Daniel Eran Dilger
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Maxillofacial Blues or Dead Chins Don’t Talk

 Wp-Content Uploads 2008 09 200809110004
Daniel Eran Dilger
I certainly learn more when I’m under pressure. I can drift along comfortably for days without any epiphanies, but introduce some chaos, trauma, challenge, and threat, and I’ll discover all sorts of new things about the world around me. Having my jaw busted up and rewired together has been one of those events that get me thinking.
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So I’m not recommending elective maxillofacial surgery as a creative muse, but it seems like I should share some of my discoveries, given that most people won’t ever have the opportunity to spend a couple weeks in puree heaven.

The great thing about having your lower jaw cut open is that there is one major nerve that runs within your jaw, the same one dentists target when you’re having any teeth worked on. The surgery stretches that nerve, killing pretty much all pain to your entire lower jaw, which is handy because if it were live, I’d have to be chained to a morphine machine.

I’m also fortunate to have had a great doctor who is really experienced in what he does; his team does something like 350 surgeries every year. The day he did mine, he had already done one and was moving on to somebody else afterward. Precision is nice, because it means faster healing and ideally less trauma to that nerve. If he stretches it too much, I’ll lose any feeling in my face and not get it back. As much as I want to ignore it right now, I do want the feeling to come back at some point when everything else has healed up.

Not being able to feel my chin, on top of it being in a new place, results in a curious phenomenon where I can hold a glass to drink, and feel my lip, but I have the clear sense the whole time that my lip is really at my chin and my mouth is wide open, when that isn’t the case at all.

Also odd is struggling to get a shirt on around my huge giggidy giggidy chin. I’ve also become acutely aware of fluid dynamics in my body and tension relationships between every muscle than I rarely ever contemplated before. Bending over sends a rush of blood into my face, and leaning back to wash my hair in the shower puts tension across my face in ways that require me to hold my head in place using my hand. It’s amazing how much we do without thinking about it when everything is working normally.

There Are Some Things Money Can’t Buy

Wednesday.

When you’re in the hospital, you have to ask for pain meds or they think you don’t need them. I’d gotten 3ml of morphine after surgery, and they gave me another 2 ml when I asked for it. When I broke my arm, I was getting 4ml every fifteen minutes, but I was also in more pain. The problem with asking for more is that they won’t let you go home for an hour or so after, and I decided that going home was better than getting my money’s worth of narcotics.

Morphine in your IV is so much nicer than anything you can swallow. I actually don’t like taking narcotics by mouth, whether vicodin or codeine, in part because it stops the GI train and I prefer that to arrive at the station on time. Plus, I’m not really into being stupid, at least not the kind of stupid that comes from narcotics.

After getting driven home from the hospital, I forced down a pint of milk and a Super Protein Odwalla and a quarter bottle of V8 fruit juice, barely 700 calories of the 2500 I’m supposed to get down. I went to sleep kind of late and woke up after dreaming about what crisis might befall were I to rip my teeth apart on accident.

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Thursday.

I woke up on day two even fatter faced than before. I ate all of the same things, but added a quart of yogurt drink that supplied another 760 calories. Plus my friend Jon brought over a Jamba Juice which I drank a little bit of before putting it in the freezer. My big accomplishment of the day was ordering groceries for delivery from Safeway.

I was just beginning to realize how different life is when you can’t open your mouth. No yawns, no coughing, no spitting, and anything you put in your mouth has to go down or be wiped off your shirt a tiny little bit at a time. Anything that gets past your teeth has got to go down too, or risk being forced back through your teeth in a process that is really involved and unpleasant, particularly given the fact that you can only feel about half of what’s going on. I eat most meals in from of the bathroom sink just in case things get messy, but so far I haven’t yacked, which is really great and amazing and unusual.

I also found that the doctor had apparently cut into my chin, something that wasn’t in the plan as far as I knew. Apparently, my chin was too far out or whatever, and so he shoved a file down the inside of my face and did whatever his executive decision called for. I’m glad he didn’t wake me up to ask for permission, but that extra bit also means that I have to wear some paper tape around my chin for five days. I can only guess it’s there to hold my chin skin against my chin until things stitch back together, so I don’t grow together all sloppy like.

