Health & Wellness, Opinion & Editorial

Losing Our Faith in Healthcare System

Today, the day has finally arrived for Jim to have the epidural injection that will, hopefully, relieve him of the sciatica pain that he has been experiencing since he fell and broke his pelvis in April. It has become so bad that he is barely able to get around, even with his walker.
I’ve lost so much faith in our healthcare system over this past year. Despite the disabling pain, Jim has had to wait over four months to even see a neurosurgeon to be evaluated, and then another month before the epidural could be scheduled. During that time, I had to take him to the ER just to get some relief from the pain. He won’t take opioids for pain relief, but the steroid treatment they put him on, while it relieved the pain for the time he was taking the pills, completely messed up his blood sugar levels. As a diabetic, this was part of the reason we had to make a second trip to the hospital and spend an overnight stay in September.
How I miss the days when I would call the office of our beloved Dr. Bylund, our family physician, and be told to come in that afternoon or, at the latest, the next day. When we got there, he greeted us by name. He had delivered each of our children and knew their histories as well as Jim’s and mine – not just medical histories, but he knew each of us.
The insurance covered our medical bills and we felt our lives and our health were valued. Dr. Bylund was always there for us and involved himself in our medical care, even when a specialist was needed. He was there by my side as the gynecologist, who he had called in, performed a hysterectomy, and he was there a week later when my body developed a prolonged high fever. Afraid that the hysterectomy had developed an infection, he oversaw my care in the hospital and fought to have me placed on a cooling bed to get my temperature down before they were able to discover the cause of it.
He fretted, seethed and was with me until an ultrasound found that I had a large tumor on my kidney that was the cause of the sudden fever. The hysterectomy had apparently set off the symptoms that caused the tumor to be discovered. A urologist was called in and he informed Jim and me that there was an 80% chance that the tumor was malignant and the kidney would have to be removed. Dr. Bylund was there with me again during that procedure. Fortunately, I won the lottery, because the tumor was not cancerous and I am still here to tell you about it.
I miss that care and concern for me and my family’s well-being. Sure, we now have specialists who are much more prepared for what ails us, and I’m sure there are people who are fine with seeing several doctors, but those of us who grew up with the Dr. Bylunds of the world, mourn their loss.
And, don’t get me started on the way insurance companies are allowed to limit doctors’ ability to diagnose and care for their patients. Our son has had excruciating pain in his neck and shoulder because of compressed disks in his neck for at least the past three years.
He’s had one surgery to correct it after trying physical therapy, chiropractic treatments, acupuncture and other noninvasive treatments at the insurance company’s insistence – and when they finally approved the first surgery, they denied the doctor the MRI he needed to pinpoint the origin of the pain. Consequently, that surgery didn’t work for more than a month or so and Rob has been back to having to sleep in a chair and taking hot showers in the middle of the night to get some relief. Like his dad, he won’t take opioid painkillers.
After more than a year, his doctor has recommended a second surgery; the insurance company is fighting it, again.
Where is human compassion and respect for the diagnoses of doctors? We are the ones paying the price.
Rest in peace, Dr. Richard K. Bylund (1926-2018), with much love, the Edwards’ family.

Contact Pat Edwards through her website:



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