Right before Christmas my dad starting having respiratory issues, which led cardiac issues and later that week he had a surgery and has not been the same since. If you ever want to experience the complexity and maze that we call American healthcare, you have to live through someone as they try to get quality advanced care.
Trust me, the healthcare changes (Obamacare), aren't even the hardest part of, its the layers of care, it makes lasagna look like a peanut butter & jelly sandwich.
My family's only goal for my dad is to get him the best care available and make sure he is comfortable and has the opportunity to get better. But since his surgery there have been many complications and setbacks with my father's health not to mention an insurance company dictating where and when he gets care, plenty of overwhelmed medical staff and then more complications.
He's on his third facility in less than a week and in between a 300 mile ambulance ride (he lived downstate but the decision makers in the family live here in Chicago), for someone who we weren't sure could be transferred down the hall. He's actually currently where he belongs but took a Grateful Dead "Long Strange Trip", to get there but I was told today he could be moving again in a few days. But the thing is that at least every other day some bomb is dropped on my family in changes in care, condition, facility and it always seems last minute but you don't get sufficient answers and not to mention miles of paperwork. And with each new facility more paperwork, legal documents and your loved one doesn't have a stable place. Imagine if you moved every few days, you wouldn't be well either.
My dad is a strong, old school man, worked for CTA, previous to that, served his country for four years, helped raise three of his own children and a few more. He walked to the train the day after the blizzard of 1967, the man literally missed a handful of days of work in 30 years of service. In his downtime, he worked on cars, built a few as well. Later in life did woodworking, he has the strongest hands you've ever seen, trust me he grabbed me a few times growing up.
But now with the web of healthcare (and he has top shelf insurance), its hard to figure out what comes next, when and if the family has a solid say so in the matter. I've learned you have regular hospitals but then insurance doesn't like to pay for them more than a few weeks (especially intensive care), so then you have corporations that have "transitional care hospitals" that take over from there but if you have a serious setback the transitional facility can't handle that so then you are back at the original hospital. But even if you do well at the transitional hospital you can't stay there either more than a month, you either go home and get "home health" or if not so good you go to a nursing home. But if you have too many issues (especially respiratory), then most nursing homes won't take you so then you have to go to a skilled nursing facility. You get all that?
Follow the money, its as simple as that and also that there is a lot of money to be made in bad health. So many specialists, machines, medications, its a world unto itself that if you (or your loved ones), are healthy you don't know exists. More than one person I've met in a waiting room has doubted whether the medical business wants to "cure" people or just keep you well enough to have you alive but sick enough to "provide treatment".
The money is in this middle hell of not being terminal but too sick to just lie in a bed like a typical nursing home. Went through all that with my grandmother a few years ago, some of those nursing homes are just criminal, you pay $ 8,000 a month for them to let your loved one just sit somewhere when an underpaid, overwhelmed staff struggles to keep that asylum from blowing its top.
And I don't blame the nurses, doctors and other staff you encounter. Man just stand around and watch what all they have to go through, sick patients, concerned family, various medical protocol and and insurance companies. Not to mention when my dad was at his first hospital, there were competing offers from various transitional hospitals for "his services", my brother found pamphlets left in his room from these places. Unreal.
And by the way have you checked out some of these new hospitals? Its over the top, the cafeterias rival nice restaurants, flat screen TVs that look like from its from a sports bar, private rooms that rival nice hotel rooms, machines that look straight off Star Trek, yet we can't cure people.
My dad has been out of it for two weeks, the decor of the room and size of the flat screen TV doesn't matter when your loved one is struggling. You don't notice these things. I can barely follow all of the long and twisting halls to find my way out of these places, just how the rest of medical business is.
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