I suppose that means I’ll lose my chin cleft, along with the prominent flavor saver valley that has so strongly defined the line between my lower lip and my chin. At this point, I could Botox my bizarre accordion forehead away and pretty much look generically computer animated, although I do retain plenty of identity in childhood scars on my lip that resulted from some sort of shield action reflex I did that always sent my mouth at any incoming sources of trauma.

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Friday.

Another day of the same food, where I use the term food loosely. Safeway delivered my stuff, but substituted some of my soda for diet. I explained in huffing breaths between my teeth that the only reason I’d ordered soda was for some easy calories, and that diet wasn’t going to work out, and could they take it back. They were out of the prune juice I wanted, so in protest I went on a poop strike for a few more days. At some point, I’m going to have to rig up some sort of vacuum attachment, because that can’t be a good thing.

I have only rarely taken my codeine syrup, usually only at night before I go to bed. I’ve also been pretty good at keeping ice bags on my face. The ones they gave me at the hospital are absurd, as they’re made out of cloth paper that is too stretchy to stay in place. It’s really only good for humiliation. I looked like the love child of Droopy Dog and Colonel Sanders.

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I managed to construct a better way to pack ice against my face that involved putting an ice pack on a kitchen towel, wearing a cap backwards, and tying the towel on like a wild west handkerchief around the brim of the cap.

This worked awesomely enough to allow me to leave the house Michael Jackson style and go for a walk to the park, although I was regularly tempted to pull the thing off and scare small children. Nobody gave me much attention on the street, as by San Francisco standards, I was only looking mildly eccentric.

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My other experiment was blendering food. After failing to strain out all the stuff in some miso soup the night before and being tasked with picking green bits out of my wires for longer than I enjoyed drinking it down, I decided it was time puree stuff. I decided my show should be “Will It Blend, and Then Can I Drink It?”

The first candidate was Campbell’s Vegetable Beef soup. Yes it blends, and no it’s not too bad to get down, but no it doesn’t blend enough to not make a huge mess. Not even well blendered Hydrolyzed Beef bits can fit through my teeth. So rather than trying to drink it down sippy cup style, I loaded it into my giant syringe and forced the tube on the end to the back of my teeth and tried my best to force it directly into my mouth.

That’s what I was doing (albeit with juice) when my friend took the surprise photo above just as I looked up from my puter the first day (I still had my hospital band on). While this syringe is giant as far as syringes go, it only holds two ounces, which turns an Odwalla into an eight step process.

I never thought of getting food down as such a challenge. My best days, I get 1800 calories down of my 2500 target. I’m not supposed to lose weight, because when you body goes into starvation mode, you stop healing and focus your efforts on finding food. In my case, I already have a problem with forgetting to eat until I’m tired and realize that I’m starving myself.

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Saturday.

I successfully blended some frozen Jamba with a banana, a bit of apple sauce, and some milk. I credited myself with 600 calories for that. I’ve also been cutting my Ensure with even fatter chocolate milk, and kicking myself for having bought 2% milk.

I grew up in Montana drinking raw whole milk from a dairy. We’d get gallon jars with two inches of really heavy cream on top (the kind that sticks to the wall in one glob if you threw it, slight exaggeration), which would be mostly skimmed off and used for mom and dad’s coffee. The rest of the cream would get stirred in to the milk (repeatedly, as it never got homogenized), resulting in something that was probably 10% milkfat. I remember “store bought milk” tasking like water when I was a kid, and that was “whole” milk, something like 3%.

Since then, I’ve weaned myself down to 2%, and now whole milk from the store tastes like butter. I can’t imagine going back to drinking real milk from the cow. I also don’t know how I was such a skinny kid growing up, drinking as much freaking super whole milk as I did. In any event, milk is super full of fat even when you take most of it off, so I’m relying on milk to make up most of my calories.

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Well, that and Odwalla. I feel like I’m at WWDC, where all there is to eat is all the 400 calorie bottles of sickly sweet juice that you can force down. Apart from my walk to the park on Friday, I’ve been sitting around the house. The lack of air and movement is kind of killing me. I’ll have to force myself out tomorrow.

The nurses said girls tend to heal faster than guys because they talk more, and moving your face gets things moving and healing faster. I’ve made some efforts to talk, but it’s kind of hard when its not necessary, and I can’t get across much anyway. I thought it would be comical to start podcasting now, as it would be both exercise and really gross in a darkly funny sort of way. I’d constantly be throwing in “Putting on the Ritz!” from Young Frankenstein.

