Several years ago, I was talked into seeing a chiropractor for headaches related to a neck issue. I sit at a computer for 10-12 hours a day, and it's messed up my posture so that I get pretty nasty headaches on a daily basis. The chiropractor did all sorts of tests, took x-rays, and proclaimed me to be seriously damaged. No worries, though, he assured me; a course of chiropractic would resolve all my issues.
I spent about 3 weeks with this guy, 4 times a week. He would perform his subluxation (2-3 minute operation) and send me on my way. I would feel better for a little while - sometimes up to an hour, but the headaches came back even worse after the short period of relief. During an appointment in my third week of treatment, he suggested daily or twice daily treatment 6 times a week for an entire year so that I could be "fully cured". At $40 a visit, this would have added up to about $24,000 for an entire year (he thought I was loaded because I owned a Porsche). He really tried to sell me on it - gave me the hard sell, you know the "you won't ever get relief if you don't do this, and it will continue to get worse until you're fully disabled, and you won't be able to live a full and happy life, blah, blah, blah".
At this point, he'd become like a drug dealer. He started me out with a free session where he did some deep muscle massage, some adjustments, and some work on my legs (I guess they were out of alignment or some shit). Then, he suckered me into trying 3 weeks with him (paid for up front, since I'd be getting a "discounted rate" of $40 per visit if I did). And like a crack dealer, he provided me with something that I needed to have again if I were to get any benefit, and I would require more and more of it to get the same fix.
I told him I would consider it and left the office. The final straw was when I went to my last treatment and he said that my problems were genetic and that my son (age 6) would need to see him regularly. He also noticed during this visit that I have pretty bad seasonal allergies, and claimed he could cure them forever with regular adjustments. At that point, I decided I'd had enough. At the end of the appointment, I politely told him that I wasn't going to continue with the chiropractic therapy at his office. I told him I couldn't afford it (made up a lie about losing my job), and that seemed to slow down the hard sell - if I couldn't afford to pay, there wasn't any reason for him to push me.
The icing on the cake came about 2 months later when I received a bill in the mail for almost $1,000 for "missed appointments" at this chiropractic clinic. Thinking it was a misunderstanding, I called to ask about it. The billing lady I talked to said that I had signed up a years worth of treatment, and that I'd been missing appointments (appointments I hadn't made for a yearly plan I hadn't signed up for). And she wouldn't back down. So I got an attorney involved and filed a complaint with the Attorney General's office. That finally got them off my back, but I'm still fighting the bad mark on my credit. Yep, after all that, they reported me as a deadbeat to the major credit bureaus. I've gotten it removed several times, but it mysteriously re-appears about once a year. I now have an attorney working on fixing it permanently, but who knows how it's effected my credit worthiness.
After leaving the chiropractor, I lived with the pain for several years where I didn't have any insurance. I took Advil when needed, and just sucked it up. 2 years ago, I got a job with an excellent insurance plan. Since it was a pre-existing condition, I had to wait 12 months to get any work done, and it took another 12 months to finally get approval for an MRI and physical therapy.
So last month I was finally able to get my MRI and start physical therapy. It's the best thing I've done for myself in a LONG time.
The difference between physical therapy and chiropractic care is enormous. At PT, I get tissue massage, ice massage, do a lot of stretching, and work my ass off doing the exercises they have for me. In addition, they tried both electrical stimulation and ultra-sound therapies to see if that helped. (It's funny, my PT told me that he thinks it's a bunch of quackery, but that it helps some people so they always try it first - especially to get the ones who are vulnerable to the placebo effect). The ultrasound actually seems to be working, even though I didn't think either would really do anything for me.
The physical therapy office has a huge list of exercises and stretches that I have to perform during the day, whether sitting at my desk or at home puttering around the house. There was also a thorough exam of my physical condition, mental state, daily activities, nutrition, and more. They setup a tailored plan for me to target the muscles (and mental problems) that are actually causing the problem. The plan has been tweaked twice since I started to make sure that I'm getting maximum effect.
After 4 weeks of physical therapy, the headaches are noticeable less painful and far less frequent. I haven't taken an Advil in at least a week and I feel better than I have in years. The best part? It's only going to cost me $300 (my deductible for PT care) for about 6 months of physical therapy, and they'll take the money in 6 monthly payments of $50 each.
