The current state of health care in America, in my opinion, has been negatively impacted by Big Pharma, health insurance corporations, health care corporations and a plethora of governmental mandates. All have placed an immense burden upon our practicing physicians who spend much of their day doing paperwork and inputting into computers rather than face time with their patients. Some find it necessary to leave the profession. Please give us back our healers by all parties working together to find solutions. As you read the following, you may find my story is not so much different from yours:
I sit before you in a space where others have sat. Questions are cast, and I respond with short, polite answers. I see only the side of your countenance as my responses are pounded into a void of technology. My existence on this platform is a collection of numbers and charts, within limits, outside of limits. But, do you see me? Do you hear me?
Do you know I am a wife, mother, and grandmother; that I am confronted with the joys and hardships of living life when sometimes limits are pushed to the side, and unexpected experiences await me. Determination and stubbornness force me to move ahead, but sometimes a moving object meets an immovable force. Do I go around, do I push straight ahead or do I concede? I look for guidance in this tangled maze.
I have laid on a bed in a sterile room, looking at the shadows cast on the ceiling and listening to the voices of unknown people and the beeping of monitors guarding my existence. I have stared at the hands of a clock as I wait to be pushed into the unknown in the hours to come. The rhythm of my beating heart lulls me into a fitful sleep.
I have lost parts of me — never to be returned — under the assumption that my life would be improved, but there are trade-offs. Do the pluses outnumber the minuses? I get lost in the mathematics of it all.
I have journeyed within a tunnel where lights and noises have jolted my sense of reality. The most minute details of me are illuminated for the world to see. Do I leave? No, I must remain despite the fear within me. My fate is left in the hands of others that I must place my trust in. But trust is something to be earned, not merely assumed.
Those corporate entities who rule, in part, my existence — do they see me, do they hear me? I fear not because there is no time for such silliness. They wield their powers, at times, without consideration of those who are directly affected and are the most vulnerable. Those who are placed in front of me to guide me on my journey scurry to the side because of the ticking clock. These guides, whose lofty goals of mediating the maladies of the body and curing the spirit, have now been made to feel unimportant, merely cogs in the corporate machine. Who are they to serve? What is the purpose of it all? Oaths and pledges that have been taken seem to have retreated into hidden recesses of a sterile and rigid structure. There is coldness and separation instead of warmth and cohesiveness.
Just for a moment, look through my eyes and you will find truths that have been blurred. Be stalwart to promises made. Return the calling of healing to the healers. Healers, heal with compassion and honesty. But by an act of God, you may one day be placed on the other side of the divide.
To see me is to see the face of humanity, standing before you, searching for hope. To hear me is to hear the voices of all who cry for simply a better tomorrow and are waiting for their stories to be heard.
Michele Luckenbaugh is a patient.
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