The focus of this web site is medicine. In this blog, you’ll read about patient stories. The situations have been changed to be HIPAA compliant. You’ll also read a lot about health care policy. I may throw in posts about life lessons, computers, and will even throw in family stories once in a while. If you’re looking for articles about politics, sports, or celebrities, you’re in the wrong place – unless the topics have some relationship to medicine.
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Lets see. What’s new recently? Wrestling is officially over for the year. I happened to be the “trainer” for junior’s regional wrestling meet. Was busy most of the day. It seems as if the coaches give kids Coumadin before the meets. I haven’t seen so many nosebleeds in a long time … except maybe last year when I was the “trainer” for a wrestling meet. Not only nosebleeds, but there were also head injuries, an eye injury, and a broken arm. Nothing some 3 inch tape and gauze pads can’t handle, though. During the match, I had a firsthand experience of why the UnAffordable Care Act isn’t going to help as much as many people believe. Again, it boils down to the fact that healthcare insurance doesn’t equal healthcare access. A dad walked into the meet and from a distance I could tell he was having difficulty breathing. He was stopping every so often while he was walking so that he could lean on the wall or sit down and catch his breath. He made his way over to me and asked for a favor. Could I write him a prescription for ciprofloxacin? He had these same symptoms with pneumonia in the past and that is what his doctor prescribed to clear it up. This dad is a great guy, but he doesn’t live the healthiest lifestyle. He smokes. He’s heavy. He drinks quite a bit. I also knew from previous discussions that he had a history of anemia. There were literally 10 diseases that popped into my head that could have been causing his trouble breathing – besides pneumonia. “You really have to go to the hospital. You need blood work and a chest x-ray, not a prescription for antibiotics. Besides, even if this is pneumonia, ciprofloxacin probably isn’t going to help. And if the pneumonia is bad enough to be causing you trouble breathing, you’ll need to be admitted anyway. This is serious.” “I can’t afford it. The doctor’s visit will be $75, the chest x-ray will be $250, and my insurance won’t pay for any of it. I am having trouble paying my bills as it is.” “But this is your life. I would rather see you have to pay a couple extra bills and be around for your kids.” “I’ll be okay.” I kept an eye on him during the meet, and he ended up leaving early. I even texted him later in the day. He wrote back that he was okay as long as he was laying on the couch. I told them that I could call some people at the hospital to see if we could get him discounted testing performed. He said that he still couldn’t afford it. I hope I don’t read about him in the obituaries. It just sickens me that our government provides no-cost “insurance” for poverty-stricken people who earn no money, but many of the working poor get nothing but a mandate. If we’re going to make the system better, why can’t the government provide access to health care for everyone? More funky dreams. A few days ago I had a dream that Mrs. WhiteCoat and I were walking back to my pickup truck after dinner. We got there and the driver’s side door was open. Someone’s leg was hanging out of the door. I walked a little closer and asked the person what he was doing. “Is this your car?” “Yeah, what are you doing?” Then he reached back inside the truck, grabbed a shotgun, and pointed it at me. I tried to grab my pistol and run ...Read More »