Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Panda Bear on Preventative Measures

Life has returned pretty much back to normal after the hurricane scare in the Boston, Massachusetts area. The Panda Bear and her husband still have to take down the masking tape from their windows. The few people who don't have electricity are shortly expecting to have their power back.

However, on the radio in Boston many talk show hosts were making fun of the intense publicity surrounding the hurricanes and stating that it was politically motivated. Granted hurricanes hardly ever make it to Boston area and the Panda Bear has lived through several false hurricane alarms. However, the Panda Bear believes that it is better for government officials to err on the side of caution. To the people who lost the electricity everywhere as a result of the storm and to the people in New Jersey and Vermont where the flooding was heavy the tropical storm Irene was a crisis.

Many times steps are taken as a precautionary measure even if the chance of something actually happening are relatively small. The Panda Bear has lived and worked in buildings where the fire alarm would go off for trivial reasons a few times of month during certain time periods. It would get to the point where the Panda Bear would be tempted to ignore these fire alarms. When this happened the Panda Bear would tell herself that the one time she ignored the fire alarm would be the time the building would burn down.

Cancer screenings are another example of precautionary measures. Women are advised to routinely have to have pap smears and after a certain age mammograms. There is a certain level of anxiety that is involved with these tests. There have been other times the Panda Bear has had have to have additional examinations and procedures done to make sure that whatever was wrong with the Panda Bear was not cancer(even though she was told the possibility of its being cancer was low).

These tests can be frustrating and stressful even though the Panda Bear is very glad that they are around and available to people. (Incidentally, the Panda Bear believes that African Americans still don't have the same access to health care access to health care as Caucasians. The Panda Bear knows of a few African Americans who were at a risk for cancer who did not get offered these extra tests that the Panda Bear who is Caucasian got offered and who was at a lower risk for cancer than these African Americans.).

The most annoying of these tests is the colonoscopy. As readers of the Panda Bear Blog may know the Panda Bear recently had a colonoscopy. The test itself is not bad but the prep is difficult. The Panda Bear had her first colonoscopy May of 2011. It could not be completed because the prep did not work. Therefore the Panda Bear had to have a second colonoscopy done which was done in August which had a more extensive preparation. For this preparation, the Panda Bear had to be both on a liquid diet for two days and take laxatives during those two days. On the second day of the liquid diet and taking this awful tasting laxative the Panda Bear was feeling that medical treatment had not made any progress from the Medieval times when they did purges and did amputations without anesthesia(Seriously, probably some cancer patients feel that their medical treatment is in some ways quite inhumane even if done in the modern medically correct manner).

Fortunately, the colonoscopy turned out well and and the best part is that the Panda Bear won't have to have another one for ten years. She even lost some weight that she wanted to loose. She thinks the weight loss from the gas they put in during the procedure which caused the Panda Bear to loose her appetite for a while.
This routine cancer preventions tests have caused the Panda Bear to take about five days sick leave. Fortunately, the Panda Bear does have work time to do this(in part because she never goes anywhere or does anything exciting).

The point is is the prevention can be an effort and perhaps is not always necessary in hindsight . However, the Panda Bear knows several people who died of colon and cervical cancer who had access to cancer screening but for what ever reason did not feel it was necessary to have them. Probably these some of these people and their families regret these people not taking these tests. The Panda Bear used to work in the insurance industry where there was a saying that insurance is a waste of money until you need it.

The nature of preventative measures is that one can't always judge ahead if they are needed. Often they may be a waste of time. However, if on the small chance something does happen one is glad to have done them.

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