Means of Seeing what the eye brings

February 10, 2010

another case for self-advocacy

Filed under: random — Tags: , — osteoderm @ 8:42 am

I just got back from the clinic and pharmacy. Down the hatch with three different drugs, and let’s hope for the best! After entering day 7 or 8 of sickness (the days/dates are getting blurry), and enduring several straight nights of sleepless blood-spitting coughing agony, it was finally time to endure the American Industrial Medical Complex and seek treatment.

Of course, I’m uninsured. It’s taken me a couple years to really understand that my apathetic attitudes towards health-care have been engendered by a Canadian upbringing; it’s hard to get into the habit of being concerned about something which you have always been led to assume is essentially comprehensive and free.
The third clinic I tried this morning turned out to be the charm (one other closed, one other not accepting walk-ins). $75 for the doctor, $64 for the drugs: $139 for labour and materials. Not bad, if you compare it to any bill a mechanic, electrician, or other technical tradesman might leave you with. And really, I think that’s the best way to approach the doctor: like a skilled tradesman who is working for you, and who needs to perform to your expectations.

This time, as for the other 3-4 times I’ve been to a doctor over the past few years, was for bronchitis. I am now officially annoyingly familiar with bronchitis and pneumonia. A lifetime of asthma and several bouts of pneumonia have left me a bit of a pulmonary wreck. I might even qualify as an expert, as least with respect to my own lungs. As such, I find it very annoying when any doctor does a quick poke, prod, listen to the breathing, and dashes off yet another prescription for a broad-spectrum antibiotic.
I am against such prescriptions on principle; antibiotic use/abuse engenders “super-bugs” and is hard on your body. Antibiotics have their place in medicine, but are not the panacea many doctors seem to treat them as such. More importantly, the primary cause of bronchitis is almost always viral; only 5%-10% of bronchitis cases can be attributed to bacteria. Only one doctor I’ve ever seen has brought this fact up, asserting that antibiotics are generally useless against viral bronchitis.

This is just one of those things that people have a right to assert and/or question when at the doctor’s office. I think far to many folks go in scared or nervous, and unquestioningly accept whatever they’re told. I’m no medical expert, but I said, I know my body and I know bronchitis.
I have to admit, I wasn’t too sure about heading into a clinic (at least until my health was so bad that I really needed to), in no small part because I wasn’t relishing the prospect of butting heads with yet another abrupt antibiotic-slinging clinician. Luckily, the doctor I drew today didn’t baulk at my questioning. Yes, I ended up with an antibiotic along with everything else, but only after voicing my objection and being reassured that it was to guard against the strong possibility of a secondary infection (more than likely given how long I’ve been sick). The doctor also honoured my disinclination towards inflammatory drugs and steroids.

Well, lucky me… I’m still sick, but armed with pills, potion, and puffer, I’m hoping to be mended up soon enough. Still sick, but optimistic!

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