Sunday, August 23, 2009

Ah Medicine!

The medical profession have done scores and scores of good works. Technological achievements have assisted medicine greatly in saving lives and giving people a better outlook on what could have been quite grim. Doctors, dentists, chiropractors, gynecologists, psychiatrists, podiatrists, endocrinologists and all of the others, I applaud them and all of their successes and hopefully have learned from their failures never to repeat them again. I am so thankful for the profession as a whole.

Nevertheless, as with many, there are those who just have to make it bad for the rest. The ones who didn't study as much and it is more important to look good in the white coat then it is for the test to come back with the right diagnosis. I have had some pretty horrific experiences with the ones that couldn't care less of the human condition but more for that paycheck and which is the next vacation spot he/she will be visiting in the next 10 days whether there are patients waiting or not.

I came to write this piece when a client told me of the issues she was having worrying about so many things in her family. Her own family doctor suggested she should see a specialist (implying a psychiatrist). She thought about it for a moment and said, "why would I do that? He doesn't know anything about me? All he will have me do is talk for an hour, charge me money I don't have, and then have me come back the next week to do it all over again. How will I get better and at the same time get poorer everytime I see him?" Her doctor paused for a moment and said, "you know, you are right." When she told this to me I thought I could console her and say well, some people need to talk more than once to get better. But then I thought, when does that happen? Would a psychiatrist have a better reputation and track record if he only saw patients on a need to basis? If all that was needed was a quick 15 minutes and the patient was grateful with word of mouth wouldn't his practice be even better? But who has that kind of integrity to take that chance?

When I was first married I was pregnant with twins. I did all that the doctor told me to do and I also listened to the questions that was asked of me. They needed to know my age, my weight, if I had ever been pregnant before, do I smoke, drink, what amount of education do I have, and what do I do for a living. The other questions were reasonable enough, but what was with those last two questions? So I watched all of the other patients and the treatment they received based on the answers given. If the patient didn't have much education or not a better job, they were treated with less respect and asked to do unnecessary things. For instance, with my second pregnancy I wasn't as forth coming. I wondered why the doctor needed to give me a pap smear STAT in my 8th month because of the possibility of a sickle cell trait. I knew there was no such thing in my family nor in the family of my husband but I had to get back to his office fast! This was for my first pregnancy because they believed I didn't know any better and any test was a test that had to be paid for. I was given many pelvic exams during this time where students could practice and get their grades. I felt more like chattle then a young mother with many questions.

The same also occurred with my childhood dentist. For as long as I could remember I have always had perfect teeth, meaning, cavity free. I was just going to go get a quick check up. It shouldn't take long. It never had before. When it was over the dentist looked over at my mother and began to tell her of a great product. It was a sealant that he wished they had when he was growing up. What it will do is create a protective coating around the enamel of my teeth and be less likely to get any cavities. I'm thinking what do I need that for? I have been doing great for 16 years! But much to my shagrin, Mom said yes. He gave me the instruction not to eat anything hot for 6 hours and to come back in 6 months for a check up. I did what I was told. How shocked was I to find in 6 months that I had 7 cavaties and one was a root canal! How could I have gone from 0 to all of that in 6 months?

When I got older I had a job working with teens who also needed for us to make sure they received the proper medical treatment. I told 5 girls I was responsible for that they would not get that so called miracle sealant. One of the girls had a twin in another facility. She told her sister of my experience but her sister didn't listen and got the sealant. When we returned in the 6 months that was told for us to do, my girls were cavity free. The twin in the other facility had 8 cavities. The miracle sealant wasn't made for the betterment of people but for the increase of patients for the dentists.

One time I wasn't feeling very well and noticed that I had boils that developed on the side of my rib cage. I went to the emergency room never having such a condition before and not knowing what else to do. I was seen soon enough and when the diagnosis was given, I actually felt better. But then the doctor asked so quickly if I would like to go back to work? What a strange question to ask. I wasn't feeling all that great to do the tasks I was hired to do, so sheepishly I answered, "no." He hurried off and a nurse returned with the medication the doctor perscribed. I was a huge horse pill but I needed it so the boils wouldn't return. Within a few minutes from taking the medication. The room began to spin and I felt so nauseated. I told the nurse and she said, "yeah, that's one of the side effects." She then gave me something to throw up in and walked off as if they go through this all of the time. People come in not so sick and leave with the medical emergency? Huh?

Later, I asked a coworker who happened to be a registered nurse. She immediately said, "oh no, you are allergic to that. Don't take it anymore." I was stunned. Shouldn't the doctor have known that? But wait, he might have when he asked if I would like to go back to work or not. Did he think he was doing me a favor by making me feel like I was sick?

Ah, the medical profession. To all of those who are on the up and up, thank you but I don't know if you are or aren't and if its all the same, I think I will be doing a lot more research having scores of questions before I go to any of you. I write this piece for all other laypersons who know nothing about medicine to do the same. Like your insurance, it will be to your benefit if you do.

( Isaiah 26:3 AMP)