We have a record-setting heatwave going on as I write this essay, which will be months after this essay publishes, but, through the heatwave, I had to figure out the physicality behind making sure not to overheat myself. Getting into and out of my bathtub is an acrobatic exercise because of how tall the bathtub is, but if it’s that or overheating, I’ll pick dealing with the familiar pain of movement over unfamiliar heat exhaustion.
Outside of that, things have been moving along, heathcare-wise.
The insurance I applied for recently went through as an approval, so now I need to select an insurance company to go through, then go from there. I wasn’t able to do that today because of the heat, and now I’m too tired to do a whole lot of investigative research, so maybe tonight or tomorrow I’ll chip away at figuring it out. It would be nice to go back to a doctor, but, I also feel burned out by them. Incompetent or malicious aren’t the words I would use to describe most of the doctors I saw, but definitely “non-empathetic” is how I would describe around half of them. They might performatively smile, greet me, and do legally-minimal work toward helping me, but some of those half were malicious in how they ping-ponged me from one doctor to the next.
Now that I am more comfortable recording conversations, that should improve.
I believe that the bad behavior of all of my doctors was due to the power dynamic. They controlled my life and they had no interest in serving my best interest, so any kind of weasel bullshit thing they could do, they did. If they see the live transcription recording their bunk advice, as the second pain doctor did, they – as he did – changed his behavior and went in a direction that could actually help me out. Even for a horrible human being like that, he can still help patients out, and besides, if I called him out specifically and had some kind of action done against him, that sort of bad behavior would persist, so long as the System as a whole allows this sort of behavior.
How do they allow this behavior?
Doctors in the United States have private conversations with their patients. I doubt most patients have a full or even partial understanding of the degree to which they are being treated or mistreated. I went to doctor after doctor with my spine problems getting worse and worse, and nothing was getting done. The doctor’s word is golden and no one second checks the advice of the doctor. Before my surgery, they had to review my doctor’s notes advising me to get surgery, which very easily could have been doctored [hmm] to appear as though surgery were the only option.
What if our conversations were recorded?
What if the reviewing doctor had that conversation to go off as well? There might be a need for doctors to speak to patients off-the-record, but there is too much potential for abuse there, as I’ve already experienced as, well, maybe not legally, but in my mind, abuse from most of these other doctors that took as many shortcuts as legally possible to give me some bullshit diagnosis and get me over to “a trusted expert” that would continue my care. They didn’t care. If this was my experience with the “best healthcare system in the world,” then I wonder how the rest of the world treats their patients?
Do they ignore patients as efficiently as I was ignored?
Do the doctors in other countries treat their patients like they’re a waste of time as much as I was made to feel this way? I know there are times when I might seem rude when it comes to how I comport myself, but whenever I talk to doctors, I try to be as professional and polite as possible, unless it was like the doctor that had a month between referral and treatment that did not have my patient records. What the fuck does that bastard doctor do with his day? How can he be OK with not having records? I saw him as a spine specialist, too, so it’s not like he was an urgent care or same-day treatment doctor.
He had nearly a month to get my records, but he failed me.
I thought about writing reports for all of these doctors, but how much effort is that compared to the value I’ll receive? The bastard doctors will just be moved around to different clinics or hospitals. We need to be the ones to change the culture and force doctors to be less able to manipulate us. Recording conversations is a start. I don’t know if complaining to insurance companies is the next step, because who’s to say they’ll even do anything about it? They say it helps them influence their choices of who to use for insurance, but I doubt it does much.
Complaining publicly might do something.
Whether it’s anonymously like this or on doctors’s review boards, that might help, but I don’t know. It’s frustrating that I have to complain like this, with essentially no resolution, because what else can I do? I had to choose today between staying cool in a bathtub and doing almost anything else, were I able to drive out to somewhere where I might stay in an air-conditioned building. Instead, I didn’t waste my time in the bath, and had a relaxing soak, but I’ve been needing to do that far more often because I have no other heat-sinking option, which was all taken away from me by my health, and the doctors unwilling to empathize with my situation enough to legitimately help me. So I hobble along until I can eventually get treatment. When will that happen? In a month? If I’m lucky and everything works in my favor?
Maybe someday I’ll get well enough to improve my life’s heating and cooling situation, doctors withstanding.
|Sources: My fitness experiences.
– This week’s weight: 224.5
– Last week’s weight: 223.5
– Weight Difference: One pound up.
– Difference between writing and editing for publication: The heatwave went away shortly after I wrote this essay and figured out a good system for reducing my body’s heat if it gets too overwhelming. Hopefully soon I’ll get an injection to fix the issue and then life will return to normal?
|Inspirations: I’m mad that it’s taken me over a year to “get better.” My joke quote “I have a baseline of human disrespect” is directly caused by many of these doctors.|
|Related: Past weekly column entries. Sober Living essays and Tripping On [The American Healthcare System] chapters.|
|Written On: 2021 June 29 [9:05pm to 9:28pm]|
|Last Edited: 2021 June 29 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]|