Several months ago, my primary care doc spotted something on a routine CT scan he thought looked suspicious. That prompted another scan a couple of months later. After comparing those results, he recommended a trip to Honolulu for a highly sophisticated Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan.
That meant a round trip flight from Maui to Honolulu, pick-up at the airport anddelivery to the medical facility, a sandwich and cold drink f ollowing the scan, and transportation back to the airport for the flight home to Maui—all details arranged by the imaging company in Honolulu.
It was the PET scan—which took almost an hour—that confirmed a growth in the upper lobe of the left side of my lungs.
(By the way, did you know that our lungs consist of three lobes on the right side of the chest, but only two on the left? I’m not sure why, but I find that fascinating.)
The results of the PET scan sent me for an appointment with the surgeon and here I am, a week later, recovering at home after major surgery that removed a malignant tumor from my left lung. Follow-up appointments have been scheduled with the surgeon and with my primary care doc.
The fact is, I’ve had thorough, conscientious, high-quality medical care from the start and cost isn’t an issue because I have health insurance—Medicare, plus an excellent supplementary policy with Hawaii’s equivalent to Blue Cross.
But receiving quality health care shouldn’t be a matter of luck. While I was lying in a hospital bed, being attended around the clock, the United States Senate came within three votes of approving a new health care law that was opposed by doctors and hospitals and every other responsible health care constituency in the country because, among its several failings, it would have caused millions of our fellow citizens to lose their health insurance altogether. That it was even under serious consideration is a national disgrace.
What the hell is wrong with us?