Sunday, February 01, 2009

It's the economy, stupid!

Beginning a few months ago, newFNP noticed a disheartening trend.  Many more of her patients - young, generally healthy patients - were coming with in complaints of things like dizziness, tingling in the arms and fingers, headache and diffuse muscle pain or, as a colleague likes to call it - total body dolor.  NewFNP recognizes these symptoms as depressed mood.  As newFNP is not a fan of the don't ask, don't tell policy in regards to a few things, including the medical history, she attempts to suss out the true cause of these symptoms.  Her patients appear relieved that someone is actually asking them about the quality of their lives.  Generally, they had experienced months of financial stress including food insecurity, home loss or inability to pay rent and zero prospects for imminent improvement.  

When newFNP asks the questions about life stress, the question is often answered in a deluge of tears, seemingly pent up for all these months - perhaps trying to keep a strong face in front of the kids or family but unburdened in the small exam room.

Do these people need medical care, per se?  No.  What they need are jobs.  It makes newFNP wonder about how bad things really were in the countries from where her patients came.  They must have been awful to risk moving illegally to the US, to move to impoverished areas where their children often flounder - for a variety of reasons - in school or are introduced to gangs and to where supply greatly exceeds demand for unskilled laborers.

NewFNP did not go into healthcare to make the big bucks.  But the truth is, she's OK financially.  The only change in newFNP's life is that her clinical hours are busier than ever before and her 401k balance is dismal.  What a relief that newFNP has decades of work ahead of her to recoup those losses!  Decades of work.  Fuck.

Anyway, newFNP supposes the real question is: what has this multi-multi-multi-billion dollar bailout done for the average middle-class person, the working class, the poor?  NewFNP knows that AIG executives are doing fine, but her patients aren't and neither are many families across the country.  We need a TARP for real people, a new New Deal.  How about more student loan debt relief for teachers, nurses, physicians?  How about actually giving money to taxpayers to pay they mortgages and student loans to the banks, who will then not have to ask for a bailout?  How about putting a TARP over impoverished communities to bring better options for disenfranchised youth?  To parents who want to work?

And now the Republicans don't want to pass the current stimulus package because there is, among other things, money for contraception??  What the fuck?  People who can control their fertility tend to be more productive.  People who work in clinics where contraception is a part of care earn money and pay taxes and mortgages and credit card bills.  

NewFNP swears to God, enough is enough.  


DamselFish said...

I totally agree with you. In fact, I think that is the idea that the Pres has now. I'm also stunned at the Republicans. So FP is out now. We'll need to find another way to help women plan their families and manage their own reproductive health.

T Rex Mom said...

I'm not going to say much about the economy because there is just too much to say. I am not sure what the answer is and both parties - Democrats and Republicans need to start working together. Otherwise I see this nation turning into another Rome. With that aside, I loved your interview on "The Nurse Practitioner's Place". Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Loving Pecola said...

Tell it newFNP.

OrthodoxNP said...

Don't fall for the currently fashionable simplicities that Democrats are "good" and Republicans are "bad". Both organizations are best understood as crime families. To wit: with the Democrats firmly in control now, the so-called stimulus package is really a huge political payback for the constituencies that support them, hence the largesse proposed for the abortion industry.

The vast majority of the provisions in the bill as it sits in the Senate today don't take effect (by design) until 2010 at the earliest. By the same token, a cursory review of 2000 to 2006, when the Republicans were in control, reveals the same pattern of reward for their constituencies.

Wake up y'all! These two crime families only care about themselves and "their" people. Don't drink the Kool Aid, Democrat OR Republican.

We can only expect fundamental change if we are willing to de-fang the massive power centers we have allowed to arise in Washington, DC. They are the problem and can NEVER be the solution.

Anonymous said...

I don't really want to start a huge debate on your comment board, but I would like to just point out that birth control does not equal abortion. It's frustrating to constantly see these two be conflated in the popular media and even by health care professionals.

On another note - it's so sad (but not shocking) to hear about the economic mess starting to show up in our clinics.

devi said...

Our clinic just posted an ad for a low paying non-skilled position in medical records two days ago. We had 341 applications within thirty four hours. There were PhD and Masters Degree folx applying...

RN Mom said...

Unfortunately, our president tells us things are going to get worse before they get better. How are people going to be able to afford to go to their medical providers if they can't even afford to put food into their kids' mouths?!