Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Laws of Gravity are Very Very Strict, and You're Just Bending them for your Own Benefit

Lots to be said about the 'C' word, and the other 'C' word that accompanies. I'm talking about cancer and chemotherapy. Living through it once with dad, now navigating the rough waters with mom. Lots to be said about having a strong bond with the family for support, Ben Lee says it best when he says 'we're all in this together.'

It's confusing, you know, general practitioner leads to cancer surgery doctor leads to cancer lymph node specialists, different times different venues. The doctors do their best to be objective as they bounce you around, but as this goes on, I'd say the typical non-MD type gets battered and bruised by all the speculation.

So we're at the 18 month long chemo process, all for 'safeguards' sake. First 4 treatments, the tough ones, three weeks apart, the most side effects. Second round, 12 treatments, one week apart, 3rd round, 52 treatments, one week apart, all different flavors dripping out of an IV bag at different times.

I'm simply baffled by this process, and a few things come to mind, health and security for my mom first, the amount of medical choice today in civilized society, and the 'system' and knowing how to navigate through it.

Trust, damn its really all about that, you HAVE to trust your doctor when he says studies show this is the best way to go for people who have this sorta scenario going on. I can painfully go back and research all these drugs with long names, but at the end of the day I couldn't have an intelligent conversation as to what the hell it all means in context. Hence, please doctor, take care of mom and keep us in the loop in the condensed version of your expertise, take all the variables into consideration, and certainly don't scare the shit out of us. Our doctor(s) all are great people, smart and personable, they can play 'god,' they truly have peoples lives in their hands, and that's why they deserve every penny they make. I once heard you pay peanuts you get monkeys, I'm sure this applies in the medical field too, and surprisingly enough, Yoakum (size 4,000) and Cuero (size 6,000), I haven't seen a single monkey in even these small places. I think that says a lot for our 'broken' healthcare system in this country, as I trust and respect the valour of these people in the hospitals, who are amazingly expedient and efficient.

If this isn't right, then we do this, if this goes this way we do this, and so on and so on. Wow, I bet 20 years ago there weren't half these options, especially with breast cancer, people just 'lived with it.' Now we're faced with a host of decision, and a complicated and elaborate 'if then, else' structure in the world of treatment. Isn't there a way staff can explain that if this be the case, can't you articulate this a bit better, something like, yea, lots can go on, this, that or the other, but this is all status quo.

Part of me thinks about what could potentially be broken about the system. I certainly hope its not a money grabbing scenario, exploiting people's lack of knowledge of the medical profession and fear. The cynic in me says, 'but how do you really know?' Between doctors, facilities, more doctors, home health, insurance, etc. The broken-ness of the system isn't the 'unclaimed debts and expenses' column in the accounting book and not quality treatment, but its taking it out on the responsible people who DO pay their bills and don't have universal coverage, and in lieu of that, what's enough, and what's extra? Damn, its a fine line.

Our camp is dug in and braced for the next 18 months, it's our families version of The Dip, and we will make it through with flying colors and some character to boot. So it goes the wise ol' Vonnegut says. My fingers and toes are crossed in confidence that the wisdom of the ages are applied accordingly.

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