Wednesday, February 16, 2005

What IS up, Doc?

What has happened to the medical profession? I wonder if this is one of those "Have They Changed?" Vs. "I'm Just Getting Old" things.

Do you remember going to the doctor when you were a kid? The doctor always had an answer. Sure, sometimes you had to wait for a throat-culture (ick!) to come back from the lab, but you could always get a pill or a potion or a few days in bed and *poof!*, all better.

These days, no such luck. I cannot remember the last time I went to the doctor with symptoms of something and they provided an acceptable answer. Which leads me to a few theories ...

1. Doctors are much more afraid of being sued than they were 15 years ago, and rather than say you have something, they'd rather force 847 tests on you, 347of which force you to be half naked in front of people you don't know or require the use of "lubricating jelly." Doctors figure that you will be so put-off by these tests that you soon realize that the disease is better than the cure.

Then all the results of those tests come back and they still aren't quite sure what is wrong. By that time the symptoms are gone and you're not quite sure why you went to see a doctor in the first place. Now you have a new set of symptoms, which requires new tests. Repeat this cycle until you are dead; then the doctors won't know exactly what's causing your rigor mortis, so they'll order tests.

2. As you get older, you get symptoms that aren't simple anymore. When you are a kid, you get simple straightforward symptoms: my throat is sore, I'm throwing up, this bone is sticking out of my arm, etc ... But when you get older you have more esoteric symptoms: I'm light headed, I have a bump here that won't go away, my spleen feels heavy, etc ...

It's no wonder, then, that doctors don't know what is wrong with us and only offer tests that feature rubber gloves and the phrase "now you may feel some pressure." At this point in my life, I simply have to start living better and living healthier, and doing all those things that daytime TV and my mom have been saying for years but I've ignored.

3. I'm a hypocondriac and my doctors are just humoring me until the insurance information comes through. I'm positive Sympathetic Nodding 107 is a required course at most medical schools. You can take that course before or after Wheeling Around on Very Short Stools 108 and Never Paying for a Pen Again 210.


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