My 99 Problems #6: Doctors

May 7, 2012 § 6 Comments

One of the best ways to get to know yourself is simply by talking to yourself or just free-writing.  This morning I brought a camcorder with me on my way to work because my radio isn’t working and I just started talking into it and guess what I found out:

I fucking hate doctors.

I don’t want people to get confused and think that I am saying that I hate going to the doctor because I am scared of seeing them or that I hate hospitals or doctor offices because that’s not the case.  Mostly there are two reasons why I hate going to the doctor:

#1. I hate doing pretty much anything that’s outside of my regular schedule.  In order to see the doctor that means I have to:

A) Find a Doctor

B) See if he’s covered by insurance.

C) Call the Doctor

D) Make an appointment that fits with my schedule

E) Go to the doctor and screw up my schedule

F) Fill out forms, all of which are the same as the last time I filled out the forms at some other place.

G) Wait for 30 minutes in a waiting room with a choice between Highlights magazine or last June’s REDBOOK.  (I don’t know why it matters if its last June or a brand new issue but there ya go anyway.)

H) Explain to a doctor what’s wrong with me with an absolute word-for-word account of what I just told the nurse 25 minutes ago.  Like, why am I writing down the problem first and then telling the nurse and then telling you?  Which of these middle men can we cut out?

I) Did I mention that I had to wait 25 minutes in the actual doctor office after waiting for 30 minutes in the waiting room?  So I had to go outside of my usual schedule to make an appointment that kind of works for me and then I had to wait an hour on top of that so why the fuck didn’t we just schedule this for 2 instead of 1?  And now my choice of reading options has gone from REDBOOK to a brochure that kind of sounds like what I have and holy shit do I have that because now I’m scared.

J) And now we’re finally here, meeting with the doctor and we talk for five minutes at which point he says he is not sure what’s wrong with me but here are three guesses and a prescription so “Gee I hope this works but come back in a week and let’s do this again!”

According to this X-ray, you’re old.

Zack Morris Timeout

Wait, what?  You’re telling me that I have to go through pretty much all of this… again?  In a week?  And so far you’re only guessing what’s wrong with me?

Let me give you a little bit of back story to what sparked all of this:

Around last summer I got a lump in my throat.  I don’t really know how to describe it to anyone else, which is kind of what has made it hard to get help for it, but basically every five seconds I get a lump in my throat that causes me to swallow and re-adjust my esophagus, I guess.  Over and over and over again.

Of course, this drives me mad, but as I’ve been saying… I fucking hate going to the doctor.  So I hesitated and waited and waited and prayed that it would go away on it’s own except that it never didn’t.  I went to an urgent care clinic to see if they could help me because that meant that I didn’t have to make any appointments at all!

They couldn’t.  He told me to go see another kind of doctor.

So I waited and waited and waited again and finally made an appointment with a gastro-entomologist and went through that entire process and guess what: I went to the wrong kind of doctor.  I was supposed to go to an ear-nose-throat doctor and so I waited and waited and made another appointment with the right kind of doctor.

I was finally at the right place and I was finally going to get an answer to the issue that’s been driving me insane for months except that when it was all said and done he said “Maybe it’s acid reflux” and he prescribed me Nexium.

Nexium?  Are you fucking serious?  This sounds like a total stab in the dark but okay buddy.  I got the Nexium and followed the orders and went back to him in a week.  Guess what, my problem isn’t better at all.

His solution?  Double the dosage!  And if that doesn’t work we’ll do a throat X-ray.

Fuck you man.  But fine.  Double the dosage.  You’re the doctor right?

Well, supposedly you are but supposedly I am the first person in history to have this issue because he’s stumped and I’m still constantly swallowing.  (Very funny you dirty-minded jokesters… but I spit.  I always spit.)

Fast-forward to this morning when I realize that I have not one.  Not two.  But THREE bills from this doctor and to be honest when I gave them my insurance information I thought that either it was covered or that it would cover much of the cost.  What I didn’t realize (and this is my ignorance because I NEVER go to the doctor) was that… Oh, that’s $160.  Oh, and next week is $160.  Oh and that biopsy was $1000.  (Cut out some tissue to test for cancer, ya know.  Negative!)

