patients to psychiatrists or psychologists. I truly believe standard MDs have no business prescribing any type of psychiatric medication without first referring to a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist. Would a family practitioner give chemotherapy without referring to a onccologist?
I'm also at a loss as to when doctors in this country have become so apathetic. Twenty years ago, I started my communications career in healthcare. I saw the beginning of captitated healthcare systems and HMOs and though I was in perfect health then and could benefit greatly from this cheap and easy system, it never sat well in my subconscious. Over the years I began to see the influence of insurance companies on physicians and it scared me. The doctors didn't like it and patients with fairly serious health issues didn't like it either. The tension between merging medical groups and hospitals became so severe and rage-filled, I had to leave the industry.
On the last post and a post about Juno's recovery from tick disease, I raised the question on why our healthcare system can't be as good as our vets? The answer seems obvious: because insurance companies have yet to mandate to vets how long to spend with a patient, how to diagnose a patient or fit them into a single neat little diagnosic box with a pill to cure it.
It's no secret that people with HMOs spend no more than 5-10 minutes with their doctor each visit. I no longer have an HMO, thankfully. My insurance coverage while treating Lyme is better than most but hardly acceptable. Like most Lymies, each month we spend thousands out of pocket to treat my illness. For my doctor visits, I don't pay a $5, $10 or $20 co-pay. I pay out of pocket to see my doctor and get reimbursed for only a portion of it. On the other hand, I can see who I want and my Lyme doctors, who do not partner with insurance companies, spend an hour, sometimes more, with me, each visit. I've never felt more cared for in my life. When I had my blood clot crisis, for two weeks they called me daily to check on me. How many of you with HMOs can say your doctor does that?
Something has to change in this country. Our healthcare system is literally killing us.
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