It's about 3:30 am and just got back from the hospital.
Neighbor, mother of three, will, five hours from now, be having
surgery to hopefully seal a leaking anurism in the middle of her brain.
Though the odds of surviving the surgery are 2 out of 3, the Do Nothing
Alternative is almost 100 percent fatal.
Had she been able to afford seeing a doctor 6 months ago when her
blood pressure got into the 180/120 - and could afford the blood
pressure medicine that would surely have prevented the current
situation - she'd not be in ICU today, waiting to get a procedure
that hopefullly will save her life.
So please - get your blood pressure checked - and if it's high
- don't ignore the warning signs. Many pharmacies have a machine
that you can use to check your BP for free - so there's no excuse
for not using it.
And please realize that not being able to afford even basic health
care - can be fatal.
The most insidious thing about high blood pressure is that there are NO
OTHER SYMPTOMS. The only way to know that your BP is high, is to measure it.
There are many effective treatments for high blood pressure available as part
of the $4/$10 generic drug program at Wal-Mart, Target, and several other
retailers (one month's supply costs $4, three months is $10). And the best
treatments for high blood pressure cost nothing: Exercise. Lose weight. Eat
Or, in this case, have a blood vessel in the brain begin leaking.
The problem is that these meds require a prescription - and some
THAT requires seeing a doctor three or four times a year. THAT
money which requires prioritizing - food, utilities, gas, clothes -
take precident over parent's needs. And while there's the illusion
"safety net" - programs to help poor folks get medical access - the
is that there are so many hurdles to overcome that the weeks and
and forms and applications and verification data and . . . can
someone already stretched thin - almost to the breaking point - or
broken. Even with an advocate, the illusion vs reality is daunting.
So - if you're poor - the emergency room IS your medical access. And
THAT time, prevention and health management, which in the long run is
a hell of a lot less expensive, ain't an option. In this specific
a neuro-surgeon, a neuro-vascular-interventionist, an
and probably four surgery nurses, followed by at least 10 days in ICU
followed by four or more days in Critical Care. That doesn't include
the CT scan, the angiogramS, . . . Check Out Bill will be pushing a
quarter million probably.
We seem to be a bit myopic when it comes to cost/benefit analysis.
If the $30K - $40K per inmate were spent on early intervention and
education/training . . .
If there were clinics available to catch medical problems early on .
Anyway - thanks for the Walmart/Target etc. tip. May go a long
ways towards preventing more high blood pressure problems, Now
if only she had a doctor who would write the prescriptions . . .
I don't know how one resolves the "rights of the unborn" and the
"preservation of life" for the terminally ill with the big concern
for the period in between.
ps - just learned that the brain surgery was successful. So far
Be aware that successful does not mean that there was no damage.
But also be aware that the brain has a greater capacity to reroute
around and recover from damage than was widely believed thirty
years ago. But it takes lots of practice.
Best wishes for your neighbor.
On Mon, 18 Aug 2008 11:41:07 GMT, firstname.lastname@example.org (Doug Miller)
High BP is one of the "hard to see" problems, often having no obvious
outward symptoms - some people who have been diagnosed are complacent
and don't take their meds. This condition can also be genetic, with
some people being much more likely to have the problem - even when
they do all the right things.
While we have some incredible medical capabilities, as a nation we
seem to use little common sense in the application of those
capabilities. It's a "miracle" to expend $1,000,000 to save and
rehabilitate an unrestrained DUI driver who injured/killed others, but
those same $$ could have provided diagnosis & long term treatment for
1000 people with high BP who are harming no one and trying to care for
a family. I consider anyone DUI as a potential perpetrator of first
degree murder (doing omething "deliberately and with malice
aforethought"), so maybe it's a good thing that it's not my place to
make that call.
I'm one of the lucky ones with unusually good BP genes - it was 107/67
last week during the pre-op for back surgery. If only the genes for
my Medicare-eligible spine were as good...
Surviving surgery is perhaps half the battle - hope charlieb's
neighbor fares as well in her recovery.
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