What trauma taught me: 15 observations about American medicine and society - ForumDaily
The article has been automatically translated into English by Google Translate from Russian and has not been edited.
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What trauma taught me: 15 observations about American medicine and society

I couldn't use both arms for about three weeks, and any movement of my right shoulder - when getting dressed, sleeping, trying to work on the computer, etc. - caused severe pain. It turned out that I had a partial tear of the cartilage and cuff of the shoulder, severe inflammation and locked shoulder. The inflammation spread to my right hand, and my left hand began to hurt because I used it to an unusual extent for a non-specialized hand. The prime suspect for causing such harm is my dog. Zakk is 28 kg of solid muscle and a bad habit of suddenly charging after wild animals with me at the other end of the leash. I still haven’t gotten out of this mess—full recovery is still a long way off, but I can already make a few observations.

Note: The column was written before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photo: Shutterstock

What happiness to have a good insurance! Every month I pay a significant portion of my salary for an insurance policy for myself and my family. At the end of last year, I thought about finding something cheaper (my son and I go to the doctor once or twice a year), but my husband persuaded me to leave it. On April 40, my son also broke his arm. Without insurance, we would, at a minimum, use up all our savings. And so - a small additional payment ($1500) for a visit to the doctor, an MRI, an x-ray of my son, and my physical therapy. Some things, for example, injections, were fully covered by the insurance company. True, we have not yet received a bill for the ambulance that took our son from school. Ambulances in the US are private and a ride in one costs, on average, $XNUMX. I hope that our insurance company will pay a significant portion of this amount. The school called an ambulance only when we gave them permission to do so - not all parents will be able to pay that kind of money. The ambulance team, however, was impressive both in its equipment and in the size of the crew - about half a dozen nurses arrived.

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There are thousands of insurance policies that cover procedures selectively or do not provide full coverage. It’s quite difficult to choose the right one because you don’t know what can happen to you. But the more expensive the policy, the more medical services it covers. You can, as I did for years, give significant money and practically not see doctors. But if a person has no or a cheap insurance policy, then in the event of a serious illness or injury this can result not only in health problems, but also in financial disaster. Two-thirds of Americans who file for bankruptcy do so because they cannot pay medical bills.

You can go to the doctor with pleasure if the doctor is a physiotherapist. Physiotherapy is a combination of a spa, a gym and a hobby club. We have teenagers who have injured their knees playing football, and older people who are experiencing limitations due to muscle degeneration. By the way, I’m not alone with “dog-trauma”. As it turned out, this is a common phenomenon among owners of large dogs.

American medicine is sharpened by claims to employers and insurance companies. At a specialized clinic (Pain and Spine Institute), in addition to two categories (athletes and retirees), there was a third - muscular men in jeans and plaid shirts, some with tool belts. In addition to medical issues, they also resolved financial issues by filing a claim against their employers for an injury at work. The clinic has put this on stream. When filling out the form, they immediately ask who your lawyer is, whether a lawsuit has already been filed and what are you waiting for? I think there is no point in suing my dog.

Фото: Depositphotos

Most people treat limitations with understanding. On the doctor’s recommendation, I didn’t go to work for a week, but I could perform a limited number of functions for much longer. It was incredibly gratifying to see how understanding my colleagues were towards my plight - after all, there were days when I could not do anything other than give instructions. One colleague prepared the entire program for me - all I had to do was broadcast it, another collected texts from my reading over the phone, a third gave me his chair because it was the only one that suited me from an ergonomic point of view. Everyone helped and no one said that it would be better to stay at home. Why shouldn't this be offered? Recovery from an injury can last for months - sitting at home for so long will not allow you enough sick leave or patience. Plus, the restoration of functionality happens a little every day, and we have enough variety of responsibilities to find ones that I can do.

It is necessary to pay attention to the pain, but do not let it rule you. I have to admit that I have to share responsibility with my dog. The ruptures probably occurred last year, and they would have dragged on harmlessly if I, a product of the Soviet upbringing - “die and swim to the finish line” - had not continued to lead a very active lifestyle, despite the pain in my shoulder.

