Friday, November 20, 2009

Medical Musings Update

Wow that was fast lol. I made a prediction yesterday that pap smears would be next on the list in the US to be done every 3-5 years instead of yearly... and they announced last night that they recommend every other year. I was close enough ;)

Again, another thing we have been doing up here for awhile. I don't know what the stats are, I don't know if it has harmed anyone, but it's just another example of how money-saving is trumping personal choices over health care.

I used to get letters in the mail every year from my provincial health authority telling me how important it was to get yearly paps, detailed information on how fast the cells can form and how women need to keep on top of their health. Now I only get a short letter every 2 or 3 years telling me that I should get a pap done within the next year. Is the change mainly based on cost saving? Of course it is - they say there is no evidence to show that yearly mamms or paps save lives better than waiting longer, but it is still cost driven. If I want to get a pap every year, who are they to tell me I don't have to or to tell me I CAN'T? I pay into this system every month, every day, through my taxes and so do millions of other women. But someone on a Board decided that we don't have to get this done - because they don't want to pay for it. They consider it a frivilous cost.

What's next? I don't have another prediction right now but if I think of one I'll post it here.

AP News Link

I also noticed something else interesting in the article. They changed the age to 21 when previously it was within 3 years of sexual intercourse, or 21 (whichever comes first).

Now let's think about HPV. The Gardasil shot is being pushed in the US because it covers some strains of HPV that have been linked to cervical cancer. When I looked it up while ago, they figured 30-40 strains of HPV can lead to cervical cancer. HPV is passed through sexual contact. The Gardasil shot only covers 4 strains of HPV.

Okay so let's say a 14 year old girl starts having sex, unprotected, with multiple partners over the years. She follows the guidelines and doesn't get a pap for 7 YEARS. HPV is the most common STI and about 50% of Americans will have some form of HPV at one time or another.
The test for HPV is included in the regular cervical cancer screening (pap smear).

So now they are saying it's okay for all these teens to go for years having sex but not get tested for HPV or cancer until they are 21. That's a lovely idea!


  1. And people call me crazy when I talk about death panels...

  2. Yup, you are crazy ;)

    The death panel I am most familiar with at this point in time is one I have been talking about on my blog since the summer. My boss's husband had a heart attack in Feb this year. He got fast treatment and was sent to Calgary for surgery. But this summer the results weren't as good as hoped. His heart specialist told him to his face that he wants him to have another surgery, but it won't happen until he has another heart attack!

    Basically they are already booked up for provincial-approved heart surgeries, but if he has another heart attack they class that as an emergency so the funding comes from the Emergency coffers instead.

    I told him to go eat at Taco Time and fake a heart attack to get his surgery but he wasn't very keen on that idea.

    But at the end of the day, if he survives another heart attack, the cost will be HIGHER than if they just do the surgery now. If you really twist it and look at it, if he dies from another heart attack, money will be saved. Everyone goes on about Preventative Care but it's hogwash. Right here is a moment to save some emergency funding cash and give him the surgery his specialists have been pushing for - prevent another heart attack. But no - it won't happen.

    So, we have a patient who is concerned and believes his specialists and family doctor that his heart is not doing as well as expected, and specialists asking for him to be booked for surgery - and someone behind a desk somewhere in Edmonton (we think? who knows) is saying NO. Desk-death panel? Whatever is going on, it's not the patient OR the doctor that is making a decision in this matter.

    My MIL has been testing positive for Rheumatoid Arthritis for over 7 months but it took her doctor calling Calgary repeatedly for 2 days straight last month for them to finally agree it was getting more serious and she was booked for more testing. Should a doctor have to bully and beg to get his patient treatment??? What is going on here?

  3. The best thing you can do in this case is get some money together in order to go to the USA for the surgery, then bill the government and threaten media if they don't pay up.

    It worked for me, but I was a teenager at the time. I don't know how well it would work for you, but going to the USA and paying up front may end up being necessary if you want to save his life.

  4. That has been another discussion actually. We are only an hour from the US Border and if they can get their finances in order, they might do it. He is kicking himself for buying a big fancy new truck last year because that took up most of his left over money. They actually used up their savings 2 years ago when their daughter in NB was diagnosed with breast cancer and they were traveling back and forth to see her, plus a few other not-so-important things. They are truly kicking themselves right now but they might be able to sort it out.

    It concerns me because he sleeps half the day away. He doesn't look 'right' and since my father died of a heart attack 13 years ago at the tender age of 49, it bothers me even more.

