It looks (and feels) like I’m having a recurrence of my kidney stone problems. Trouble is, the local doctor is dragging his feet. He tells me my kidney stone (the existence of which has been confirmed by CAT scan) should not be hurting, because it’s not in a position where it can block any drainage channel from the kidney. However, when asked what it is that’s doubling me over in pain sometimes, he can’t suggest any other answer. Neither can extensive online research, talking about it with other medical people of my acquaintance, etc. Next thing you know, he’ll tell me I’m imagining the pain!
I’m getting very fed up with the cover-our-asses-at-all-costs approach of the US medical profession in general. No-one seems willing to provide a clear, categorical answer. It’s always hedged about with “but this…” or “perhaps that…” or “on the other hand…” I suppose it’s the fear of being sued for malpractice that does it, but it’s intensely frustrating when you’re hurting badly and wanting a solution. Where does one go for a plain, unambiguous explanation?
I’m also beginning to think that medical tourism might become more and more an option for any expensive procedure, because the cost of getting to another country is more than offset by the much lower prices for procedures there. (For example, the local list price for the latest CAT scan, with and without contrast dye, that I underwent yesterday, was over $6,000. The insurance price was lower, of course, and I paid 15% of the reduced price, but I was still out of pocket to the tune of several hundred dollars. For the list price, Miss D. and I could both fly to Japan, have the scan done there, spend a weekend in a decent hotel, indulge in some shopping, eat at good restaurants, and fly home again – and still have money in the bank!) The US medical industry is slowly but surely pricing itself out of reach of even those with insurance. It’s frightening.