The other aspect of moving things around relates to how your body deals with all the dead fluids that were incurred in the trauma. I learned something new about myself as I watched all the dead junk drain from my face into my torso, leaving a necklace of black death on my chest, surrounding a yellow bit of dead. It was like the part of my face that died was searching for an exit via gravity.

The photo doesn’t show it as dark as it looks in real life. It also doesn’t indicate that it hurts. The shadow of death does look a bit like an evil alien face, or perhaps a mushroom cloud.

necklace of death

You can also see the huge scar on my skinny left arm (on the right in the photo), from my last surgery. Oddly enough, the scar is exactly as long as an iPhone.

Tomorrow is day five, which should allow me to take off the chin strap and even shave if I can pull myself to do it. Being that it’s Sunday, I might just gug down some codeine instead and leave the whole chinstrap removal and shaving till Monday.

In the meantime, I’ve discovered why the iPhone theme has been off on RDM, and why articles haven’t been hitting Twitter. Apparently somebody had enough time to break into my WordPress server and mess with things, leaving me a personally addressed note about how WordPress “sucks.”

Okay teenage genius, I concede that your aptitude at exploiting open software is really amazing, but I’m too freaking lazy to deal with crap right now, so please take your skills somewhere they might serve you or society or maybe someone in need. That is all.

In my day, we targeted corporations with our pranks, and actually risked getting caught, not just being a pain to individuals. Oh the 80s. Kids nowadays, I tell you.

Dan

  • blacktalonz

    You mean you went on and on about the insurance bit, Cobra, and somehow Obama fixing the health care industry over an elective surgery?

    I mean come on. I knew you were liberal but this is just too much. You expect socialized medicine and outrageous tax increases so that people like you can have their $70,000 elective surgeries subsidized?

    Your tirade has been exposed for the self-serving, emotionally twisting, garbage that it is. How pathetic to try and garner sympathy about about how expensive it is, how California saved you from having your insurance canceled, how broke the country is, all so you can have somebody else pay for your $70,000 surgery that was not needed.

    Hey, would you like a free BMW Roadster to go with that, I mean you want the public to pay for everything else!

  • name

    A BMW roadster is peanuts compared to what the public is going to have to pay for the Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and other banking messes.

  • Gerard

    For some variety, you can also try Enlive! from Ross nutrition. They come in 8 fl. oz. juice boxes, 24 to a case. I’ve only seen them come in apple flavor, but there may be more. They are lactose & fat free, 300 cals each, so may be a nice break from some of the artery-clogging stuff you’re trying. It’s used mostly in hospitals for people exactly in your predicament who can’t take in enough calories easily. You can buy it on Amazon by the case or check out their website at rosstore.com. Get well soon.

  • name

    Oh, and I forgot to add that that is something that you can’t dump on the liberals.

  • RoccondilRinon

    Dan, I’ve been a long-time reader of this blog, mostly for the insights on Apple and tech in general, but haven’t felt the need to comment on anything yet.

    However I had to express my disgust at post #1. I expect you can answer it adequately and certainly your opinions will have more weight around here than mine, so all I will say is

    PWN
    THAT
    TROLL.

  • mef

    “name” — you are an ignorant twit. “Elective” doesn’t mean “unnecessary” — it just means ‘non-emergency.” Elective surgery can still be medically necessary — like cataract surgery, implanting a pacemaker, hysterectomy for fibroid tumors, and most joint/muscle procedures.

    I hope that you are never in a position where cost stands in the way of your being able to see or walk, when there is a common, unremarkable remedy.

  • ericbrunstad

    I thought you said it was necessary so something wouldn’t happen to your teeth (in contrast to @blacktalonz above).

  • mef

    Apologies to “name”, above — I meant “blacktalonz”. The rest of my comment still stands.

  • http://johnsessays.blogspot.com John Muir

    @Daniel

    I thought it was just all the politically crazed commenters which were a but off…

    That patch of migrating death thing is all news to me. Yikes! Don’t worry about shaving yet: that bandana conceals all. Strange that the surgeon went cosmetic on your chin now. There’s nothing better about having a round one; speaking as someone made that way himself.

    What are the calories like in really unhealthy milkshakes and chilled coffees? If you were here on Scotland I’d advise the local deep orange coloured “candy soda” Irn-Bru. Enough calories and caffeine in that to shame Red Bull.

