Friday, January 8, 2010

The Emergency Room

By Alan Caruba

At age 72, I have been spared major injuries and sickness. Other than birth, I have never spent a night in a hospital, but I paid a visit a few years back for a common ailment of men of my age. I was in and out of surgery the same day.

In Monday’s early morning hours, still almost asleep, I had an accident that put me on the floor with a shoulder full of hurt. I went back to bed and when the sun came up I called the local rescue squad to take me to a nearby hospital, one of the best in the state. I know this because in the final decades of my parent’s years, both were fairly regular visitors. It is a penalty of aging that our bones break and other misfortunes occur.

When I got up on Monday morning after a fitful few hours, I took a look at my swollen shoulder and said to myself, “busted clavicle, deep hematoma.” The latter is a medical word for a bruise.

The emergency area was nearly empty when I arrived. Prior to that, I had to give the EMS officer information so that the trip could be charged off to Medicare. Same thing at the emergency area. More information. You hand them the cards from Medicare and AARP and they look relieved.

X-rays followed and a visit from a physician who, for some reason, thought I should have my heart checked out and Lord knows what else. They had already hooked me up to an EKG machine so I assumed that was sufficient.

I said, “Doctor, we both know I have a busted clavicle and a hematoma. Nothing but a lot of rest will heal it, so I want to go home.” Hospitals make money off of testing you for things unrelated to your actual problem. It’s also called “defensive medicine” in the event you have the bad manners to die from something else while in their care.

And, in my case, they love to tell me about my high blood pressure. I have always had high blood pressure. It is the silent killer and, frankly, I am going to be very annoyed when it finally gets me. Until then, like my late Mother who lived to age 98 and also had high blood pressure, I am not going to worry about it. I maintain a moderate diet and even exercise daily on a treadmill.

I was impressed by the nurse who drew a blood sample and did the EKG; pleasant and efficient. The young man who took the x-rays was the same.

I have heard that the one area where jobs are still available is healthcare and I believe it. This is particularly true because much of the U.S. population is aging.

How sad that, as this occurs, the Obama administration and Democrats in Congress want to strip a half-trillion dollars out of Medicare, add several thousands more to the rolls of the rapidly insolvent program, and tack on a whole bunch of excise taxes for medical services and stuff. We shall all be paying a lot more for insurance and health costs.

No one has ever explained why because it is essentially irrational. Those who do offer explanations are lying through their teeth. By federal law, no one who shows up at an emergency room can or will be denied care.

If ever there was a government more determined to make life a misery for its citizens, I cannot recall one like the present administration. Under Obamacare, would the rescue squad have to cut back on its hours of service? Would the x-rays be deemed optional? Would I get the pain pills the same day or would a panel of bureaucrats decide if I really needed them?

It took Obama three days to find a Tele-Prompter to tell him what to say after the Christmas day attempted bombing. And then he had to come back the next day because the Tele-Prompter got it wrong. His Secretary of Homeland Security got it wrong, too, the first time.

Thanks to the pain pills, I have been in a pleasant fog since Monday, but I have the nagging suspicion that the President has been similarly disengaged since the day he took the oath of office.

Other than finding ways to plunge the entire nation into debt and impose new taxes, I cannot think of a thing he’s done of any real use to any of us.

If this keeps up, the whole nation will be in the emergency room.


Dave's Daily Day Dream said...

You write: "If this keeps up, the whole nation will be in the emergency room."
Yes Alan, and we here is California will be served first because we speak Spanish better than some. ¡OlĂ©!

Carolyn said...

Hope you get better soon Mr. Caruba! Easy on the foggy pills OK?! :-) After the Rush Limbaugh incident, he took a lot of flack for paying his bills out of pocket. So many people were moaning about him being filthy rich, so of course he could afford the best of care. You know, I don't have insurance, and my husband being one of those 10-20 percent who have been unemployed since last January, we hope nothing serious will happen health wise. But.. if it were to happen, we'd do like we always do, no, not rely on the nanny state- we'd pay what cash we could and work with the hospital to make a payment plan for the rest.
People are not turned away (yet) as you mentioned, and what most people don't realize, hospitals and doctors are more than willing to help out with easy payment plans. Paying up front saves them a lot of money, and it saves the patient a lot as well. Rush was right when he said by paying cash, his treatments were a lot cheaper than if he had have gone through insurance.
God help us when we're all forced into socialized rationing!
God Bless you too Mr. Caruba!

Karl said...

It sure is nice that you live in such a privileged environment.

If your hospital was in a non-white area and you didn't have insurance, you would have been put in a cab and sent to another hospital, until the last one would drop you off in the middle of no where.

I think if you are worried about spiraling health care costs, the source of that will continue to be the huge profits of an industry that is somehow avoiding anti-monopoly laws. We pay twice what other countries that we should measure up to, but we rank 29th in care.

Obama is just going to make sure we get more of the same. So if you like what we have, you will love his stuff.

You say you want what the People want. Poll after poll shows they want single payer. How come you aren't advocating for that. All this issues you are frightened of will go away with this type of system.

Alan Caruba said...

KARL !!!!!!! KARL !!!! KARL !!!!!

Read this post very slowly and very carefully. You are NOT to attempt to comment on MY blog EVER.

I have left similar posts in response to your previous lame efforts to dispute my views. I hope you read this one.

You are an idiot. I do not permit idiots to post on my blog.

Guy said...

Karl, Karl, Karl ... you poor, misguided soul. Where do you get your "facts"? I've been reading a wide variety of politically oriented blogs over the last few months, and it never ceases to amaze me how polarized this society has become. The writings and comments I see coming from the left are just so far out there I can't ever imagine how we could possibly reconcile the differences between ourselves and become a United States again. These are FUNDAMENTAL differences, and are about as likely to be blended together as oil and water. What's even more disturbing is that the left appears ready to use any means, illegal or otherwise, to achieve their goals. Conservative types, being patriotic to the core as we usually are, are not likely to take much more of this without a fight, so I see storm clouds on the horizon. I just read today that even if Brown wins the election is Massachusetts, the left is planning to delay the certification of the election until after the health care vote. We fought a war in this country over the tyranny of taxation without representation. If the left thinks they can sidestep the will of the people and ram this health care bill down our throats, they may find themselves on the wrong side of a similar battle. It's a scenario I would certainly hate to see, but one I feel is becoming inevitable. God help us all ...

Alan Caruba said...

Guy, since I will not permit Karl to post a reply or anything else, I will reply for him. Since he has difficulty understanding simple things, he would most likely say,