The Bill

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Here’s a True Story for you:MD pciture

About three weeks ago, my wife suffered very minor second degree burns on the tips of three fingers (just a small blister on one). It was painful, though, so we went to one of those “Urgent Care” places – because it was late on a weekend night when this happened and there was no chance of getting an appointment to see her regular doctor until the next day.

She saw the resident Quack at the Urgent Care place for less than 5 minutes. He put some ointment on her fingers, wrapped them up.

A few days ago, we received The Bill.

It was over $350.

For 5 minutes of a doctor’s time, some gauze and a tube of ointment.

The price-padding has become outright financial gang rape.

The experience just related is far from unusual. Such grotesqueries are now common, typical even. Did you know that the price tag to give birth in a hospital now averages almost $10,000? (See here.) Mind, this is for a normal (vaginal) delivery. No complications. God help you if you have complications. But even if not, merely having a baby now costs as much as buying a new economy car.

For what, exactly?

Because a doctor sticks his head in the door for 5 minutes, maybe looks under the sheet?

I used to admire the medical profession (my dad was an MD). I do not admire it now. There are many dedicated, honorable people in medicine. But the profession itself has become a weird mish-mash of Soviet-esque mindless (and incredibly wasteful) bureaucracy and “Greed is Good” vulture capitalism.

Consider, for instance, the typical family practice. The paper-pushers far outnumber the MDs. Those ladies (they are almost always ladies) who man the front desk, who peremptorily demand endless forms be filled out (even if you filled out the same form last month and they have all the information already and absolutely nothing new needs to be added) and who act as intermediaries between you, the doctor – and the insurance mafia.

Figure each one is paid $40,000 annually – plus benefits. If the doctor has four of these ladies in his employ, his practice must generate in excess of a quarter million dollars annually after taxes just to pay the staff. A staff which – don’t forget – provides no “care” at all. They are there to push papers – and pad cost.

Thus, even the best-intended doctor is almost inevitably forced to jack up his bill – either the one sent to you or the one sent to the insurance mafia – in order to recoup his considerable expenses, a great percentage of which have nothing at all to do with the delivery of medical services.

The best course is to shun hospitals, clinics and doctors generally to the extent possible.

Stay healthy. Eat reasonably. Exercise frequently. Try to avoid the obvious stupidities – smoking, drinking to excess. Getting fat. Doing dumb-ass things like cutting up a downed tree using a chainsaw while not wearing eye protection.

Then, pray that you’ve got good genetics.

And good luck.

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7 COMMENTS

  1. Also, ya know, I’m going on year four of not being sick.

    No colds, no flu, no runny nose. no seasonal allergies. (Decades I’ve suffered from Spring time allergies and ragweed in the Fall) But No More! I owe it all to going Primal (And, Thank you Karen De Coster!) Add a dash of Margaret Durst’s advise to take Olive Leaf and magnesium, and I don’t know, if wasn’t for other shit like getting old, I might think I’m freaking Superman!

    Yeesh, Ive told the world a couple of times now. There it is. Grab the MoFo.

    Get some zinc, too.

    • I’ve had a good run also, Helot.

      Lost a bunch of fat by going – mostly – primal. I’d say I’ve cut back my consumption of wheat/complex carbs by 85 percent and my consumption of processed food by almost 100 percent. I feel really good physically – even as I am going through some tough times, professionally and personally.

      • eric, I quit wheat near the end of August. I mainly quit all grains and rarely break the mold on it. I have finally quit having loads of snot and stopped up nose for the first time in my life. I still have the occasional sneezing fit but that’s mainly due to west Tx., one of the worst places for air allergies known to man.