    But it also raises my hackles because I didn't live in Canada when my dad died. He had never had heart problems before, and he literally said that his arm hurt (at work) so he went to lay down. 10 mins later his coworkers checked on him and he was in full heart attack mode. Now learning what I have about our system, I can't help but wonder if everything was TRULY done to save his life. I know the paramedics worked furiously, all his coworkers said they were amazing and would not give up. But once he got to the hospital I have no idea what happened after that. No one does. So I will never know if my father really did get all the care he deserved, or not. I am hoping he did - but it's impossible to know. I was only 23, it was a pretty harsh thing to come home to.

  5. That's Canada, for you.

    If you use this as evidence that public health doesn't work, they call it an extreme case, even though everyone and there dog knows someone or has personally had problems with our health care system.

    And when you point out that every single last argument against private health care is extremes, they just call you a fascist (even though fascists had universal health care).

  6. Most people I know have had a run-in with the public health system, and others have but didn't even really notice that it was a problem because they are so used to it.

    I remember not long back reading comments on the 20/20 blog after they did a medical bit saying that Canadian pets can get CT scans and MRIs before humans. SOOOO many were saying that was categorically untrue. Really? Well let's see if their kitty needs a ct and how long they wait, and then if they need one. Compare the 2. Not long before that program aired, my cousins in Saskatchewan said that they got their cat a CT in 2 days, but my cousin's partner had to wait 3 months for his CT scan. Tada - kitty wins cos they had to pay up front for it. They said their vet rents the CT machine from the hospital and it really is the exact same one that people get put into lol. Then I saw 20/20, saw Canadians saying that was a lie, and I had the chance to tell them it's NOT a lie.

    I have had fast care, and long care. I've actually been mostly lucky, but it seems like a crap shoot. I was a young mom with a preemie son and they discovered I had a strange heart issue so I got an ultrasound in a week. All was well, just a thickening of my heart muscle they said is okay (I hope it's okay!). But a few months later, my coworker went to her doc and they heard a similar heart sound. She waited from Feb to August this year before getting her ultraound... huh? So a 47 yr old woman with no little kids waited several months but a younger mother with 3 young kids got fast tracked.

    I don't say I shouldn't have been fast tracked, I wonder why SHE wasn't. It was her HEART for heaven sake. They pick and choose who gets in first and that is the only answer in a system like this. If she had the option to pay, I don't doubt her husband would have forked out the cash to make sure his wife was okay. But there is no option for that here in our country, at least not in our region. It just seems wrong.

    People seem to forget that you are not on a waiting list because the machines and ORs are booked up 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They are largely empty in fact. I have lots of friends and a ton of relatives who are nurses and more beds are empty than full, more equipment is sitting around unused than used. They either haven't hired the staff to cover it, or haven't got enough money to pay for the actual procedures. That is just wrong.

  7. Why is it that any time I meet a woman that I would get along great with, they are ten to twenty years older and are already taken?

  8. Excuse me - are you saying I am old?? HAHA

    It's Murphy's Law young man, Murphy's Law! I also think that in the political sense, a majority of people don't really sit and THINK about things. I'm the first to admit I didn't. I just went about my business and complained but didn't really think or do anything about it. I started listening to Sirius Patriot radio over a year ago and got hooked (Especially Mike Church at 7am MST), and could not believe the amount of stuff I didn't really pay attention to before. I could kick myself for being compliant for SOOOOO long, but at least I started. Better late than never lol.

  9. Oops I meant to say people in their 20s don't really pay much attention, until they get older and see more of their hard work and earnings going to countless other things they have no control over. They have kids and start to wonder what it will be like for THEM when they are working age, and start to wonder if they will have 5 cents to their name when they retire. Then they start to say HEY! Wait a darn Minute!

  10. I didn't say you were old, just not as young as I am. :P

    Maybe I shouldn't say stuff like that... dig myself a hole I won't be able to climb out of. Then again, trying to climb out of impossible holes is fun! :D

    Yes, most people around my age don't pay attention to what is going on, and I find it a serious problem with my relationships, because I want to be Prime Minister one day.

  11. Well good luck with your political aspirations! And maybe you will discover more and more young people paying attention. Don't give up on that. I have discovered a few teenagers that are starting to pay far more attention that I ever did at that age, and I run into 20-somethings that are the same. I think many keep quiet with their real thoughts because they feel like they are in the minority but once they find someone safe to talk to, they will start coming out full force. I hear a lot of teens and 20s calling into these radio shows now and really getting interested. Keep up the hope :)

    Gotta go to work now *sigh*



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