Saturday, April 28, 2007

“Nuts to Mr. Goodwrench”, or “This week I solve the nation’s healthcare crisis”

This week I figured out how to solve America’s healthcare financial crisis. Maybe the world’s. Thank you, very much. Aw shucks, tweren’t nothin’.

But first a little story:

One phrase you don’t want to hear from your doctor while he’s cupping your nutsack: “How long has it been like this?” Another is: “This is really quite big”. And: “You need to see a specialist.” And: “I wouldn’t wait if I were you.”

I looked down to see what all the fuss was about. Sure enough my left sack was probably ten times the volume of the right one. Maybe 20. (Rational measurement of dimensions is difficult in that region of a man’s own body.)

He asked, “Have you had an injury down there?”

I thought back and couldn’t remember any particular injury. In retrospect, it had been uncomfortable and occasionally a little painful for a while. But, thinking back, I couldn’t remember any particular moment of injury. “Not that I can remember,” I said.

So I went to see the man who specializes in nutsacks, whom I’ll call Dr. Goodwrench. (Nuts. Dr. Goodwrench. Get it?) First he had a technician with warm hands and warmer oils (should have got her phone number) do an ultrasound. He studied those results, then took a look at the Problem Area for himself. “Some good news and some bad news. First, the good news: It’s not the Big C.”
…by “Big C” Dr. Goodwrench was of course referring to the most terrible news any man fears when there’s a nutsack issue. Big C refers, of course, to Clitoris-at-forty-four, that tragic and very confusing medical ailment that sometimes strikes men at precisely my age. Good news indeed!…
“and now the bad news. It’s not the Big C, but it is Big. Too big for a simple operation. We need to schedule a time when you have some weeks to recover. This type of problem usually follows an injury of some kind. Do you remember any kind of injury, could be from a year or two back?”

I’d already been thinking about this from visiting the first doctor. But still I had no memory of a time when I’d injured my balls very bad. “Gee, no. I don’t remember anything.”

So we scheduled the surgery, it went OK, hurt a little less than was expected, and I got to lay around the house for a while watching videos and downing vicodin.
…I know, I know, I said that I solved the healthcare crisis. I’m getting to that. patience…
A week or so later I went back to the hospital where I’d had the operation. In entering the hospital I flashed back to about two years earlier when I suddenly remember that I had been there before. Two years earlier I had been in that very hospital to get a colonoscopy. Because of a family history of colon cancer a colonoscopy was a recommended procedure. I’ve known two people with colon cancer and they both assured me that getting through it was a total “pain in the ass” (can you believe they both came up with the same extremely clever pun?) and the colonoscopy was worth it just to be sure.

During the colonoscopy they shove a small camera on a flexible tube up your ass and through the plumbing there looking for any problems. Because it’s not a particularly pleasant procedure it involves, at least in my case, the administration of a very interesting drug that does not make you unconscious at all, but it does make you unable to form a memory. It was such a weird moment in my life. I looked at the clock and it was 11:00. The nurse told me to roll onto my side, and then a few seconds later she told me that they were finished and that I could roll onto my back again. I couldn’t believe they’d done the procedure in just a few seconds, but I looked at the clock and is said 11:45. Either (A) they had lied to me and simply moved the minute hand up by 45 minutes, or (B) they had done the colonoscopy and their drug made me forget anything that had happened for 45 minutes, or possibly (C) I had been abducted by aliens who probed me analy and force me to forget, but that amounts to the same thing as (B) which is only slightly more plausible.

Then, as I was entering the hospital last week, remembering the colonoscopy weirdness, it hit me. Consider:

  1. Some injury had happened to my nutsack in the previous couple of years, but I couldn’t remember it.
  2. I’d been in that hospital for 45 minutes during which, because of the anti-memory-forming drug, they could have done ANYTHING to me and I wouldn’t remember it.
  3. I have good insurance, which will pay that hospital for any operations I need.
  4. The only ones who would benefit from me having a nutsack injury were likely to be the hospital, to which I’d be returning in the future for an operation.
The only bloggable conclusion: Someone in the hospital had used that 45 minutes to inflict an injury to my nutsack that would lead to me coming back to that hospital in the future for another profitable operation.

…this type of make-future-work business trick is often used in many fields of service. Take, for instance, the auto mechanic who loosens a nut (how appropriate!) during your oil change to make sure that something bad happens to your car soon for a bigger repair bill. Or the dentist who, during a cleaning, makes a few nicks (a.k.a. future cavities) in your teeth. Or, to bring it back to the healthcare industry now that I’m starting to realize they’re no more moral in business than anyone else, the philandering abortionist. But I digress…
So there I was with my suspicions that the hospital injured me during my first visit just to make future business for themselves. But how could I prove it? I wondered: I have no memory of those 45 minutes. If only I’d had some recording of what happened during those forty….

Then I figured it out. A HA! Eureka! That’s it! During those 45 minutes they claimed they were filming my colon. Maybe they saved a recording of that colonoscopy. It’s quite possible that in that recording, with a clever CSI-like processing of the film, we could determine and prove that some impact to a nearby part of my anatomy (to wit: my nutsack) took place. There, in that movie of my colonoscopy, would be my proof!

And at that moment I realized how to save the healthcare industry. You see, with growing high expectations, high lawsuits, high costs of education, and the requirement to treat too many uninsured, healthcare costs have just grown too high. Many hospitals have had to close in recent years because of financial problems. You can hardly blame the hospitals if a few of them resort to the make-future-work practices that I have just about proven here.

But hospitals have a huge untapped source of revenue. Consider all the money made out of web 2.0, socially-networked, user-generated, ad-revenued content. What the hospitals need to do is to take all those movies of colonoscopies and put them on the web. Who wouldn’t want to watch a colonoscopy of the day, or of the hour, or of celebrities or politicians, or rated by their peers for class- or racially-linked uncleanliness or signs or gerbility, even if they do have to put up with a few revenue-generating advertisements? Hell, many companies will probably pay the hospital, who could share revenue with patients, to swallow tiny billboards the day before the procedure.

The hospitals are sitting on a gold mine! Healthcare crisis solved!.

Oh, the name of this new health-care-crisis-saving web site: YourTube

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