Many people acclaim Australia’s health system as the world’s finest. And in many ways, they may well be right.
I’m sixty four years old – just celebrated my birthday this week (thank you very much) – and suffer from psoriasis. It’s an ailment for which there is no known cure, and the medical profession has no idea as to what causes it.
I have been cursed with this ailment for more than half of my life, and in a period of in excess of 30 years, I have tried all manner of treatments. Some helped a little; most not at all.
Please let me give you a bit of a picture of what it’s like to suffer from psoriasis: parts of my skin grow too much, causing scaling and lesions. This occurs on my scalp. My face. My back. My hands. My arms. My buttocks. My stomach. My legs. On the front. And the rear.
Wherever I go, I leave a nice little trail of evidence that I have been there, in the form of scaly skin dust. On my seat in the office. And at my desk. In meeting rooms when I attend meetings. In my car. On the seats. On the armrests. The centre console. the dashboard. At tables in restaurants. On park benches.
Wherever I go.
Let me assure you that suffering from an incurable ailment, for which the cause is not known, and for which there is no effective treatment, is not a pleasant way to live one’s life.
Sometimes, I feel quite depressed; today is one of those days.
The reason? I have recently become aware of a new treatment – Cosentyx – which holds out some hope for, if not a cure, at least some element of relief. And I have just started to go down the path of tying to avail myself of this treatment.
Yes, try to get it. But the Australian so-called health system is doing everything that it fucking well can to stand in my way. It’s a veritable condom on the penis of progress.
My health is not a concern!
And that is precisely where the so-called wonderful health system that we supposedly enjoy in Australia has fallen into a screaming heap. Of shit.
A dastardly hellhole designed to do anything EXCEPT help those in need of medical aid.
A cause of confusion and depression. A cause of despair and frustration.
My GP knows my condition well; he’s been my doctor for longer than I’ve suffered from psoriasis. I understand that before embarking upon a journey with this new medication, I need to have some tests to ensure there are minimal contraindications. I have in the past had other courses of treatment rejected because of contraindications; this new treatment suggests no such situation, but I accept that we still must go through that process.
But that is not the problem I’m facing.
On Monday last, my GP was told by the powers that be – the people who (mis)manage this system – that the medication I’m on needs to be prescribed by a dermatologist.
I’ve seen dermatologists in the past. Over the 30 plus years that I’ve suffered from psoriasis, I’ve seen three; none of them were, to be perfectly frank, impressive. The most recent example – about six years ago – I actually reported to the medical authorities, because I had little faith in his (lack of) ethics.
Apart from that minor issue, he recommended – and I tried – a number of different treatments. UV light. Different creams. Moisturisers.
And yet, here I am, still suffering from an incurable ailment, and still leaving piles of dust all over Sydney.
Am I angry? Yes.
Depressed? You better believe it.
Do I have a path towards getting some relief for my condition? Not a snowflake’s hope in hell, thanks to Australia’s wonderful health system!
Not yet, at any rate.
This morning I went, dutifully, to see yet another dermatologist. Because I have to.
He has ordered some bloodwork, but I may also need more x-rays, before I can becin a DIFFERENT fucking medication to the one that seems to b the one that moght hold some element of relief.
But wait, there’s more.
Related to psoriasis is psoriatic arthritis, which I also suffer. I’ve been off work for the best opart of the last couple of weeks because of this, and this new medication treats both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.
So, the dermatologist suggests that seeing a rheumatologist may be a way through this morass of government ineptitude.
Of course, getting to see different medical specialists requires time: none of them are immediately available, and thus I need to wait. Several weeks, barring cancellations.
So, the upshot is that I need to continue suffering my pain, leaving my trail of dust everywhere I go (just like Pigpen in Peanuts) continuing to be depressed and untreated, all the while waiting to see doctors who are, effectively, complete strangers to me, and who know very little about me and my medical history, all because of a stupid unworkable system that insists that important decisions about my health are made by public servants who know even less about me than the the doctors who are complete strangers.
If you believe that this is a great health system, then please give me a call; I have some oceanfront land in Broken Hill that I can sell you!