The difference between the 2 types of care (if you can call chiropractic "care") is huge and quite startling. I understand that there may some good chiropractics out there, but there are many, many more who are just charlatans selling a commodity to a gullible public. And I went to what is considered a more "mainstream" chiropractic office - they don't do Reiki, herbal therapy, or any of the other alt-med treatments that are just garbage.
If I had it all to do over again, I'd have gone to a physical therapist and gotten this taken care of years ago. As they say, "Buyer beware." I'm now a lot more wary than I once was.
Posted by EvolveOrConvolve in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Sat Jun 07th 2008, 11:38 AM
Dear Hillary Clinton supporters,
It has been a long and often bitter primary campaign season. I think both candidates fought a good fight, but it's time move on to the general election. I know that you are disappointed that your candidate is not going to be involved in this historic race. As an Obama supporter, I'm even disappointed a little. I've waited many years to have the privilege of electing a woman to the white house. Unfortunately, one historic campaign ran into another historic campaign and your candidate came up a little short.
It's time now, however, to heal the wounds caused by the last six months and focus on beating McCain in November and moving into a new, more hopeful, time in American history. It's time to start fixing the damage done by 8 years of fanatical neo-conservative rule, and time to heal our standing in the world. I can honestly say that I am far worse off now than I was eight years ago when Bush began his reign. And I'm not alone - many Americans are hurting badly because of the disastrous policies of Republican rule.
Now I understand the impulse to claim that you will vote for McCain because your candidate is not the nominee. It's hard to turn off all the feelings and emotions surrounding a very rough primary season. I also believe that you have the right to vote for whomever you choose in November. Before you do, please ask yourselves these important questions:
1. With the possibility of several Supreme Court nominees available to the next president, whom do you think will pick nominees that will protect women's rights? McCain or Obama?
2. Which candidate will best protect the environment from the destruction caused by out-of-control corporations? McCain or Obama?
3. Our health care system is a mess. Who has the better plan for fixing the problem? Which candidate is moving us in the right direction on health care? McCain or Obama?
4. Millions of children go hungry every day. Which candidate do you think will have the most empathy and work the hardest to help these children, the least among us? McCain or Obama?
5. Which candidate will fight for the ideals espoused by feminists? McCain or Obama?
6. As we see the bodies piling up from the war in Iraq, which man do you think has the balls to actually bring our young men and women home? McCain or Obama?
I know that the primary season was a rough and tumble affair. Feelings were hurt and emotions were high. I'd like to apologize, if not for all the Obama supporters, but at least for myself for the rancor caused by the six months of bile. While I tried to stay out of it, the emotions boiled to the surface on occasion. But for the good of America, the world, and all American citizens, we need to come together now more than at any other time in recent history.
Keep in mind the above questions, and if you truly believe that McCain is the answer to a majority of the questions, by all means vote for him. But also keep in mind that I will have little sympathy for you should McCain be elected.
Signed -- a contrite Obama supporter
Posted by EvolveOrConvolve in General Discussion (01/01/06 through 01/22/2007)
Mon May 15th 2006, 09:19 PM
The government has failed me. On all levels, the government has made it more difficult for me to live my life. The two political parties have failed me. Until about 5 years ago, I was a Republican, but made the decision to switch to independent voter status. Then after 2004, I officially became a Democrat. I rue that decision, including the time, money, and effort I put into supporting the Democratic party. Don't get me wrong - after the debacle of the Bush years, it will be a long time before I ever pull the lever for a conservative.
But neither party is fighting for the issue that matters most to me. The issue isn't glamorous like gay marriage, abortion, and immigration. The issue is not chest thumping like war, nuclear weapons, and the "axis of evil". The issue is rarely promoted by large special interest groups like the NRA, NOW, or the Christian Coalition. Even though the issue affects every American, if it is not dealt with it may have long term adverse consequences for everyone in the U.S. except for a small group of wealthy and privileged Americans. That favored group includes many Democrats, especially the ones we see representing us in Washington. John Kerry wasn't exactly a "man of the people" with his large vacation homes, private jets, and chauffeured transportation. I liked the man and voted for him. I'd probably vote for him again, but there is no way I can relate to him as a person. And the Republicans are worse - George W. Bush doesn't give a flying fuck about me, my family, or the welfare of my community.