  • nat

    @blacktalonz, who said:

    “You mean you went on and on about the insurance bit, Cobra, and somehow Obama fixing the health care industry over an elective surgery?”

    I don’t think that’s what Dan meant. He’s saying he has learned a lot from his post-surgery experience, but rather than expecting his readers to elect to have maxillofacial surgery simply to understand first-hand what he’s going through, he’ll gladly give us some insight.

  • ericdano

    Spot on blacktalonz. Nat, you didn’t read earlier posts where he was going on about Health care and what not.

    Daniel writes excellent tech things, but anything is……well……not his forte.

  • http://www.roughlydrafted.com danieleran

    @blacktalonz : It’s too bad I have to explain jokes to you, but even worse that, why you would see the need to ignorantly tear into me about a subject you didn’t give enough thought.

    First of all, while you reveal your trigger finger on the “socialist” button, the entire point of insurance is to socialize risk – spread it around. It was invented by the shipbuilding industry, which would be rocked by local storms that would devastate individuals. By forming a bond under insurance, this enabled shipbuilders to confidently continue their business, knowing that any serious risk to a few would be spread across all of them.

    Calling insurance “socialist and therefore anti-business” demonstrates great ignorance on your part.

    Your ideological views appear to have been sculpted by Fox News, which has worked for over a decade now to force feed America with profoundly ignorant views. No longer is America the nation of volunteerism and cooperation, where neighbors help each other out. It’s not the melting pot of the world, where the Statue of Liberty greeted ‘the tired, the poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.’

    Today, an Australian emigrant has taken US Citizenship and done his best to burn the bridge for others. He has set up false journalism, which purports to be fair and balanced, but only serves as a one-sided propaganda machine. Rupert Murdoch is ruining the country and seeding a virus of hate, hate for open political discussion, hate for anyone with the appearance of a foreigner, hate for intelligence and education, hate for science, hate for rational thought, and hate for one’s fellowman.

    He’s building out this fascist propaganda machine to build support for a government that isn’t about the people of the US, but rather just uses them to drum up support for a government that promises to be “smaller with limited influence” while growing beyond the bounds of any previous administration and having the most grievous impact on civil rights since slavery.

    Fox’ efforts are indistinguishable from the fascist “national socialism” of the 30s. And in fact, those policies were embraced by American corporations such as Ford and IBM, and by right wing supporters of a national socialism part in the US including the grandfather of our current President Bush. They were not American however.

    Fox promises a government with “less taxes and less spending,” but supports wars that have spent up a massively huge debt that will have to be paid for in taxes at some point, and until then require financing from the Chinese and other nations we don’t want to owe our nation to in massive debt.

    Fox has instilled a blind hatred in people like yourself, who only see the world through greedy glasses, fearing they might lose some of their money. So you attack “minorities” who you have been conditioned to believe are “subsidized” by your taxes, failing to realize that their current situation that requires welfare (lack of education, opportunity due to decades of racist policies inflicted upon them) is the originally fault of the failure of American government. The solution is not to herd them to concentration camps.

    You also attack my surgery as being “subsidized,” even though I have private insurance and did it under the insistence of doctors who said it was medically necessary. The reason its a “$70,000” surgery isn’t because it requires two FTEs or diamond encrustation or nuclear power to complete, but because the healthcare system in America is not properly socialized across all Americans, but really only limited to the privileged such as myself, and that makes a market that is too small to effectively lower prices. My high prices are due to the fact that I’m a buyer in a dysfunctional market with no effective competition. You think this is business friendly? It’s only national socialism friendly.

    Kaiser works as an independent insurance company. I didn’t specifically outline any solution to healthcare in my original article, and particularly not one based on “subsidy” and your hatred/greed fantasy of other people making off with your money. What I pointed out was that healthcare and insurance do not work when companies operate with a financial motive to deny service.

    If you bought life insurance and your policy was suddenly canceled the moment you got sick because the company decided they were worried they might have to pay out, then you don’t have insurance, you have a scam. And when health care insurance is unavailable or unaffordable to many, and has no regulations in place to prevent companies from failing in their responsibilities, there is no “insurance,” just premiums with an uncertain risk factor attached.

    I recommend you exercise your ability to broaden your perspective. The US isn’t threatened by a sudden takeover of 60s era socialism. Obama is hardly left of center on the world stage. Your fear is based on ignorance.

