This is the second part in our series on digging into the medical system and what insurance had done to patient care. Today’s post is going to focus on how hard it truly can be to be a patient when you are suffering from an injury.
Let’s get started with some basics.
Being injured just flat out sucks. It keeps you from doing what you love and being active. Pain has a way of robbing you of your attention and really dictates every aspect of your existence. So let’s dive into how hard it can be to be a patient in our current medical system.
You have a nagging injury and some pain associated with it. So where do you start? Usually we hop on the Internet, because everyone knows how qualified every person on there is. You plug some symptoms and signs into WebMD or Google. Now you begin to go down the rabbit’s hole. By the end of your search you have convinced yourself that you either have cancer, some horrific injury or flat out just might die soon. After you convince yourself that it can’t be that bad you venture on to the next step — asking your friends/family/coworkers on social media.
Now the fun really starts to begin.
You get a ton of responses from people who “swear” by their person and have been going to them for years. You then remember that half of your friends are a little crazy and you might not really want to trust their recommendations. You decide it’s smart to be rational at this point and make an appointment with your primary care doctor — They do take your insurance and they are a doctor, so it must be okay. Last week we showed the pitfalls of going to someone just because they take your insurance. Check it out if you didn’t get a chance to read it.
So now you are at the PCP office and ready to figure out finally what is going on with this. Unfortunately when it comes to a musculoskeletal complaint, it really isn’t in their skill set.
The PCP deals with endless amounts of depression, heart disease, diabetes and people being sick.
The LAST thing they want to do is try to diagnose your injury on the spot.
Now the roller coaster ride really begins!
The doctor tells you to lay off it for a few weeks and to take some meds. You try that and it feels a little better, but as soon as you get back into activity the pain comes right back. The doctor then writes you a script for physical therapy. You make the appointment and, of course, go to the one that takes your insurance. They do the following:
- Tell you to rest it some more.
- Stretch the hell out of it.
- Give you a sheet of exercise to do religiously everyday.
- Throw you on some heat and electrical stim.
You do start to feel better and are hopeful that this is the fix. Keep in mind though, that during this time you are limiting your activity. You start to realize that you can just do all the exercises on your own at home and would rather save the time and money.
Now you’re ready to get back into activity, but that pain is back, sometimes worse than before. You blame yourself for being lazy and not doing the exercises as often as you should. You start doing them again, but they aren’t working. Now you are beginning to get desperate here and decide to “try” one of the recommendations a good friend “swears” by. You decide to venture outside the box and go to a chiropractor that does some manipulation and more of that heat/stim stuff that feels good. You feel pretty good after, but feel like you have to keep going back.
Now you are getting really frustrated and running out of hope. You decide to try someone who claims to “specialize” in soft tissue treatments. These are the tricky ones, because they do get rid of some of the dysfunction in the tissues and you do feel some degree better. The problem here is that if you don’t get all of the dysfunction out, it can come back, giving you only temporary relief and results. Now you’re really frustrated, sad, disappointed and hopeless.
You would think that all people, especially doctors, are providing excellent care. Unfortunately that isn’t the case.