I wish someone would have told me at some point along the way.

Of course, insurance did cover some of it and I’m lucky for that and I’m lucky that I don’t have cancer (from that piece of tissue at least) and that we could test for it but for God’s sake… I’m gettin’ charged up the ass and yet here I sit… with the same God Damn LUMP IN MY THROAT!


Zack Morris Time-In

Which leads me to part 2 of my problem…

#2. In all of my years of living, the doctor hasn’t ever solved one damn thing about me because unless you’re problem is obvious they’re just House playing guessing games.

Seriously, every single time I’ve had one issue that has forced me to go to the doctor, they’ve failed.  And every single time that I’ve tried to just wait it out, self-remedy, or research it on my own, I’ve been successful.

And I cost $0!

That’s not to say that I’m better than doctors, but there’s an assumption that all doctors are genius scientists that know everything and therefore they are the only answer to any health problem ever.

They aren’t.

You know who is a great basketball player?  Wally Szczerbiak.  In the entire pantheon of human history, Wally Szczerbiak is in the top 1% of the top 1%.  But if you just compared Wally Szczerbiak to other NBA players, he’d probably be in like the 70th percentile.

A great player by standards of humans, but just an above-average player when compared to other players of his caliber.  Trust me, not every doctor is a genius lifesaver that can do anything and solve anything.  There are great doctors, there are good doctors, and then there are the doctors that scrape by.

It would be great if every health problem you ever had was as easy as saying “Hey, I broke my arm trying to do a wicked elbow drop off of my neighbors roof” but I think we all know that it’s rarely that easy.  Instead, we have issues that can’t so easily be solved by having an accident or checking symptoms on webMD.  I’m relying on you to give me the answers based on your seven years of college and four years of residency or whatever, and not to have to make four appointments in a month and still be told that we need to do more tests.

Instead I sit here with three bills, a lump in my throat, and the agony of knowing that I have to do it all over again until I finally find out that I swallowed a Tootsie Pop when I was blacked out.

Can you please try to find the Tootsie Pop during my first visit and maybe throw me a discount if you’re still stumped appointment after appointment?  I know that a salary of $400,000 a year isn’t much but Doc would you pay your auto mechanic $3000 if you had to bring your car to him four times and each time he said, “Well, I don’t know!”

Please don’t take this as a message that I hate all doctors or that doctors don’t save lives or that one day a doctor might save my life and then I’ll have to take it all back.  Many doctors do save lives, because that is their specialty and that’s why they have to go through so much before they can actually put someones life into their hands; but also know that being a doctor and being a hero or being a genius or being a great person are not mutually exclusive.

One day a doctor might save my life.  One day a doctor might actually kill me.  That’s a risk we have to be willing to take simply because they are the only ones with the proper knowledge to put our lives into their hands.

But for the love of God… at least know what’s wrong with me or just save me the trouble of having to go through this over and over again.  At this point I’ll just take a $50 coupon for those wasted prescriptions to Nexium.

And that’s my problem with doctors.



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§ 6 Responses to My 99 Problems #6: Doctors

  • Bob Johnston says:

    The problem I have with doctors is that for the most part they don’t concentrate on prevention or cures, they concentrate on managing symptoms. Everything is medication based – take a pill to lower your blood sugar, take a pill for your high cholesterol, take this blood thinner for your high blood pressure, take this steroid for your exercise induced asthma – none of these treatments fix the underlying problem, they simply control one symptom while creating an array of other side effects which must then be controlled with even more medications.

    If I were a doctor and this was my method of helping people I’d be embarrassed as hell. If I were a doctor I would focus on actual prevention rather than treating symptoms, just imagine how much health care costs would be reduced if we actually gave people the right info to prevent chronic disease rather than waiting for them to happen.

  • Paula says:

    I totally relate. Mostly I have things that can’t be fixed, like chronic neck pain.

  • Jen says:

    Hi there!
    I’m so curious as to how you got an appointment with a gastro entomologist. (tummy dr)?!
    I need to see one and have been searching everywhere but nothing! It doesn’t even have anything on google!
    I really need help finding one! I’m from Melbourne in Victoria,Australia though and I’m thinking they possibly don’t have any close by!

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