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?