The temptation of a couple hundred dollars forced me to schedule and attend a yearly physical with my doctor. A few questions and a little bit of listening had her ordering an electro-cardiogram and then declaring that I must have had a heart attack. Evidently, my heart sounds different than the old heart with the murmur.
One stress test later, I'm told that I have nothing to worry about except for "conditioning" according to the cardiologist at the hospital. A quick prescription for cholesterol meds to ward off future heart attacks or strokes, and I'm released back into the crowd.
And then my husband got sick. Really sick. His blood pressure was 212/110, and they monitored him for about an hour. He had a bladder infection, hypertension, and a rotten cold. The whole situation happened so quickly--yes, we were distracted by my batch of rotten news and threatening tests (including a biopsy for cancer screening--100% clear) but he was sick less than 48 hours before showing me a toilet full of blood. Not to be graphic, but it was alarming. Not to worry--emergency ordered him antibiotics, they calmed him down, tested everything, and monitored his heart rate. They took all these results and filed them with his name in an inscrutable file. Why? Because my husband has no PPO.
He has no regular doctor. He can barely get a doctor to pay attention to him despite the high blood pressure. It's late February and the soonest new patient appointment I can get is July. Want to talk health care crisis? That is a crisis--we pay taxes, contribute to our health care costs, try to live within our budget, and there's no doctor when you need one.
Forget universal health care, we need health care for people who pay for it. Richly. Constantly.
J D Cooper
Author of the Lilac Hill series, The Portia Journal, other novels and countless short stories