Fern Ridge Review
Sweet Lorane Community News
October 24, 2019
By Pat Edwards
Today, the day has finally arrived for Jim to have the epidural injection that will, hopefully, relieve him of the terrible sciatica pain that he has been experiencing ever since he fell and broke his pelvis in April. It has become so bad that he is barely able to get around, even with his walker.
I’ve lost so much faith in our healthcare system over this past year. Despite the disabling pain, Jim has had to wait over 4 months to even see a neurosurgeon to be evaluated, and then another month before the epidural could be scheduled. During that time, I had to take him to the ER just to get some relief from the pain. He won’t take opioids for pain relief, but the steroid treatment they put him on, while it relieved the pain for the time he was taking the pills, completely messed up his blood sugar levels. As a diabetic, this was part of the reason we had to make a second trip to the hospital and spend an overnight stay in September.
How I miss the days when I would call the office of our beloved Dr. Bylund, our family physician, and be told to come in that afternoon or, at the latest, the next day. When we got there, he greeted us by name. He had delivered each of our children and knew their histories as well as Jim’s and mine… not just medical histories, but he knew each of us as individuals.
The insurance covered our medical bills and we felt that our lives and our health were valued. Dr. Bylund was always there for us and involved himself in our medical care, even when a specialist was called in. He was there by my side as a gynecologist, who he had called in, performed a hysterectomy on me, and he was there a week later when my body developed a prolonged high fever. Afraid that the hysterectomy had developed an infection, he oversaw my care in the hospital and he fought to have me put on a cooling bed to get the temperature down before they were able to discover the cause of it. He fretted, seethed and was with me until an ultrasound found that I had a large tumor on my kidney that was the cause of the sudden fever. The hysterectomy had apparently set off the symptoms that caused the tumor to be discovered.
A urologist was called in and he informed Jim and me that there was an 80% chance that the tumor was malignant and the kidney would have to be removed. Dr. Bylund was there with me again during that procedure. Fortunately, I won the lottery, because the tumor was not cancerous and I am still here to tell you about it.
The point I am trying to make is that I miss that care and concern for me and my family’s medical well-being. Sure, we now have specialists who are much more prepared for what ails us, and I’m sure the younger generation is fine with being bounced around from one doctor to another and made to wait for weeks before they can get in to see their own doctor, but those of us who grew up with the Dr. Bylunds of the world, mourn their loss.
And, don’t get me started on the current way that insurance companies are allowed to limit doctors’ ability to diagnose and care for their patients on an individual basis. Our son has had excruciating pain in his neck and shoulder because of compressed disks in his neck for at least the past 3 years. He’s had one surgery to correct it after having to try physical therapy, chiropractic treatments, acupuncture and other non-invasive treatments at the insurance company’s insistence, but when they finally approved the first surgery, they denied the doctor the MRI which he felt he needed to pinpoint the origin of the pain. Consequently that surgery didn’t work for more than a month or so and Rob has been back to having to sleep in a chair and taking hot showers in the middle of the night to get some relief. Like his dad, he won’t take opioid pain-killers, either. After more than a year, his doctor has finally scheduled a second surgery in a different area of his neck to be performed in December, but his insurance company has denied it, saying he has to try more non-invasive procedures once again before they’ll approve it. The decision is being appealed, but witnessing the major pain that he has been in for at least 3 years now, has caused our family a great deal of heartache.
Where is human compassion and respect for the diagnosis of doctors who have spent their lives learning their jobs and trying to give their patients the best care possible? We are the ones paying the price.
Rest in peace, Dr. Richard K. Bylund (1926-2018) with much love from the Edwards’ family.