To continue my little odyssey in to the health care world: Generally, I am quite healthy. I’ve never had an operation, never even been in a hospital, am not on any medications and don’t have back, neck or joint pain usually. So, this pinched nerve, if that’s what it is has got me very disoriented. It’s hard to concentrate, and I have had to cancel a couple trips trying to work it out.

I finally did get to see my P.A. who gave me a bag full of drugs and told me not to take them if I had gastrointestinal side affects. Great. He also recommended physical therapy and said he would get a referral going right away and to call in if I hadn’t heard from the referral person in a day. The referral is important because that means my health insurance, such that it is, would cover some of the cost of th PT. This was over a week ago. And in spite of several calls to the referral desk I have not been able to speak to the actual referral person, I have not had my calls returned, and no referrals have been made.

In the meantime, I did get in to see a physical therapist. I’ve been twice, a different person each time, who each did different things, and recommended different exercises. The second one said I should go back to the chiropractor and get a manipulation to get my vertebrae re-aligned just before coming back for another session. So I have that scheduled for tomorrow. However, the chiropractor isn’t sure the adjustment is advixed and is concerned its a disk issue that could only be fully diagnosed with an MRI. But the P.A. said I didn’t need an MRI. OK, so who is right?

And since I haven’t had an official referral to PT from the medical office, I don’t know what if any of the cost of those sessions my health ‘insurance’ will cover.

So here’s the thing: It’s been 3 weeks. The pain is slowly getting better. I have no way of knowing what, between the ultrasound, traction, massage, exercises, ice, hot showers, a couple drinks in the evening, a massage from a neighbor’s mom, or just simply time is causing the pain to subside. And it seems like none of the experts I have seen really knows either. In spite of all the medical and technical advances, it seems a lot of this is still guess work. Try this. If it doesn’t work, try this other thing.

I know that the medical community often perfoms amazing feats. But I tend to think that this most often happens with people who have extreme needs and a very robust health plan. For someone who just has a pain in the neck, it seems they may just be pain in the neck. No one wants to throw a lot of resources at it because, in the end, unless it’s really serious, it will probably go away on its own. But neither are they willing to say, “Go home, put some ice on it, take some aspirin, don’t do jumping jacks for a while and it will go away.” That would have saved me a lot of money and time. Of course, the next time, if I ignore whatever it is, it will probably be a symptom of something dire. I may take my chances.

I have no answers here. Just some frustration. And so, I rant.

Update: As if on cue, Leo Sears has an essay in the Times-Standard about his wonderful experience with the health care system. Of course, he had a very serious medical issue and one would presume, since there was no mention of payment or insurance, excellent coverage. Blessing upon him.