Personal Health in 2024 and Beyond
The following information can save your life.Well…not really.
But it can make however many of your years left more endurable – assuming you make good and proper use of the information provided.
We start with a simple Truth: You’re gonna die. I’m gonna die. Before you’re reading this, we may both be dead already; it is what it is.
But don’t get ahead of myself – we’ll get to all that sooner than we want, regardless of what paragraph we’re in.
For our first Irrefutable Fact, take this (QSC) Quick Status Check:
The 7 Warning Signs of Death
Loss of Appetite
Shortness of Breath
Loss of Sense of Humor
Increased Robo Calls
If you experienced “Hell, yes! to any 8 of the 8 questions, you are probably already dead. Contact your nearest “Toe Tag” LLC provider. You got off easy. They don’t realize it yet, but the rest of the class will envy you.
This article is a simple, forward, assembly of experiences in Medical/Healthcare Land based on facts most people haven’t a clue.
Regardless of your life experience, you will be amazed, astounded, and even in denial through ignorance. NO ONE is prepared to walk – or be carried – into an ER, even medical professionals themselves.
Choice examples follow.
Whatever your age, sex, religion, race or national origin, if you do not have a close, warm. personal relationship with a primary care physician, a medical care network facility of expert practices, equipped with the latest technical facilities and trained personnel, your health care opportunities are Basic at best and chances for survival limited. That’s not good.
Been there; don’t go there. The ERs and hallways are full of people who thought they knew stuff – and they were wrong. And when you don’t know what you don’t know, it hurts in more ways you can count or fix.
Be prepared for even mildly serious health issues. Have ‘All of the Above’, plus a great relationship with your insurance rep or claims dept., all coverages, all benefits. Have phone contact and account numbers for all policies, Social Security cards, Medicare, and any insurance supplements. Have a lawyer. DNR, Living Will, Last Will handy. Maybe stash ‘em in the Cloud for quick access from anywhere.
Memorize your personal health history and that of everyone else you give a damn about and may have to care for. You don’t need to become an NP, but a working knowledge of the language, organs, bones, body parts diseases, illnesses, injuries that could impact you is invaluable. You’ll wanna know what the docs and nurses are whispering about your condition when they think you’re just another a dumbo with a C- in Biology class. And in many cases, they do. Patient Relations – like Customer Service – has devolved to a Quaint Notion.
As a layman, you are most likely to not know the issues that are the basic parts of the ‘health care’ you’ll be dealing with when you wake up in the ER, ICU, ambulance, hallway or some brightly lit light green room with other miserable souls with their own issues. You just never know and the surprise is never pleasant. Even the welcome word “Discharge” has a second and yucky meaning.
I made it thru a bunch of years with a few near-death injuries that taught me things about docs, nurses, hospitals, insurance policies, lawyers and bed pans. But 2023 brought on the Mother Lode and gob smacked me with the New Medical Reality, new insurance definitions, unheard of government requirements/restrictions (thanks ObummerCare), hospital ‘policies’, the ‘new’ doctors, NPs, ‘medical assistants’ – and at every level of every department, those we depended on most to do the right medical thing practicing the Hippocratic Oath, failed somewhere between bigly, miserably, painfully – or the occasional Miraculously.
No one has to prepare for the Best. We celebrate, rejoice and move along, thankful for Luck, Blessings, Lottery – whatever.
It’s the Worst we do not, cannot suspect. If possible, prepare to do everything to not be on that side of hall.
Before moving on, here is the Writer’s Required Disclaimer:
Yes, there are good, decent, caring, knowledgeable, professional and medical practitioners in their chosen fields; some are among the Best of the Best. At other levels in other facilities, there are those who lead and do the best they can with what they’ve got. Fortunately, our Human Condition is resilient in many ways and you’ll have to achieve Old Fart status to cultivate real anxieties. OTOH, if you’re adequately prepared, you’ll fare much better and healthier and comfortably than some schlub who wanders into the ER at 2AM thinking everything’s gonna be just peachy. Maybe. Many working the dreaded Overnite Weekend shift are real pros. Then again, maybe not. Different people, different standards, different training, different facilities – who knows? Wanna take the chance? Later, we’ll take a look at some unexpected Fun Times. Takes notes. The pain you avoid may be your own, your spouse, or child – you just never know.
A couple easy things to remember:
Educational standards aren’t what they used to be. (Can you say Harvard?) Today’s medical professionals aren’t Marcus Welby, MD or Dr. Ben Casey of TV fame. Older ones still in the biz generally maintain a better grade of prognosis and bedside manner than the New Guys penchant for succinctness and meeting patient quotas. OTOH, the New Hire is usually better with all the new diagnostic toys that have come along since the Senior Member graduated.
The most glaring Standards Gap is with Support Personnel. Nursing Assistants, the ones who check your pulse, BP, and fetch your bed pan are the worst. Hiring quality people in this field is tough. Would your career choice feature ferrying bed pans? The hours are long and the pay is bad – so Lousy Attitude visits your room semi-regularly.
Example #1: In for minor surgery but requiring an overnight, a ‘nurse assistant’ stood outside my door and yelled at the top of her lungs back to the nursing station concerning the status of her upcoming date with LeRoy. This went on for 8 minutes. At 2AM. Requests to STFU were ignored.
Example #2: During a 3 day stay with 'storm Covid' and double pneumonia, a hight pitched alarm on some machine near my bed went off - AANANANANNANANAANNN - for 20 seconds. Since I was immediately awake, I timed it so I’d know how far away the bomb went off and when the shock wave would hit and kill us all. Not so lucky. An actual nurse assistant burst into the room, flipped on the lights, goose-stepped to the screaming machine, jammed a button and blessed silence returned! She promptly executed an about-face and stomped out. No apology. No explanation how mass deaths were avoided, what the alarm meant, what bodily hiccup set it off or was it the same squirrel that caused the Great Manhattan Black-Out a few years earlier? We’ll never know – and I never got back to sleep.
If I gathered the rest of my experiences in/out of a hospital and combined them wit, say, just 10% of yours, we’d have enough for TV series rivaling “Yellowstone” or “Gray’s Anatomy” or “Wheel of Fortune”.
Saying the “silent part out loud”: If you haven’t seriously engaged with the ‘health care’ profession since the COVID clustercluck, you’re in for a rude, unpleasant awakening. While unavoidable, having total access to your health records will be of extraordinary help. Setting a low standard for ‘professionalism’, accurate communication and ‘bedside manner’ will also help immensely. By doing so, you may get lucky, find one of the Good Ones and be pleasantly surprised!
Be Prepared and Good Luck