Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Why, it's medical tyranny, I tell ya!

I'm not saying that my life is mundane, but getting"real" mail is the highlight of my day. Usually. Yesterday was an exception as I got a letter from my primary care doctor--the very one who told me I'm fat and that my weight is the root of all medical evil.

It was a Dear John letter informing me that I am no longer welcome there as a patient. In fact, I am no longer a patient there at all. Now, what egregiously bad behavior could prompt a doctor to make this decision? Apparently, it was my unwillingness to submit to a wellness physical. Seriously.

It seems that he is adamant that all patients undergo an annual check-up exam. After my appointment a couple of weeks ago, I got a call from the office manager at the practice. This woman was beyond pushy about scheduling the physical.--a tenacious terrier who just wouldn't let it go. I finally had to say that I just wasn't coming in for an unnecessary roster of tests. She got snippy and said that it was a requirement.

Requirement? Wait a minute. Aren't I the customer in this scenario? Doesn't the doctor get paid to perform a service for me? I work incredibly hard for my money and I believe that I should get to say how and when I spend my hard-earned pay. I explained that I already have an annual exam at the gynecologist, something I can barely tolerate. While I'm there, they check my blood pressure, squeeze my boobs, take my temperature, and chat with me at length about my overall health.

In addition to this fun, I had the pleasure of having not one but two mammograms within the past six months. I have had blood drawn six times in the past 18 months (office manager: "Well, those tests don't include cholesterol." So? I'm a vegetarian.). The result of all of this medical attention has been: Nothing. I am fine. I am always fine. I have no reason to believe that tests with no specific diagnostic purpose are worth my time or money. There is no history of heart disease, stroke, cancer, or diabetes in my family. Come to think of it, I have no symptoms of any of those things. The only thing that seems to have been consistent is a certain degree of mental instability, and I won the genetic lottery on that issue.

I'm really not fond of going to the doctor. I don't even go when I'm sick, so why in the world would I go when there's nothing wrong? I don't understand this philosophy of arbitrarily poking around looking for illness when finding it is, at best, an improbability.

Oh. Wait. You don't suppose the doctor does this to generate income, do you? Golly, would they do that? Especially knowing that most insurance companies accept the charges without question? Oh, no way. That would be unethical.

In a timely bit of publishing, the JAMA/
Archives of Internal Medicine released the results of a study regarding this very topic of annual physicals. As it turns out, there is no conclusive evidence to back up my doctor's tyrannical demand that I and his other patients indulge his curiosity. I have actually printed out this article and I will mail it to the doctor tomorrow to help educate him. I'm sure he's been so busy giving unnecessary check-ups that he hasn't had time to catch up on his professional reading.

What is it about some doctors that makes them so arrogant and unwilling to trust their patients? My now-ex-doctor always showed obvious annoyance any time I said I had read about something or researched my already-known condition or even looked up my meds to see if discomfort I was experiencing was possibly a side effect, serious or benign. What is so wrong about a patient being educated and deciding which level of his or her own discomfort justifies spending time and money on a medical exam? I would think that anything that keeps well people out of the doctor's office is a good thing, not something to be sneered at.

There are enough alarmist hypochondriacs in the world, many of whom have been set into a state of panic by all of the information on the Internet. Not everyone can discern between, say, information from the National Institutes for Health and Joe-Bob's Big Medicinal Web Site of Holistic Healin'. More of us, though, have actually developed some sort of critical thinking skills and I believe we should be appreciated for that.

Now I must find a new doctor, but I'm in no hurry. I think I'd like to lose 50-60 pounds before I submit to the humiliation of another insensitive physician's scrutiny. Personally, I think the doctors should have to interview for the job. I wonder if they read Craig's List?


Spilling Ink said...

Good riddance to this asshole. What a jerkoff. Actually, it kind of gives me the creeps that he wants to invade your space like that when you don't need it. It's like he's an over-controller. I hope you get somebody way better than him. Ew.

Trish said...

Here! Here!

I avoid the doctor to a ridiculous degree :-) What the hell, I'm still alive, right!?