Don’t Let The Government Get On Your Nerves

May 24th, 2011   Submitted by JustSayNoToStatism

I woke up, shut off my alarm, and started to get out of bed. I noticed that for the third straight day I woke up with a numb left hand. The week prior to that I had dealt with a slight tingling sensation, but it usually wore off throughout the day. But now it was preventing me from functioning.

Given how much people use computers today for work, school, and leisure, it makes sense that carpal tunnel syndrome will only become more common. Even so, it’s one of those things you never expect to happen to you. I was beginning to feel a little frustrated that this problem wasn’t just going away on its own. I took my one functional hand and ran a quick internet search, and it seemed to confirm my fears. Later in the day, in much worse pain, I decided to do a more thorough web browsing. I had noticed that it was not my index finger, middle finger, or thumb that hurt so much, but instead my pinky and ring fingers. I discovered that I had cubital tunnel syndrome. My ulnar nerve was compressed or pinched, most likely in the elbow joint. This is the same nerve that gets struck when you “hit your funny bone.” So imagine having that feeling for hours at a time, and the only “relief” you get is when your hand finally goes numb.

My internet search returned loads of valuable information. Between YouTube and websites devoted to free health information, I discovered that this is usually caused by pressing your elbow against hard surfaces. So those of you sitting at a desk, with you right hand on the mouse and your left hand propping your head up, pay attention! That left elbow is not supposed to support your weight for extended periods! But I noticed I had a few other bad habits as well. I realized I had been sleeping on my left arm, and I soon discovered my arm and elbow were pressed against the table whenever I would write with a pen. I decided to monitor and eliminate these few things, throw in some stretches, and see if I improved.

Using my computer, internet connection, one functioning hand, and fifteen minutes of my time, I had diagnosed myself, determined the causes, and sifted through some treatment options. I knew that just seeing a physician would cost too much. I also knew that the problem is sometimes solved with surgery, which would break the bank for someone like me. The fact that this problem had persisted for so long meant that I was at risk for “wasting” of the hand, meaning bone loss, permanent nerve damage, and the like. After two days of minimal computer use (who can cut it out completely?) and trying to sleep correctly, I wasn’t improving very much. No matter what I did, I would end up sleeping on my arm. So I borrowed one of the recommended treatment options mentioned online and decided to do it myself. I built a sleeping cast to fit my arm using scissors, tape, and an empty rolled oats tube. It prevented me from tossing and turning onto my arm, and also held it straight all night. Between that and diligent effort to keep my elbow off any solid surfaces, my symptoms got better over the next week.

I am now completely recovered. The reason I tell this story is two-fold. The first is to encourage you to take full advantage of the information age in which we find ourselves. For most of the problems you will experience in your life, the solutions you need are freely available online. The second reason is to be suspicious of the government-medical complex. With the state-endorsed AMA monopoly, there is one way to become a physician. And that includes undergraduate study, where students often take on tens of thousands of dollars in debt, and spends half of his or her time studying subjects that have nothing to do with practicing medicine. Students then take on much larger sums of debt in medical school, spending four years studying topics that are more applicable to health care than undergraduate science, but far from an efficient use of time or effort. Finally they get to spend three to five more years actually learning their trade. It’s no wonder people get duped into unnecessary surgeries and medications all the time. Physicians have to play financial catch up.

I look back now and feel only a sucker’s first choice is to see a doctor. For the price of a few pieces of tape, and the time it took to learn basic arm anatomy, I was able to avoid a several hundred dollar consultation, and thousands of dollars in surgeries. When the road to physician-hood is muddled with the deplorable inefficiencies of the state, some of the costs get passed onto the consumer. Avoid supporting this state relic whenever possible, because it’s easy to do, and your bank account will thank you for the effort.

8 Responses to “Don’t Let The Government Get On Your Nerves”

  1. Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

    It’s funny I should have this scheduled to post tonight because I was afflicted with a recurring malady tonight as well.

    I have suffered from esophageal constriction since I was in 7th grade. It means I have to swallow foods and liquids in small amounts, chew my food thoroughly, and concentrate when I eat. If I get careless, food gets stuck in my esophagus. I can still breathe normally, but all fluids are prevented from going down. Even saliva cannot go down and I am forced to spit to clear my throat and mouth. If I swallow anything else, food or water, to try to force it down, it just comes right back up. It’s terrible.

    Often times the situation will remedy itself after a while, but I have had to visit the E.R. twice in my life as a result of this problem. Both times I went to bed overnight and still had the problem the next day. This is a problem because it is not only uncomfortable but also causes dehydration.

    Both times when I visited the E.R. I was given an I.V. and dissolvable nitro-glycerin. The nitro-glycerin is a muscle relaxant which helps to allow the foods to either pass or come up from the esophagus.

    The last E.R. trip cost me about $3,000. I was there for a couple of hours. This problem only happens about once per month, most of the time the problem fixes itself after a few minutes. It’s been a couple of years since it got stuck for any length of time. Tonight changed that. I had food stuck for nearly an hour.

    I was worried I would have to go to the doctor. I am telling this story because what really pisses me off is not just the huge E.R. bill for something as petty as getting food stuck. It is the fact that I know EXACTLY what can remedy the situation. I don’t need an I.V. Those are only given to me because it had been 24 hours since I had received any water. I didn’t need to sit in a hospital bed soaking up time and resources for the emergency room. All I needed was a nitro-glycerin tablet placed under my tongue, and about 15-30 minutes waiting time for the food to pass.

    If I lived in a free country I could easily go to the pharmacy and buy a small bottle of nitro-glycerin for special occasions when I cannot get my food down. The total cost would likely run in the few dollars, not the few thousands of dollars.

    And before people start whining and crying about how dangerous that would be, consider this, when I lived in Germany I was able to do just that. I had been taking a prescription medication since I was in high school, but when I move to Germany after high school I was able to go to the pharmacy, self-medicate, and save hundreds of dollars on both the cost of the medication as well as skipping the doctor’s appointment. Yes, there are freer countries than the United States.

    Pharmacists can often prescribe medication better than doctors. But they are hogtied in the United States. I’ll tell you, if I can ever find someone in the black market to sell me a bottle of nitro-glycerin I am going to buy it.

  2. PhilNo Gravatar says:

    “So those of you sitting at a desk, with you right hand on the mouse and your left hand propping your head up, pay attention!”

    I was totally doing this as I read it! I didn’t know this was an issue, thanks for the heads up.

  3. I. M. PericlesNo Gravatar says:

    If you find someone to sell you the bottle, the political terrorists will torture and murder him…If they catch you buying the bottle, then they will bury you alive in a rape-cage for 10 years.

  4. SteveNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Seth,

    just because the german nanny forgot to regulate nitro-glycerin doesn’t mean, Germany’s a freer country than the US.
    It isn’t. Not at all.

    Great site!


    (property of the german government :-((( )

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