Monday, August 1, 2011

Healthcare and It's Worries

Lately I've been feeling dejected because I've been counting all the times I've been to the E.R for sports-related injuries: 3 times for dislocated shoulder, once for a sprained ankle, another time for a relatively minor chest injury that involved a visit to the E.R. just to make sure nothing was broken. All but the sprained ankle were injuries that occurred during wrestling practices.

Now, all I think of when I recall those visits are the dollar signs. I wonder how expensive that chest x-ray or ankle x-ray was, how expensive my doctor's 10 minutes of consult was, how much goes to hospital admin fees, how much this silly cloth called a "sling" costs. I worry if my insurance will cover it, because everyone hears horror stories of perfectly good, hard-working people turned down for treatment for seemingly no good reason. I wonder how much it costs for a consult with the orthopedic surgeon, Dr. A - I should probably ask.

For the record, I'm not a klutz (or don't think I am), although I was pretty pissed off when I sprained my ankle on an uneven part of the sidewalk.

But still, my health worries are relatively minor in the bigger picture. I wonder how other people and families with serious, chronic illnesses deal with it. For one - cancer patients. Will their insurance cover all the drugs and treatments involved? What if it doesn't? How does a person worry about their life (or their loved one's life), if bills start coming in before the patient is considered "better"?

I'm currently reading The Healing of America by T.R. Reid because it seemed like a good starting point to learn about different healthcare systems.  I'm reading at a snail's pace, even though his book is really interesting and an "easy read."  Books like that, news articles, and the health professionals I have interacted with make me more aware of the current state of the healthcare, which is something I will have to deal with a lot more once I get past the training stages of medicine.

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