Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Marvels of Medicine

Yesterday my wife was operated on for her eye cancer. The operation took about 45 minutes and she was not put to sleep. After the operation, she was taken directly to her room where she will be semi isolated until Friday when they will remove the radioactive plaque they placed on the tumor. Then she will be observed overnight and she will be released Saturday morning.

Prior to the advent of the procedure that they performed yesterday, the only treatment for this type of cancer was to remove the eye. Of course that procedure resulted in total blindness in that eye. With this procedure, her vision should be about 90% and will gradually get worse until in about 10 years that eye's vision will be reduced to about 60% of normal. I'd say that is pretty damned good considering the alternative.

In the past 1 1/2 years I have gained a new respect for health care in this country. My wife had lung cancer and had to have the bottom lobe of her right lung removed in May of 2006. She was initially diagnosed as a result of a very astute family doctor noticing a odd sound in her breathing during an annual physical. The cancer was confirmed by a PET scan and they immediately scheduled her for surgery. The PET scan is an amazing, relatively new diagnostic procedure that can supposedly detect a single cancer cell. I don't know if it really is that good or not but if it is it should be made a part of routine examinations. Just think of the number of cancer victims who could be given a much better chance of survival . The PET scan is fairly expensive but I think the cost would be offset by reducing the costs of treatment for advanced cancer cases.

In December of 2006, my wife broke her hip and they did a partial hip replacement. They replaced the femural stem and she was in rehab in 3 days. Unfortunately the new hip slipped out of the socket twice and caused her a great deal of pain but finally the muscles got strong enough to hold the hip joint together. Now she walks without a limp and can do most anything she wishes with little discomfort.

Finally, and I do hope finally, the eye cancer. Amy has had a lot of serious illness in a short period of time and hope that she will catch a break now. She surely deserves one. Through it all she has maintained a positive attitude and done very little complaining.

I marvel at the progress made in medicine during my lifetime. When I was a child a broken hip in older people was pretty much a kiss of death. A diagnosis of lung cancer was definitely a death warrant. Now survival rates for all of those old maladies is pretty good. I wish more progress had been made for breast cancer but it too will improve. Even chemotherapy has improved and isn't as debilitating as it once was.

When I first started making chemotherapy agents about 20 years ago, some of the raw materials we used were so toxic that we had to wear moon suits to protect ourselves during production and all of the equipment we used had to be either disposed of or quarantined for future use on that product only.

If the progress in medicine continues at the pace it has during my career, cures for the most horrible diseases such as Ebola should be right around the corner. Of course we need to make the same kind of progress in the field of mental health that we have in physical health before we can breath a sigh of relief. Treatment ofAlzhiemers and other mental ilnesses have seen little progress over the years and it seems that the Psychiatry has gone backward.

For those who think health care in America is substandard, you are wrong. We have a great healthcare system, we are just impatient and have come to expect instant cures. I, for one would rather get sick now in America than I would at any other time in any other country.



Blogger Larry said...

Right on, Chuck! That blithering idiot who just released his latest pack-of-lies that the gullible call a documentary knows you're right too. He just hates the USA. The very, very best to Amy!

10:23 PM  
Blogger Chuck said...

Thanks Larry. I brought Amy home today. The Dr. said her treatment had gone perfectly and that there will be little effect on her vision.

I wonder where Michael Moore goes when he is sick? I'll bet it isn't Cuba, Canada or any of the European countries. I'll bet he goes to one of the top hospitals in LA. What a lying creep he is. With any luck, all that fat he is carrying around will cause a heart attack and we will be rid if him.


8:34 PM  

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