Am I well? Am I healthy? Is that the same as “not dead yet”? Because I’m beginning to think that is the way our so-called medical system works.

The problem with doctors is, as far as they are concerned, if the tests they have run on you don’t display anything labeled “abnormal,” you’re fine. It does not matter how much you hurt or how miserable you feel. If the tests are okay, you’re fine. Just fine. If your heart is beating and your blood pressure does not make the cuff explode, you are healthy. Or, at least not sick enough to require intervention, like medication or maybe a nice, long vacation in a warm, pollen-free climate. Does anyone ever prescribe vacations? If not, why not?

It doesn’t matter that possibly they didn’t run the correct tests. It is of no concern that whatever is bothering you might be the kind of thing which shows up sometimes, but leaves no trace when it stops.

I have something which sometimes makes me have a something like a seizure. It occurs randomly and if I didn’t have witnesses to the event, I might wonder if I was hallucinating. But Garry has seen it. Owen has seen it. I pass out briefly and wake up screaming. Then, just a few minutes later, I really am fine and it is as if nothing happened. Nothing. At. All.

I have been to many neurologists and had many, many tests in this country and in Israel. No one has ever found anything. Actually, that’s not entirely true. In Israel, they discovered after as many tests as they could run, that my gallbladder had stones in it. They removed my gallbladder. They even gave me the three stones from it which I kept for years in a little cup. Sadly, that wasn’t the problem. Their reasoning was sound and I probably didn’t need the gallbladder anyway, especially not with all the stones in it. It was a perfect example of reading tests and coming to a perfectly wrong answer.

Whatever happened isn’t heart related because my pacemaker records any event that might have something to do with my heart. I can’t have an MRI because I have a metal pacemaker in my chest and an MRI would make me explode, but I’ve had every other test they could think up.

This has been occurring intermittently for more than 40 years. Whatever it is, it isn’t trying to kill me because it has had plenty of opportunity to do that. It certainly is unsettling and whatever it is, I’m not entirely fine, but hey — the tests say I am great. Terrific. So it must be true, right? Right!

Then there is the issue of pain. When every single joint in your body is throbbing and you’ve got a five-day migraine that seems to be heading for a world record for migraine longevity, yet no test shows anything wrong with you — other than “the usual” (whatever that is) — you’re fine.

The job of physicians is not to make us feel good. It isn’t even to make us feel better. Sometimes, I’m not even sure what their job really is and I’m not sure they are entirely clear about it either.

I’m fine. How are you?

Categories: Cartoons, Health, Humor, Medical humor

Tags: , , , , ,

8 replies

  1. You’d think that doctors would want to get to the bottom of it if only for the sake of scientific curiosity or the kudos that they would get for discovering what it was and how to fix it. Good doctors should want to because they care about their patients. I suppose the good ones don’t get the funding so if you can’t pay bad luck!
    I don’t think even the Finns cover vacations in their universal health care. I just finished reading a book called “The Nordic Theory of Everything” which compared Scandinavian health, education and business practices with American. At the end I could not understand why the author and her American husband chose to live in the USA instead of Finland.


    • Right now, we have very good doctors. But they are limited in the amount of testing they can do by our insurance and in my case, by my other conditions — like having a metal pacemaker. Also, I think a lot of the time, if they don’t know what exactly they are looking for, they run tests, but the tests don’t show anything because they aren’t the right tests. I still think my little seizure condition has something to do with migraines. I can’t prove it, but the symptoms start off very much like the oncoming of a migraine.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. We all have to rely on orthodox Medicine. BUT I’ve always used UNorthodox Healers along side of them. There is a lot of alternatives. I lived with a guy who studied under Stanley Burroughs (Healing for the Age of Enlightenment) and we applied his methods for many years. I employed it Vitaflex methods for many years. Still do. That stuff worked FOR ME. And it was no accident that I was there. He never took credit for what he taught and knew – saying these were ancient healing practices that he was just reviving. Orthodox Medicine is important and necessary. BUT they don’t know everything. I have not been afraid to go outside their boundaries if I needed to. We each must find what is right FOR US.


    • No argument here, but I don’t have the money to go anywhere not covered by insurance. There are too many things that supposed ARE covered by insurance I can’t afford. It’s also why I can’t get my teeth fixed or afford new glasses — or, at this point, hearing aids. Even “covered” medications are often more money than we can manage and I have to put off picking things up because I don’t have the money. It’s only going to get worse.


  3. I’m FINE too (my hubby used to say ‘fine” was shorthand for “f*cked up, insecure, neurotic, and emotional). Who am I to quibble? I don’t know why doctors feel ashamed to just say to someone “I’m sorry, but I just DON’T KNOW.” I mean I’d rather know that they don’t know, and get a second or even third opinion than run around chasing my tail with test after test that shows nothing because whatever the test is isn’t testing the correct problem area. Or cause me to start doubting my sanity.


  4. My closest woman friend is Peggy Lennon. She has been married twice and widowed both times. Her last husband was a doctor, and he used to say, “We call it a Practice because that’s what we do. We don’t have the answers for everything.”


    • No, they don’t. Some have the grace to admit it, but many others figure that you are (a) lying, (b) a hypochondriac, (c) a woman. And if you are all three, they often don’t even bother to listen because what could you possibly know about your own body?


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Tish Farrell

Writer on the Edge



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