We offer an accurate prediction for everyone.

During your lifetime, you will have contact with and require the services of some medical professionals. There is no way to circumvent this inescapable fact. Well, there is a drastic way, but living alone in a cave atop a mountain is not a recommended lifestyle.

If you are healthy, your medical contacts are limited to the annual physical and visits to the most medieval of medical practitioners, the dentist. If you doubt this, think back to the last time you sat in the dentist’s chair (also known as the cushioned rack), the shop tools along with the sounds made by dental drills were not relaxing.

Shots intended to numb the target area come at a price. Unless you have a high tolerance for pain, the needle jammed into the inside of your cheek and gums hurt. If your anxiety reached the level of needing laughing gas, please note that it does not stop the pain. Nitrous oxide merely renders the occupier of the dentist’s chair into an anxiety-ridden high. In other words, you float in a happy state of abject terror.

Unless you happen to be that hermit on a mountaintop, you know the purpose of insurance companies is legal protectionism at a hefty price. Their eyes are always on the prize of increased profits, which is why they are in business.

They bombard folks with snail mail and telephone calls to lure the unsuspecting patient into accepting the “convenience” of their mailorder pharmacy.  “You get a 90-day supply and no co-pay,” says the sale representative. At first blush, the offer sounds great until the patient agrees and the promised panacea implodes.

Recently, Hubby fielded such a call. Following the insurance representative’s pitch, Hubby countered, “I was a pharmacist for 47 years, and I know how this works. Every month people came in and complained that their mailorder medicine did not arrive and they were out of their pills. We had to call the doctor to authorize enough pills to bridge the gap. Then we had to wrangle with the insurance company. Mailorder is to increase your revenue and doesn’t benefit the pharmacy or the patient. I prefer the personal contact with the pharmacist and am willing to pay a little extra for that.”

There is nothing like the gratifying sound of yet another sales representative’s deflated and less chirpy goodbye.

If you spent any time in a hospital waiting room, you either read a book or chose the free entertainment of people watching.

Some came alone or with one other person, while others invaded the waiting room in large groups carrying bags, purses, and food. The hordes take possession of the available chairs in a hound dog territorial style. Imagine a tidy living room. The doorbell rings and relatives invade your home. Within minutes chaos reigns and the living room is no longer orderly. The same is true of a hospital waiting room.

We took a friend to the hospital for surgery that was supposed to include an overnight stay but ended up with him spending two nights. The extended stay was due to the insurance company’s proclivity to slow-walk approvals for any and all procedures. Did it occur to the dum kopfs that it cost more for the hospital stay than to go home?

The extended stay brought a cheerful physical therapist to his room. She asked him to perform a series of annoyingly easy arm and leg exercises. Since he passed with flying colors, she decided to take him for a walk in the hall.

Instead of the slow shuffle the therapist expected, our friend took off at a good clip with his hospital gown flapping behind him. It was fortunate that he requested two hospital gowns (one protected his coming and the other preserved the mystery of his rear end). Following his rapid trek in the hall, the therapist moved on to work with more needy patients.

Stay healthy, my friends. Or have a glass of wine and numb the pain.

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