Medical treatment for real illnesses and trauma is better today than at any time in our history, but . . .
Doctors have historically been “sick-care” providers, no matter what you may elect to call it.
Doctors now (as a result of recent poor publicity about sick care) are now promoting health and wellness care with new concierge programs where they provide certain basic services and then have ala carte services at extra cost. My own previous primary care physician claims to be dropping 75% of his patients to implement his new concierge system. I predict these will become far more costly in the future both to the consumer and to the doctor. I believe Doctors are being sold into joining these new outside concierge providers to consolidate many of the high administrative costs in dealing with the Insurance companies and the Government. Yet he is dropping 75 % of his clients. Go figure.
As I get older, I get to go to more doctors, each with their own practice and specialty. Each one gives a series of tests, looks at them and then says “come back in 4 to 6 months for a follow up. I have a dermatologist (I had skin cancer). I have a primary care physician. I have a cardiologist. I have an endocrinologist. I probably have two or three that I don’t even know about. I have a dentist. So every six months, I keep going back to each of them. They all want more testing, “just in case” – Ka ching!
I bet I’m not alone, am I?
But what happens if I take care of myself? What happens if I exercise and eat right? That’s what I do now, and with the exception of the deteriorated heart valve which required replacement with a cow part last June, I have very little wrong with me. I have “self-care”. I feel good most of the time. I no longer have stomach problems. I no longer have many of the other problems that I used to have. I haven’t had any more kidney stones. Thyroid tests show borderline low thyroid function but there have never been any symptoms. It’s been that way for years, yet I go back every six months, for more tests, “just to be sure.”
Doctors are superb if you break a bone or if you are bleeding to death, or truly need surgery. They’re great if you want a check up every year (something everyone should have as they age). But to go back to six doctors every six months and have more tests when there are no symptoms of anything, seems like a bit of excess to me. Of course I’ve paid into Medicare since it’s inception so I guess you’re not really paying for my doctor’s visits.
My doctors are great people. They often serve too many patients and are truly overworked in many cases. If they accept Medicare, they are probably underpaid for the services they provide. Biomedical discoveries and treatments have greatly improved for real illnesses. Trauma treatment advances seem to increase exponentially when we have troops in harms way, and they trickle down to the civilian medical community. Organ replacements and joint replacements have become commonplace. New treatments are being discovered almost daily for any number of diseases and illnesses.
The point of all this is that even with all the medical advances, people are truly starting to look inward at their own health and wellness. People are beginning to realize that they are responsible for their own health and wellness and are actually doing something about it. Over the last five years I have observed more people at the gym, more articles on health and wellness in publications, and more people taking care of themselves. Many studies bear this out with statistical support.
On the other hand there are more unhealthy and overweight people than ever. Those are the statistics we read about. In other words, the bell shaped health curve is getting wider at the ends and narrower in the middle.
As we learn more and more about taking charge of our own health and wellness and leaving the medical community to solve real problems and treat real illness, we can hope that that bell shaped curve widens on the healthy side, narrows on the unhealthy side and comes to a “V” in between the two. I am running into more and more people who are truly interested in their own health and wellness, and it is gratifying. I hope you fit into that category too.
Exercise and eat healthfully. It’s magical!
Thanks for reading.