Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Borrowed needles, borrowed meds, borrowed time

After a week of spending the night sitting upright due to pressure headaches (sinus tachycardia/blood flow dysregulation) I finally saw my acupuncturist and got a small amount of pain meds over the weekend. Instant, joyous relief. Afterwards I was able to sleep laying down for first time in a week. This treatment stopped the cycle of wakefulness, mania, and pain that persisted for many days.

Unfortunately, I could not pay my acupuncturist for her hour-long treatment, nor could I pay for the pain meds she provided, due to losing my ability to work. I am borrowing against time: needles, meds, treatments. I am wondering why acupuncture and Indica are not covered by Medi-CAL, as they are a cost-effective, fast remedy for migraines and other syndromes caused by neurologic disorder. I suspect physicians see these natural treatments as a threat to their livelihood and their control, and therefore work to prevent them from being part of any healthcare plan.

The alternative to these natural treatments include any number of addictive, expensive, and potentially dangerous chemical (pill) remedies, such as: Triptans, ERGOTAMINE, vicodin, oxycodene, etc. The neurologist who treats me for migraines said these pills are "much worse" in regard to patient safety compared to the natural remedies I use. As a society we could replace these chemicals with natural, as-needed solutions. But it seems the addiction of our healthcare system to big pharma prevents rational solutions. Consider that many individuals cannot tolerate pills due to counter-indications and side effects. The result of this bias: individuals who are pill-intolerant (due to pre-existing conditions) are locked OUT of their own healthcare system, whenever seeking relief without dangerous side effects. To add to this complication: The full range of chemical treatments are NOT made available to low budget healthcare plans. SO one must risk the side effects associated with those treatments made available, which require regular and expensive blood tests to monitor toxicity levels and changes in brain chemicals such as seratonin. Or one must seek treatment OUTSIDE the official healthcare system. OR one might go to the ER to seek treatment (where additional migraine treatment options are available), due to the strict limit imposed by low budget healthcare plan.

If my acupuncturist were not willing to treat me free of cost, I would have gone to the ER to get ketamine, opiates, or Triptans administered short-term for my ongoing migraine pattern. I suspect my acupuncturist will not be able or willing to treat me without pay again, and I am thinking about what to do the next time. I will likely have to cancel my Friday appointment with the neurologist, as my new ACA Medi-CAL card has not arrived.

For anyone who wonders why one would seek no-cost or low cost treatment: though I have paid taxes and healthcare premiums for much of my life, I was denied access to the diagnostic and treatment methods normally associated with neurologic disorders. For decades I was denied care due to my conditions being difficult to diagnose and treat ("You don't look sick" was a refrain often directed at me, in lieu of any proper treatment). As a result of this neglect, these conditions have worsened significantly and they have effectively shut down my ability to work (and my ability to pay for treatment). This situation is a vicious cycle, and not uncommon in the U.S., where cost-cutting measures in healthcare typically result in a dearth of proper care for those who most need it, even when they have been paying for this unmet care for decades.

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