    Obama isn’t proposing state run hospitals or even state run insurance. Before Fox News turns you into a dummy pool of Confederate Flag waving secessionist who advocate state’s rights and no Federal government while the Federal government continues to get bigger, increase debt, hand out public money to big oil and the ultra rich, and deny basic civil rights, I suggest you wake up from your TV fantasy and become aware of what’s going on.

    Why do you hate America?

  • nat

    @ericdano,

    No, I did read Daniel’s earlier posts on health care. I wasn’t arguing for or against blacktalonz’s comments on health care, I was specifically pointing out his misunderstanding of Dan’s intro paragraph in this article.

  • nat

    Oops, by intro paragraph, I mean the paragraph following the intro.

  • nelsonart

    Dan,

    Whatever that Dr. did to your jaw… it looks horrific. I wish you the best and get well soon. Kudos for not going completely nuts with your mouth wired shut. I think I would have died on day 2 from panic attacks.

    You have a lot of passion for your views and not much tolerance for other viewpoints. I think that’s part of the problem in politics these days.

    Anyhow… here’s a repub (only for economic stances) that agrees with your views on insurance 100%. Greed does not self regulate. These huge insurance companies have to be reigned in, no doubt about it.

    What the other side sees with Obama is another entitlement program coming. SS, Medicare are already financially unsustainable. We could have much better health care…even possibly something Obama envisions. But it would require a massive overhaul of all involved parties, including insurance, pharm, legal, doctors, etc. I’m not sure politicians have the balls.

    Keep drinking that milk. Fat is good for you. And don’t watch any more Seinfeld/Gates ads lest you rip your jaw apart laughing.

  • Michael

    nice comments gee whiz. Really, Daniel, you shouldn’t pay attention to that jerk who posted #1. He just doesn’t get it that you needed it… so you had to do surgery. Anyway, hope you recover fast and start living life normally again :) and we’ll all be happy for you when that day comes ;)

    BTW, I find it very unusual for anyone nowadays to keep people updated in a detailed fashion in PUBLIC… so pat yourself on the back already :)

  • Nick Barron

    Daniel,

    After just coming out of rather heavy surgery a few months ago, the feelings of what your experiencing are still fresh. Hopefully you’ll heal up and be back on your feet in no time.

    Second what John Muir said, some Irn-Bru will sort your calorie intake out ;)

    Nick

  • jdoc

    Daniel: My wife and I watch Fox News quite a bit, and I can justly say that you’re way off kilter on this one. Any examples of such harsh criticism?

    And to ‘mef’: Yes, elective surgery DOES mean unnecessary, in the sense that life can go on without it. You chose, as one of your examples, fibroid tumors. I perform ‘elective’ surgery on fibroid tumors quite frequently, but every once in a while, the surgery becomes necessary (severe anemia, debilitating pain, etc). Overall however, many women live quite happily with fibroids.

    I tried to ignore this debate, because there are such strong feelings about this subject, and most seem divided deeply among partisan lines. This is Daniel’s blog, and I wholeheartedly but respectfully disagree with his assessment and broad solution(s) to the healthcare crisis which is upon us in the US. It’s also quite clear that I won’t be changing his mind any time soon, so I’ll leave it at that.

    As for the factual parts of medicine, I’d be happy to chime in whenever I see something being misunderstood or misrepresented.

  • oomu

    So, I read Daniel posts

    and it seems to be tolerant and nice but angry of what America is becoming.

    When I read many many so many stories, posts, forums and all about American, I’m really distraught.

    You can’t understand how people live in Spain, French, and others part of Europa.

    you cannot.

    We mostly live the same way of cost than you and eases but with MANY MORE ease to access healthcare.

    ho my, when I read the debate about “elective”, you are so hateful of others peoples. Unnecessary because you don’t die tomorrow, okay, but you SHOULD to the treatment because you will live a POOR life

    and NO ONE loving people would accept that. no-one sane and gentle would accept that.

    My eyes was in a very bad shape. I could live of course! but can you imagine to have a very very poor vision all your life ? no you can’t . you cannot. and yes I really happy my parents was able to do ANY treatment possible.

    I can’t understand how you can debate about “socialized” healthcare or whatever.

    You have already beginners stuff with”healtcare”, you know what is an assurances, you are a rich country, you can SEE what is available in others countries, even one NEAR of you.

    you can SPEAK to foreigners to learn or know others things

    and still you are debating that ?!

    it blows my mind.


