Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A disturbing trend

Yesterday I watched a clip from a health care town hall meeting, and it doesn't really matter where this took place and who the senator was. I can't remember word-for-word what was said, so I am paraphrasing the question and the answer.

An elderly lady asked this no-name senator if there might be help available for her husband who was gravely ill. During her question she started to cry. The senator's reply was that she might be able to find some help by calling his office. But then he seemed to change his mind and he said that it would be best if neighbors were there to help her. The whole room full of people applauded as a response to the senator's advice.

Yes it would be nice if neighbors could help out. But the whole room including the senator grossly missed the point. Did they really not get it? Was that lady attending that meeting to find comfort in the possibility of her neighbors lending her the thousands and thousands or maybe hundreds of thousands of dollars? The first question came to my mind was whether she actually knew her neighbors. And if I look around my neighborhood I would have to say that I have no neighbors that I could go to for help in a medical emergency even though they live in really expensive houses.

I happen to have health insurance. What if I didn't have any, would my neighbors chip in? I doubt it. Here was a room full of people who didn't like socialism. They seemed to think that there should be neighbors to help out in a pinch. Surgery, kidney dialysis, radiation, x-rays, and hospitals cost money up front. Some entrepreneur has to first invent the machines, and then build them and then put them in hospitals and stock the hospital with qualified help. The risk in accomplishing all that can only be taken if there is a chance of a return in the form of profits. These technological marvels would not exist without socialism. Let's call it what you want, but health care the way we prefer it can only be delivered when a large portion of the population believes that there is strength in numbers. Does no-name really think about that? Does he really think the neighbors ought to chip in?

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

The teeth and the rest of human health

There are the teeth and then there is the rest of the human body. Or is it there is the human body and then there are the teeth? Does the jaw belong, or doesn't it? It's as if these two structures are two separate entities. That's the impression you get when contemplating health maintenance on the one hand, and tooth maintenance on the other. That's how our two health insurance systems are set up. They are like paying for two different car-repair insurances: one for, let's say, the transmission, the other one for the rest of the car. That situation, i.e. having two separate insurance systems, should be alarming enough because one doesn't know what the other is doing. What's most alarming is the fact that a dentist doesn't know beans about what his action s do to the rest of the body, nor does the physician know what untoward ingredients the dentist has put into the divide behind the nebulous boundaries of the no-mans-land between the teeth, the jaws, and the far reaches of the other side called the mouth, the ears, the nose, and the throat.

I have gone to the dentist often enough. But I cannot remember him ever mentioning to take more Vitamin D, not that my family doctor volunteered that information. No, he never suggested taking more because my teeth were bad. But the dentist should be the first person to suggest that Vitamin D helps improve the teeth and might improve the state of one's jaw bone. It might even prevent cavities. When the dentist sees cavities, he sees dollar signs. He doesn't seem to know that when he puts mercury by way of amalgams into a mouth that this mercury contributes to the ill health of the jaw. Mercury is known to cause the infamous pockets that eventually cause the patient to be toothless. Should I really be that cynical and say that a dentist cultivates his patients to become cash-cows with the help of dental amalgam? I am not even talking about the other bad things that mercury does.

Now this is how it is with the physician. He'll see me. I'd complain about depression or irritability, or tingling in my hands and feet. I'd be complaining about the bad headaches, the forgetfulness etc. He would think that I am getting older and prescribe some Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors and send me home. Silently he may think I am turning senile. Fortunately I don't have those problems, but I know plenty of people who do. The fact that mercury damages the kidneys is almost never mentioned when talking about dental amalgam. And when after many moons a person starts having a hip replacement or a knee replacement or, as I did, a bone transplant from one part of the jaw bone to another, the physician will not be privy to the possibility of mercury and the lack of Vitamin D being connected.

The connection lies in the fact that mercury damages the kidneys in such a way that the kidneys do not make the active form of Vitamin D as well any longer.

Getting back to the two systems, maybe if there were only one system, the dental and medical entities would talk to one another because they are connected. After all there is only one human body. The teeth really cannot exist without the body or vice versa.