Wednesday, April 9, 2008

If You're A Hack and You Know It, Clap Your Hands...

This article basically started as a comment on a friend's blog about her (fucking) hatred of doctors. And instead of just going hog wild on her comment page, I said to myself "hey Jim, you know what? You have an hour to kill on watch, plus your own blog to write on. Don't steal someone else's thunder." And boosh, here we are.

My friend, who shall remain nameless, has a medical history that reads like something out of a Discovery Health documentary: Kidney infections, rhuematoid arthritis, fibriomaligia, and so on, plus she's a recovering addict, all at the age of 23. Needless to say she spends a lot of time with doctors to get her shit sorted out.

She's a swell girl, extremely intelligent and cuttingly witty, charming, a touch daft but in a good way, not to mention great knockers. There's no reason why her tiny, 110lbs frame has to endure what it does, nor her fragile mentality have to deal with the likes of a total douchington in a white lab coat taking guesses at what's ailing her or how to treat it.

Face the facts: Doctors don't do shit except drive Porsches and play golf. Sure, they'll cut you open and stuff a fucking camera on a stick inside of you for the price of a small jet or in-ground swimming pool, but more often than not, it's the nurses who are doing all the heavy lifting. The doc just shows up, blabbers on about whatever he THINKS is wrong with you, will advise to get tests, etc...

The nameless subject above mentioned explained her latest run in with her doctor and it went something like this:

"So I found out today that I can't walk. The arthritis in my knees was so bad that they swelled up to the size of grapefruits. I went to the doctors and asked if there was anything they can do for me, and he said he'd write me a 'script for Percocets... mother fucker, I can't have that, it's a narcotic!"

And if the doctor had spent as much time reading through her medical file as he did trying to figure out this morning's Soduku in the paper, he probably would've caught that.

So she spent two days in bed before the doctor could see her again to drain the puss out of her knees, which is easily the hottest thought I've had since Saturday night.

Next case: My mother was on her death bed this past fall right before I left for boot camp. To say she was "sick" would be like me saying that a fatal car accident was a "fender bender." My mother was seriously fucking deathly ill, so my dad finally drags her to the ER where they make her wait forever, and when they do see her, the doctor takes all of two and a half minutes to suggest she take some tylenol to break her fever. My mother insisted that it was beyond the normal flu-like symptoms and the doctor just waved it off.

So fast forward two weeks and my mom is basically a dust cloud and I'm seriously having to conisder exiting basic to come home because my dad thinks "this is it." She goes to the ER one more time and the SAME FUCKING INFECTED UREATHRA OF A DOCTOR tells her there's nothing they can do. A nurse then suggests that they take a blood sample to the lab, where, ta-da, they discover she has a rare strain of the measels. So rare they actually had to call in the CDC to identify which strain it was. At 52 year old, my mother has contracted the fucking measels... the polio of the latter half of the 20th century... for the third time in her life. They treat it, and within a week, mom was back at work, filing deeds.

Then you have my case, when I was in college. I was suffering from a rough case of the flu. I was shitting and puking my brains out for a week solid, doing everything I could just to keep something inside of my body, because it sure as hell wasn't wanting to stay in... I go to the local ER where a doctor FLIPS THROUGH A FUCKING MEDICAL REFERENCE BOOK and comes up with "oh you have gastro-intestinal infection, let me give you some antibiotics and it should clear up in a few days," and I take the script to the pharmacist and get it filled.

Turns out I'm allergic to just about every known form of anti-biotics. Awesome.

So now I'm sick AND poisioned, and drag my corpse of a body back to the ER, where the doc, oops! states that his first diagnosis was wrong and I just seem to be suffering from the flu.

Thanks doc...

Listen, I know that doctors are humans and make mistakes, but for what we pay in health insurance (if you're lucky enough to have it at all) is ridiculous compared to the level of care we receive. There's literally people who will die in the hospital without even seeing a board certified physician. What outrages me more is that nothing can be done to change the situation, because doctors sort've have a monopoly on the whole "getting sick" thing.


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