Thursday, August 25, 2011

Holistic Healthcare

Why is it so hard to find good quality, holistic healthcare that my insurance will cover?  Let me start at the beginning.

Growing up, we had a family doctor that I loved.  I did not fully appreciate how great he was until I left town and had to find doctors on my own.  My original doctor took the time to actually listen (which I’m now realizing is a rare trait among doctors) and did not turn to pharmaceutical drugs as a first option.  Instead, he took the approach of least intervention.

Since those days, I have experienced many a horrible doctor.  When I say horrible, I mean horrible.

Like the time that the doctor blew off my concerns (after I had been referred to him by my ob/gyn because she wanted a second opinion), patronizingly talked to me while I laid half naked on the table with only a flimsy sheet covering me.  How did I respond?  By sobbing on the table, insisting (in between hiccups) that the doctor just let me finish explaining my symptoms before brushing me aside and moving on to his next patient.  That went over well.  There was s nurse there the entire time and I got a call from the office afterwards saying, “So we hear you didn’t have the best experience today…” (Translation: “The nurse told us you were sobbing hysterically and yelling at the doctor…”)

Then there was the doctor who told me my knee was fine and I should start walking on it.  Good thing I didn’t listen to her and got a second opinion the next day since I had a torn ACL and meniscus.  Maybe she didn’t catch it because she didn’t even bother to compare one knee to the other or test for an ACL injury.

And what about when I had a cyst on my foot?  The doctor I saw didn’t even look at my MRI scans.  He was in the office with me for less than five minutes before telling me the appropriate course of action and starting walking out of the room.  I asked if he saw my scans, and he said, “Oh, no, I haven’t.”  Once he did, he found the cyst.  What kind of quack doesn’t even look at scans when treating an injury?

At first I thought I happened to stumble upon a bad doctor.  Then another.  And another.  After several of these experiences I began to question that theory and wondered instead if I was some sort of magnet for idiot physicians.

Now that we’re in a new city, it’s time to find a new doctor—a process I now dread.  Since we are here for the foreseeable future, I want to do it right.  I want recommendations, I want impeccable credentials, I want excellent bedside manner, and I want holistic healthcare.  I want a doctor who is going to take the time to listen, engage me as a partner in my own healthcare, and be open to alternative therapies.

Oh, and it would be great if my health insurance company would cover this care.  Minor detail, right?

Today I spent some quality time with my friend Google looking up “integrative family medicine” and “holistic family medicine” practices.  I found several that I would like to try.  Only problem?  None of them accept insurance.

On the one hand, I love that they don’t work with insurance companies.  My disdain for corporate healthcare runs deep and deserves an entire post of its own.  Bottom line: a for-profit company’s ultimate goal is to make money, not to look out for your health.  They are not on your side.  You pay a monthly premium.  You pay a deductible.  You pay co-insurance.  When exactly does the insurance company pay?  I know the other side.  I’ve lived the other side.  Having two knee surgeries in one year?  I used my insurance like never before.  Even so, I find it sickening that these companies profit off of other people’s misfortune.

Ultimately, I’d love to get rid of my health insurance.  It isn’t in line with my values and it doesn’t cover the type of care I’d like to have.  (I want to give birth in a birth center or at home; doesn’t cover it.  I want holistic family health care; doesn’t cover it.)  At the same time, I’m a weenie and the thought of being pregnant without health insurance?  Scares me.  So I suck it up and pay my (ridiculous) monthly premium.  For now.

I wish there was a third option.  I wish the choices weren’t a) pay into a company you find reprehensible or b) go without healthcare and then go bankrupt if you get into a serious accident or are diagnosed with a life-threatening illness.  Where is my option c?  Where is socialized healthcare in this country?

I digress.

I’ve made an appointment to get a physical with a new doctor on Monday.  Hopefully I’ve found a winner.

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