        One day many years ago we were working on a toolbar on a tractor. It was broken and had to be re-welded. You pare down each end and get it hot with a torch and then weld, and weld and weld until it’s built back to it’s former 2″ square. A friend was doing the welding and when he got through he was of course, sitting down since he had no choice but to weld all the way around and it was on a plow so we would turn it as it was welded. A few comments from the rest of us and he was talking to us. This thing is changing from white to red. When he stands up he just reached out and grabbed it to pull himself up with(I’ve seen this since too)and the squealing sound of his hand made everybody wince and him turn loose. He did get up and his hand had the skin fairly much gone. He had one of those big aloe vera plants, like nearly everyone in the country has. We filleted a big lead and plastered it over that spot, wrapped it up in gauze and fed him beer and pot. The next day his hand was red and only a bit sore. He was able to put on a gloves over his new leaf and by the end of that day it wasn’t even bothering him. Since then I’ve used that technique many times and it always works. It even attenuates the pain immediately upon application. The bigger leaf aloe is the best for this but any will work. We just don’t don’t go to the doc for burns in this part of the country unless someone is burned on a large area from fuel. About ten years ago we were nearly burned out by a range fire. When it was all over neither I nor my wife had much hair(esp. me since I went into the thick of it)left, even ruined the boots we had on. Thankfully we had a big bottle of aloe extract and slathered ourselves with that after long cold showers and sat around feeling a bit “hot”. Oh, when you get a burn, run cold water over it for a few minutes to remove the heat, not ice or icy water, preferably well water(68°) before covering with aloe. You can’t argue with success.

  2. Hell, the Only way I’m going to a doctor is if someone drags me there while I’m unconscious.
    I’m surprised that eric’s better half doesn’t think the same way.

    On that note, Hoping it might make a difference, i sent this bit to the Duck Dynasty email I found:

    “If Willie wants to loose weight, dropping the carbs is The Only Way. It would be very funny to see him sneaking doughnuts and muffins. I think your whole family should get into it. It’s the healthiest thing this side of the Mississippi my friends. Check out the Primal/Paleo diet. It’s the Perfect fit for Duck Dynasty!

    Anyway, please send me a Duck Commander Call if you use my advise. other than that, I’d be just pleased as peaches if that did good for the people who follow you.”

    Yeah, I’m sure it will be ignored.
    But I tried.

    At the same time, in Re: to eric’s missive about not smoking and drinking reminded me of this lot:

    Cigarettes, Whiskey, and Wild, Wild Woman The world’s oldest man shares his secrets

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/2009/06/jerome-taylor/cigarettes-whiskey-and-wildwildwoman-the-worlds-oldest-man-shares-his-secrets/

    Also, it’s been awhile but not too long since I spent an afternoon hanging out trying to keep up with the 90 yr. old woman neighbor I know who smokes a pack a day. She’s lived a decade or so longer than I want to. So that whole ‘Stop smoking’ deal seems like a bunch of BS. …Unless of course you want to run.

    I’ll Never forget the first days of high school football practice. We all knew who smoked over the Summer, and who didn’t. After running laps around the track during what I now recognize were War gaming exercises, the guys who smoked were very evident,… they were curled up in balls on the ground moaning and heaving (maybe even puking) as the rest of us ran circles around them. ….But they caught up after awhile.

    I’ve read plenty of stories about guys who smoked a shit load and lived longer than “the experts” who said they shouldn’t.

    IMHO, it’s other things that kill us off. YMMV

    • On smoking: My wife’s aunt died last spring after years of slowly dying of COPD. For the last several years of her life, she had to carry an oxygen bottle with her wherever she went. She had been an emergency room nurse – and smoked several packs a day for years.

      Good genetics (and diet) can compensate for a lot, but inhaling smoke regularly can’t possibly be anything but a negative.

      I’m not condemning smokers – or smoking. It’s a personal choice, like choosing to eat a certain type of food, to exercise (or not).

      Some people will be able to do it without suffering consequences; some won’t. And it’s hard to pinpoint exactly whether the smoking – as such – is what caused a given negative income. It may have contributed to it. It might be coincidental.

      In any case, it’s no one’s decision to make except the person involved.

      I choose not to smoke.

      But I do choose to ride motorcycles.

      Which is “riskier”?

      Maybe one; perhaps the other.

      But it’s my choice to make.

      And so on for everyone!

  3. A few drops of lavender oil applied directly to a burn 2-3 times per day for 3 days will heal it completely if it is not a large 3rd degree burn or worse. It works better than anything I’ve ever seen a doctor do for burns.

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