Archive for the “Adventures in US Healthcare” Category

I’m getting older

Monday, February 11th, 2008

Ok. This is true for our entire lives. But there seems to be a moment when you get it. My moment came today.

1) I had my first dermatologist all-over check. I’m healthy but sans “age spots.”

2) Blue Cross sent me a little card saying: Your monthly premiums are going to go from $204 to $349. Happy Birthday.

The moment says “take good care of this thing you have called a body because, otherwise, the visits to the mechanic are going to get expensive.

Life so far has gotten beter every year, and I expect it to continue on this pat. You couldn’t pay me to be 14 again.

ulnar nerve palsy update

Wednesday, December 5th, 2007

ulnar nerve palsy update, originally uploaded by

photo taken 12/3/07

accident 10/06

2nd surgery 3/07

Original post +  photo  6/13/07  

The nerve is regenerating some! My doctor was amazed. Some sensation in parts back. Still major loss of strength + agility. Thanks to those others with UNP who have posted. It *can* grow back. Don’t know how/if belief and good vibes affected this but it didn’t hurt and helped my mood a lot.  

New kind of doctor

Friday, October 26th, 2007

This guy lives in Williamsburg NY, and has set up his practice to deal with the insanity that is the US health care system. He makes house calls. He focuses on prevention. He knows fonts.

He does not appear to be an “anal tool” as so many professional school students are, as so many families and schools encourage us to be. What do I mean by this term of art? Someone who has so focused their attention on what is called achievement and approval that they are identified with it to the point that they have forgotten their own nature as a human being and thus, the nature of others. This completes the the tail chasing.

Let’s flow chart this shall we since I don’t have an index card on hand:

desire to help others>

desire to become doctor><social mirroring says “achieve” thus achieve>become doctor>

desire to achieve>

become doctor>become anal tool>treat diseases> achieve treatment/forget patient+healing>

Of course this is a dynamic, like all things are. So the patients/business of the anal tool doctors generally go like this:

forget self>become ill>become patient>look for solution>find achieving anal tool doctor

My sweetie is in med school and Dr. Jay gives me hope for possibility. Stacey wants to have a balanced, healthy life and help others to do so as a physician. Unfortunately, the medical education system doesn’t make it possible to have one while you’re in it. Interesting system that implies “We must make you sick to help you learn to assist others in getting well.”

Thanks cheesebikini.

Getting some nerve back: nature + faith

Wednesday, June 13th, 2007

ulnar nerve palsyEver since my accident last October, I haven’t been able to feel my pinky finger on my left hand, or part of the ring finger, or the front and back of the hand below those fingers.How big a deal is a pinky finger you might ask?I might have thought it wasn’t that big a deal before I lost the ability to feel and really use mine.You’d be amazed at how often you use that finger. Among other things, I now know I would use it to:cutting your foodholding a wineglassrock climbingplaying hockeydriving the carputting on a ponytailclappingholding handsholding anythingquality lesbian sexkeyboardingWestern medicine calls what I have ulnar nerve palsy. Turns out that our nerves supply the charge to your muscles. Without that charge, the muscles atrophy (check out the big scoop between my thumb and forefinger and then look at your own). All this means that after months and months of therapy I now have a left hand that’s about half as strong as my right hand and nowhere near as delft or agile.So what do the doctors have to say about all this Will it come back to normal?They’re quite succinct: “we don’t know.”Other than physically manipulating my fingers every day so that they don’t stay too “clawed” (as you can see) when the nerve comes back, there’s not much to do.Not having anything to do or any knowledge if I’m going to get this back has been difficult. i’ve seen a holistic chiropractor who has encouraged me to hum to send energy down the fluid around the nerve. I’ve also been encouraged to imagine / visualize using my left hand normally as well as my right hand to keep the neural pathways open and healing. One energy healer at a party did reiki on it and another friend prayed for it.Energy healing is a frickin hilarious punchline, until you need it (ok, even if you need it, it’s still pretty funny).Basically I’ve stepped into the large void in which science has not yet given us answers. And so what is there? Faith. Faith that it will come back, that my attitude and belief can help make that happen.I have chosen that for the very rational reason that it’s the only thing I can do and I very much wish to do something. Holding the attitude of “we’ll see whatever the hell happens to my hand happens” is not so comforting.In the off chance there is some yet-to-be-charted quantum affect of my attitude and mental decision affecting my body’s healing, then I certainly have nothing to lose and everything to gain by doing it.I suppose that goes for the prayer and the energy healing too.The great news is that this week’s EMG revealed that my nerve has regenerated some. Why this has happened I don’t know. Medicine doesn’t seem to know either. They conjecture that the surgery relieved some pressure on the nerve. But do I now look to science and faith to encourage the rest of whatever healing I’ll get.All science has to say to me at the moment is, “I don’t know” and “You’ll get whatever you’re going to get within 18 months of the surgery” which was last March.Is faith just a way of approaching what science can’t yet explain?My belief and mind can say whatever I choose to have them say.I choose full recovery.What do you think?

new scar

Thursday, March 8th, 2007

This is what I look like 1 week after surgery. Now I know why Frankenstein was green. It’s amazing how the body can change from trauma. Also amazing that it knows how to heal itself as well as it does.

Many thanks for all of your good wishes and IMs. They really have helped my spirits.

My scar

Friday, December 29th, 2006

If I had a tattoo

Very O. G. : original gimp.

Representin’ all the underinsured. Real bloods: Holla!

My ambulance bill

Monday, December 25th, 2006

Ambulance bill in San Francisco: $1,339.23
Ambulance bill in Toronto: $48
Not bleeding to death on the bridge next to the Giants Ballpark: priceless

Thank you United States, for teaching me the financial worth of my life.

Thanks to Casket Coach on flickr for pointing out that American Medical Response is a Canadian-owned company. Oh, the irony.

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