Tell Me The Truth, Doc. How Long Have I Got?

Blog 2420 – 06.10.2022

Tell Me The Truth, Doc. How Long Have I Got?

For three months, I have had my calendar marked for a doctor’s appointment for today. I received a phone call yesterday saying that the doctor would be away on an emergency for the next two weeks, would I like to see her Nurse Practitioner or reschedule the appointment for when the doctor gets back. I agreed to see the Nurse Practitioner, but lost my early morning appointment for a 2:45 pm one.

That two week emergency absence sounds suspiciously like a two week vacation to me, but then we have many reasons to doubt what doctors tell us, don’t we? Doctor’s have a vested interest in telling us things that keep us coming back to them. Since 2018 I have had to see a doctor annually to get four two prescriptions refilled on two medications that I take to keep my water flowing freely. (Three times I talked three different doctors into writing the prescriptions with four 90 day refills- a years worth of pills.) It took five visits to the emergency room and being catheterized each time to drain my bladder to convince me that I needed to take the pills and I have faithfully since they were prescribed. I have had no blockages since I began taking the medication.

Because I was working away from home for most of that time I was able to convince the doctors to write prescriptions with refills enough for a year. I retired last December and so before my pills were about to run out I made a doctor’s appointment to see yet another doctor and she would only write me a prescription for ninety days which meant I had to see her again in three months. Actually because of tests results on blood work during that visit I had to come back a few days later for the test results and because she had mentioned my having a Ultrasound on my July 10th visit I messed up and the scheduling nurse asked me about coming in on a Thursday after my test results visit which I stupidly said yes to I had to see the doctor yet another time for the results of that test as well. There was no reason I had to come into the office for those test results. I can read as well as the doctor, but she got to charge Medicare for three office visits instead of one. That is how she can afford a nice two week vacation to anywhere in the world, probably India where she was born.

In a Doris Day, Jimmy Stewart movie, where Jimmy plays a doctor from Indianapolis on vacation in Morocco with Doris, playing his wife a former famous singer, and their young son. Jimmy jokingly says that he may have to do a few more tonsillectomies when they get home to Indiana to pay for their vacation. It is no joke that many tonsillectomy surgeries were not necessary. Doctors removed many healthy tonsils just because it was a relatively easy procedure for which they could charge.

Not unlike automobile repair shops who diagnose parts that need replacing right away when that just is not always true. The vested interest and profit motive of doctors can sometimes cloud or color their diagnosis. In the nineteen seventies an investigative reporter for Eyewitness News in Houston, Texas did an experiment where a new Chevrolet was leased and taken to the University of Houston’s Automotive Department and thoroughly checked out then driven by a woman to ten local automotive repair shops where she told them her car was making an unusual noise (it was not). The lowest estimate for repairs needed was three hundred and fifty dollars. All ten shops said the car needed immediate repairs. There was nothing wrong with the car.

As a part of my daily mantra each day I say aloud two similar phrases: “I am holy, I am whole” and later “I am healthy, I am happy, I am whole.” Like most anyone I have the occasional ache or pain, most of which go away quickly, unless I give then too much attention. The ones who continue to get my attention after a few day I have checked out. I have a DNR as a part of my last will and testament (a Do Not Resuscitate order). If I get to choose I hope to pass peacefully in my sleep. I do not wish to outlive my mobility nor a clear and inquisitive mind.

The doctors I fear are not as concerned with our quality of life as our ability to pay for services we may or may not need for as long as we possibly can. I will see the Nurse Practitioner today and I will try to talk her into longer than ninety days worth of prescriptions. I will pee in a cup (thanks to those prescriptions I can) and I will submit to blood work again, knowing that the NP needs to make a living too. But, I will be suspicious of any other tests or referrals. I will promise to exercise more and eat better. Doctors and auto mechanic are not the only ones who lie when it is in their best interests.

Your friend and fellow traveler,

David White

I Believe In You

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