There’s a commercial with a lot of heart-warming bald-headed children who are undergoing cancer treatment. They ask the kids, “What would you say to cancer?”
Well, here’s what I’d say to modern American medicine: You suck.
Allow me to elaborate. Years ago, I was a rope aerialist. It’s a thing you do in the circus; I still have my old practice videos posted on Youtube. As I’ve whined about in an earlier post, that old avocation left me with a few health problems. So for the past 13 years, I’ve been in and out of doctors’ offices seeking relief, which I haven’t gotten.
(Yes, they’ve prescribed a bunch of drugs that help a little, but each of those drugs comes with bad side effects, which makes it sort of a break even proposition.)
In fact, if I had $10 for every time I’ve gone into a doctor’s office feeling lousy, and left feeling just as lousy with no relief in sight, I’d have all my co-payments back in my pocket and could probably retire in comfort tomorrow. Seriously, I literally can’t count all of the times it’s happened, in either doctor’s offices or hospital emergency rooms or clinics. And when I leave, they always say, “I hope you feel better,” as if it has nothing to do with them. Why the hell did they think I went to see them in the first place, if not to get them to make me feel better?
It took two full years of constant doctor’s appointments to diagnose my hiatal hernia, which has caused immeasurable misery in my life for the past 13 years. It took nearly two months to diagnose my hypothyroidism, and two of the three doctors involved still don’t believe I have it, in the face of all evidence to the contrary. This Monday I saw my doctor with a complaint of chest pains and shortness of breath. She didn’t have a diagnosis, and I left feeling the same pains and shortness of breath (I still do). Her advice was to take some Ibuprofen, which is about as useless for chronic pain as … well, her advice.
What’s worse is when they start acting like lawyers and questioning me about my symptoms in ridiculous detail (try it: describe to me in minute-to-minute detail what your breathing was like last night. Good luck). It’s as if they feel that if they win the argument, they’re justified in not doing me any good at all but still pocketing their fee. How compassionate.
None of these quacks ever offered to return my co-payments nor returned any insurance payments made on my behalf — medicine comes with no money-back guarantees. I’ve had four surgeries in my life — two of them did absolutely no good at all, one turned out to be unnecessary and the only one that was successful has left me fifty percent more likely to develop prostate cancer.
So, people tell me, what do you expect? You just have too high an expectation of medicine.
Really? I have too high an expectation of a business that grosses $3.2 TRILLION A YEAR in this country alone? That comes to $10,000 a year per person — for that kind of money I shouldn’t expect at least to feel better when I see a doctor than when I walked into their office? Really? As the Bible says, from whom much is given, much is expected.
You guys suck. Period.