Sunday, May 18, 2008

Pneumothorax follow up

We're back. She does not need a chest tube, so we just had the pleasure of a pleasant chat with the imaging tech, who showed us the way cool hi-res monitor for X-ray viewing, the ER attending, who is a cyclist and who has patched me up a couple of times, and the on-call surgeon, who rendered the judgment that the condition should reduce on its own. Of course there will be separate bills from radiology and the surgeon at the very least, but it was interesting to see the gizmos, and the personnel were nice.

Y'know, it's not so much the illness as it is the money. You really have to decide whether the bit of life you snatch back from death will be worth living it out under the burden of crushing, impossible debt. But in some countries, and the entire animal kingdom, you just get sick and die. And life probably sucked pretty good prior to that anyway. So fut the wuck.

As more people get spat out of the "health insurance" system, we will get to appreciate more and more what life is like in developing and undeveloped countries, where a few very wealthy people have decent lives and a large number of struggling workers, educated or not, live as long as their luck holds out. It's not that the facilities and skilled providers aren't there. It's that the rank and file should not be encouraged to live beyond their means.

I guess we all need to come to terms with a more natural model of life and death, in which sickness and injury are once again as serious as they used to be in the primordial past. Forget what's technically possible. If no one can afford to pay for those medical miracles, they might as well not exist. As costs spiral upward, procedures that we've come to view as routine become unreachable, unimaginable miracles to the people cut off from them by the high financial fences of the invisible gated communities in our society.

You have no value as an individual. You only have value if you get yourself employed by someone willing to pay for your upkeep, or you generate enough revenue through your own enterprises, or you sign on to do your country's dirty and dangerous work in theaters of war around the world. What might you have to trade for that? Think carefully, because either way it will cost you your life.

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