Don’t Get Sick

Posted On May 19, 2024

On this week’s Keepin’ It Real, Cam has seen much more of the healthcare world these days than he would like. His advice: Stay well.


I’ve been given an up a close look at our health care system over the past several months. It’s been, well, disappointing. And this comes after hearing a remarkable speaker discuss the importance of customer service on company culture.

I made a reference several months ago to the pain I’ve had. It’s finally been diagnosed as polymyalgia rhumatica, or PMR. It showed up around February first and has been a part of every day since. It’s a sickness that can’t be confirmed through tests. Once they rule out everything else, it’s one of the ones that’s left.

I’ve dealt with some pain in my life. Cluster headaches. A blood clot in my lung. However, nothing day in and day out has been like this PMR pain. On a scale from one to ten it’s regularly an 8 in the morning dipping to a four or five in the afternoon and back to an 8 the next morning. I need help getting my shirt on and off. I can barely brush my teeth. Right now, I’m on a steroid that masks the pain and I pray that the pain ends before the prescription runs out.

Now, the heath care system. I’ve seen five different doctors to try to diagnose this. I’m guessing I’ve spent less than an hour total with all of them. Averaging, maybe, ten minutes each. They burst through the door, they ask a handful of questions, they order tests. It’s quick. I’ve spent lots of time with nurses and assistants and in waiting rooms. But the doctors are hard to come by.

One hospital wouldn’t let me speak to a doctor who I heard might can help. “Unless you’re a patient,” they said, “you can’t speak to him.” “Well, I might become a patient if he thinks he can help. I’ve seen others of his specialty, but I hear he knows more. “Sorry,” they said. So, I wrote him a letter to get him to call me. I got a voice mail from the office supervisor – “you can’t talk to him. Please call me back,” she said. And I tried, got an exhaustive phone tree, zero’d out and asked, “Can I leave a message for the supervisor?” “Sorry,” they said. “Her phone isn’t hooked up to the system.” Over and over. Round and round. There were some phone trees that never allowed me to speak with anyone. If I weren’t in pain already my experience with today’s health care system was getting me there.

Another – “before I can treat you further, I have to do some tests,” the doctor said. “Make an appointment on the way out.” “We don’t make appointments,” the front desk said. Annoyed. Staring at her phone. “Someone will call you.” A day later, “Our next available appointment is in July.” “So, I have to live in level 8 pain from early April to July?” “Sorry. That’s all I got. You want the appointment or not?”

The culture of healthcare today is painful. Don’t get sick, folks. Don’t get sick. If your sickness doesn’t kill you, finding the treatment just might.

I’m Cam Marston and I’m just trying to keep it real.   

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