Thursday, December 23, 2010

In the End: This Much is True (for me)

Some people have referred to my KD story as a journey. I suppose it was. And is. It is one journey woven through our daily travels and travails. My KD is running alongside all the other challenges and joys of life and in doing so, has imparted wee nuggets of knowledge. I consider them gifts and, although some of these may be specific to my experience, I feel there is a general thread of truth and common experience worthy of sharing. This is what is true for me when it comes to:

Kienbock's Disease It sucks. It sucks the joy from your life. It is a progressive and potentially debilitating disease. It's the end of the world and it's not the end of the world. It is not as rare as it appears and yet rare enough to make finding treatment tricky. No one, not even surgeons, knows why we get KD for sure. No one, not even surgeons, knows with certainty how KD will progress in each patient. No one, not even surgeons, knows with certainty what the best treatment is for each patient. No one, not even surgeons or KD sufferers, knows with certainty when and what surgery will be the most successful or if another surgery will be required down the line. It is these uncertainties coupled with the loss of the use of one's hand(s) that create fear and anxiety in KD sufferers.

KD is not a vascular disorder. Three months of acupuncture and four months of casting did not and will not trigger the blood supply to the lunate. In the months I believed a cure for KD was simply a case of restoring blood flow to the lunate, I wasted precious energy and time on the wrong solutions. The only way to restore blood flow to the lunate is surgically, through a revascularization procedure. In my amateur opinion, if casting *cures* your KD, you did not have KD.

Canada's Medical System There exist many myths about Canadian health care and Canada's Medical Services Plan, mostly perpetuated by Michael Moore and my grandmother. Oh, and Kiefer Sutherland. Don't get me wrong, Tommy Douglas was a great man with astounding vision, but no system is perfect, and ours certainly has its flaws. It is incredible that ANYONE, rich or poor has access to medical treatment for every category of illness, disease, or injury. No one in Canada will or can go bankrupt due to the need for medical care. Paying for the prescription drugs one might need is another story, of course.

Medical care in Canada is not free. Yes, those living desperately at or below the poverty line do not pay for medical services, but that line is pathetically low. Middle- and high-income families or individuals pay around $1500 a year. Our personal tax contributions to the system amount to much more, though don't ask me how much (that's what Google is for).

But Canada is a vast country with a relatively small population, a large number of which resides in rural communities. The number of medical care facilities and practitioners is not infinite. Making do is the motto of the northern community, the non-urban hub.

In our courts of justice, it stands that if one is not granted timely access to trial, then justice is not being served. Many of us seeking medical care in Canada are receiving too little, too late, sometimes with tragic consequences.

The small matter of life or death aside, I fail to understand the economics of a young workforce crippled by a lack of medical treatment. The cost of sick days and disability and unemployment payments alone must be staggering. What is the social and economic cost of a young man or woman waiting a year for a surgery that will allow him or her to return to work within weeks?

Surgeons Chances are, if and when you need a surgeon, he will most likely be male, aged 35 -60. As I've written before, he will be a type-A personality with a very black-and-white approach to your surgical needs. He will be confident and, in most cases, absolute. He will not be impressed by your Google-degree in medicine.
It is important that you like and trust your surgeon. He does not care if he likes or trusts you. If you do indeed feel comfortable with your surgeon, you must accept that the surgical procedure he performs on you will only be one he is both willing and able to do, regardless if there is a multitude of theoretical surgical possibilities, as in the case of KD. Despite the unprofessional and, in my view, unethical behaviour of my Dr. D, I now realize that he had only the capacity for those two things. Being willing. And being able.
If you don't like nor trust your surgeon and have the option of a second or third opinion, seek one without delay. If your surgery is inevitable, commit to it as soon as possible and get on with healing and life.
Most surgeons see their jobs as starting and finishing in the OR. Your outcomes are moderately important to them and best read about in a journal of medicine. A good surgeon is a surgeon who is good at performing surgery. A rare surgeon is one who is a good surgeon, a problem-solver, and a compassionate human being. I wish everyone a rare surgeon.

This much is True:
Spandau Ballet - True .mp3
Found at bee mp3 search engine

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