I have been providing longterm and end-of-life care to my loved ones for most of the last 29 years, since my late life partner moved in with me in September 1984. (She died of complications of multiple sclerosis in December 2004.) I took care of my mother when she was dying in 2006 and shortly afterwards moved back home to provide end-of-life care for my father, who is now 97, due in large part to my mad skillz in fending off the angel of death.
But a lot of my success in getting a better and longer life for my loved ones depends on getting good doctors and sticking with them. Sometimes when you are forced to change doctors, you luck out and get one who spots something your usual doctor missed. But more often, switching doctors means important details are overlooked, test results get ignored or misunderstood and important information gets left out of your health history in the new doctor’s records. And good luck if you need pain medication before your new doctor trusts you.
I lost my ability to work for the last nine years because I moved in 2002 and had to change doctors. In 2003 my old doctor had dropped my thyroid dose by 80 percent to try to deal with my chronic racing, irregular heart rate. By early 2004, because my new doctor ignored my TSH level showing my thyroid dose was too low, I had developed a rare sleep disorder, idiopathic hypersomnia. Treatment in 2003 of another sleep disorder, obstructive sleep apnea, cured my racing, irregular heartbeat. But the sleep doctor never bothered to rule out endocrine disorders before diagnosing the idiopathic hypersomnia. Over the ensuing years my primary care doctor blew off the blood test results showing my thyroid dose was too low until last July when I found a study about hypothyroidism and idiopathic hypersomnia on my own. It took from August 2012 to March 2013 to find the right thyroid dose again — by restoring the 80 percent dropped in 2003 when my endocrinologist took me off Cytomel.
People who are well can change their doctors because they don’t need much care. But the practice of medicine is an art as well as a science. Medicine is not a production line and doctors are not interchangeable parts. It is even more important that your doctors know you very well and trust you than it is for you to know and trust your doctors. A doctor who knows and trusts you will tell you more than one who doesn’t. Just as important, that doctor will give you more options. That’s because doctors are influenced by their knowledge of your life and personality when they choose medications and treatments for you. It’s not all science. For example, when my father was dying of congestive heart failure in 2008 at age 92, his cardiologist of 11 years told me the only reason he recommended a pacemaker for my dad was that he knew my father had a book contract with Cambridge University Press and wasn’t just watching TV and waiting to die. Without that pacemaker, my father had only a few weeks or months to live.
In the spring of 2013 my father celebrated his sixth year with his geriatrician. I asked the doctor if he had any other patient in his 90’s who had gotten better since starting treatment with him. He said my dad’s the only one. And then he said that because he has gotten to know my father very well, he takes any complaint from my father very seriously because he’s learned my dad won’t say a thing until he’s at the pain level most people call “kill me now.”
People with chronic illnesses, or complicated healthcare needs, are going to die because Obamacare forced them out of their relationships with their current doctors. That’s because a wealth of information that can never be put into a chart will be lost and they don’t have the time and resilience to start over with new ones. Conservative groups opposed to Obamacare would be smart to collect their stories and not let them die in vain.
Dear Stacy McCain has a great video of Sarah Palin, whom I adore, schooling Matt Lauer on Obamacare this morning. It was clear he did not have the remotest comprehension of her description of Republican proposals for “free market, patient-centered” healthcare reform that would improve both the quality of care and access to care.
Dear Instapundit’s USA Today column discusses Forbes columnist Avik Roy’s new book, How Medicaid Fails the Poor. Dear Moe Lane is mordently gleeful that House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R, Calif.) has subpoenaed White House Chief Technology Officer Todd Park to appear before them for questioning: warm up your schadenfreude.
Over at Hot Air, Allahpundit calls the smaller doctor and hospital networks of Obamacare policies “the unexploded landmine in the Obamacare rollout.” His post is a response to Democratic Party chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz claiming that once people can sign up for Obamacare they will love it so much that Democrats will be able to run on it.
Bookworm links an old post of hers explaining Obama’s “you can keep your health plan/doctor” lie as a manifestation of his narcissism. It is on the money and quite brilliant. It was Obama’s lies about his pastor and mentor Rev. Wright in 2008 that irrevocably turned me against him even before I became a conservative. Here’s an example of one of my first posts to this blog explaining Obama’s sociopathy, “The Chilling Explanation of Why Obama is Cool.”
Update, 11/25/13: Linda Szugyi at DaTechGuy has a three-phase plan for healthcare reform that is worth reading. Phase Two involves gathering and publicizing the stories of people whose lives are damaged or ended by Obamacare. Liberals have been trying to take the stink of Obamacare off Obama by claiming that Katrina was worse for Bush by comparison. Sadly, this is going to prove to be false by at least one or two orders of magnitude. The Katrina death toll is an estimated 1,833 persons. The Obamacare death toll easily will prove to be 10 or 100 times that — 18,000 to 180,000 — simply due to the dangers of forcing millions of people with complex medical conditions to change doctors and try to cope with their challenges with a smaller network of physicians and hospitals. Only healthy people can get away with that unscathed.
If you enjoyed this post and it is comfortable for you, I would really appreciate your donation. I have to raise $675 by Nov. 18 to cut down the broken tulip poplar tree and the oak it fell on in our backyard shown in the photo above. It potentially could fall on the house of one neighbor and the property of another, who is an attorney. On Friday I received the lawsuit the attorney intends to file for damages of at least $25,000, plus his fees, if I don’t get the tree cut down. This month through other enterprises I’ve earned about half the money, but I still need to raise $675. I have an arborist scheduled to cut the trees down, depending on the weather, the week of Nov. 18-22. The neighbors have agreed not to sue if the work is done that week. Now that I’ve regained my health, I have to get on my feet financially and returning to regular blogging is part of my plan, so I’m not just showing up to bleg. Thank you.
Update: I just received a donation for $25, so now the amount I need to raise is $650. I am very grateful.
Update, 11/13/13: Thanks to another generous donation, my target is now $615. And I’m still grateful.
Update, 11/16/13: I’m grateful for another donation and my target is now $590.
Update, 11/25/13: Thanks to a generous donation on Friday, my target is now $560. The broken tulip poplar and the lightning-damaged red oak it fell on were safely taken down on Thursday. However, I still have to fundraise to meet my target to pay off the money I had to borrow to make the full payment to the arborist.