hooray for modern medicine.

Back from the Spine Center at Dartmouth.  Contrary to my earlier mental image of the place, they don’t have replacement spines hanging on the walls with price tags like some sort of Predator trophy supermarket.  Instead, the doc did a bunch of tests, looked at my MRI results, and recommended a laminectomy on my two herniated discs, so that’s what we’ll end up doing, hopefully by the end of the week.  Until then, I have a fresh prescription for hydromorphone, which is the most wonderful stuff on the whole planet when your sciatic nerve is being a little bitch.

(And yes, I’m higher than the Space Shuttle right now.)

On a side note:  I’ve spent the first twenty-four years of my life in a country with socialized health care, and the next fifteen or so here in the United States.  I’ve received high quality health care in both, but the German system can’t touch the service I’ve gotten here at the (private) Dartmouth-Hitchcock hospital.  I’ve been served more quickly, far more thoroughly, and in better facilities at DMH than at any doctor or hospital in Germany.  Yes, my co-pays are higher, but at least I don’t have to shell out a 17% VAT and eight bucks for  gallon of gas to pay for my “free” health care, and our health care contribution is lower than the German 7.5% of gross pay…


14 thoughts on “hooray for modern medicine.

  1. JD says:

    Glad to hear things are working out. Sounds like they have a pan which is always good. . . I hate it when they send you home with the usuall “try this and we will go from there” answers. Hope you are up for the Blogger shoot this weekend!

  2. Eric says:

    Which discs? My laminectomy was in the area of L4/L5.

  3. Eric says:

    Sorry for the double reply, but I just realized you went to a hospital with “Hitchcock” in the name!

  4. Tam says:

    (And yes, I’m higher than the Space Shuttle right now.)

    Now there’s a metaphor with an expiration date…

  5. Mike Dodson says:

    Ja. Die Mehrwertsteuer verdammt werden und es sollte verschwinden.

  6. MaddMedic says:

    L4/L5 here, a discectomy.
    When I came to after my procedure, the first thing I noticed was that I was pain free and in particular the vise on my left calf was gone. I then realized I no longer wanted to diekilldestroyscreamcrywailbitchmurder anything or one!
    I have numbness in the calf, foot and big toe on the left foot a fact my kids discovered years ago and try to exploit to this day.

    The worst was the first time I jumped on my K100RS Beemer(sweetest bike I ever owned) and realized I had to relearn after 30 years how to shift, foot did not work the same!!!
    So good luck and I hope all works as you want it to!!

  7. Peter says:

    I had a L5/S1 laminectomy, which didn’t work, and I ended up with fused vertebrae there. I wish the laminectomy had worked, as the fusion’s left me with permanent disability; but it wasn’t to be.

    That said, be very careful during the first week or two after the laminectomy to follow your rehab physio’s instructions EXACTLY. You’ll be grateful later!

    I know you don’t believe in such things, but I’ll be saying a prayer or three for you anyway. I’d offer to send the local Pentecostals around to lay hands on your spine, but I’m not sure they have enough members in their congregation to absorb the sudden (and permanent) reduction in numbers that would result!


  8. Will says:

    Let’s see,

    horse… water… drink?

    guess not

  9. A few years ago, my German friend from high school and I were comparing respective incomes and taxes. HALF of her gross pay was gone before anything was ever deposited into her account. Scary stuff.

    • Marko Kloos says:

      …and from the half that’s left, she still needs to pay for hundred-dollar fill-ups at the gas station (because of the triple-taxed gasoline), and shell out the 18% VAT on everything she buys at the store.

      But hey…they have free universities over there!

  10. George says:

    Coincidentally, just heard from a high-school chum who is 6 weeks out after a cervical laminectomy. He’s doing well, and is reportedly getting his release ‘back-to-work’ today. Best wishes to you, as well!

  11. Außenseiter says:

    Tip top service is okay, but the real question is: is 5% higher survival chance of cancer in the US worth possibly getting bankrupt due to medical costs? Medical expensers are reportedly one of the chief reasons why people go bankrupt.

    I know a formerly well-off guy who between leukemia and divorce lost nearly everything. Only luck is, he has no dependents, them being grown up.. and that he can earn money, so he probably won’t die poor.


    It’s a trade-off. Starting life without student debt and in a society that doesn’t have much poverty nor social strife (compare German and US crime statistics), or living in the US, where there are no doubt places where one wouldn’t dare going without a gun.

    • Tam says:

      …living in the US, where there are no doubt places where one wouldn’t dare going without a gun.

      Surprisingly few and far between, actually, despite what the EuroMedia would have you believe.

      Very few places in America are any worse than, say, Kreuzberg, Clichy-sous-Bois, or the east side of Malmo. I wouldn’t want to go walking alone after dark along 8 Mile in Detroit or Bankhead Highway in ATL, but I wouldn’t want to do so in parts of London, either.

      (#1 Safety Tip Worldwide: Don’t go dumb places with dumb people to do dumb things.)

  12. Ted N(not the Nuge) says:

    Glad you’re getting better, thinking happy thoughts for you!

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