My pharmacy called this morning to say that the wrong dosage of Effexor arrived today, so they have to re-order, and I'll have it tomorrow.
I called the Nevada Humane Society's spay/neuter clinic to see if Caprica was scheduled for today: they said they have a backlog, so her surgery will probably happen tomorrow, too.
Meanwhile, our local paper carried this AP story about the hidden cost of cancer: the sheer amount of time patients spend in waiting rooms or in the hospital.
The hours spent sitting in doctors' waiting rooms, in line for the CT scan, watching chemotherapy drip into veins: Battling cancer steals a lot of time -- at least $2.3 billion worth for patients in the first year of treatment alone. [. . . ] Although most of these patients were retired, the researchers assigned a monetary value to their time -- $15.23 an hour, the median U.S. wage rate in 2002. Then they estimated the national toll by including the number of patients diagnosed with cancer in 2005.I have three comments on this.
First, does it strike anybody else as one of those "duh!" pieces of research? Hey, guys, you had to do a study to figure out that cancer patients spend a lot of time in treatment or waiting for treatment? Most of the rest of us could already have told you that.
Second, I strongly suspect that most people with chronic health conditions also spend their fair share of time in waiting rooms: cancer's not the only condition that takes this kind of toll. I'm talking here just about regular waiting in doctors' offices, not emergency visits. I spend a lot of time explaining the triage system to impatient ED patients -- "If you have to wait to be seen, that means you aren't the sickest person here, and that's a good thing, because you never want to be the center of attention in an emergency room" -- and I don't think it's fair to compare those waiting times to the time people spend waiting for scheduled appointments. Office physicians are rarely forced to put everything else on hold because someone's heart has stopped.
And third: Is it just me, or does measuring the burden of illness by lost work time -- assigned an arbitrary monetary value -- seem a little, well, perverse? To me, this is a symptom of American workaholism, where everything's measured in terms of productivity, real or potential. Somehow I doubt that many cancer patients waiting to see their oncologists after a diagnosis are thinking, "If I'd spent the last hour at work, I'd be $15.23 richer now!" That's especially true of retired patients, who formed the majority of this study group. I know that research is all about numbers and data, but please: can we acknowledge that it's impossible to attach a pricetag to someone's life?