I'm finding that, from a health standpoint being over fifty has its challenges and speed bumps. A while back I began having some numbness in my left foot. Then, it started occurring in my right foot a bit too. So I did what any normal person would do and went to the doctor.
Now, I love my doctor - a nice guy, has been my primary physician for a long time - but when I described my issue, it turns out he's not a foot specialist. He could only guess as to what he thought it was. If I really wanted to find out what was going on, I would have to be referred to a foot and ankle specialist.
So my simple trip to the doctor to fix an issue required scheduling another trip to another doctor.
He was nice enough to refer me to the Foot and Ankle Specialists of Wisconsin, a clinic in Pewaukee. I went there and met my doctor who just happens to look like Ben Stein of the show Win Ben Stein's Money fame, among others.
This doctor pokes my foot with some pokey things and does some strength tests and says what I already know. "Yes, there's some loss of feeling, maybe some nerve damage. We should probably schedule you for an EMG with a neurologist.
So my simple trip to the specialist doctor to assess an issue beyond my normal doctor required scheduling another trip to yet another doctor.
Again, this doctor was good enough to refer me to another, more qualified doctor, so I set up an appointment for an EMG, which stands for Electromyography - a big word for I don't know what.
Now, I've described my experience at this appointment in an earlier blog post, so I'll spare you the details. I will say that I did expect to get answers and possible treatments from this doctor so I could move on with my life.
Well, his assessment resulted in a quick description of what he saw, but to get a full assessment and treatment plan, he would refer me...wait for it...wait for it...back to the foot and ankle specialist doctor.
At this point I am beginning to understand why we have a health care crisis in this country. Each of the doctor visits are about $160.00. The neurologist visit was $2300.00. By this time I'm thinking hey, what's a little numbness worth to me?
Anyway, I go back to Ben Stein expecting an assessment and treatment and a get out of health care free card. Well, it was assessed as Tarsal Tunnel and some residual nerve damage from a back injury from 15 years ago. I was prescribed Lyrica as some sort of nerve control agent and told...wait for it...wait for it...to come back and see him in 30 days to see if anything has changed.
At this point Ben Stein is winning my money.
I'm getting cachinged to death here. My Health Savings Account card is smoking and practically generating fraud alerts from frequent use.
All I want is one doctor that can do it all and not bankrupt me in the process.
And, to me, this is what's wrong with the American health care system.