    @Jdoc, you should change your mind. About Fox News examples, it was terrifying to watch fox news from European point of view. It was like really ugly lies.

    I’m still afraid of the time when fox news spoke about France because of the second iraq war. It was violent, ugly, lies, contraries of fact. I’m happy in reality usa and france are very very close friends noone can break. but man.. foxnews.. terrifying.

    it’s still also very weird to see how polarising a tv channel can be. It’s like ONLY one kind of opinions was totally concentrated in one channel and you see only same people watching it. like a club.
    Very specific, very different of what I know in my country. (even with the biggest private channel).

    Maybe it’s what is USA : everything Bigger and Larger.

    in the end, Jdoc, it’s like you are beating a dead horse. I can swear you, with everything you want, in reality everyone want to have a good health plan, whatever it costs to paid it and _ALL_ countries do the same in the end. and yeah, it’s totally good business, all about sane economics and healthy working population in the end. It’s what people want.

  • jdoc

    oomu: I appreciate your passion for this subject, but I can assure you that I know a lot more about this than you’re leading on to.

    People don’t want a good health plan, they want great healthcare. A health plan won’t necessarily provide that, but good doctors and hospitals, etc, will.

    You misunderstood my reasoning about elective surgery. Clearly, my post indicates that I perform ‘elective’ surgery routinely, that is I perform surgery because I give people the option/opportunity and they clearly think that it will improve their quality of life. But it’s still elective surgery. It’s ‘allowed’ because that’s what people demand, and the insurance companies are willing to pay because that’s what the public demands.

    I’ve been involved with medicine in this country for 16 years, and I’ve done more research than the vast majority of people in this country, including the politicians and bean-counters. I can pretty much say that I know a bit about our system, especially as it relates to other systems around the world. I’ve spoken on numerous occasions to my colleagues around the world at conferences, online, etc. In all likelihood, I know more about the nitty gritty details of your system in Spain than you do, but again I’m posting on a left-leaning blog to folks who aren’t going to change their minds any time soon. I’ll save my time and effort for the 3 or 4 times a year that I meet with the Senators and Reps from Pa.

    Having said that, people in the US are VERY demanding, and I would venture to guess that it would be very difficult to get most in this country to wait for any elective-type procedures, as they do in other places around the globe. Realistically, the private sector would NOT go away in this country, etc, etc. We’re experiencing a zero-sum phenomenon in the US with the healthcare system- money/cost/profit hasn’t been created or destroyed, it has just shifted hands to the insurance companies. Food for thought.

    And again, you criticize an entire network of foul-play, without providing examples. There’s no question that the relationship between the US and France has been strained for quite a while (it’s even been joked about for a very long time- have you ever seen European Vacation with Chevy Chase?).

  • sadbuttrue

    Hi Dan,

    No hacking was required, WordPress simply gave me access to your control panel when I logged in my new account (only created to post a comment). I thought the best way of alerting you to the problem was that little message. Didn’t touch anything else.

    Get well soon!
    ps McCain/Obama = Pepsi/Coke, I’m surprised you’re falling for this.

  • jdoc

    edit: meant to say France, not Spain. (I’m assuming that’s where you’re from oomu?)

  • http://web.mac.com/lowededwookie lowededwookie

    When I was in hospital with a broken wrist due to a motorcycle crash I was constantly asked if I wanted any pain killers and I repeatedly said no because I wasn’t in any pain.

    I ended up with one persistent doctor who ended up insisting I took the painkiller and when she asked me if I wanted the needle or the suppository I said needle. Guess which I got? Needless to say I felt no pain because I was thinking about how someone’s finger just got shoved up my poo hole.

    I’m often amused by Americans who think socialism is a bad, evil thing invented by Russia. It’s not at all. New Zealand used to be a socialist nation and was all the better for it but now we’re trying to follow America and the nation is falling apart.

    Incidentally Australia is trying so hard to be like America and that nation has hit the ground hard as a result. Still, you expect that from a nation of convicts. ;)

  • indiana61

    @lowededwookie
    Sheesh bro, you’re bein’ a bit hard on the beav! Oz and K1W1 might not have a lot in common these days but we will always have the ANZAC spirit, thats not something we aussies would give up for a billion dollars :P

  • indiana61

    @DED
    Great article and thanks for the updates on your situation. You must be a little stir crazy which is a blessing for us readers. The more stir crazy you are the more you might post and keep me amused during my work hours (don’t tell my boss) ! If you’ll pardon the pun, keep your chin up old boy.

