2010-05-14 / Letters

A Sad Medical Story

Dear Editor,

Would you be kind enough to publish this human interest story? And maybe it will shed some light on how our money is spent on insurance companies, doctors, specialists, and so on. I will leave out names and places in order not to offend anyone.

Last January I was admitted to the hospital because I was urinating blood and it was extremely painful. It was shortly after I realized that doctors have their disliking for one another.

In my situation I got a doctor that didn’t know my background about my kidney stone problem even though I tried to convince him that I just passed a kidney stone and that was the reason I was in the hospital. I told him my kidney doctor’s name. I told him that I had a kidney stone that was tied up in a precarious position and my kidney doctor told me it was better to leave it alone since it was doing no harm and that one day it would free itself and come out. Then the testing started.

The this, the that, more blood testing, more and more of everything. “Well you didn’t have a kidney stone. Our x-rays don’t show a kidney stone,” the hospital doctor said. “You must follow up on why you were admitted to the hospital. You will have to come to my office for further testing,” he continued. I’m looking right at him and thinking. “You nitwit. I just explained to you about my kidney stone. Of course the x-rays didn’t show it. I passed it before coming to the hospital, and why don’t you just step to the next door outside your office and get my records from my kidney doctor?” It’s all about insurance.

Shortly after being released from the hospital I developed a headache. It was constant and annoying. It was something you could do without, but it was also something you could live with. I was recommended to a specialist. “Here we go again,” I’m thinking, but off I go to the specialist. More blood tests, more specialists, more of everything imaginable. I never knew there were so many specialists in the world. By the time I finished with the specialists and their prescriptions I honestly believe that most of them never knew I was there because I had a headache, but the insurance coverage was good, and my headache was just as good as it was when I started.

One night I went to my favorite watering hole for a pint of Guinness. The bartender had been in the hospital and we were discussing our problems in barroom language. A few stools away from me there was a drunk just about ready to fall on his ass. He had his head down far enough to make him look like a half moon shape. He looked like he was asleep. He would sway slowly to the right, and just before his descent to the floor he would catch his balance and slowly repeat the motion to the opposite side. Back and forth he kept going in his own world in perfect rhythm with something or other. He reminded me about the time a fellow like him was leaving the bar and another character like him was coming in and said to him. “Thank God you are driving, because you are in no condition to walk.”

Suddenly he raised his head and looked at me and said in a firm loud slurred tone. “Why the hell don’t you get yourself a pair of f———-ing glasses?” and he went back to his rocking. I looked at him and thought to myself. “Why the hell don’t you mind your own f——-ing business you moron?” About a half a minute later his crude suggestion rang a bell.

I was home from the hospital a few weeks when a doctor from the insurance company called me and said I should go and see an optometrist. At the time I thought nothing of it since I was seeing just about every doctor in Rockaway and the Five Towns and surely one of them would tell me to do that after going through between twenty and thirty thousand dollars worth of insurance on tests, but no solution for the headache I was still carrying around. Oh well, what the heck, I might as well listen to the drunk and I made an appointment with an eye doctor. After the testing the eye doctor said. “Oh boy, do you need glasses? You keep walking around like this and you will get headaches you won’t believe.” I really believe the eye doctor thought I had lost my mind because I took a fit of laughing that I couldn’t control. I got the glasses and two days later my headache was gone.

JOHN BAXTER

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