Culture

The gift of modern medicine

Sometimes I fancy myself a sort of nomad. I have never fully embraced the nomadic lifestyle — I’ve never lived in a van or cut up my credit cards and tromped out into the woods never to return again, but I have moved around quite a bit. I’ve lived in four countries, the U.S. being one of them, and here I’ve lived in Arkansas, California, Georgia, Florida, and New York; I’ve also spent summers in Wyoming and Oregon, and I’ve driven across the country more times than I can count. I’ve also spent over a month deep in the Burmese jungles.

Now I have wound up in upstate New York, with a fairly regular job that offers me some pretty good benefits — one of those benefits is health insurance. I don’t get sick often, but I certainly needed hospitalization the other day when my appendix decided to take a nosedive. Some obscure alarm in my body rang, and the useless organ clocked out for good, trying to take the rest of the body with it.

Never mind the bills, never mind the garbage American healthcare system — as nomadic as I am, I am grateful that I was nomadic in a place with modern medicine. Had this happened while I was up in the mountains of Pakistan, deep in the jungles of Burma, or out in the deserts of Afghanistan — the story may have ended quite differently.

What did I get instead?

A quick visit to the ER: Like many ERs, the patients are borderline insufferable and ask why (in the midst of their cold) they don’t seem to garner a whole lot of respect when they act like entitled idiots. I was returned respect when I gave it, though I would have given it regardless, and I was treated promptly and professionally.

A quick visit to the surgeon: I was scheduled to get my belly puffed up with C02, three small incision points through my abdomen (one right in the belly button), and my appendix lopped off and sucked out in a bag through a tube. I had checked into the ER at 9:30pm and was put under around 12 hours later.

A quick recovery: I was out of the hospital by about 1pm. Granted, I’m a relatively healthy young man who doesn’t smoke or do drugs, and granted, it was a mere laparoscopic surgery instead of an open-slice-and-dice, but still — it’s been days and all things considered, I feel great.

It wasn’t too long ago that this would have been a death sentence for me; there are plenty of places in the world where this still would be a death sentence. I am grateful that this happened here and now. I also look forward to further advances in modern medicine that make other ailments a thing of the past — cancer took my aunt, for example. Perhaps one day they will have a turn-around of 24 hours when it comes to treating cancer, and it will be as dangerous to folks as my appendix was to me. Thanks to the toils of countless healthcare professionals, I hope and believe this will one day become a reality. Still, I’m happy with what I’ve got up to this point.

(If you’re waiting for the rest of the article – that’s it. Something doesn’t have to be terribly wrong to warrant a few words in its favor.)

IMG_20190216_135814
Post-op! Just after waking up from going under.
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clluelo
Member

Glad that you are back to it . I was stubborn and insisted my ex take me to our local hospital instead of the one closest to where we were . I was aware of its low rating and I knew I was taking my chances heading to my hospital but was insistent . My appendix burst as they were removing it so I spent a couple of days making sure I wasn’t going septic.

homanj1
Member
homanj1

Cl-I’m guessing up north you didn’t get a bill. It will be interesting to see what Luke’s out of pocket cost is for this relatively minor procedure, and how much his insurance company paid.

JoyB
Guest
JoyB

Happy to hear that you’re on the mend! Our healthcare may not be perfect, but it’s far better than what most of the world, including our allies in the U.K. and Canada have. It’s another area where Americans live in a bubble.

homanj1
Member
homanj1

Luke-Glad you were here. No helicopters involved in your adventure.

Joni Smith
Guest
Joni Smith

I’m glad you were here in the states as well. We do tend to take for granted our access to healthcare is basically available within a short distance for most. For those that life a distance out in the country it might be a bit of a drive but it’s still available. It’s no wonder we have folks wanting to come here for healthcare. It is some of the best available.

Susan B
Member
Susan B

So glad you were here in the US when things went south on you, health-wise. You are right in that we are very fortunate to live in a nation where you will get treated during an emergency situation even if you can’t afford it. So many across the globe would be dying with such a diagnosis. Glad you are doing so well. Wouldn’t want to lose our rusty-haired writer. 🙂

Mic-Mac
Member
Mic-Mac

Glad all went well, Luke! I read a book many years ago, true story about people who were going to climb Everest having his appendix removed as a precaution.

Mason
Member
Mason

Scar pics man, I am here for the scar pics.

rynosbucket
Member
rynosbucket

When things go wrong, you have to hope they go wrong in the best way possible… It did in this case, and I am happy you are on the mend.

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