I had an interesting talk this morning with a long-time Zen friend. I was telling her about a procedure that my one doctor would like to do if it can be okayed by my insurance company. It would involve going to the hospital every day for about 40 straight days, i think, for about an hour or two a day. I laughed and said to my friend, "I have probably cost my health insurance company(a managed care program through Medicaid) this year alone more than i have made financially my entire life. I can't help feeling that i am a burden to society."
She told me not to go there, that i am a precious human being. I have thought about it and both statements are true. I can look at it somewhat dispassionately. This year just in office visits, i have seen a family doctor numerous times, a cardiologist twice, a heart surgeon twice (i think, maybe 3 times, not sure), a kidney doctor 3 times, an infectuous doctor twice, a wound care doctor about 6 of 7 times. the pulmonary doctor maybe 3 or 4 times, an ophthamologist three times, a low-vision specialist, and am set to see a retinal doctor at the end of the month.
I go to the wound care center twice a week since about May. I have been to the emergency room once. I was admitted to the hospital for 5 days in July (I saw the family doctor, the infectuous doctor, the wound care doctor and the pulmonary doctor while in there, as well as visits from respiratory therapists. I received IV antibiotic treatments every other day since September till this week. Have had a picc line put in (which they haven't taken out yet), so many x-rays that i can't count them, blood work, blood work, and more blood work, respiratory testing, a bone scan, a CT scan (i think only one). I have had a pharmaceutical stress test, echocardiogram, and cardiac catherization. I am so aware of the resources i am using. I think i have covered everything.
Yes, I meditate every day. Yes, i am a human being deserving of help and compassion but i am still using vital resources. I wonder about this at times. In Zen there are several stories about old monks/teachers who can no longer contribute to the community and stop eating. I have no plans to do that. I am kind of fond of food
but i still wonder if all of these resources are being wasted on me, a person who probably at best only has a few years to live. Of course, you never know.
I mentioned this conversation i had to my sister and she didn't want to talk about it. I don't know. I mean i think it is a valid question. Is there a limit to the resources that should be spent/used on any one individual? I am not old, nor young. I will be, hopefully, 58 in a few weeks, but this can be a question asked about any person who may have multiple health problems that seem to drag on and on. I don't feel it is about compassion or lack of compassion, but sort of putting the money where it could be better used, like seeing that children have health care and food. What do you all think?