  • enzos

    Sorry about Rupert, Dan! Though we’re not sorry to loose him.

    And to all the smug Kiwi’s in these boards… haven’t you blokes inflicted enough pain on your cousins lately? ;o)

    Cheerz

  • Ludor

    This is… I need to comment before I read the rest of the article. Reading this account of your convalescence, and seeing… that face… I’m nearly getting a Palahniuk feeling. I might have missed the reason why you had to endure this procedure. It’s, I… No, I better just quote Tom Waits: “Mixed feelings over mixed drinks.” :)

    All the best, Dilger!

  • blacktalonz

    Thanks Daniel. Fourteen paragraphs taken straight from the liberal talking points bulletin, and not a rational thought to be seen anywhere.

    Your history of the marine insurance genesis exposes the fault in your thinking. It is no surprise that the insurance company was willing to ensure the ships being built by the ship builders to spread the risk around. But even then not every ship could maintain coverage with every insurance provider. The insurance providers knew that not every ship would be at sea at the same time, in the same part of the world at the same time, in the same hurricane at the same time, nor that EVERY ship would eventually sink. Even then, some ships had their insurance canceled depending on the cargo or destination. These dangerous cargos and destinations became a specialty for an English insurance company that you may have heard of named “Lloyd’s of London”.

    However this whole marine insurance discussion has nothing to do with human insurance, especially life insurance as you have eluded. Unlike ships, people are guaranteed to die. Because of this one fact insurance companies would be insane to extend the same coverage and cost of coverage that an 18 year old person would pay to an 80 year old elderly hospice patient. But of course you know this. There has to be some risk assessment, and despite your entitlement syndrome some people can not reasonably obtain life insurance.

    But if you want to stick with your marine insurance analogy, try telling your insurance agent that you want insurance for your 18′ Chris-Craft that you are taking into the next hurricane eye to do weather research. You will quickly find out that insurance is not so easy to find, nor should it be.

    Your assertion that the insurance market is dysfunctional is correct, but reasoning as to why is way off base. The real reason your surgery costs so much is because of the entitlement minded litigation that causes people to sue over the drop of a hat.

    The real answer to the medical crisis is not to socialize medicine, nor bring it under government control but to simply reform the tort system. Malpractice insurance premiums are the greatest inflated cost driver of the medical industry. There is not a doctor in the US that is not sued at least once every year or two. Every doctor in the US can not possibly be a bad doctor, but the lawsuits keep on coming. My primary care doctor just quite his practice because his malpractice premiums were destroying his practice and he has never lost a case in court. Because of the current tort system, just the threat of a lawsuit creates a settlement that drives up the cost of malpractice premiums. The entitlement minded folks have learned this lesson well and the constant dipping of the hand into the well of free money is impacting the well being of every citizen.

    Of course the tort system is not broken just in the medical arena, just look at the insane amount of lawsuits that hit Apple every year. The liberal entitlement fervor is destroying this country. Yet the liberals want to fuel this feeling of entitlement with this Robin Hoodish steal from the rich and give to the poor routine and the socialized medicine f our Canadian brothers, which come to America for elective surgery by the way.

    You liberals need to get over Fox News, you act as if they invented conservatism. Do you really believe so? I remember the years before Fox News when all we had was the big three network nightly news, oh yeah and Ted Turner’s “Super Station”.

    Guess what, I was a conservative then as well, so that exposes your whole Fox News tirade as the talking point farce that it is. Really, explain how I was a conservative in the 70’s and 80’s since you went on and on how Fox News has warped my views.

    I love this country Daniel, but why do you hate Americans? You want to destroy the American lifestyle and implement a more European lifestyle.

    [Fox news didn’t invent conservatism and I’ve never suggested that. What Fox so expertly has done is replace journalism with propaganda. The “MSM” typically represents the views of the dominant political mainstream (hence the name!), but Fox has mixed facts with opinion in ways that are simply an embarrassment to journalism.

    For the record, I am not against historically conservative American values such as Roosevelt’s protection of nature, and general conservative ideas of less government bureaucracy.

    However, Fox style NeoConservatism is a farce. It’s a bunch of failed liberals who decided that it would be more effective to just lie and grab wealth and cheat the greater population, using religion and propaganda as tools of manipulative control.

