For the n-teenth time I recently found myself with an IV in my hand, a blood pressure cuff on my arm, an oxygen monitor on my finger, and my bare ass in the air awaiting yet another “procedure.” I got to thinking about a few things (good drugs can do that), my long medical history, how healthcare delivery has changed, and just when did surgery become merely a “procedure”?
I always thought a procedure was a series of things you did in a certain order to accomplish something. (To make a cake you must assemble the ingredients, follow the recipe, bake the thing, and at the end of all that effort you have a cake. FYI – If you do any of that out-of-order you will NOT get a cake.) There are procedures flight attendants follow for take-off, there is a procedure for building a house, and there is a procedure for doing your income taxes.
I believe the insurance companies got together and decided if they stop calling it “surgery” and start calling it a “procedure” it wouldn’t sound like a big deal and they could kick people out of the hospital on the same day – or if it involved amputation, maybe the next day. Better yet – don’t even go to a hospital at all! Let’s do it all in the doctor’s office - it’s just a “procedure” after all! For anything involving anesthesia….we’ll invent a surgical suite thingy where doctors can see patients in one room and go across the hall to the surgical suite for the “procedures.” Bonus – let’s not call it “anesthesia” anymore (because you’d need an anesthetist for THAT) – let’s call it “sedation”.
See how they did that? Who says health insurance needs reforming?
I would like some reform. A little. An effort? I don’t deal with any kind of anesthesia well, although I have been told I am a whole lot of fun when I am coming out of it. This time around I was waking up in the “surgical suite” when I heard someone knocking on the door. My response? “Penny? Penny? Penny? PENNYPENNYPENNYPENNY?” I thought it was hysterical. No one else did. Apparently they felt the fact that I was laughing like a hyena meant that I was well enough to be put in a car and driven home. This is Joe’s least favorite part of “procedures” – the nausea fueled race to get back to Gloucester before I throw up in the car. (Sorry, graphic content.) It’s awesome. It keeps our romance alive, baby.
I have come to believe we will soon see mobile procedure trucks coming to our
homes (like those dog groomers) where they fix you up in the truck right there in the driveway. After you are finished you can get your mail and walk up the sidewalk right back in to your house (with the entire neighborhood seeing your bare ass sticking out of a procedure gown. (They won’t be called “hospital gowns” because…. there won’t be any hospitals.)
In addition to the Big Bang Theory, we watch a lot of House Hunters (hey, it’s good comic relief). There are a LOT of people out there who think they can’t buy a house if the color of the rooms isn’t to their liking. ( I am not making that up. ) Can you imagine what that show will be like in the year 2019 when people have to look for a house that can accommodate a growing family and all of their “procedures”? “I like the space, but I just can’t see myself getting a pap smear / knee replacement / appendix removed in a room that needs so much updating – and the wall color (eyeroll) ewww!”