When we are graduating high school, we all have an idea of what direction our life will take in the following years. Our imagination may run from going into business, entering college, or getting a great job. We imagine all the things we will be able to buy with the money we will get from working. All the cool things we think we need, that our parents can’t or won’t buy us. The options we have before us is almost unlimited. Our only task will be to prioritize and choose from the many choices we imagine.
How very different my path actually was compared to the path I imagined. I suppose everyone has a serious case of reality orientation once they get out of high school, when I felt like I had been released from prison. I attempted to go to the local junior college, but was far more interested in cutting class and partying. But you have to have money to be able to party, especially in the manner I wanted to party. So, I quite college with a 2.1 grade point average. Not much to brag about there. I grew up near the Gulf Coast, so sought one of the high-paying jobs in the oil field. After a time, I found one. But I had to put in many many hours to realize the amount of pay I wished to have. Flying to and from the oil rigs in the Gulf by helicopter got old real fast, and about once a month, a helicopter went down in the water with no survivors.
For about 5 years I bummed around, doing different jobs. Cowboy on a ranch in Idaho, carpenter’s helper, oil field worker, construction worker, and several other jobs I held over the 5 years I spent before I went back to college. None of the jobs I worked held any promise of a good future. I looked around at the guys who had been doing such and such a job for 20 years and saw that they had very little to show for their time and effort.
And so, I decided to go back to college so that I could have a profession. The second time around I still partied quite a bit, but toned it down considerably. The end result is that I graduated with a Batchelor’s Degree and a 3.26 grade point average. I never really liked going to school, but felt quite a sense of accomplishment and relief each time I earned a degree. After each degree, I entered the workforce, but still did not have the income and benefits I longed for. And so, I went back to school after a couple years working in my field to pursue another degree. I did this 3 times before I earned an Anesthesia Degree, which put me into a high-earning profession with lots of job opportunity.
After nearly 25 years in Anesthesia, I am nearly at the end of my career. It has been a good career, but over the past few years many agencies have come about to require more and more certifications and bureaucratic stamps of approval. All these additional certifications and credentials require many more hoops to jump through and fees to be paid. The busy work required to stay employed in my profession has tripled during my career. Many people at my stage of Anesthesia career are quite resentful of all the additional hoops and fees needed to continue to work. We have watched government become more and more involved in healthcare, and the main result is that we have seen costs and busy work triple over the past few decades. The actual benefit to the patient is zero. And in fact, healthcare has become more centralized and harder to get for the average citizen.
We have been going in the wrong direction for so many years that few older healthcare employees have any positive feelings about the future of healthcare in this country. This is very sad to us who have dedicated our lives to the health professions, because sooner or later we will all require some healthcare to keep us going. The main results of decades of increasing government involvement in healthcare is astronomic increases in cost and tragic decrease in quality of care to the individual patient. May God help us.