Two weeks ago, I was being strapped on a gurney and rushed by firefighters into an ambulance at my doctor’s office. My heart had gone into atrial fibrillation and was racing at 248 beats per minute, almost four times faster than its normal rate. My lifelong asthma in addition to bacterial pneumonia had even the paramedics in a tizzy; the siren seemed to race as fast as my heart was beating.
I was so out of breath that I wasn’t all that worried. I should have been — not only because my condition was serious, but because I was about to be subjected to the full tyranny of socialized hospitalization.
What is ironic is that Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was giving a press conference selling socialized medicine the exact hour I was in a crash-room at a Calgary, Canada, hospital with electric paddles being glued to my chest. As Pelosi was telling reporters she wants a single-payer system, my emergency doctor was telling me she and her team needed to shock my heart and — oh, yes — it might kill me.
“Yeah, any bill that’s passed isn’t perfect,” Pelosi said. “I wanted single-payer. I wanted public option.”
Meanwhile, my ER doctor was saying: “We are going to inject you with this drug before we shock your heart. The paddles may make your heart arrest (euphemism for dead), while the drug we are going to give you may give you a stroke.”
Now, I was upset. Death? Let’s just say I can live with it. But having a stroke and being a potted plant were out of the question. I tried to tell the doctor that. But before I could utter any protest, she plunged the drug into my vein and it was lights out. It was never a choice, and there was no discussion of it. You might explain that away as a medical emergency and time being of the essence. But over the next four days, I wasn’t given a choice in any of my treatments by a cavalcade of doctors, each one of them from a different part of the world and not one of them whose first language is English.
Paying A Hefty Price For Free Healthcare
The fact that my lungs were fighting for air and my heart was an engine redlining really wasn’t surprising. I had gone in and waited the usual three hours to see my family doctor for a cough 10 days earlier. He had brushed me off by giving me an asthma inhaler without bothering to check my vitals or even so much as look in my ears for signs of infection.
It would be easy to blame my Polish doctor, but he is about as good as it gets in Alberta and better than any doctor I have come across up here. He is besieged by as many as 80 patients a day who pack a local clinic where he and a Pakistani physician deal with waves of people — some coming in for their silly maladies and others who are hardcore addicts needing a fix, courtesy of the government. So the time needed to diagnose me and write a prescription for antibiotics was not available that day.
Life Saved, Liberty Lost
In less than an hour, I was told my heart had achieved a normal sinus rhythm and it was just a matter of fighting off the infection in my lungs. Hanging on all sides of me were IV bags dripping who knows what. All of my questions as to what I was being given went unanswered. Still sick and with an oxygen mask over my mouth and nose, it occurred to me the ER team had treated the illness. As for yours truly, who was suffering, well he was one big (pun intended) nuisance. The evidence was on my wrist bracelet, which carried my hospital identification in big bold numbers with my name in small type off to the side.
Was I thankful for the ER doctor and her team saving me? Damn right I was. But I was becoming a tad worried the worst was not over when I was told that I was being admitted to the hospital. As luck would have it, a bed opened up. So my wait on a terribly hard ER gurney was for only 11 hours.
During that wait, I was able to see my wife for all of five minutes before they kicked her out. That evening, our son came to visit while I was still in the ER and was welcomed to stay to help answer a series of personal questions that took over half an hour to answer. What was most shocking was that not only was I grilled about the most mundane lifestyle choices I had made over decades, but the two hospital interns who were asking these questions seemed to already know all the answers. They knew every doctor I had seen for the past 40 years. They even knew about the knee surgery I had while I was living in Spokane, Wash., in 1989. At the time, I had private U.S. healthcare insurance. When I asked how the hell they knew so much about a guy who had last been examined in their hospital when I was a junior in high school, they just smiled.
I was provided a beautiful private room, as luck would have it. (Most patients in the hospital are stacked four to a room.) The door was always open, and I was under the constant observation of the nursing station on my floor. As longtime readers might guess, I wasn’t a good patient. I don’t like my liberties being ripped away from me, and I don’t like having test after test being administered to me and not even told what they are and what the results were. However, when I got unruly, the nurses were quick to stick a happy pill under my tongue.
Stuck With Socialized Medicine
My least favorite moment during my stay was the day before I was discharged. I was finally feeling better, and a doctor of East Indian decent walked into my room with the biggest needle I have ever seen. I asked what she intended to do with that, and she said she was going to inject my chest with it. She added, “This might hurt.” Might hurt? I knew that before the needle even was shoved into me, but I knew it a lot more a few seconds later.
I share these gory details with you only because I so want you to understand the evils of socialized medicine. Unless Obamacare is defeated forever, you, too, will be subjected to the indignities I suffered. It will happen while you are at your weakest, and you will find it very difficult to fight back.
I am grateful to the nurses and doctors who made me well. Not for one moment do I question their competence as professionals. What I hate is the system under which they are forced to work and that patients are forced to tolerate — a system that, I suspect, has all the key components of any totalitarian system.
Texas Governor Rick Perry succinctly summed up the evils of socialized medicine:
It is up to us, to this present generation of Americans, to take a stand for freedom, to send a message to Washington that we’re taking our future back from the grips of these central planners who would control our health care, who would spend our treasure, who downgrade our future and micromanage our lives.
I couldn’t agree more with Perry, especially the part about micromanaging our lives.
Yours in good times and bad,
P.S.: As for me, I found religion — no more beer, no more fattening foods and, when I am up for it, lots of exercise. My late Aunt Ruth, who worked 20 years as a social worker at Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, used to say: “There are lots of things worse than dying.” After my experience two weeks ago, I couldn’t agree more.
Note from the Editor: As you’ve just read, the Obamacare abomination doesn’t bode well for anyone. But if you know how to navigate the system you can still control your own healthcare—as every American should! My trusted friend and medical insider, Dr. Michael Cutler, and I have written a concise guide to help you do just that. I urge you… Click here for your free copy.