Thursday, March 12, 2009

Health Care, the Good and the Ugly

This may sound like it's a bit off topic, but hear me out and then you'll know why it applies to fibro. I was listening to NPR and the Today show this morning and found some interesting admissions about the state of the world today on both shows.

Now, I know that listening to the news can be hazardous to my health and cause me a lot of undue stress, but do you know that going to the doctor for "routine" tests could also be hazardous to your health too? The Today show had a topic this morning about the testing for certain cancers. The segment went into saying that even though these screening for cancers can pick up a tumor, a doctor can't tell if the tumor is deadly or not. Having said that, they also don't know if they are "over treating" the cancer because of this finding.

I must say that I am by no means telling any of you to stop getting physicals or tests that may help save your life, but I am cautioning you as to what I see as something capitalistic.

Doctors are trained to help people, yes, they have taken a medical oath to do so. They are told certain things in medical school, like certain testing will help prevent this or that. But they may have been fed the same load of crap we all have been fed at one point or another in life.

What I mean by this, is that by learning said test will help, they of course want to use it to do just that, just like a certain medicine might help, or a procedure. I have no problem with that, but what I do have a problem with is who is giving them this kind of information.

Are the people making the drug giving truly unbiased clinical trials on their drugs? What about these tests for cancer? Why is there all of the sudden conflicting reports? Could it be that there is something else on the horizon that they want the medical community to believe in and prescribe to patients?

Maybe I might be sounding a bit cynical, but really, how much of what they are feeding us as a truth is really just that, a truth? And how much of it is someone "bending" it to sell their products. When you boil everything down, someone was making money off of these tests and pills, so how bias can they truly be?

NPR was doing a segment on how frugal Americans have been becoming as of late. Americans on average have been saving about 5% of their income since this past December, a number that is surprising because on average, no American has been saving for the past two decades. The special guest was asked how frugal he thought society might take this. And his answer was surprising, but all too true.

He stated that most people before the fall of economy were interested in "bells and whistles" on products. He used a refrigerator as an example. Most people wanted a water dispenser or maybe if you were lucky enough to afford it, a TV on the gosh darned thing. Now, people want a product to last and are not as concerned about the "look" of it. He went further to say that fridge manufacturers will probably be coming out with things that actually last like they once did.

Now, why is this surprising? Well, if you are like me, you go out and buy something in the hopes that you get some really good use out of it. For instance, I don't buy a car and then turn it in after four years, I actually drive it until it can't be driven anymore.

I've had two cars in my 20 years of driving experience. The first one I got at 23, 7 years after I first started learning how to drive. The second I got after being without a car for 3 years, and that was 6 years ago. That car is now the only family car we have.

I buy everything with that intention of having it for a long time and I get ticked off when I buy an article of clothing that falls apart or a vacuum that burns out in a manner of a year. I don't have a ton of money to waste on frivolous things and I have even less to buy the good stuff, so we often go without and make do with what we do have because my intention is NOT to waste money.

I can also truly say that I don't do the extras when it comes to my fibro. I can't afford costly medication that will probably wind up killing my liver one day anyway. I also can't afford to go to a rheumatologist once a month so he can "assess" how well I'm doing on medication. I used to feel ashamed about that because the media seems to constantly drill into us that we need to be health conscious and concerned. But I don't feel that way anymore.

Why? Because I truly feel that a lot of this stuff that's out there that is supposed to help us or make things easier on us is just a ploy to get us to spend money, and in some cases, money we don't have. I will still go to the doctor when I need to, but when I do, I am taking more action than I used to.

Before the doctor even starts to draw blood, fill out a script, or whatever it may be, the first things that come out of my mouth are, how much is this going to cost me?, and, what are the side effects? I am passionate about taking care of myself in ALL aspects of my life, not just the problem at hand, so if I've got to stress over the bill, it's just not worth it to me and I will find another way. To me, feeling fabulous, is about achieving an all around general well-balanced approach to life.

Stay fabulous
Love and friendship,

Kimberley
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