What brought this all on were several medical problems that I recently had. I'm 33 years old, self employed, and I have no medical insurance. This hasn't been a problem because I make a decent living, and the several thousand dollars I spend on my family each year for checkups, dental visits, and eye exams has been within the budget. But because of a medical problem in the past, my wife is unable to get affordable medical coverage. The insurance cost for me, my wife, and our son would have been over $1000 per month, and it was out of our price range.
My medical problem still has not been "officially" diagnosed, but the bills are starting to pour in. I don't resent the bills, and they have all been expected, including several specialists and a long list of specialized tests performed at local hospitals. What I do resent is how much these places get away with charging the patient (usually through an insurance company or HMO). Since I have no insurance, the hospital sends an itemized list of all the charges to me. Look at some of these:
- Medical Surgical Supplies (1 I.V.) - $123.00
- 1 80 MG Baby Aspirin - $1.82
- EKG (took a tech 2-3 minutes to perform) - $135.00
- Cost to transport me to an X-Ray machine - $150.00
- CT Scan (took less than 5 minutes) - $1,470.00
The total bill was over $3,000, and that was just from the ER hospital. Other charges from x-ray companies, CT scan companies, physicians groups, etc. are still pouring in. The fact that for less than 4 hours in the ER I'm going to be paying $5000 - $6000 makes me extremely angry.
$1.82 FOR A FUCKING CHILDREN'S ASPIRIN???
I checked at my local grocery store, and I could get a 36 count bottle of kid's aspirin for $1.49. That comes to a little more than .04 per aspirin (4.138 cents to be exact). And I assume the grocery store has at least some profit calculated into the cost of the aspirin. And the hospital charged me 30 times the cost of the grocery store aspirin. I suppose that they have to charge me the labor for opening the bottle and dumping it into my hand, which is maybe 15 seconds, but I'll round up to 1 minute to be fair. At a rate of $100.00 per hour, 1 minute of time costs about $1.65. Add that to the $.04 per aspirin, and you get a little closer to the $1.82. Unfortunately, the person who gave me the aspirin was an unpaid volunteer (I asked her), so they raped my on the aspirin charge.
$135.00 for a goddamn 2 minute procedure that the doctor essentially ignored???
The EKG took 2 to 3 minutes to perform, and a doctor about 15 seconds to scan and toss aside. How the fuck can they justify that?
$150.00 for a giving me a helping hand off my goddamn bed???
The radiology and X-Ray department is run by an outside company (their bill was $800.00 above and beyond the hospital's bill). Even though the the X-Ray company is independent of the hospital, the hospital still charged me for the radiology work performed by another company. I assume since an ER orderly had to transport me the 2.5 feet to the mobile X-Ray machine, that they had to charge me the 2 - 3 minutes of his time.
$123.00 FUCKING DOLLARS FOR AN I.V. AND SOME RUBBER GLOVES!!!
The "Medical/Surgical Supplies" is the one that really gets me. The only "supplies" I can even think of must be the I.V. needle which is a $2 piece of equipment. A trainee working towards his EMT certification was the one who handled my I.V. (painfully, I might add). He messed it up and caused severely bleeding both on the interior and exterior of my arm, which was black and blue for weeks. Other than that, I can't think of anything that might quality as either a Medical/Surgical Supply. Maybe the $0.06 rubber gloves that the doctor put on every time he came to evaluate my chart? I don't know where they consider $2 worth of plastic performed by an unpaid trainee as being worth
I won't even get into the amount of money it costs for a "consultation" with a nurse practictioner (prior to seeing a specialist), the Ultrasounds, CT Scans, x-rays, MRI's, medication, blood work, more blood work, stress tests, urine tests, stool tests, coordination tests, etc. The total cost of all this is going to run at least $20,000, and probably closer to $30,000, most of which these health care companies are expecting full payment within 90 days. I've lost at least $15,000 dollars because of lost work and financial opportunity. I will continue to lose money until they decide to pull me from the meds and allow me back to work.
Total estimated cost: $60,000.00.
Number of extra years after retirement I'll have to work to make up what I've spent from my retirement savings: 6.
The number of insurance companies who will now insure me: 0.
Knowing that I'm getting an unlubricated fucking from the American government: absolutely priceless
A Note: my family care physician thinks that I have Panic Disorder which is a scary problem, but very treatable, and something I suggested at the beginning of my treatment. It was initially cased by acute amounts of anxiety and stress, mostly over money. Think the medical community has done it's best to solve my problem? I'm going to be paying almost $1000 per month for 20 years to catch up. The stress from that is enough to keep my sick and paying out my sore ass for many years to come.
