Federal Pain Management
by Tom C. Purcell
Modern American healthcare is a racket. Essentially, it's a pyramid scheme with mega pharmaceutical corporations at the top, and ailing Americans with a direct syphon from their bank accounts to medical corporations at the bottom. Like many others, I've been especially privy to this devolution because from the early 1980s all the way through to present day I've had to see a variety of doctors, as a child for asthma-related issues in the desert-city of Phoenix, for sports injuries and checkups as a teen and young adult, and as an adult for neurological dysfunction and chronic pain. It is the neurological issues that have been the greatest challenge for me and my doctors.
In 1982 doctors were committed to solving the problem. It was not easy to earn their credentials in the 20th century, and they were dedicated to improving the health of their patients. In 2018, doctors use databases and checklists to determine the most profitable pharmaceutical they can prescribe, if not the most federally acceptable one. In 1982, doctors could do anything they asked their nurses and assistants to do and way beyond. In 2018 most doctors wouldn't dare draw blood or administer any sort of physical test or actual treatment. They would risk being sued for malpractice and since they have letters after their name, they shouldn't be challenged or expected to earn their keep doing actual work. They're royalty. So doctors in 2018 refer you to six other outlets who can also get into your pockets, but probably won't help much. And to boot, each medical outlet will gouge insurance companies and this further perpetuates the healthcare racket.
In 1982, America had decent 'healthcare'. By 2002, healthcare in America became an industry and now in 2018, American healthcare is an absolute racket. Those who didn't need pain relief were fed opioids and those who need pain relief can't get needed analgesics because so many doctors, led by Big Pharma, and patients for various reasons have abused these drugs. Now, like our politics, our government, our economy and our society itself, healthcare is inside out, upside down and sideways.
I could write a detailed text for future would-be Nobel Prize Neurologists to study. I'll start with a brief chronicle of my health issues and corresponding failures by today's preprogrammed, federally-approved bots we refer to as 'doctors'. Maybe there are still good doctors in the U.S., somewhere, and no disrespect to those who deserve to have 'M.D.' after their name. Well if there are some doctors out there who actually can and will attempt to solve problems instead of acting as robotic salesmen for pharmaceutical companies, please read on, feel free to inquire further in the comments and provide informed feedback.
As a child with asthma-like issues (thanks for roomfuls of cigarette smoke, Mom and others) my doctors not only had a virtue called 'bedside manner', but they listened and asked thoughtful questions, they took vitals themselves, asked how nights went, how I felt when I tried doing this or that, what the home was like, if we had animals or lived rural, many educated questions. Doctors would also give guidance and advice for how to go about your life under the current treatment, how to pace your days, what's best to eat or drink, if sunshine or exercise is recommended or not, and so on.
As an adult with chronic pain and muscle spasms, essential tremor, numbness, tingling and migraine headaches among other accompanying issues, doctors first send you for bloodwork and imaging, then hurry to explain things that make them sound smart. If a red flag isn't waiving in the results from tests that other people have performed, they are generally dismissive because before you even got there they had made a decision not to get involved with any sort of pain management, minus a broken neck or something severe like that. Pain management is avoidable for doctors because the feds are surveying the resident opioid crisis in the U.S. That's right, the U.S. Federal Government is managing your pain. Doctors don't want federal attention. In most cases doctors just want an easy day's work, a private parking spot, a house with a view...
If something doesn't present itself in a blood test or CT scan then today's doctors make the assumption that you are either faking or imagining symptoms. Even though it's clear that I'm developing a limp from sciatica, that there is a major, testable difference in strength and feeling between my left and right side, that nearly all of the joints in my skeleton audibly pop, my most recent Neurologist has made the decision to not treat my pain anymore. The fact that I'm honest about using cannabis (with a medical card) for these musculoskeletal symptoms results in a hindrance to my treatment because based on federal guidelines, my doctor can't and won't prescribe analgesics as long as I'm using medical cannabis products. The fact is I don't desire opioids, or any dangerous, addictive drug. But I don't desire jaw-clenching, chronic pain and unwanted muscle activity either.
So the state of Oregon is living in one reality, and the Federal Government in another. That puts the patient (me) squarely in medical purgatory. Healthcare in America is a racket. It's a money vacuum. I've spent ridiculous dollars on medications like Lyrica, Lamictal, Gabapentin, and at least a half dozen others and actually, not only are opioids proven pain medications but they're also hundreds of dollars cheaper than drugs like Lyrica. Doctors get paid, pharmaceutical companies and their investors collect big while nurses, phlebotomists and imaging technicians do all of the work, and patients are kept on a variety of medications that usually end up reducing their quality of life as much or more than any treatment the costly pills can provide.
So onward we go in this Orwellian transition, with our health in federal hands, with the Federal Government in charge of our doctors and for that matter almost everything that goes into your bloodstream as well.