Healthcare is pointy

Yesterday was either the day of the great unveiling or the beginning of the end, depending on your perspective. This morning, however, I face my greatest fear.

“I’ll lay down, if you don’t mind.” She nodded, but I couldn’t help feeling a little ridiculous. “It’s just a TB test,” Nurse REDACTED consoled me, “you’ll be fi….” She stopped short, looking down at her chart. “Oh, no it’s not. You need a tetanus booster too. I’ll be right back.”

As a child, my mom dreamed I would be an M.D. someday, as well-adjusted parents are often wont to do. It was around Middle School that it became clear to all parties concerned that my paralyzing fear of needles would not be outgrown, & her hopes would need adjusting. “Maybe he’ll be a research scientist,” she said somewhat hopefully to the nurse as I came-to in the doctor’s office hallway, “or…you know…something involving fewer pointy bits.” I had passed out in the hallway five minutes after receiving my MMR, which the nurse assured her was in & of itself medically-interesting behavior, and thus a partial victory.

“I’m back!” Despite my hopes, Nurse REDACTED had not forgotten about me. I had been passing the time by staring down the EPIC logo on the computer monitor across the room. She began to prepare her wares. Starting to feel queasy, I searched for distraction more captivating than EPIC. A world of options immediately presented itself to me, so I said the first thing that came to mind: “why don’t you explain Obamacare to me?”

Ok, reader(s). Allow me to come clean: before this morning, I didn’t really understand Obamacare. It’s possible that I still don’t. I have wanted to understand, I have tried to inform myself, but, as I’m sure many of you know, it’s nearly impossible to find non-partisan information on this. I’ve taken to lowering my standards, accepting any document that doesn’t either sound like fan mail for our President, or read like the beginning of a rambling hand-scrawled manifesto on bringing ‘merica back to its glory days. At this, too, I have failed.

I was surprised how excited Nurse REDACTED was to have been asked this question. She immediately launched into a well-reasoned overview of the ins & outs of Obamacare. She pulled up a chair, which confused me, because I thought she needed to inject me with things.

Me: Aren’t you going to….

Nurse REDACTED: Oh, I’m done.

Me: You’re pretty good at your job.

Nurse REDACTED: I know. & I think everyone else should be able to get good health care too.

To me, this is a hard view to disagree with. Yes, civil liberties. Yes, freedom & choice, but at the end of the day, shouldn’t everyone have access to services that will keep them healthy? I think so. OHSU President Joe thinks so too, & he seems like a pretty smart guy.

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t completely understand this issue, but, since that’s not stopping anyone else in the media from having an opinion—I actually heard a pundit say that he was so upset over this step toward socialized medicine that he was going to move to Canada out of protest—I won’t let it stop me. From what I’m hearing, people are mostly complaining about two things. One is the tax increase, which people always complain about, so it’s not particularly interesting. &  second is the fact that the government is now telling us what we have to buy & this is new & bad. This confuses me, because I’ve always been under the impression that governments, by definition, are for telling their citizens what they can & can’t do: “Buy car insurance, don’t hit people, & pay us your taxes. Oh, & get health insurance.”

For the life of me, I don’t understand why that last one is such a problem. It’s more perplexing than a graduate student in the School of Medicine who is afraid of shots & doesn’t understand the health care system. If you too fit this description, you should go to Student Health & get your shots informatively updated with Nurse REDACTED. She really knows her trade.

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Comments

  1. Yes, governments do tell people to buy car insurance…. if you drive a car. The US government doesn’t say you have to drive a car.

    Health insurance is a bit different. You now have to have health insurance. You don’t have to buy a body first.

  2. @not a fair comparison:
    Fair point. But we’re not born with a car, and, if it breaks down, tax payers aren’t obliged to bring it back into shape if we’re unable. It seems that we are all born with bodies, though…

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StudentSpeak

StudentSpeak

Ever wondered what life is like as a student at OHSU? What does it take to become a researcher? Just how gross is gross anatomy? Welcome to the blog that answers these – and many other – questions. It’s students writing first-hand about their commitment to careers in science and health care. It’s honest about the challenges as well as the joys. It’s not always pretty. But it is our story. Thank you for sharing it with us. And please, let us know what you think.

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