When I was younger the doctor I was seeing asked me about my family history. He was speaking, of course, about our family medical history. Genes. Heredity. That kind of thing. As I recall, it was because I had relatively high blood pressure for a guy in his twenties. 300 over 250 or something. High.
So, I asked my mom, “Do we have any history of heart disease in the family?”
“No dear.” she smiled.
But then I got to thinking………….“Well, what did aunt Hilda die from?”
“Well, She had a heart attack, dear.”
“And, auntie Joan?”
“Well, that was a heart attack, too, sweetie.”
Uncle Sammy? Gwyneth? Granpa?”
“They were heart attacks, too, dear.”
“WHAT DO YOU MEAN WE HAVE NO HISTORY OF HEART DISEASE!!”
“We don’t, sweetie. There was no history. It was bam! They just dropped dead on the spot!”
And so it goes in my family. I have no real idea about them. It is not like we are close. Plus, my parents have passed. But I think those of us who are left love each other plenty. Kinda. You know, if there is nothing else going on at the time. No appointments to keep or something. We’re good.
But we live outside each other’s sphere. I don’t really know my brother and sister as well as I would like. Not on a day to day or even month to month basis. Sometimes not even on a year year basis. They get busy, ya know? Still, I get a call now and then.
The one good thing? We do seem to understand each other.
My brother called. We got to talking about eyes. His have never been very good and now I have to see to mine. “Yeah, I said, seems I have cataracts. Need an operation. Hate that. Hospitals are places where you get sicker than you were when you went in. Don’t wanna go there.”
“Yeah. Feel the same way. Had cataract surgery myself a year or so ago. They almost made me permanently blind. Not good.”
Seems he had high eye pressure and, if it gets too high, it kills your eye. His was beyond eye-killing levels but the doctor who had operated wouldn’t bother seeing him after the operation. “If you have any problems, go to emergency.”
All this is by way of saying that I am not overly impressed with the current state of our health care system. ‘Course, I am not alone on that. Still, I can ignore the system’s problems when I am well. I really only focus on the damn thing when I need it. Pathetic.
It’s like politics. You only think about it when it is too late to do anything about it.
For the record: best health care experience I ever experienced was in Thailand. Sal fell ill. We went in an ambulance to the hospital and a doctor greeted her at the emergency entrance and didn’t leave her side until every thing that needed to be done was done. Then she was sent to a hospital room that was better than our hotel. Came with a kitchenette and a bed for me. All the nurses were really cute, wore white high heels and tight uniforms and worked like little bees to keep Sal comfortable. And every once in awhile a nurse would make sure I was doing OK, too. I actually had a good time!
Service? Like the Ritz. Skills and proficiency? Like NASA. Cuteness factor: almost equal to that of the patient. Cost? Less than dinner out in Vancouver.
I am thinking of going to Thailand for eye surgery.
How weird is that?