Monday, January 17, 2011

Taking a short break

Tomorrow, I have to see the doctor.  Essentially, this is a medical blackmail where they do some routine tests and then write some new prescriptions--followed by a bill that has absolutely no relation to the services rendered.

One of the biggest reasons for-profit medicine returns such dismal outcomes considering the costs involved is that there is absolutely NO way to tell whether or not my doctor is doing what she is doing because of my medical interests or because she wants a bigger house.  She has NO incentive to be cost effective and I have no way of trusting her.  Not a great basis for healing, huh?

Then there is the problem of the for-profit medical assumption that there is no effort so great that it should be questioned so long as it adds another few days or years to one's stay on this mortal coil.  Actually, this is an extremely interesting philosophical / theological question--a question that most doctors are utterly unqualified to discuss.  And that's even if you do believe that they are interested in your health and not just their ability to finance another sex partner's Porsche.

Maybe I am especially cynical because I have worked with surgeons.  From 1971-73 I was "sentenced" to work as a surgical orderly at the University of Minnesota hospital for the "crime" of opposing the Vietnam War.  I discovered that even world-class surgeons could be ignorant, narrow-minded, bigots with an outsized opinion of themselves.  If they even had an opinion on Vietnam, it was usually the most atrocious form of jingoism.  Listening to them hold forth over the scrub sinks or in the break rooms was literally frightening--they sounded more like Archie Bunker than anyone you would want close to you with a sharp object.  A conscientious objector orderly learned quickly to remain out of the way and quiet lest one of these pigs decided to abuse the help for "treason."

So I get a bit jumpy thinking about the ritual I must go through to get some simple prescriptions refilled.  I mean this is more than my disgust with the workings of the medical-industrial complex--this is about my mortality.  And some questions keep gnawing at me like Why am I doing what I do?  And if the rest of my time on earth is to be brief, am I doing something worth doing?

Which leads to the subject of this blog.  It is something I believe I should be doing because I have been blessed (or cursed, depending on how one views these things) with a really unusual level of awareness and I feel duty bound to share my discoveries.  So I have tried to do that.  But...  Writing about such serious subjects can be extremely depressing and there are times when I wonder if I am not shortening my life from all the stress.  And blogging like this IS a lot of work.

And then there is the matter of effectiveness.  Because there is no way I can directly change the outcomes of the matters I write about, the only way I can help change the economic direction of this country is by changing the terms of the conversation.  Well for the last 13 months, I have tried to argue the facts.  Which is a honest way to approach things but isn't very effective in a country where a mastery of the facts is not nearly so important as creating a mythological belief system or the ability to buy the argument.

So I am going to try some new things.  I know what they are and have started work on them but they need some concentrated attention.  So stay tuned and check back for further announcements.  And if the occasion warrants, I am still going to post.  I am just not going to feel guilty if I miss some days.

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