I'm not voting for a candidate unless he/she has a strong position for the enaction of a universal medical plan. Candidates without that stance won't even get a second look me from, no matter how strong or progressive or Democratic they are. I'm not fucking around with my life any more, and I'm tired of voting for candidates who won't represent what I want. I also will never again vote for a candidate that receives money from any large medical or pharmaceutical corporation.
Unless a candidate advocates a full and speedy change over to Universal Health Care, they will not get my vote, my money, or my support. And that includes any Democratic candidates who might stumble across this post. You politicians need to get your noses out of the collective special interest group ass and start listening to your constituents.
I'm no longer optimistic about the state of affairs here in the U.S, and my choices seem to be between a power hungry fascist group of rich assholes or a pathetic "opposition" party that has shown very little spine in their dealings with the fascists in power. I certainly expect my dry fucking to continue for many years.
Posted by EvolveOrConvolve in General Discussion (01/01/06 through 01/22/2007)
Tue Mar 21st 2006, 10:26 PM
During the press conference, a reporter (I forget which) asked Bush how to get the American citizens back on his side. (I'm obviously paraphrasing). Bush's response? "That's a trick question, because you want me to admit that I pay attention to the polls when I've always said that I don't pay attention to the polls."
Hey Bush: If you DON'T pay attention to the polls, how did you even understand the context of the reporter's question, and how would you know that it was a trick question? You know what I think? I think you simply don't give a shit about the American people, or their voices, unless they've paid you hundreds of thousands of dollars for an audience with your highness. I see the proof of that in New Orleans. I see the proof in the body bags coming back from Iraq. I see the proof in the removal of pollution regulations. I see the proof in the Valerie Plame affair. I see the proof in the attempted privatization of Social Security.
Any person who voted for Bush in 2004 gets no sympathy from me. They saw with their own eyes the rotten performance of Bush's first term, and still voted for him. To those Republicans I say: every time a soldier dies in Iraq, it is on your head. Each child killed in Iraq is partially your fault. Every time a lower-income person dies because of a lack of medicine, it is on your head. All those deficit dollars that you pass down to your children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, are because of your stupidity.
You Bush voters better wake up and start taking responsibility for your actions. It's almost assured that Bush won't.
Religious people in general and religions specifically hate that which they don't understand. But even more, they hate the things they can't control, especially if that idea/thing/person threatens their world-view.
1) The religious simply don't understand atheists. It's foreign to them that we don't worship any god. A quip directed at Christians that I once heard (paraphrased and unattributed): "As an atheist I simply believe in one less god than you do."
2) The religious can't control the minds and actions of atheists. We tend to be the rebellious sort, and we question EVERYTHING. We won't take a Christian's word for it that they have "truth".
3) The religious can't argue with us. It's hard to debate when one must base their arguments on emotion rather than cold hard facts delivered in a logical way. That is very hard for a strongly religious person to deal with. It scares them to think about the idea that atheists might be right.
is the fact that the entire issue is a religious one. My religious friends have some misguided notion that the bible teaches that abortion is morally wrong. And they want to legislate that so-called morality. It's simply another way for religion to control a certain segment of the population, and what religion does best is control the populace. I haven't seen it mentioned once in GD, and I've read A LOT of threads on the issue.
The religious right has indoctrinated people into thinking that religious "morality" can be legislated, and that they have the duty to enforce that "morality". Magical thinking is the root of this problem, but I doubt you'll find many on DU who agree, and we'll keep banging our heads against the wall trying to treat the symptoms instead of the disease. Many of the things that DUer's rail against are problems rooted in religious indoctrination. Abortions, gay marriage, environmental issues (conservatives have inherited the earth, and they will damn well do with at they please), the death penalty, etc. etc. etc.
I'm just frustrated that people, especially DUers, don't recognize the pain and misery created by religion. Most people are happy in their little cocoons of cognitive dissonance, while at the same time they support institutions that are a detriment to society and a hindrance on advancement.
The ten most recommended threads posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums in the last 24 hours.
Democratic Underground forums and groups from my "My Forums" list.
Use the tools below to keep track of updates to this Journal.
Today's Featured Forums