So, Gary has plantar fasciitis. For him, what this means is that these quarter-sized, inflexible, painful knots have grown on the tendons that run along the undersides of the arches of his feet. If that sounds like fun, boy, it is! So, he went to his GP about it, and his GP referred him to a podiatrist who's supposed to be the best in the city, treats the OSU football team, etc. And so kindly Dr. Fancypants said, "I can fix this with surgery!" And so Gary went through a painful surgery that involved a Z-shaped incision across the bottom of his foot, and involved not being able to walk for weeks, and then ... three months after the surgery, the knots started to grow back.
Dr. Fancypants, of course, dropped him like a hot rock after Gary's recovery (or lack thereof) didn't go as expected. This seems to be a distressingly common physician reaction -- if at first you don't succeed, ditch the patient and don't answer their calls. I am no longer surprised that people sue for malpractice, because there seems to be a whole lot of really shitty practice going on. Gary made do on pain meds, and recently went back to his GP for another referral.
So, he went to a new podiatrist, who I'll call Dr. Hope. Hope said that he only does surgery as a last-ditch attempt to fix the problem because, tah-dah, the knots come back. Dr. Fancypants never once mentioned this as a probable outcome. Dr. Hope put him on Lyrica, which makes him thunderingly stoned but does actually seem to be reducing the size of the knots. Fingers crossed that this guy has the clue he claims and this will help Gary be able to walk to the grocery store.
Today, Gary got referred to another place to test his foot for nerve damage. So we went from the podiatrist up the street to a different clinic -- which doesn't take the university's insurance. So back to the podiatrist's, where we got another referral to a hospital on the other side of town which doesn't have an opening for another month.
This system is completely fucked up. Health care is so wildly expensive you pretty much have to do what your insurance dictates, so if it's not seen as an emergency you don't get treatment on time, and you're discouraged from getting a second opinion because you've waited so freaking long and jumped through so many hoops just to see a specialist in the first place ... bah. We should not have had to leave the clinic today and wait another month for a routine test.
Rant over. Oh, wait, it's not over. I don't place all the blame on the insurance companies -- out of ten people I knew in college who were premed, one of them was interested in helping people. The other nine were mostly all interested in being able to drive Ferraris. That's a lot of the problem right there.