Friday, November 4, 2011

Well, that went off the rails but produced a new word

Thursday after work was my ART therapy appointment. My knee is feeling rock solid these days, but I like to get it checked every now and then just to be sure I haven't done anything to it as I build effort and training time. So far so good. There were some minor clicks in my knees and ankles as he worked on them.

His appointment usually also includes a bit of adjustment for my back and hips, since there is some tightness and stuff that contributed to the knee injury. I have trouble relaxing for this, which makes it harder, and leads into a spiral that doesn't go anywhere good. What he does typically leaves me not wanting to run, or do anything afterward. Which is ok.

Friday was a bit of a slackasserization though. Let's see what happened. Thursday at work was actually pretty productive, as was Friday morning. The big secret was bailing on a bunch of meetings, and getting stuck into some process diagrams and documents. Then Friday afternoon was working (playing) with SJ to set up a SharePoint site for our team. I know the process, and she knows SharePoint better than I do. So we've been putting it together, and we're in geek heaven as we try to bend SharePoint to our will. I actually stayed at work longer than I intended because it was so much fun. (Yes, I know, you don't have to say it.)

Here, let me get you a cold compress and a nice cup of tea to recover from the shock.

Then I come home to a dinner of duck breast on a bed of wild rice with a sauce of something that would make cardboard edible. And wine, let's not forget that. Then when I settled into my chair to finish my glass of wine, our cat hopped into my lap and settled in. Plus I had my iPad to hand, and next thing I know it's almost bedtime, and the important thing not done.

I refer to blogging, of course. Much of my steam has been robbed by a one MG as he posted a provocative thing on Facebook about the medical system. I got the wind up and barfed out a bunch of stuff. It isn't up to my usual standard, but I think I'll post it here, completely sans context, though I'm not sure it qualifies as a rant.

I have ideas about the medical system. Some have been on my blog. The biggest single thing is to stop the doctors from being the choke point to the system. We need to have someone like a registered nurse, but not exactly, set up in strip malls everywhere, more common than 7-11 and Subway combined. Every adult that wants to get medical services registers to one convenient to their work or home. At regular intervals, say monthly or bi monthly, a person drops in. They get weighed, blood pressure done, look in eyes ears and throat. Breasts and balls (depending on which you have) palpitated. A sample of blood is taken and sent for analysis of lab tests appropriate for that person. The intent is to build a history of what is normal for that person, and to catch changes early. Really early. When something changes that person is the gatekeeper to see the appropriate specialist. The key of the whole system is to prevent disease from happening, to treat it while it's small. In a truly connected world, it wouldn't matter which one you went to, your medical records would follow you everywhere. Make an appointment, or drop in.

The system shouldn't have to seek permissions for organ donations. If a person meets some standard criteria for brain death, whatever organs can be salvaged for transplant should be harvested and used. That person doesn't need them anymore. I don't accept that religious objections should prevent saving someone's life.

There ought to be major tax breaks to encourage people to be healthy. Say, oh, I don't know, completing an Ironman before the cutoff should be good for taking $1,000 off your taxes for that year. Every person should get a medical statement every year, showing what they used in medical services, compared to the average.

I'm not sure I accept that the elderly are the biggest driver of health care costs. After all, there aren't that many of them. But there are a lot of people in their 40's and 50's with expensive diseases like diabetes and cancer. I'd want to see the numbers. At some point we have to draw the line and say we aren't going to do massive intervention to save lives. The focus should become managing pain and dying with at least some shreds of dignity.

Another thing driving the medical system, (no pun intended) is automobile collisions. There are no accidents. None. There is only driver error, for all intents and purposes. The exceptions are a trivial number. We should be treating these collisions like airplane crashes, to determine exactly why, lay blame, and assess costs. Some people should be insuranced out of driving because they are bad drivers and a hazard to the rest of us. This distracted driving law is nonsense. Really, they should just say that if the cell phone records show you were driving while using the cell phone the insurance companies need not cover you, and you become fully liable for all costs of any accident you caused, even if technically it's the other person's fault. Everybody ought to be getting a drivers test every 5 years. Defensive driving refresher courses ought to be mandatory every 10 years. Let's use this computer simulation technology.


  1. Technically, training to the level of ironman isn't actually the ideal level of health. I think it's after 13-14 hours of exercise a week that it starts to become counterproductive from a strict health standpoint. So, I don't know if they could actually pay for that...

  2. I definitely agree with a lot of your comments. I think a fitness tax credit would go a long way. I know they have this for families with kids, but I think it would be awesome the be able to claim things such as gym memberships, yoga classes, race registrations, sports registrations, fitness equipment, etc. on your income tax for some sort of tax credit. I also personally think the government should tax the hell out of junk food and fast food the same way they tax the hell out of cigarettes and beer! And then that money should be used to go into a public program that will help educate the public about so many different health issues. Given that obesity is a major cause of a lot of cardiovascular diseases and type II diabetes, it makes sense to me that we should focus on promoting healthy eating, exercise and healthy weights. I think utilizing nurse practitioners more efficiently and in collaboration with family physicians could definitely help improve the system and improve access to the system. I am very lucky in that I can usually get in to see my Dr the next day, but I know so many people that have to wait 2-4 weeks for a Dr's appointment and many that do not even have a Dr! Walk-in clinics are great but usually they are overflowing, leaving the only next place for accessibility for health issues being the emergency department. I think improving accessibility to the system would go a long ways in improving the health of Candians.

    I have so many other thoughts on this issue that I could write a 200 page paper and still not be finished. I think part of the problem is that the government who would be responsible for making neccesary changes have a short term vision... so they cut corners, cut costs and balance the budget. If only they could have a long-term vision, they could inject money into the system now to promote health and prevent a lot of the diseases that are causing such a burden on the system and then the 10-20 year olds will not be running into the same health issues as the 40-60 year olds are. In 30 years, we will overall be a healthier population! (however, I believe you would start to see improvements immediately!) But when you are focused on the next 4 years and getting elected in 4 years time, it is difficult to have a long-term vision for health care and I think that is definitely part of the problem.

  3. Deb, you're right in that many people doing IM are fit, indeed very very fit, but in many cases they are not actually healthy. Though probably healthier than people not doing any exercise.

    Tiff, when I had my physical back in May, the very next appointment available for the same thing was September 2012. And they tell us old guys we should get it done every year! The short term vision by governments and the medical profession are totally making it harder to find a solution.


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