I’ve been stewing on this post for a week or so – trying to title it, trying to pin down exactly what is raging inside my mind, attempting to find solace in knowing specifically what is annoying me. And so far no luck.
But I have to get some of the annoyance out, down in type, if not on paper, so I can come back to re-examine what goes on.
I’ll start, circumferentially, with blood clots. Damn good service from all of the immediate responders. The doctor who took one look at my leg as I walked in to the clinic; ‘You’re going to emergency, which hospital do you want? was a fast, reasoned, immediately informed decision. The ultrasound technician who whistled as she examined my leg – the whistle a sound effect far more evocative of the difficulties I would encounter than any doctor’s description of what might be in my future. The Emergency room doctor that took one look at the ultrasound results, turned to me, and asked ‘have you ever had a CT scan.’ And, 30 minutes later, with the results in her hands, she said the only thing keeping me standing was ‘your excess lung capacity.’ Not only was there clots in both legs, but my lungs were a veritable cornucopia of pulmonary emboli. Veritable families of clots had settled in my lungs.
All very unsettling. But every person concerned had acted in a professional, respectful, and helpful way.
But now I’m a commodity – and my clots seem only to do two, well, I guess, three things. First the inconvenience me. Secondly they bring me in to contact with ‘non emergency’ members of the medical profession. Last, and most annoying, they have turned me in to cannon fodder for their professional gain.
‘Well, go have a CT scan, get an ultrasound, and see me on such and such a date.’ OK, sure, you bet.
So I get the tests done (and the hospital is booking as many people as possible through that CT machine, it’s expensive) and see the doctor. He was a bit shocked when I knew something of the performance of my heart. And he was a bit miffed when I said it was relatively easy to determine what he was looking for, and why.
‘What do you mean?’
‘Well, it’s a pump. And crap clogs pumps. And pumps will breakdown if overstressed in any of a number of ways. Diaphragms, valves, drives, pistons all operate within certain parameters – outside those parameters there is a far greater chance for damage. A heart attack perhaps.
Well that didn’t sit all that well with him. But then we look at the CT scans. This one was 2.5 mm slices through my lungs – and my knowledge of permeable, biological, oxygen-oriented filters is a bit lower than that of pumps and valves.
‘The CT doesn’t mean as much to me.’
“Well, I’d have been disappointed if it did.”
His professional stature requires my absolute ignorance of what occurs not only in my lungs, but in the interpretation of the pictures of my lungs. And his attitude struck me so very much like the Catholic Church’s response to Luther. Absolute denial that there are alternatives to the ‘god’s eye view’ that the clergy, in this case the clergy of medicine, know everything. And no one else can know anything.
I guess what bothers me is the insufferable attitude that the professions (including plumbers) inculcate amongst their members – that guild mentality that includes secret handshakes, definitions of doctors that include their being limited liability corporations, and knowing that only they really know, and that only they could ever know.
And their response to usurpers is supercilious, petty, ignorant and slow-witted.
I guess I’ve never liked people, organizations, institutions, even ideas, that hold that they alone are the truth and the light. And once you’re cannon fodder for the medical system (or the system of your choice here) you either go along with it, hoping that their insistence on their own infallibility will pay off, or you don’t.