Friday, June 25, 2010

Answers and more questions

Okay, I FINALLY got my test results back on Tuesday: everything is in normal ranges. For two of the tests, my scores were pretty much in the dead center. For the last, it was toward the lower end of normal but not so much so that it was cause for concern.

I have answers, but I still have more questions. I was up at this week's weigh-in ... it wasn't entirely unexpected but really, can one blowout meal cause that much of a gain? No. I still think there is SOMETHING going on, and while it's not my thyroid, I don't know what it could be.

But I have bigger fish to fry right now: my mother's health. She has been feeling puny (that's a Southern phrase) for about 2 weeks. She went to the doctor last week because she could not kick a feeling of nausea. It would just come in waves but never so strong as to actually make her upchuck. Just that awful feeling of "I'm gonna be sick, I'm gonna be sick, no wait, yes, no...." So the doctor gave her some Phenergan and sent her home. By Tuesday, she still was sick, same symptoms, so she went back. He was concerned enough to send her for a chest x-ray, thinking that she might have some pneumonia. She is also having trouble breathing.

Those test results came back -- in only a day, but hey, I'm not bitter.... Oh, no. It's not pneumonia. It's pericardial effusion -- or in layman's terms, "fluid around the heart." So they sent her home with some diuretics and instructions to change up some of her medicines (dosages, timing, etc.) and to start moving.

Okay, I'm thrilled that she's now being forced to get off her rump and do something. But let me also tell you: everything I have read about this condition is like, "Further testing is needed to determine the cause of the effusion." Apparently there are different fluids meaning different types of conditions. So can someone tell me just why a test isn't being called for, post-haste?

I get the idea of managed care. Really. I do. In the past two years, both working in HR/Benefits and with my own medical needs, I have learned more about health plans, etc. etc. than I ever imagined needing to know. I get that insurance would prefer to try step remedies - if a lower cost, easier-to-the-patient idea will work, use it. Like you wouldn't use a tourniquet on a paper cut. I get all that. But I do. not. get. at. all. why you wouldn't call for a test when it is so obviously needed. I just went through it myself -- why'd my test results take two weeks? Because they had to be sent off to a specific group for testing, otherwise my insurance would not cover it. I'm still wondering if they'll cover it all because I had a similar test done just last July (11 months ago). It wasn't the exact same test -- that was a TSH, these three were the TTR, T3, and T4. Just different enough that it might be okay.

This isn't a political rant about healthcare legislation. This is a rant about the state of health care in general, not just in the US. Why is it so difficult to get the answers we need without having to prove ourselves? THAT, my friends, is just as sorry as not being able to get coverage because it's too expensive. I am tired of some CFO making a decision about my health instead of me and my doctor. I am tired of having coverage or payment determined by an underwriting manual instead of a doctor saying, "Yes, this is necessary, so cover it. Period." If you've never read The Rainmaker by John Grisham, do so, because it will give you a good perspective on the subject. Yes, it's fiction, but with so much of Grisham's work, I wonder how much really is fiction. Same with Runaway Jury - if half of what was presented as the scientific data in the trial scenes is based on actual scientific research, then my God, why would you ever light up?

Okay, I'm coming down from the soapbox now. It's Friday, it's a good day, and I am going to make the best of it. I am going to arm myself with all the information I need to make not only good decisions for myself but for those I love as well. And if I have to advocate for change, so be it.

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