Sunday, July 03, 2011

How to Get Fucked by THE SYSTEM, using one easy algorithm

Step One: Go see a doctor about a medical condition.

Step Two: Repeat Step One until properly reamed.

This method is guaranteed to work! I have a brief testimonial of my own:

Too bad the doctors can't find cancer 100% of the time - even if it is pointed out to them. The fucking doctors have basically killed my mother by taking more than a year to run the appropriate tests to diagnose her medical condition, despite the fact that I begged them too, as did she. But instead they pussy-footed around, following "protocol" and refusing to go the extra millimeter. Here recently the asshole doctors wouldn't even check her into the hospital when she was clearly starving to death because Medicare protocols would not allow her to be checked in for "fatigue" unless she was then released solely to a nursing home. They thought we wouldn’t like that. (Matter of fact, we wouldn’t.) But the fucking worthless doctors didn't even tell us this was why they were foot-dragging until it didn't matter.

No, they told me that shortly before putting Mom in the hospital for dehydration. Once she was in, they started running the tests. The asshole doctors then found a big fucking tumor in her chest. The fucking worthless doctors then acted surprised when we informed them that Mom had been having chest & shoulder pain for over a year. This despite the fact that she had been complaining about it for the whole goddamned time to those same fucking doctors.

Turns out it is probably thymic carcinoma. If they had found it earlier it could have been removed surgically. But that doesn't seem to be possible now that it has wrapped itself around her aorta, pulmonary artery, and other extremely valuable bits of whatnot near her heart. Now if they had found it a year ago....

(They have also found a kidney problem. Mom has been complaining about lower back pain for over two years. None of them bothered to figure that out either. Turns out she has an obstruction leading out of her right kidney. Two years of pain meant nothing to those fucking twats – it was probably just a twisted colon because she didn’t eat enough fiber.)

Of course, time is of the essence now for any treatment. Which is why it has been over three weeks since the cancer was discovered and the fucking doctors still have their collective thumbs up their asses. We're SUPPOSED to start radiation therapy on Wednesday, but I imagine that will get screwed up somehow. For that matter, they still haven't told us if the tumor board that decides which cases are operable has even discussed her case yet. We have called three of the fucking doctors involved, and none of them have contacted us yet. Her case was supposed to be reviewed on the Wednesday before last. It wasn't. Then it was supposed to be reviewed this last Wednesday. No idea if it was or not. Of the three fucking doctors that are on her case and that actually sit on the tumor board, one has told us he has no idea because he missed this week's meeting, one has been unavailable because he has been doing nothing but heart and lung surgery since Wednesday (apparently non-stop, as he hasn't even been able to inform his staff of anything), and the third has just been unavailable.

Fucking doctors have fucked us but good. The worst isn't that my mother is dying. At 83 that is not unexpected. The worst is that she is dying a needlessly painful death because of their fucking vacillations and protocols.

No, that isn't the worst. The worst is that we've seen this before, when the VA fucked over my father-in-law in the same manner over a decade ago. (Three cheers for government run healthcare! {crickets} ) The same needless vacillations over protocols and indifference that are killing Mom now killed him then, and at the ripe old age of 58. They did it to my brother too a few years later, though in his case there was probably nothing they could have done even if they had hurried up and done their jobs.

No, that isn't the worst of it either. The worst of it is that Mom has been out of the hospital a mere 14 days and the bills from the doctors have already started to come in. How’s that for efficiency? My favorite is (one of the many) $85 charge(s) from Mom's primary for visiting the patient in her hospital room. Get this - he had to travel a couple of hundred feet to an elevator, take the elevator up one floor, and then travel another couple of hundred feet to get to her from his one and only office. No wonder he wants compensation. But this one particular visit itself is the beautiful part of the story. He breezes into her room on a Friday evening at 6 pm, says “I can’t take any questions because I have to go pack for my vacation” and then tells my mother, sister and brother-in-law that Mom has inoperable stage 4 lung cancer. “Goodbye.”

Apparently his trip got delayed for a couple of days because he showed up again at 6:40 am on Monday morning. Same story, similar bedside manner. But 90 minutes later the oncologist comes in and tells us another story entirely – thymic carcinoma, probably stage 2 or 3, probably operable, decent prospects for five year survival. "But we need to get her into surgery by the end of this week!" (That was nearly three weeks ago.) Holy fucking shit. The two of them had been looking at the same reports and scans.

But the surgeon thinks the cancer is more advanced than that, as he doesn’t see the delineations he would see in an earlier stage. And the radiation oncologist doesn’t think any of those diagnoses are correct, but what the fuck, let’s zap the fucker ten times anyway. It’s a living, for him anyway.

Taking care of Mom out of the hospital has been fun too. Orlando is a test market for new Medicare procedures. Apparently this is part of the new Obama-care reforms. Outstanding. There is now a competitive bidding process for vendors – only those that win bids from Medicare can be reimbursed by Medicare for supplying a given item. So, we’re getting the enteral feeding stuff (that’s Jevity for those keeping score at home) from Binson’s. But they can’t supply the walker, wheelchair or oxygen. Nope. We got the wheelchair from some outfit called Apria, IIRC, and I probably don’t. And they, of course, couldn’t supply the walker or oxygen. We needed a third outfit (Sunbelt) for the oxygen. The walker is the best part. We can get one from Colonial Medical Supply. The basic model would end up costing us $9.95 plus tax after the Medicare reimbursement. My sister thought we should go with another model. Now that walker would end up costing us $68.95 plus tax after Medicare reimbursements. Or we can get it for $75 at Binson's and not have to drive to Colonial Medical Supply. Yep, the winning bidder is actually selling it for substantially more than the losing bidder, if you factor in Medicare’s part too. Thank God for healthcare reform. Maybe we’ll get some someday.

So now we wait and see if Mom can even survive to the first radiation treatment. The fucking doctors have diddled for over a year on the diagnosis, and they continue to diddle on whether or not to tell us which (if any) treatment from which (if any) fucking doctor she should get.

But it is good to know that the FDA is protecting that noble profession from any possible challenges from technology. If only the buggy-whip manufacturers had as good a lobby over 100 years ago we could have avoided the entire GM/Chrysler bail-out mess.

So if you want to know why I haven’t been around much, and why I have been extremely pissed off (even by my standards) when I am around, that’s it. My mother is getting fucked by government regulations and intrusions, the private sector, and the “noble” profession of organized medicine. (“You’re dead. Now where’s my $85?”) All I see anywhere I look these days are a few groups of very powerful people lookiing to suck the world dry for their own team, and fuck the rest of us. I just hope I live long enough to see the world burn. The looks of surprise will be fucking priceless.

* I don’t believe Cassandra realized the one advantage she did have – that is, she should have known where the best seats would have been to view any given comeuppance. Come on, C, we’s gots to get our jollies whence we can!

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