Dying with the help of too many physicians

I don't go to the doctor much at all. There are many reasons.

Here's a fun recent story as an example.

Back in 1990, one of our horses kicked me good in the shin. Money was tight, I could walk on it, so I didn't go to the doctor. For decades I used to show people the scar and show that when you ran your finger up the bone, there was a dent there. 

Great party trick, until my mid-40s. Suffice it to say that spot developed a stress fracture and apparently muscles and tissue that were scarred and garbled up were also raising a fuss. I finally went to the doctor after several months. I realized it wasn't shin splints (which I had gotten before from running). I'd tried to avoid jarring activity, and used some ice on it. No solution. So I explained it all to the nurse practitioner, showed her the dent, and said I thought there could be a small fracture. I was sent home with a prescription for a kind of super-strength aspercream stuff. 

"Come back if it still hurts."

This is why people get so angry.

"I have an arrow in my head."

"Here is an asprin. Call me in a week. I will still bill you for this visit."

Obviously it wasn't just in need of pain cream, so yeah, I went back. I explained it again, pointing out the dent in my leg again. They agreed to an X-ray and then, afterwards, the nurse filled out the electronic health record. She barely looked up, in some kind of hurry I guess.

"Where's the pain," she said, staring at the screen.

I put my hand on my leg, about mid-shin, directly on the spot. "Here," I said. She barely glanced up.

Soon I was out of there with a printout of the visit. I looked at the information that would be sent with the X-ray. Pain below patella, it said.

For crying out loud. Yes, technically it was below the patella. So is my foot.

A few days later I was told the technician looked at the X-ray, and nothing seemd amiss. If it still hurt in a few months, come back.

I came back, because it hurt and I was eager for another chance to have my Bronze Fecal Obamacare Plan billed again.

Same dance, same answers, and then "let's try physical therapy."

Sounds good to me. At my first session, the therapist, who actually listened to me explain what had happened, looked at the X-ray for a long while. Finally she said that she thought there was a clear fracture and I should get it X-rayed again.

Rinse and repeat. And yes, the technician this time, with better directions than "below the patella," which is similar to "I live in New York City, so just head east from Bismarck," saw the fracture. I got to pay for another X-ray!

Since it appeared to be slightly healing in the second X-ray, the therapist went ahead used a bit of ultrasound and then some kind of metal scraper to work the crunchy garbled tissue of the leg at the injury spot for the rest of the sessions. Fabulously, my Bronze Fecal Insurace Plan didn't cover any of it, so I spent about a month's salary and stopped after six sessions.

Yeah, the leg still hurt.

While visiting a doctor about a year later for my aviation medical, he noted the medical history involving the leg. "Does it still hurt?"

"Yes," I said. "I couldn't afford to keep going to the physical therapist and--"

"People need to understand that they can't keep going to the therapist and are to do the exercises at home."

Well, dear doctor, when I get around to buying my own home ultrasound machine and medical strigil, sure. Thanks for nothing.

Leg hurts as bad as ever. I can't run without a weird hopping limp and the feeling of a hammer smashing my shin. I'm out lots of money. I got a splendid lecture from a doctor on what I was doing wrong. Every visit to the doctor is like reading War and Peace three sentences at a time knowing you have to pay every time you open the book unless you decide it isn't worth finishing the book with all the cost and wait since by the time you get to the third chapter you can't remember what was in the first. You wonder why people hate going to the doctor?

My experiences are not unique; I'm pretty sure nearly everyone has something similar. So maybe there's a reason people stopped listening to the "professionals" when so many have done such a poor job for their patients at such expense prior to this time of pandemic. Forgive us for not thinking you have the answers or our best interests at heart. Because yeah, it's way cheaper to pray to Jesus, read something on the internet, and slap on a poultice. (Better results, often, too.) 

How do you think it makes me feel to have the medical profession, who can't even get a leg fracture diagnosed when I'm literally putting my finger on the exact spot and saying "it could be a fracture" telling us how we ought to live right now in this pandemic? You think I trust you? You think I believe you even care about individual people? You think your opinion carries weight all of a sudden? You think you've earned the right for me to listen to you when our nation has never been more sickly or overrun with underlying health conditions and there's practically a line at every pharmacy that stretches down the street as the cattle line up for their pills every day?

What I'm seeing during this pandemic are far too many medical professionals popping up in posts and comments who advocate group think. That's pretty funny; they think they know what's best for the group when they can't be bothered to adequately deal with individuals.

It is defintely an infection of the public health mindset, as I wrote about previously, in which we are not individuals allowed to decide for ourselves, but we are a mass told to trust the experts, line up, and get the same treatment for everything.

This is just one of many examples of the responses I've read online--this from some kind of nurse or specialist--when people try to share a video from a doctor or source that doesn't line up with current CDC Big Medical Group Think:

Who knew, starting in 2020, that I was responsible for every immuno-compromised person's contact with potential viruses and bacteria instead of them being responsible for themselves. I don't even want to get into the logic of equating the right to randomly shoot and murder people in the street with not wearing a mask for a virus. If that's the medical profession's logic, no wonder I still have a leg fracture somewhere below my patella.

