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.