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Doctor, go heal thineself

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This morning I consumed an entire box of Kleenex tissues mopping up copious tears of sympathy as I listened to a radio spokesperson for doctors telling me that some inconsiderate patients like you and me are presenting with more than one ailment at a time.

Apparently some of us have had the audacity to arrive at their thoroughly disinfected hygienic portals with up to FOUR things wrong with us at the same time.

Why was the good doctor so aggravated?

Did she not understand that the foot bone is connected to the ankle bone, and the ankle bone is connected to the leg bone, ad nauseum, and that it is entirely feasible that a foot malfunction can also be accompanied by pain in the hip joint and at other points in the skeletal and muscular system.

I have taken the uneducated liberty of assuming also that a circulatory deficiency in the heart might simultaneously manifest itself with symptoms masquerading as separate ailments in other organs and tissues throughout the body.

It is just possible that the body might benefit from assessment of it as a whole, rather than a collection of individually treatable parts.  

Now I am in a generous mood and will assume doctors already know these things along with thousands of other things that I do not.

So what was this spokesperson really angling for?

Maybe doctors think $55 per 10 minute appointment is inadequate remuneration for their workload.
$330 per hour may be insufficient to trade up to a new model Mercedes Benz again this year.
Perhaps $55 per symptom would fix their problem.

Now there's an idea that might just jolt a few people into taking health matters a little more seriously, if it is linked with some restrictions to avoid the common abuses of Australia's generous health care rebate system.

We would then not run off to the doctor at the first sign of a sniffle ($55 thanks) or sneeze (oops there goes another $55 thank you), but I would suggest that an increased fee structure needs to go hand in hand with one more thing.

Doctors need to be sent off to work with my car mechanic for a month and be taught how to tell the truth to patients.

If I deliberately fill my truck up with cheap contaminated fuel, before overloading it to twice the recommended gross weight, then subsequently break some springs and shock absorbers, before blowing a head gasket and big end bearing chugging my way up the next hill, my mechanic will tell me how much of a bloody idiot I have been before presenting me with the exhorbitant bill to repair all the damage I stupidly inflicted on my own vehicle.

Doctors similarly need to start handing out some tough lovin', especially if they are as overworked and underpaid as they suggest.  
Stop mollycoddling those patients who refuse to do anything to help themselves.

And for my own final medical evaluation, rather than receiving some smokescreen of polite medical bullshit and being sent on some futile expensive program of limited life extension, I would prefer my doctor to tell me;

"GOF, your entire fuel, lubrication and exhaust systems are worn out and totally stuffed, your chassis is fractured and the synapses in your electronic control box have fused through devious misuse.  
You are not worth fixing.
Take yourself off home and wait for the Eternal Towtruck to deliver you to whichever wreckers yard is closest."

The message from this disjointed dissertation is this;

I know most doctors are well intentioned, but the world desperately needs them to become more actively involved in preventive medicine, dietary guidance, lifestyle advice and holistic health care.
And they should cease the practice of pussyfooting around the truth when it needs to be told, and stop wasting resources on those who are able, yet refuse to help themselves.


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About GOF

"Life is like a sewer. What you get out of it, depends upon what you put into it." (Tom Lehrer)

9 responses »

  1. Your exhaust system is worn out? That explains your daughter living on the other side of the continent and your wife coming to America for the holidays! LOL

  2. Your exhaust system is worn out? Yep. Overuse. Another of my excesses in life 🙂

  3. My sister is a nurse, and I'm an opinionated PITA, so from both of us, big hugs for this brilliant post. You sound like you were more qualified as a medical professional than that doctor. How funny because my mechanic is also more honest and smart than most docs. A straight shooter – I can always trust him.
    One time, working at an animal shelter, I began coughing all day and all night for 3 weeks. It became so painful I saw a (totally arrogant) doctor. He basically said, **it's an allergic cough. It will go away on its own. Are you aware you have a heart murmur?**
    Yeah, I've had it for 9 years and 2 doctors said it was no big deal.
    The doc told me, you need an echocardiogram, a heart monitor, I'm ordering a scan, blah blah blah no health insurance too bad blah blah. Well another 3 weeks later I'm coughing up blood. Had bronchitis, not an allergic cough, and now it was pneumonia. Thanks, doc. Had to miss 3 days of work (for this transgression I was fired, but luckily I had a 2nd job at a vet clinic where they actually treated people like humans).
    After that I researched it to death and found a brilliant doctor, a member of Doctors without Borders, when I don't have coverage he gives me a 50 percent discount and he's a nutritionist too. Genius. Sweet as the day is long.
    Anyway….sorry this comment was so long but also your point about the whole person – it was just discovered that multiple sclerosis (an autoimmune disorder) may be caused by constricted blood vessels in the brain, leading me to think that allergies may be caused by poor circulation.
    See…..I'm telling you, we should open a clinic, GOF. Couldn't do any worse than those dolts!!

  4. I'm telling you, we should open a clinic, GOFJust so long as you and your sister do all the consulting, diagnosing, treatment and accounting and keep me outside where I belong weeding the gardens :-)Seriously though, thank you for your story and support in general. I hope you have no lasting consequences from the pneumonia. Doctors without Borders are my second favourite group of humanitarians after my old friend Fred Hollows and I hope you will be able to keep your good doctor for a long time. Health care is not the most popular topic to write about on Vox. We Australians are apt to brag about our free/subsidised health care system which is indeed very good, but there are many people who abuse the system and visit doctors almost weekly when not necessary, and doctors also who overprescribe diagnostic tests. The system will be financially unsustainable long term in its present format.When doctors additionally start providing effective preventive medicine functions and holistic health care services as their primary function then they might just be worth $330 per hour.

  5. You can tend garden, I'll tend the wildlife and stray cats and my sister can run the place, LOL. She's strong minded enough, that's for sure. Interesting about what goes on in Australia. I still think I'd prefer living there to living here with what's going on. I agree about holistic services for sure.

  6. That medical expert wasn't fresh out of Uni by any chance, was she GOF?Some of the crap that comes from some of the profession is mind bogglingly stupid. Some little while back an "expert" doctor claimed the doctors working in Remote Aboriginal settlements should not be allowed to smoke. Indeed he said it was a worse crime than pedophilia.The heavy smoking Dr Fred Hollows would have been spinning in his grave.

  7. That medical expert wasn't fresh out of Uni by any chance, was she GOF?I presume not Pete, for she was acting as a spokesperson for the profession.

  8. She would hate me. I make a list of things as I go along and when it gets worthwhile I go to the doctor. I did once have a doctor say with some dismay "oh, you have a list" – I go to a different doctor now.

  9. Sometimes I wish they would give qualified and experienced registered nurses the opportunity to set up in private practice…….they are just as qualified to do a lot of the more common procedures we pay doctors an arm and a leg for, and they might be a little more tolerant and compassionate with patients.


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