God forbid we are individual people, unique in need and problem.

What video did I share? This one.

But they won't watch. And if they do, it's only to start arguing. It's as if they feel it's their job to go around and keep all the little mice from getting out of their medical cages.

Why do these medical doctors have this God complex where they believe they know better for me than I do when it comes to the decision I decide I will live with? If I ask them for information, if I ask them for opinion, if I ask them for direction, does that not still reserve for me the right to come to my own decision? Have they lived my life and know what things hurt and when? Do they know my body as well as I do? Do they know the pains, quirks, and patterns of it as well as I do? Do they know what level of risk I'm willing to accept? Do they have to live with the result of what I decide and the procedures I agree to?


They do not, especially now in the age of electronic health records where half the time some grumpy nurse* won't even meet your eyes as she plows through the pile of data she has to collect before the doctor strolls in for five minutes before sending you out the door with a prescription for $50 aspirin. You're scared, uncomfortable, unsure what's wrong, not sure how to describe it, and you get a nurse who gruffly gathers data and then goes on Facebook to lecture people on how selfish it is that they don't wear masks. Pardon me if I think that's a system that doesn't care too much for individual people but instead, sees us as data collection points with algorithmic solutions.

They know of bodies. They know of generic problems and solutions. They have knowledge and skill on what to do with living slabs of meat, but they don't allow for individual human beings with minds to make decisions.

They don't know how mental and emotional health may be affecting physical health in each person, and electronic data, with its generic question "have you thought about suicide lately," does nothing to tap into that like an actual non-judgmental person-to-person conversation would. It sometimes feels like there's a slide rule and they use some numbers to find the answer and send you packing with a patronizing god-like response, a list of all you did wrong so you know you are never quite up to perfect health based on a standard. Some medical organization somewhere determines a standard of normalcy and of treatment and set of recommended check-ups and protocols and then hounds you into doing it and getting upset and schoolmarmy if you say "no, I don't want to at this time."

If the bedside manner of these know-it-all medical professionals is anything similar to the way they shush and shame people online, forget it. I'll keep not going to the doctor. I'll use a mask for toilet paper. I don't have the money, and I don't have the desire for some of these arrogant pusses I keep running into online to have any say in what I will and won't do because I'm not just a slab of meat, but instead, an individual human being with unique needs. Just like you are.

In the Bible, the book of Luke is written by a physician. Consider this:

Luke 8:43 -- including a woman who had suffered from bleeding for twelve years. She had spent all her money on physicians, but no one was able to heal her. 

There truly is nothing new under the sun.

I'll share whatever information I want to online, Nurse Ratched, if I think it will help people in making whatever decision they decide to make.

*No, not all nurses are grumpy.


  1. Truly, thou hast said a mouthful.

    Some of this can probably be attributed to our crazy "insurance" model of paying for medical services. Insurance is for low-probability, high-consequence events (car crashes, your house catching fire, etc). But for primary care? I wonder what it would cost to get an oil change for your car if it were paid for by an insurer ... and what the premiums would be like. The paper-shuffling overhead associated with medical insurance is, I think, most of the reason why practically no primary-care doctors have their own practice any more; they're nearly all employees of, typically, big hospital systems. These employers impose quotas of patients seen (and billed!) daily on their doctor-employees, and we patient-cattle have experiences like the ones you describe. Mooooo!

    I'm not sure I'm going back to my current primary-care doctor. I used to have a pretty good rapport with her. But when my routine appointment came due in mid-June, they required me to put on a muzzle; when I said I didn't own one, they handed me a paper one that nearly folded my ears double. When the doctor finally came in, I asked her, in a friendly way, when she expected the insanity to recede, and I got the stare, followed by the usual party line. Chirp, chirp, chirp. As you pointed out, they don't talk with you as though you were a thinking person, with, perhaps, calculations that differ from theirs; instead, they talk AT you as if your problem is that you simply haven't heard the party slogans. You're demoted from human to the status of a defective vending machine.

    And then the word goes out today that "our" miserable excuse for a governor here in Indiana is dictating a maskie mandate, as of the end of this week. I just ordered my mosquito-mesh hood from the Amazonians; I need a new one for the early part of deer season anyway. I am SO glad my real citizenship is elsewhere. "For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words."

    I want to go home!

    1. My friend and I have talked about how we wished there was a doctor who had a clinic where you didn't use insurance. Everyone paid out of pocket. The prices for services were listed. I've heard of places like that, and they are much less expensive. You don't pay $100 for 18" of stretch exercise band. Prices are reasonable and not padded to cover the cost of staff to deal with insurance. It's as you said, if car insurance were like health insurance, oil changes would be obscene in price.

    2. I have a mosquito mesh hood! I never thought about it -- I could use that as well. I used it camping in MN in July when the bugs were so bad. But you are right; I want to go to my real home, too.


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