My Gripe with American Medical Care

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.

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