Recently, my ten year old son was going about his morning as he does most every day. He was putting on his pants when all of a sudden he experience extreme neck pain. He quickly realized he could not straighten or turn his neck.
As parents, we have experienced children in need of stitches, unexplained seizures, and emergency hernia surgery. This was new, but not unfamiliar territory. The process of analyzing the severity and determining what’s steps to take next began to flow in our minds. The questions every parent faces started to require answers. Do we bring him to the ER? Do we wait it out? Do we make a doctor appointment?
We decided to wait it out a day or two. After no to little improvement, my wife made a doctor appointment. They fit him in that afternoon.
I was on a jobsite that day of the appointment, but my wife kept me in the loop of what was going on. We became a bit concerned as the doctor gave his diagnosis, atlanto-axial subluxation. During the appointment, the doctor called into Fargo (the closest large hospital with specialists) for assistance and recommendations. They recommended the he get an MRI and suggested that surgery would probably be necessary, or at minimum, an appointment with a specialist. From some outside advice I once received, I thought a chiropractor may be the answer, but the doctor advised against seeing one in this case. Our son was prescribed muscle relaxers and pain killers were recommended. A neck brace was also recommended, something we were able to borrow from a family member.
Don’t get me wrong, we value this doctor’s opinion and he is a dear friend of the family. He saved my youngest son’s life after persisting we should get him to Fargo immediately for surgery. But, I was not fully convinced surgery was the solution in this case, at least not without a second opinion. While telling us it could be serious, he was calm and collected, and not persistent. That was not the case, however, for those at the hospital he called for reference in Fargo. If it was life threatening, our doctor would have pressed me. This time, he didn’t. We are thankful for that, because what came next was a step over the line.
The Fargo hospital called the next day, once every minute or two until my wife was finally able to reach the phone. Come on, voicemail was invented for a reason! We homeschool and have four children, answering the phone in a timely manner is not always possible! When my wife finally answered, they asked her where the imaging results were. Like we would know even if we had done the MRI! They were insistent, rude, and overly dramatic about getting our son in for imaging and setting up an appointment with a specialist. Surgery was imminent and imaging was needed to begin preparations!
After my wife was emotionally and verbally abused on the phone by the hospital for 20-30 minutes (she is more gracious than I am), we had an MRI scheduled. This hospital salesperson went too far, so far in fact that we are now considering switching to a different clinic that is not associated with that hospital brand. We needed a second unbiased opinion before we proceeded, so that is what we sought. We decided we would make an appointment with a trusted chiropractor whom many in our family have been very satisfied with.
The chiropractor visit took a mere 10 minutes. It only took 3 minutes for the chiropractor to fix my son. He immediately regained full mobility and was no longer in pain. No side effects or complications like a surgery would have brought It was amazing and eye opening. Time to cancel the unneeded and expensive MRI!
Upon further reflection, it was immediately clear that the hospital was after our money, at all costs, even if it meant an unnecessary surgery on my son. They built a big, grand new hospital last summer in Fargo after all. As a corporation, they need to provide results for their investors. As typically the result of a doctor visit, my son was given painkillers and muscle relaxants, typical bandages that make pharmaceutical companies money, cause addictions so they can make yet more money, and fail to get to the actual root of the problem.
I hate to say it, but this is just another of several medical run-ins that have caused us to question advice we receive from medical professionals. Again, don’t get me wrong, we have faced serious issues where the doctor was spot on and got to the root of the issue (as mentioned early with our children’s doctor). Large laceration? We are going in for stitches. But, at least equally, the outcome had been quite the opposite! From a heart murmur (ended up being nothing, only after money was poured into x-rays and doctor visits), to high blood pressure (it is more than perfectly fine when I regularly check it at home! sorry, not getting on your pills!), to acid reflux (nothing a change in diet 15 years ago didn’t fix; their solution was more pills), to a possible stomach ulcer which appears to have actually been food poisoning after eating at a cheap Chinese restaurant, lesson learned (their solution was again, more pills…).
We face a major problem here in the US. This incident was a small flicker in that matrix. We have a strange healthcare system of private companies, protected by a paid off government. It is far from a free market, and they are far from actually caring about my families good health. I daresay, I’d prefer a fully free market or fully socialist system over what we currently have.
Think for yourself! Question everything!
Fine print and a parting thought. I am not a doctor, nor do I pretend to be one. If you are experiencing health issues, see a professional. This is by no means advice, but for entertainment purposes only. Now, the fact that I have to say this in a country that values the freedom of speech shows their lobbyists are winning. That fact that if I gave medical advice (which I didn’t), I could be thrown in jail, shows we have gone astray. To preserve their bottom lines, we have willingly given up our right of free speech, a right guaranteed to us by our bill of rights, which is the rock of our constitution, the supreme law of the land.