Visiting the medical facility reminded me that I know one very effective remedy to curb the high cost of medical care — fear of it.
I don’t like to go to the doctor. When I do go in, I go kicking and screaming which tends to embarrass my family. They feel that someone who is going on 80 should have more composure and less cowardice.
The one kind of doctor I might seek out willingly would be a witch doctor, because witch doctors aren’t known for using invasive procedures.
One time many years ago, I read a magazine article that described a mammogram as getting a refrigerator door slammed on your boobs. Consequently, I have never had one. The risks notwithstanding, think how much expense that omission has spared my HMO.
I’m not comfortable getting needles, tubes, applicators, scalpels, or radioactive things inserted into my body. I had a pap smear once but found it to be a demeaning experience and one that I have since managed to avoid.
One way to avoid such invasions is this: when the nurse gives you the medical history checklist to fill out — unless you’re bleeding, unconscious, or writhing in agony — be prepared to lie. Why stir up trouble? That little pain in your knees is probably nothing.
It isn’t only the things they stick into a person that I fear, it’s the wondering-what -they-do-with-and-what-they-reveal-about-what-they-take-out.
One time, the nurse handed me a little packet which contained materials needed for a test I was to perform on myself. I don’t know the name of the procedure but it should be called “Poop on a Scoop”. It was so disgusting they don’t even want it to be performed in their office. I was supposed to take it home to do it.
A memento of each of my next 5 bowel movements was to be deposited on a designated cardboard slide and then the completed project was to be delivered to some unlucky lab person. I was too embarrassed to deliver it personally. I made my husband do it while I stayed home playing Lady Macbeth, washing my hands over and over.
Last year, I received a letter from my general practitioner announcing that she was retiring and telling me how much she had enjoyed serving my medical needs for the previous 20 years. I thought about it. I definitely knew her name and who she was, but for the life of me I couldn’t remember what she looks like, having seen her only twice in that time. It was nice that she remembered me though. Maybe I should send her a Christmas card from now on.
The one doctor I hope to see in the near future would be the only physician in our family – my nephew Eddie Ford, – but not, of course, on a professional basis. Eddie is a treasured relative, and always a welcome visitor, as long as he isn’t wearing a white coat or carrying his little bag of stethoscopes and other trinkets.
My aversion to getting medical care doesn’t mean I’m not getting any though. As a matter of fact I have become quite skilled at administering it to myself. My two best home remedies are these:
1. I use a lot of Tincture of Time. This requires that when an ailment befalls me, I wait 3 weeks and see what happens. That usually disposes of it nicely. And it doesn’t just work for health problems. By the end of 3 weeks, even fruit flies have a way of disappearing.
2. I engage in medical consultation with the computer. With the computer, house calls are never a problem, and the price is right. Of course, you have to be careful. One time, I was investigating some symptoms and before I could arrive at their diagnosis, I was asked some Yes/No questions about my enlarged prostate gland. I don’t think I have one, enlarged or otherwise, but, undeterred, I went right ahead with the interview. Obviously, I had made an operator error a few questions earlier. It was probably the one about Sex. I’m usually too bashful to answer that one.
The one problem with diagnosis by Internet is the medical vocabulary. It takes quite a while to master it. In case you would like to improve your own skills on the subject, I have created this little tutorial for you. I was going to use Eddie for my on-screen doctor but he declined. He mumbled something about wanting to keep his license to practice medicine.