As I lie in a hospital bed for the umpteenth time for a lupus flare in March this year, doctors and specialists are coming in and out of my room as if my door was a revolving door. Lupus is a disorder where the immune system attacks itself, leaving damage or potential damage to internal and external organ systems.
This time, however, my flare up caused me pain from head to toe and severe anemia. During my stay, I endured every procedure you could think of—blood transfusions and not to mention being poked by needles to draw blood at least three times per day.
I was greeted by an orthopedist for my skeletal pain, a hematologist for blood-related concerns, and a rheumatologist for the lupus itself. I also had a CT scan and an X-ray which determined that I had an enlarged lymph node. I was scheduled to have a biopsy of the lymph node to determine if I had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma but for some reason, I chickened out.
My body was already being treated like a slab of meat; with all of the poking and prodding I endured. I discovered later that the procedure wasn’t necessary as my blood labs confirmed that the lymph node was not cancerous. I dodged a bullet on that one.
I was hooked up to a heart monitor that detected murmur activity and of course, I was visited by a cardiologist. From the moment I saw her, I didn’t have a good feeling about her. She ordered a procedure that consisted of numbing my throat, as a light bulb of sorts went down while the staff watched on a monitor.
The next day, the cardiologist slithered in and took a seat adjacent to my bed. Then started her sales pitch: “I viewed the results of your tests which showed such and such and it’s going to require you have this and that. If you were my mother or sister, I would recommend it.” I’m sure you’re wondering where the sales pitch is. It wasn’t what she said but how she said it.
She said it in a smouldering and condescending tone. She said it in a tone as if I was an ignorant individual, someone who will ask where do I sign, with no questions asked. I didn’t have the procedure, thanks to my right to refuse. I later found out that this too, was an unnecessary procedure.
A month or so later from being discharged from the hospital, I received my bill. I now understand why my visits were flooded with specialists—each procedure gave them a hefty paycheck. The cardiologist wanted a piece of the rock too but it didn’t happen. I was charged a total of $60,000 and it would have been more if I elected to have that procedure done. Now I really know how it feels to be exploited.
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Filed under: Health and Wellness