In the United States, attitudes toward pain began to change in 1990, when a pain rating scale was introduced into medicine. Previously, pain was just a part of life. Today, says pediatric rheumatologist Dr. David Sherry, it gets too much attention. A doctor advises Americans to be more resilient. I think the truth is somewhere in the middle. On the one hand, I had to pay attention to the pain in my shoulder. On the other hand, some physical problems, if they are not critical, should not become the reason for life to stop. Running around the Pentagon building in freezing temperatures, looking for the right entrance, done. Well, we can’t reschedule the interview that we agreed on a month and a half in advance. Broadcast with almost no voice? Ask me how! This time I need to hold a television round table with three experts, and then broadcast half an hour. Made with one hand (literally), with the help of artificial intelligence and colleagues.

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I was then psychologically supported by the information that actress Emilia Clark experienced a stroke and two brain surgeries during the filming of "Game of Thrones". Of course, I am not the mother of dragons, but maybe I can inspire someone too.

If you have a sedentary job, take care of an ergonomic chair. My arms would hurt much less if I could rest them on the armrests of the chair. But my work chair was designed for a very large person - I still had to reach the armrests. Here is a drawing of a proper workstation from my physical therapist.

Artificial intelligence is at your service. I conducted almost all of my correspondence for almost a month using the voice typing function on my phone. And she did it in three languages. At first, random words came out in English, but then either I began to speak clearly, or the artificial intelligence adapted to my accent, and it grasped it almost perfectly. I used Ukrainian ones more - and there were no problems from the very beginning. The only thing is that the phone wrote “surprisingly”, “unfortunately” and “fortunately” together, and not separately. It was strange with the Russian. No matter what I said, the phone dialed at least one swear word in a sentence. But over time, he realized that I was a noble young lady and stopped swearing.

However, using voice typing in an open-plan office is not always convenient. My colleagues know not only who I arrange an interview with or who I invite to the program, but also which of us - me or my husband - picks up the child from the circle and who we go to for barbecues on the weekend. In addition, my colleagues did not always immediately know that I was addressing them: “Sorry, I thought you were talking to your phone.”

The feeling of pain significantly reduces the threshold of tolerance for the inadequacy of others. When the inflammatory processes were at my peak, for some reason I often used the phrase: “If you do not interrupt me, I can even answer you”. Seriously, how much is possible? For some reason, before I did not pay attention to how often people interrupt each other.

Once again convinced that you can not judge a person by appearance. If my son walked around with a bright green cast on his hand (it turns out that there is such an option - choose the color of the plaster), then it was not noticeable to me that his hands played a primarily decorative role. I even look better because I sleep more (so that the tears heal faster). We are all, no matter what impression we make, at war with our own dragons, and we should treat each other kinder and more forgiving.

If a certain time does nothing at home, Armageddon will not occur. For about two weeks I was unable to do virtually anything, and for much longer - and still am - my options are limited. My husband, who already does a lot without complaining, took on the extra workload. My sister also helped, who came from New York one weekend and washed and ironed everything. And some things don’t need to be done at all for a certain period of time. A dirty floor really irritates me, but I forced myself not to pay attention by force of will. I can’t imagine what would happen if I married one of those men who believe that a man’s work at home is exclusively nailing nails and opening jars. In case of illness or injury, nails are definitely not needed. But when at the same time a mother has a shoulder injury and her son has a broken arm, this is a bad set of circumstances. Three healthy hands for three family members is not enough.

At gas stations and supermarkets, at least in our area, You can always find men who, for 1-2 dollars, will carry and load products into the car or refill the car. A man who packs groceries at a cash register can also carry tipping bags into a car.

It is impossible to take offense at a dog. The dog worries more than me. He looks at me with sad eyes and thinks: "Why is this mother stopped walking with me?"

People with disabilities are not us and them. It is not any particular caste or minority. This is something that can happen to anyone, and at least temporarily, like for me, it will almost certainly happen. Creating opportunities for people with disabilities to lead full lives is in the interests of everyone and the whole society.

We women demand a lot from ourselves in terms of appearance. You don't have to have a 60cm waist or perfect skin. A healthy, strong body is what you should strive for and be happy about.

The original column is published on the website. VOA.

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