Saturday, April 12, 2014

In Constantinople's Wake

Three weeks ago today, we returned from Istanbul.  My head is still swimming in the experience.  At the same time, my one week's absence, has caused my medical practice to suddenly fall into a crisis. We are near bankruptcy. This is despite having a schedule maxed out with patients for months. It is becoming impossible for a solo medical practice to exist in the age of insurance companies acting as bullies and refusing to pay for medical care delivered.  I'm no longer taking a salary.  I'm working 12 hour days, yet it can't be saved.

Monday I start the process of selling the practice to a large group. That is the only way to exist these days. The problem is, once you are part of a large group you must become a medical care factory.  Time with patients shortened.  The entity dictates what you do, rather than doing what is best for the patient. However, the large groups are the only ones with the clout to stand up to insurance companies and demand that they pay for services delivered.  I will illustrate the problem.  In the prior six weeks, before I left for Istanbul, we billed out $72,000 in medical service bills.  Out of that, as of today, we have been paid $3200.  At the same time the expenses of running a medical practice in the face of intense regulations is about $1200/ day. So, you can see the math how I got in a deep hole quickly.  It is a sad commentary on health care in America.

But I digress. The good news, so I hope, is that I will get out of this nightmare in coming weeks and will find my life again.  I'm not sure I will come back here on a regular basis as I had once before.  Right now I feel as I have nothing left to say. But that might be because my mind is so exhausted from this practice ordeal.

Here is what I've been thinking.  I sit and relive my experience in Istanbul over and over. It is a history buff's utopia.  But my desire to know history isn't isolated in a sterile search for information. It started with a very personal search for truth when my evangelicalism failed me.

In preparation for the trip I had read several books on the history of the city.  Presently I'm reading a detailed history of the fourth crusade.  That was the crusade that raped and destroyed the city of Constantinople, taking away its glory and preparing it for its final demise under the Muslim Turks a couple of hundred years later.

Before this post gets to long, I will try to summarize my thoughts.  I am so taken how the power of the pseudo-narrative is in controlling the behavior of people. The fourth crusade was first launched by a priest's message (and with the blessing of the pope).  His message is recorded in the book.  He began his message to the crowd by saying that the words, which are about to come from his mouth, are not his . . . "but Jesus' very words being channeled through his mouth."  Then  he tells a series of lies.  He tells how Christians, even little Christian children,  in the Holy Lands are tied to post and used for target practice by the Turks.

But in the end, the crowd was worked up into such a frenzy that they immediately committed themselves to give two years to the crusade.

But it is not much very different than modern preachers that use such techniques.  But I will end here.

I pray I can get through this next few weeks and be restored to a normal life again.  Sorry again about the typos.  

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