My brother’s in med-school, which is great, because everyone likes having a doctor in the family. I’m a fundraiser. Not as popular. He gives free medical advice; I give guilt trips. He brings a level of prestige to our family; I bring sob stories and open hands.
But at least people know what they’re getting from me. Doctors are totally unpredictable. I mean, there’s a reason they call it “practicing” medicine—although I think most doctors need a little (and by a little I mean a lot) more practice.
Case Study #1
I used to have warts on my left wrist. They were hideous. They started as two separate lumps which eventually teamed up to become a super-power wart. I had them frozen off—they grew back with a vengeance. Ultimately we had to go to the scalpel to deal with the rogue growths. But before I had them sliced off, my doctor brought in the most smoking-hot nurse I’ve ever seen—she was going to take pictures of my aberration so I could be in a medical journal because my warts were “so weird!”
Thanks Doc. And thank you even more for sending in this dream nurse to photograph my deformity
Me: Hey. What do ya think? Pretty cool, huh?
Sexy Nurse: Uh, yeah… I guess.
Me: I was just kidding – they’re pretty gross. That’s why we’re cutting them off.
Me: Good thing they aren’t on my penis, huh?
Sexy Nurse: (not even batting an eye): The doctor should be right in to see you.
Well, that was awkward.
<Doctor FINALLY enters>
Me: Doc, I’ll be the first to admit—I’m a bit of a softie when it comes to things like needles and, you know, acute pain.
Dr.: Relax. This is just going to feel like stinging bees.
Me: Terrific. Wait, what?
<injection, searing pain, suppressed yelping>
Dr.: Stinging bees!!! Stinging bees!!!
Me: Oh, oh, stop. Please stop. Seriously stop.
Dr.: Take it easy Casanova. At least they aren’t on your penis, right?
So much for sexy nurse/ client confidentiality.
Case Study #2:
A few years later, I was instructed to see a doctor about my high cholesterol and acid reflux because, apparently, I’m built like an 80-year-old coal miner.
Doctor (perusing my chart): So, you’re here about your cholesterol and acid reflux? You seem a little young for these problems. What are you, 16?
Me: Man, you’d make a lousy carny!
Me: You know – the carnival guys that guess your age?
Me: I’m 25.
Doctor: I know – it says so on this chart.
Me: Sooo, what else does it say?
Doctor – It says you’re too young for a cholesterol problem. As for that acne on your forehead, what are you doing about that?
Me: (wide eyed and speechless) Uh… Uh – nothing. Acne? I mean, really doc – it’s just a few zits. I was sick last week. Sometimes I get zits when I’m sick – I wouldn’t call it acne.
Doctor: Well I would. Here’s a prescription for your acne.
Case Study #3
Ever one for disgusting diseases usually relegated to the senior population, I came down with gout, which, if you’re unfamiliar, feels like having a truck driving over your toe again and again and again.
The foot specialist decided it was bone spurs, despite x-ray evidence to the contrary. This guy was more of a “hunch” doctor, than a scientific doctor. He figured a cortisone shot oughta do the trick.
Dr.: Sit back and relax
<prolonged injection, prolonged searing pain, suppressed yelping>
<5 seconds later>
Me: (through clenched jaw, delirium setting in) Jesus. Doctor – this (heave) really (ugh) hurts.
Doctor: I’m sure it does. Right in your toe too. Ouch!
Me: (to self) Focus Steve. Don’t pass out. Happy place – find a happy place.
Doctor: Just another 30 seconds or so. You OK?
Me: No. Think…I….might…be….passing….out….
Doctor: You sure are dramatic, HA! Just kidding – Aaaaannnnnnnd, 10 more seconds, aaaaand 5 and 4 and 3 and 3 and 3 and 3 and 3
Me: Stop – I feel better. Please stop.
Doctor: Done! Good work champ. Want a sticker? Just kidding. Call me in a week, we’ll see if this helped.
It didn’t. Why? Because I didn’t have bone spurs. I had gout. What DID help was finding a doctor with a better understanding of ailments and their appropriate treatments. And it only took two years to find that doctor!
There are some businesses where it’s okay if you’re not perfect all the time (like meteorology; or my job.) But doctors should be held to a higher standard – which they’re not. They’re all about “having opinions,” and “practicing,” and diagnosing you for the wrong problems. The least they could do is prescribe the good pills. They’ll still suck at their jobs, but I’m betting a good dose of Valium would make it easier to accept.
– The Big Avocado MD