Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Industry On Parade

The title is from a 1960's television series. One of those Sunday morning documentary programs designed to fulfill the 'public service' portion of a broadcast license requirements. While extolling the virtues of American industry and business, with no labor unrest, no liability lawsuits, or environmental concerns. A sunny day in America.

A higher level of those was 'The 20th Century' as narrated by Walter Cronkite. It was higher budget and gave a very cursory review of history still within the memories of much of the populace. Again, with no discouraging words, no mention of Jim Crow, no word about the slowly devolving cities or the growing discontent among the young. Another sunny day, not a cloud in the sky.

But, that's neither here nor there. The point of this pointless exercise is to decry the industrialization of American healthcare.

Some may remember my episode of falling flat on my face last January. Since then, I've been to a few specialists, including a cardiologist associated with a large Pennsylvania hospital chain, spreading, ooze-like, across this state. Consolidating into larger building and turning smaller hospitals into band-aid stations.

They gutted the services available at my small town's hospital just one year after pushing news stories about how much better it was doing financially under the new ownership. After all, we're sure you won't bleed to death from that crushed femoral artery while we drive you in an ambulance across the highest point on interstate 80, at 2 am, in a snowstorm, dancing our way around jack-knifed tractor-trailers, and people up from Florida who don't yet realize that this white stuff on the roads is actually the traction equivalent of lithium grease on a mirror.

But hey, why should I care? After all I recently moved from my small home town into the neighboring big(ger) city which has the hospital that the ambulances now come to.

They've been engaged in a one-company building boom, adding a big, shiny new emergency/trauma center. In fact the very same one I released myself from, AMA, last January. Along with a new trauma center has come an amazing number of helicopter 'life-flights' - a certain number of which make a final approach directly over my house, daily. And nightly.

But hey, crushed femoral arteries wait for no man, right? But, that's really not here or there in my tale, either.

To segue back to my main point, such as it is.

I was referred to a local cardiologist, whose name and appearance simply do not come close to matching. An old English name mated to ancient Calcutta genetics. I do not hold that against him. He is friendly, he is intelligent, he is obviously highly competent and knowledgeable in his field. He was the one who ordered the EEG (no organic damage) and the week-long joy of a carry-along heart monitor which showed a pure sinus rhythm. Based on those, he switched around my BP meds, changing one that always worked for me into one that had my Blood Pressure cycling between 176/102 down to 124/81. Within 24 hours. In one day. Sigh.

So. all afternoon Sunday, I was having palpitations (what a quaint word for such a frightening occurrence) matched at time by dull pains in the center of my chest and sometime sharp pains in the center of my chest and upper back. The same continued Monday morning. I got myself up, showered, deressed, while ignoring shaving, and went to work. The manager demurred when I suggested she keep a watch over me in case of a major coronary infarction (I've always wanted to use that in a sentence) and sent me home, instead. Sigh, again.

I'd already had a follow up appointment with my cardiologist for 2 pm Monday, so I kept that, fluttering and twinging all the way. And NOW, we come to the point, finally.

I arrived for my appointment, was not kept waiting for long, and was taken in for the standard pre-examination things, weight, blood pressure, etc.

I explained to the office nurse about my wildly fluctuating pressures over the last few days, as well as all the dozens of chest twinges, flutterings, palpitations, etc. She seemed concerned and said she was going off to find my doctor.

Twenty minutes later he arrived, moving with the speed of a demented hummingbird. I started to tell him the same I'd told the nurse, he talked over me less than halfway through my first sentence. About the pressure not the heart, and added a second pressure med. I started again, and he again talked over me, dictating order for the nurse to type into my records. He apparently was listening to the extent that he diagnosed me with angina, as well as something else I did not recognize the name of.

He told the nurse to set up blood tests, and a chemical stress test. This to be done in two weeks. He offered nothing for the actual symptoms of the angina. As the nurse was getting things set up for the tests, I had two more jolts. Then two more as I walked back to my car. I could do nothing about them, as he'd done nothing.

Don't take me wrong, I actually like and respect this doctor. He is obviously very skilled in his field, as well as smart, funny and friendly. But what he also is, is far too busy to take the time to actually talk to his patients, even to the extent of minor reassurance.

I drove home, sat for a while, had another small jolt, ten called the cardiology office and fired him.

My Primary Care Physician is now scrambling to find me a cardiologist to replace him. It will have to be in a nearby town, as everyone in that field here is also associated with this hospital and cardiology group.

I felt, and feel, as though I was a product on an assembly line. That the whole purpose was getting me in and out with minimal time spent. I felt, and feel, as though my concerns simply did not matter, my fears were ignored, as were my symptoms.

Industrial Medicine On Parade.

Oddly, after firing them, I went for more than a full day without a single twinge or jolt, worked my regular hours Tuesday, and felt fine. I've had a couple very minor since then.

As of 12:16 AM on May 9th, my BP readings were 132/77 with a pulse of pulse 90.

I am going to post this with proofing, too tired.


  1. That was, of course, meant to be 'post withOUT proofing" which proves the statement

    1. This is a topic in formal logic. "I am going to post this with proofing" is a kind of Gödel string.

      I sh!t you not, as we said in grade school.

      (Or maybe you didn't. I had a foul mouth (because my parents did lol even though they did their best to cover that up.))

      But mostly, hang in there Dances.

  2. Funny, I got the email telling me about Lewy's comment but not when this was originally posted -- so I am a bit late to the party.

    As for my reaction to the post: don't get me started.

  3. Has anyone tried Discarded Lies, recently? I kept a link to my stories on my old PC, but now that I've tried on the new one, I cannot find it. That was the only place my stories were saved, dammit

    1. It's been gone for a very long time. Everything was removed.

  4. Lewy, have I told you lately that I love you? THANK YOU so much