EppsNet Archive: Doctors

It’s Not Your Head

13 Apr 2016 /
Head pain

I’m telling my doctor about these shooting pains that I get near the back of my head, behind my left ear. Sometimes they don’t happen for months and sometimes they happen several times a day.

She says it’s likely to be caused by stress and tension.

“You don’t think it’s a brain tumor?” I ask.

“No, because a brain tumor would hurt all the time and the pain would get worse over time.”

“OK . . . that’s good to know because I didn’t want to deal with a brain tumor right now.”

“I’m not worried about it. And if I’m not worried about it, you shouldn’t be worried about it.”

“That’s what my wife said this morning. She said she wasn’t worried about it. I said, ‘Of course you’re not worried about it. It’s not your head.’ She said she wouldn’t worry about it even if was her head.”

“Let me say it another way. If your doctor is not worried about it, then you don’t need to be worried about it.”


Kidneys for Coders

22 Dec 2015 /

Cartoon


George Washington Died on this Day in 1799

14 Dec 2015 /

On this date, Dec. 14, in 1799, George Washington, the American revolutionary leader and first president of the United States, died of acute laryngitis at his estate in Mount Vernon, Virginia. He was 67 years old. That is according to History.com.

Acute laryngitis is not something that’s likely to kill you today but in 1799, medical “science” was still so medieval that doctors believed that diseases were caused by an imbalance of fluids in the body. In particular, they believed that fevers were caused by an excess of blood and they treated fevers by bleeding the patient.

Not surprisingly, draining off almost half of Washington’s blood not only didn’t cure him, it probably killed him.

The moral of that story is: When you don’t know what the heck you’re doing, just leave well enough alone.


See You in Hell, O Ye of Little Faith

14 Sep 2014 /

Satan

[See You in Hell is a feature by our guest blogger, Satan — PE]

Greetings from the underworld! I was catching up on Facebook this morning and saw that a woman is going in for brain surgery and her family and friends are asking for prayers for her recovery.

Isn’t that overkill — prayer and brain surgery? Why not just pray for her recovery and if she doesn’t make it, you chalk it up to God’s will?

Some “true believer” religions, e.g., the Christian Science church, do that. They believe more in prayer than in medicine. They decline medical care because they believe that God can heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons, etc. as he did in the Bible. These are the folks you hear about when they come up on criminal charges after refusing medical care for their seriously ill children and the children die.

Either God can cure a brain tumor or he can’t. Why ask a doctor to cure a brain tumor if you’ve already asked God to cure the brain tumor? Because when it comes down to matters of life and death, most people don’t really believe in God and prayer the way they believe in doctors.

Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?

See you in Hell . . .


Another Smoking Gun on “Keep Your Coverage”

1 Dec 2013 /
Christina Romer

Christina Romer

The conversation below took place more than four years ago — June 23, 2009 — at a congressional hearing on Obamacare. The topic was the keep-your-coverage promise, and the participants were Christina Romer, then chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, and Rep. Tom Price, who is also a doctor.

The conversation plays out like one of those word puzzles where you start out with one word and change one letter at a time to get a completely different word. Watch Romer’s responses on keeping your coverage go from “Absolutely” to a stammering “I’d have to look at the specifics.”

It’s also yet another reminder of what a pig in a poke Obamacare was. Even the people advocating for it had no idea what was in it.

REP. PRICE: You also mentioned, as other folks have, that the president’s goal — and it’s reiterated over and over and over — that if you like your current plan or if you like your current doctor, you can keep them. Do you know where that is in the bill?

MS. ROMER: Absolutely. And things like the employer mandate is part of making sure that large employers that today — the vast majority of them do provide health insurance. One of the things that’s —

REP. PRICE: I’m asking about if an individual likes their current plan and maybe they don’t get it through their employer and maybe in fact their plan doesn’t comply with every parameter of the current draft bill, how are they going to be able to keep that?

MS. ROMER: So the president is fundamentally talking about maintaining what’s good about the system that we have. And —

REP. PRICE: That’s not my question.

MS. ROMER: One of the things that he has been saying is, for example, you may like your plan and one of the things we may do is slow the growth rate of the cost of your plan, right? So that’s something that is not only —

REP. PRICE: The question is whether or not patients are going to be able to keep their plan if they like it. What if, for example, there’s an employer out there — and you’ve said that if the employers that already provide health insurance, health coverage for their employees, that they’ll be just fine, right? What if the policy that those employees and that employer like and provide for their employees doesn’t comply with the specifics of the bill? Will they be able to keep that one?

MS. ROMER: So certainly my understanding — and I won’t pretend to be an expert in the bill — but certainly I think what’s being planned is, for example, for plans in the exchange to have a minimum level of benefits.

REP. PRICE: So if I were to tell you that in the bill it says that if a plan doesn’t comply with the specifics that are outlined in the bill that that employer’s going to have to move to the — to a different plan within five years — would you — would that be unusual, or would that seem outrageous to you?