    I can’t help but see parallels between the desperation of Microsoft fans who praise the company for really having done very little, and defend its criminal behavior as expedient while trying to invent controversy about its competition.

    NeoCons similarly are infatuated with lying hypocritical bullshit, credit their morons on the political stage as being “someone they could drink beer with,” defend lies and criminal conduct that has entered the realm of treason and war crimes as being expedient, while trying to invent scandals about sex (scandals that pale in comparison to the behavior of McCain and Palin).

    Your comments only help make that comparison clearer, as they are nearly indistinguishable from incoherent MSfan rants about the Zune or whatever.]

  • RoccondilRinon

    I agree with your criticism of the litigation culture in America, blacktalonz, but I don’t think you managed to refute a single point Daniel made.

  • sadbuttrue

    Oh and Dan, you’re not old, you’re just out of shape.

    Swim a couple of hours a week, maybe do a little roller skating, and in six month you’ll feel much younger!

  • gus2000

    I’m really tired of all these leftists trying to convert the US into having socialized medicine like they have in Europe, and bringing us all the terrible problems they have. We’ve got the highest standard of care here, and the longest life-expectancy to prove it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_life_expectancy

    Oh, wait, Japan is ahead of us. I guess they just eat better. Hmmm, North Korea, Singapore, and Hong Kong have better averages also, so it must be some fluke of the Asian genome. Oh well, um, well Germany and Switzerland are better too, and so is Canada, Italy, Norway, Greece, Austria, Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, the UK, and Bosnia. (WTF *Bosnia*?!?!?)

    In fact, the United Stated is 45th on the list, a full 4 years of life behind the #1 spot.

    Four. Years.

    If the United States has the best standard of care in the world, then “best” is being used in some context of which I was not previously aware.

  • jzgri

    @ jdoc
    “elective surgery DOES mean unnecessary, in the sense that life can go on without it. ”

    “You misunderstood my reasoning about elective surgery. Clearly, my post indicates that I perform ‘elective’ surgery routinely, that is I perform surgery because I give people the option/opportunity and they clearly think that it will improve their quality of life. But it’s still elective surgery. It’s ‘allowed’ because that’s what people demand, and the insurance companies are willing to pay because that’s what the public demands.”

    I can see the semantics of the argument behind all elective surgery being unnecessary as you can live without it , however I think this is somewhat disingenuous. Elective surgery is by definition planned rather than performed as an emergency. This can be life saving e.g. removal of a malignant tumour. It can also be life-saving over a short time by preventing a life-threatening situation e.g. bilateral mastectomies or colectomy in people with genetic predisposition to cancer, repair of abdominal aortic aneurysm. Elective surgery may be necessary to make a diagnosis e.g. exploratory laparotomy with lymph node biopsy for suspected lymphoma. In alot of case it is done to remove crippling symptoms e.g. from joint destruction or Crohn’s disease thereby improving quality of life and allowing people to return to work and family life.

    On the other hand, emergency surgery is not always necessary either. How many times does it turn out not to be appendicitis?

    I would be surprised if in your practice you only did operations that patients came to you and told you they wanted to improve there symptoms. As a healthcare professional I would have thought that after assessing a patient you would explain the management options to them including risks and likelihood of success. If you deem a procedure unnecessary, surely it is your duty not to put a patient at unnecessary risk. A patient is unlikely to ask for surgery unless you have told them it is likely to help? So are you performing unnecessary surgery on patients you have given misleading information to for the money? Is it unnecessary to have a procedure that only removes symptoms/improves quality of life/prevents life-threatening problems in the future or should surgery only be unplanned emergency surgery that could be lifesaving at that time?

    James

  • jzgri

    @jdoc
    Having re-read my post above I realised it read like an attack on your professionalism. I am obviously unable to comment on this as I have never worked with you. My point was that if you classify all elective surgery as unnecessary because it not life-saving, you can also argue it should not performed at all because of unnecessary risk to the patient? If however you agree elective surgery can be beneficial (and I assume you must do or your advice to patients should be such that they would not elect to have it) then of course it should be covered by healthcare plans.

    James

  • droughtquake

    Kaiser Permanente had its origins in a World War II shipbuilder (Kaiser) here in the Bay Area.

    [I love your sexy body, Daniel. Too bad you’re straight!]

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