Monday, January 22, 2007

Should we really have to fight for adequate healthcare?

When I was growing up, my mother (a registered nurse) always taught us that the doctor knows best---after all, he/she had 8 years of college plus a residency under their belt. As an adult, I've experienced firsthand the flaw in that theory. Doctors are people....fallible people....people with personalities...with likes and dislikes...they aren't super-human as I once thought. Before you even get to the doctor, you have to buy insurance (otherwise you probably won't be going to the doctor unless it's an emergency...) which isn't cheap. Some jobs don't have their insurance benefits "kick in" until you've been an employee for a certain amount of time. It frustrates me to see prisoners at the Federal prison near the town where I live receive top notch medical treatment at a world famous hospital while some 1st graders at my daughter's school have no insurance whatsoever. I get pretty mad when I dwell on that too long....

Anyways, if you are blessed enough to have insurance, you go to the doctor, but what happens when the doctor is rude or condescending or unwilling to look at the symptoms of the illness from a current perspective. 100 years ago, doctors would sometimes cut your arms and "bleed" out the illness....that would NEVER fly today. That is the "fresh" or current perspective I'm talking about...albeit an exaggerated example. My daughter clearly had a viral infection that was going around the school, but we ended up having a bizarro doctor when we took her in and the lady told her to eat more fiber! I was ticked off. Why can't you just look a doctor in the eye and say "That's ridiculous. You must be smoking crack."?

The mental health field is even "better." Finding a counselor or even a psychologist/psychiatrist that you feel comfortable with is not the easiest task. Sometimes gender plays an issue. Sometimes you want to talk to someone who has similar religious beliefs to those that you have. And psychologists/psychiatrists have different approaches that they take to therapy. Some believe in a very psychodynamic approach where they isolate the patient's therapy---closing out family, etc.....while others want to include at times anyone who is very influential like your spouse, child, parent, etc....Virtually all mental illness is only diagnosed through patient experience and symptoms which adds even more complexity to the situation. At least with cancer you can run blood tests and perform biopsies and know for certain "It's cancer." With mental illness, you don't have that 'luxury'. After much observation, the psych doctor says "I think it's this....or you have symptoms consistent with that...." Certainty in the mental illness field is virtually unheard of. What is thought to be severe depression turns out to be the depression side of manic depression (bipolar disorder)....or what is thought to be OCD is really schizophrenia...the list goes on....

In light of all this uncertainty, you add in a doctor's fallibility and it is a recipe for utter medical chaos. When two doctor's have seen you and they disagree---should we really have to fight for proper care or are we destined to sit back and watch the pissing contest? Why can't I ask for my daughter to have a female counselor and actually have her assigned to a female counselor? Why does she have to be assigned to a male for 2 months---just to see if they are a "fit"---and then put in a request for the female counselor that we asked for to begin with? Why do we have to push doctors (in many cases) to get the result that we need? I know that doctors aren't omniscient/omnipotent. I know they are human...but I'm tired of having to fight for the medical care that my family deserves. Thanks for listening to me rant....tomorrow I'm sure everything will be just ducky again....


Kathy said...

Hey sis,
I'm sorry you are having so much trouble. You keep fighting for what you know your family needs.
I truely believe that "mom" knows best sometimes and not the doctors. It must be even more true with mental issues.
That connection between mom and baby is created when they were created in us. It gets stronger, not weaker.
Although most doctors have great intentions, there is no way they can be as intimate with our situation as we (the mom) are.

We know our kids. We are their protectors. We are the ones who fight on their behalf.

Kathy said...

Forgot to add the pep talk part!

You are doing a great job! Do we really have to fight for adequate healthcare? You bet we do! Get out your boxing gloves!

Win the battle and you'll feel 'Just Ducky'!!