Monday, December 04, 2006

The Doctor Makes A house Call in 1963

My health care is making me sick

by Donna Mancini
Getting sick is high on my list of life’s biggest hassles these days! Excuse me if I am sounding like an “old fogie” when I reminisce about the “good old days;” but, I can’t help thinking back on my childhood (in the 50’s and the 60’s) when my mom and dad would call our family doctor who lived in the neighborhood.
Dr. Greenfield would keep my dad calmed down who was such a worry-wart that he would get sick along with me and my two sisters. Sometimes the doctor would just send a prescription, which I know is considered a no-no these days, however, I must confess to still being alive at the ripe old age of 55 and 7 months young! Other times we would go to his office, or would you believe he would even make a “house call.” For those of you who are too young to have experienced this extinct phenomena … this is when the doctor actually comes to see you at home. Yes, you get to lie in bed in your jammies, under the covers watching TV and eating popsicles where you belong when you are sick. Such a novel idea.
I fondly remember the time I was about 12, I had some kind of bug that had me blowing chunks (my son’s 90’s term) for several days. As usual my dad got sick along with me, so my mom would have two people to clean up after. In comes Dr. Greenfield, trying as always to relax my worried father. (I see the two of them playing ping-pong in the dining room?)
Unfortunately, Dr Greenfield died shortly thereafter of a massive heart attack in his forties. There may have been a line between his overzealous medical practice and his untimely death, or maybe it was in his “genes?” I don’t know what he charged for all of this, but there was no such thing as insurance and my parents were not wealthy. We just paid the bills as your health and your family are your own responsibility. After all, is that not what life is all about?
Needless to say, it was good while it lasted.
Contrast that to medical care in the present.
The first question I get asked when I pursue medical treatment is who is your insurance company and the responsible party. There is no one who is willing to give you any simple advice or reassurance for fear of being blamed for wrongdoing or sued for malpractice. The doctor that I had for 25 years, all my adult life, recently quit taking my insurance provider. Sure, I could pay out of pocket for office calls or non-catastrophic expenses in order to stay with him, but what if the “big one” does hit? Then what? No one else knows my history or me.
I am really upset over this, as just when I am getting old enough to need a doctor BOOM-he is gone!I felt comfortable with Dr. John. I trusted him personally and professionally. We had worked together at a local hospital where I was a dietitian. He knew my family and husband. He knew my quirks and neuroses. He had seen me “au natural.” This is a big deal to me - changing doctors. This is like getting a divorce and having to date again. I want my doctor back! I’m a person who won’t even change grocery stores because I know where the food is.
A few (10) years ago when my father died, my mother in her grief called her health plan only to find the last doctor who had seen her was no longer there. My mother, at age 71, could not get anyone to give her a Valium during her crisis! For this kind of care we pay BIG BUCKS. Hundreds and thousands of dollars? I think we were all better off before the big insurance companies and the government came to rescue us concerning our health care needs.
I have heard that you can get antibiotics at pet stores for fish, and they are the same thing people take. I recently bought a ten-pack of penicillin pills at the local pet supplier for 3.89 because I have been sick with “whatever” for nearly a month. I wimped out and did not take them due to all the warnings on the label discouraging what I was about to do! (Some people actually do read warning labels) I guess logic did dictate that I was different from my Cichlids. I have saved the pills for the next case of “ICK!” in our tank.
But, alas, I have survived despite any medical treatment at all other than some aspirin, a little wine, a few over the counter remedies, and advice from my handy home medical advisor.
I’ve read they are about to come out with a do-it-yourself PAP smear. I wish they would hurry up, as I am already overdue on that one too.
I am going to end it here. Too much talk about getting sick is bad for ones health! I’m going shopping to make myself feel really better.

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