Without changing the subject a bit, the above caption could have read, “Doctors: If a patient claims their feet and hands are somehow numb and painful at the same time, don’t make referrals to specialists. Call the Cops.”
The subject of both captions is this: the most important lesson I learned about arsenic toxicity before I learned I was indeed arsenic toxic is that medical professionals aren’t trained to recognize its many, many signs.
This lack of training has undoubtedly cost many lives. It nearly cost mine.
When I was growing up, doctors had time to be curious about medical conditions. There was only Blue Cross or private pay – an either/or requiring no large clerical staff to manage, no insurance reps to deal with, no long-winded/soul-draining arguments over coverage. Implementing Medicare didn’t throw things in the medical community into a tizzy: I know this because I was working in the billing office of a hospital in its early days. (Insurance companies had nothing to do with Medicare then.)
What we have now is a healthcare system that harms or kills patients and makes medical professionals wish they’d tried to become pro golfers. Or astronauts. Or cowhands. Anything but doctors and dentists.
Because my dentist didn’t know anything about arsenic poisoning, I endured the root scaling he recommended. It was very painful, and very expensive. And it didn’t save many teeth. Another one abscessed this past week and will be removed today. And it will be expensive.
We need Medicare for All so that doctors and dentists have time to be curious, because cops aren’t trained to spot arsenic toxicity, either, and they’d be more inclined to believe a doctor or dentist who convincingly knows what he’s talking about on the subject of heavy metal poisoning than a woman who’s very ill and only suspects what is happening to her from catching a forensics television show about low dose, long term poisoning.
Melbourne, Florida police detectives would have had such an easy time confirming that my years of symptoms of arsenic toxicity matched up to the test results they insist that I have a personal physician obtain (they could have had the Orlando forensics unit run tests at no cost to them (or to me)). The Melbourne police had only to contact one (1) source – the local Vocational Rehabilitation office – to obtain a wealth of information on all the horrible things that arsenic did to my body over a period of years, unbeknownst to the physicians that documented them, but undoubtedly clear as day to the Orlando forensics unit, beginning with “stocking and glove,” had they the opportunity to read them.
Y’all Google “stocking and glove,” if you want. I’d explain that and other symptoms, but I’m exhausted, in pain, and have to transfer money from my savings account to pay the dentist to end my undue suffering. (It’s the second time this year, so by all means add cranky to exhausted and in pain.) After the procedure, I’ll wait the required hour and drink a milkshake to happier Wednesdays ahead, because change most definitely is going to come.