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Thursday, June 14, 2018


I have just finished reading this. I have read many of her novels. I started reading it as the non-fiction memoir it is but as I continued it felt like another novel of hers only this time she was the main character herself. That's the way I read it. I have read this account as a case study in modern medical treatment with lots of great insurance.

IMO Joyce Carol Oates is the BALZAC of the American 20th century. As Balzac is to France, Oates is to America. In novel after novel she keeps up with the lightening fast changes that have gone on. THEM was such a wonderful book beginning with a woman just coming of age after WWII and all the changes she goes through.

Her husband gets sick in the beginning, coughing, wheezing, having trouble breathing. It is Sunday. By Sunday evening she gets him to agree for her to take him to emergency in the hospital at Princeton. He is admitted and diagnosed with pneumonia. She is relieved as that is not the terrible disease it used to be. Her husband is 77 and in good health. she does not mention any vaccination for pneumonia. I am puzzled by this.

He will be on oxygen and seems to be getting better. She is told by a doctor the next day, that they need to know exactly what virus they are dealing with so as to select the correct antibiotic. It turns out to be e-coli in the right lung so they give him the right antibiotic and dose him and he improves.

ME! I am thinking E-COLI and cannot understand the acceptance of normal infection at this stage. Then in another throw away sentence it turns out her husband has been on blood thinners successfully for quite awhile.


And this is accepted as normal, just something older men with high blood pressure are prescribed? I am shuddering that this is so matter of fact.

Joyce Carol Oates is a tenured professor at Princeton University in New Jersey. 
She has the GOLD STANDARD of medical benefits for her and her husband.
No vaccination for pneumonia mentioned. No concern over e-coli? 
She does say that the graveyard shift all seem to be 30 years old or under but this doctor identifying e-coli is not but he is not their regular doctor.

After he is dead she will do an internet search to find out pneumonia with e-coli has a 70% mortality. 
And she isn't told this? Do these people connect any dots?
Where are the doctors who read symptoms and understand disease?
Are they all old and in the grave now?
With just these new young ones with their rote learning?

She begins a week of spending her days at the hospital and her husband keeps improving. The following Saturday - or is it Sunday again- he has been working on Ontario Review pages for the upcoming issue. He is in good spirits, off the oxygen and Oates goes home, and plans on a good nights sleep.

She is awakened around midnight and told she needs to get there right away as he is still alive! She is stunned! So she drives back, gets stonewalled at the entrance by the guard, is finally let in, runs to his room where he has just died a few minutes ago.
Then they begin to ask her about where IT should be taken, the funeral home etc.


And this happens with really great Health Insurance, probably the best available. It turns out she has Universal Health probably accompanied by Medicare as she is now over 65. 

As she continues on in a state of uncomprehending grief  she begins to disintegrate herself. She details this with her insomnia, her depression, her doctor visits, her medication.

She comes down with a terrible case of SHINGLES! Now I am thinking she was not vaccinated for Shingles as probably not pneumonia either. What is going on? She goes right away to the doctor and he tells her she doesn't have them and prescribes something for the terrible itching and burning of shingles. They get worse and she returns the next day and he tells her that yes, she does have shingles and the window of treatment - 24 hours - has closed so the infection can continue for days, months and even years!

She finally questions the doctors. A little bit as she doesn't want to make a crazy scene. What I don't get is that none of his medication was seen as anything abnormal before. That his admittance is treated as if it is normal. And these are very wealthy people with celebrity status at Princeton and she is treated as a nobody as is her husband. Just normal everyday and it isn't at all. 

She discusses the anti-depression meds with her friends at Princeton. (These are academic people!)
And so many of them are on them already. They tell her about them, the side effects, how long it takes for them to kick in, the dosage, etc.

I have read an article about a father taking his son to a prominent eastern boys's boarding school and when you enter for admission you have to go to a building and turn over all the meds your child must take so they can supervise medication. He was overwhelmed by the numbers that were doing this.
Children all over the US and successful adults are on medication to adjust.
Do you understand what all this means?

Are you still with me? 

I have Medicare and Medicaid so I have basically universal health care. Recently I went as I was coughing and wheezing and she asked me my symptoms. Then she went to her screen and I guess did a search. Questions popped up and she read them to me. Then I guess she clicked on next and gave me two prescriptions, one for an inhaler. Now I can just see myself walking around with one of those around my neck getting addicted to it.

At this point I give up and go to my chiropractor. He practices the Palmer Method which is to adjust the Upper Cervical. Take a string, attach a weight, then hold it perpendicular to the floor. Move your fingers at the top just a wee bit. The string will move more and more as the movement travels down. Just a little bit at the top but more so going down. So you see that when your back hurts and your chiropractor works on your lumbar region and it feels better but doesn't stay better. 

It is because you are out of adjustment at the top - your cervix - where your neck is at the base of your head. So the lumbar region will go out soon.

I feel better almost immediately but not yet normal. I go back for adjustments twice a week as when I am coughing uncontrollably I cough myself out of adjustment. So I go 5 times for a month and am better. My wheeze from asthma is gone. I am not on any cough syrup, etc.

The big clinic out patient hospital I go to with its great aesthetic image, the faux oil paintings on the walls, the incredible hugeness of the place but no help for me.
They bill Medicare and Medicaid over $300 for the visit and I have no idea what the Big Pharma meds would have been as I didn't pick them up with my drug benefit. I am guessing it would have been about $1000 total.

Now who is cheating Medicare and Medicaid? They are blaming people but everyday, every hour and minute the over charging is being done by the hospitals and clinics. If a doctor isn't in the medical gang of a hospital, she cannot survive. They can't admit you to the hospital if they are not in their system, etc. so you are forced to join one system or another. You cannot choose a doctor you prefer for X or Y. My chiropractor opted out of the system when the Obama administration changed the rules for chiropractors making it cost prohibitive for my doctor who charges me $20 for each adjustment.

That's cheap right. He does a lot of Amish and Mennonites and he wants to be affordable but he could not under the demands of the government for seeing patients. So he said NO. But he has a practice that is large and devoted. He told me that his training now would cost $160,000 and no way could he have ever afforded that amount. The training schools up their tuition because the student loans will pay it. And then the cost of treatment goes up because the insurance is paying a good percentage of it.



You will go into a database that will follow you forever.
I know a young girl - 8th grade - who has been on meds every day since FIRST GRADE because she had a temper tantrum on the bus one afternoon. Her mother thinks anyone with a stethoscope around their neck, a white coat, and an office in one of these institutions AUTOMATICALLY knows what they are talking about.

This is what you are going to get only much worse. You will be put in a catchment area where you live. Your doctors will be chosen for you by the clinic. If the scripts don't work, well, too bad. If you don't research your sickness you cannot know what you need, and even if you do there is no guarantee that you will be able to get it on your own.

Universal health care in Britain came in after WWII and people were different then. You do not want Americans as they are educated and trained now making life and death decisions for you. And desperate to pay back their student loans. At least I don't.