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Are You Sick Yet? If Not Then You Will Be

February 26, 2013

I find the odd fascination with disorders and symptoms in this society…fascinating. As a hypochondriac I’ve thought my life has been ending several times and was pretty certain that it would be, but it never did and I should be happy that it’s not ending, but I’m not. I always feel this nagging disappointment–not at the not dying, but at being so screwed up in the head that I thought that I was. I figure that you’d have to have some wiring crossed somewhere to be that psychologically damaged to think that you’ve got diseases that you know you don’t have on an intellectual level if only that intellect weren’t an asshole and playing keep-away with your sanity.

Back to the germ/disease fascination it tends to strike me with some sort of wonder at how chronically sick we are–or how sick we think we are. Do you have a-fib? I didn’t even know that was a problem until I saw a commercial for it. The closest contact I came to a-fib was with my mother because her thyroid regrew after being taken out and the synthroid was causing it. Outside of that I didn’t think it was, but apparently it is and now there’s some sort of new wonder drug for it that can be taken even while in New Zealand or something.

And what about fibromyalgia? Shit, that’s a disorder I hope to never have which I did think I had at one point. The problem there is that it’s so difficult to tell because pain can’t be seen on an x-ray or CT. So you have this chart from 1-10 with the stupid faces on it. I didn’t know that that was all that common either until a commercial told me I could be rid of the pain mostly. Really?! That’s amazing. I didn’t even know I had it. Or how about psoriasis? I think I may have that to an extent, but damn, the side effects of the drug sounds worse than the problem.

I don’t mean to belittle the people with these illnesses or disorders. My aim here is observing how sick we all are without realizing it (tee hee). “Ask your doctor about this pill that will cure the stupids. Just one pill a day and you’ll be cured from your stupidity.” I find it amusing we think we can treat problems with pills. I’ll admit that they can do some awesome stuff with just a pill, but what are you buying a lot of times? Most of the people with these disorders aren’t dying because of them, but because of the medicine they’re being given. (link) So really, it’s a bit of a gamble whether you should ask your doctor for a particular medicine for a disorder you think you may have.

And yes, I do have a problem with the McDoctor approach to treating patients by letting them have it their way (it’s Burger King, but McDoctor sounds snazzier). Not because I think they’re stupid, but they also haven’t had the years of experience necessary to make an informed decision. Then you get to the nice slip of info listing side effects which, if you’re like me, will fucking scare you off. But medicine is scary because we haven’t perfected that ‘feel good’ approach where it doesn’t hurt or hurt to treat you. It’s just not there. And patients think that these things will cure them a lot of times, but it just won’t.

There’s also the added benefit of propping up the tort lawyers as well. We all love them, don’t we? We see their commercials all the time, “Have you or someone you loved taken ______ and have had a heart attack/seizure/stroke/anal leakage (it’s really word ad-libbing sometimes) then call us and we’ll rip their penises off and show them what for.” I think this is another symptom of people thinking these are cures and medicines for everyone to take and bingo-bango, no problem. I’ll just pop that bubble: no they’re not. Sometimes bad shit happens with medicines and the treatments. You really can’t help it sometimes. (yes, I’m aware there’s quite a few crappy doctors) Then they’re being sued because ‘they should’ve known better’, but when you’re giving the patient options and taking the patient’s advice for how to treat them then who’s at fault here?

I’m by no means saying doctors are saints, but the decisions for a lot of these are taken out of their hands these days so you create this constant war of doctors taking patient advice and being sued and then they come up with new ways to put the responsibility on the patient to be sued again. So you need more patients and the way you get more patients is to sell more drugs and the way you sell more drugs is to advertise more drugs. And you sell more drugs, but you get sued again because that drug has side effects which are bad. So you try to sell more drugs to more patients to make more money to cover the insurance and….(*deep breath*) you get the picture.

It’s a neverending struggle and frankly the only people getting hurt by all of these lawsuits and medications are the patients and they’re getting worse healthcare as a result because every time one doctor ends his or her practice another slightly worse doctor springs up offering miracle cures with pills that the drug company sold him.

Unfortunately I have no thoughts on a solution beyond trying to be more informed in your medical decisions which I know is bullshit advice because that creates the same problem we already have now. So it’s a turd sandwich no matter how you slice it. Eat up.

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