I feel privileged to live in the Boston area where I can get great medical care. I have Massachusetts Health Insurance. (I am the face of ‘Obamacare.’) which allows me to get care from a variety of top-notch hospitals for FREE. I have an amazing cardiologist who works in a specialty that addresses my specific health problem – congenital heart defects. While I currently only have a minor idiosyncrasy with my heart, it is good to have him in case things go awry at any point. I also take advantage of a Headache Clinic nearby and was seeing a wonderful GI at a research hospital, but sadly she just moved away. I am lucky. There are many people with chronic conditions that have to travel hours to visit a specialist who may or may not be good.
But I have one big gripe with health care in America. We have a tendency to throw medication at the problem rather than get to the bottom of the situation. Recently my neurologist told me, “Migraines aren’t a diagnosis. They are a symptom of something else. So let’s put you on this med for the migraines.” This is a ridiculous approach. Why not try to find the cause first and eliminate the problem rather than mask it with medication. So then the doctor goes on to prescribe me a medication that I haven’t really enjoyed previously. It makes me be dizzy, have more tummy troubles than I usually do and gain weight. Treat one problem and get three more. Unfortunately weaning off this particular med is more difficult than other meds I have taken.
I think doctors should treat the patient as a whole. I am having stomach trouble and chronic migraines which can be symptoms of many illnesses, but when you go to a specialist they only want to hear about how one specific organ or system is working. Many times the answer will be in linking the symptoms together. Now I don’t so much mind seeing a specialist. If I am having problems with migraines, it is my better to see a neurologist than your PCP. They have had much more education in that specific area. However, I sure as hell hope they take into account how the body is working as a whole.
Some people have suggested seeking holistic medical treatment. However, because of my history I have been denied as a patient before. In addition, with pre-existing conditions and being on medications I can’t easily come off of I am not currently a good candidate. I”m also not sure what my insurance will cover. Also, why shouldn’t all practiced medicine be holistic. Why should I have to look in nooks and crannies to find someone who sees the body as one unified system.
But as I said I am blessed to live in a city where there is great medical care.