MS. ROMER: I think the crucial thing is, what kind of changes are we talking about? The president was saying he wanted the American people to know that fundamentally if you like what you have it will still be there.

REP. PRICE: What if you like what you have, Dr. Romer, though, and it doesn’t fit with the definition in the bill? My reading of the bill is that you can’t keep that.

MS. ROMER: I think the crucial thing — the bill is talking about setting a minimum standard of what can count —

REP. PRICE: So it’s possible that you may like what you have, but you may not be able to keep it? Right?

MS. ROMER: We’d have — I’d have to look at the specifics.


More People I’m Sick Unto Death Of: Alternative Medicine Advocates

8 May 2013 /
Lassa Witch Doctors

Lassa Witch Doctors

Alternative medicine is not a real thing. You don’t have a choice between medicine and alternative medicine. You have a choice between medicine and Things That Have Not Been Proven to Work.

Alternative medicine that works is called “medicine.”

Some people tell me that regular doctors don’t know about alternative medicine because they don’t teach it in medical schools.

They don’t teach it in medical schools? If I didn’t know anything about my job beyond what I learned in school 25 years ago, I’d be in bad shape. I’d be unemployable.

If there are any doctors out there who’ve never learned anything outside of medical school, those are not the doctors you want to be going to.


Overheard

5 Sep 2012 /

Web comic


Beware of Chest Physicians Bearing Gifts

10 Dec 2011 /
Christmas Popcorn

I work for a healthcare organization. In the lunch room today was one of those cylinders full of caramel corn and cheese corn that turn up everywhere around the holidays.

This one had a note attached: Compliments of your colleagues at the American College of Chest Physicians.

Are caramel corn and cheese corn good for cardiac health? They’ve gotta be terrible, right?

Beware of chest physicians bearing gifts!

CARDIOLOGIST: Who referred you to our office?
PATIENT: I saw your name on a container of cheese corn.
CARDIOLOGIST: Ha ha, yeah, those things pay for themselves a million times over in stents and angioplasties.


It’s Kittens

1 Jan 2011 /

Comic


The Man With Two Hats

6 Aug 2010 /
Peterbilt cap

At the doctor’s office this afternoon, there was a man about 70 years old in the waiting room wearing a Peterbilt cap and holding a similar cap in his hands.

Later I asked the nurse why the guy needed two caps.

“He left his cap here on his last appointment,” she said. “We gave it back to him today so now he has two.”

“Oh that makes sense,” I said. “I was thinking it was maybe a symptom of whatever it is he’s being treated for.”


Less Like Waiters

13 Mar 2010 /
Fish Grotto

Software professionals need to behave more like doctors and less like waiters. Stop taking orders and start helping.


I Went Deaf on Christmas Eve

24 Dec 2008 /

I. At home

I tell my son I’m going to the urgent care walk-in clinic.

“What for?” he asks.

“I want to find out why I’ve gone deaf in my left ear.”

“You’ve got an ear infection,” he says. “I had one when I came back from Thailand. I was also coughing 24/7 so I had to take this insane cough syrup and ear infection pills.”

“I’m not coughing 24/7. I’ve got a lot of congestion though.”

“You’ll just get the ear infection pills then.”

“When you took them, could you feel your ear canal cracking open? Man, that’s the best! It’s almost worth it to have a clogged passage just to feel it cracking open again.”

“Yeah, but it takes a couple of days.”

II. At the doctor’s office

The nurse takes my blood pressure. “100 over 60,” she says.

Nurse

“Is that good?” I ask. (I already know it’s good . . . I just want to hear her acknowledge that, even though I’m much older than she is, I’m in excellent physical condition and could undoubtedly satisfy her sexually.)

“Yes. Now I’m going to take your pulse.” She takes it and writes it down on the chart.

“What was it?” I ask.

“Sixty-four.”

“Is that good?”

“Yes. The doctor will be right in.”

The doctor looks in my ear and tells me I have an ear infection. She gives me a prescription for antibiotics and recommends Sudafed — “the kind you have to ask for” — for the congestion.

III. At the Pharmacy

I pick up my prescription and I ask the pharmacist for Sudafed.

“What kind?” he asks.

“The kind you have to ask for.”

(A couple of years ago, the original Sudafed, and all other products containing pseudoephedrine (PSE), was moved “behind the counter” by federal legislation because PSE can be used to produce methamphetamine, also known as crystal meth. The over-the-counter version of Sudafed is now called Sudafed PE and contains phenylephrine instead of PSE.)

So the pharmacist brings the Sudafed, asks for a photo ID, and says, “You have to initial the form there to indicate that you’re not going to resell it.”

“Really? How much do you think I could get for it?”

“Kids resell them at clubs for 3 to 10 times market value.”

“Wow. That really highlights my lack of initiative. I’m just hoping it makes the inside of my head feel less like a toasted marshmallow.”


Really Crazy

17 Dec 2008 /

I had an office visit with my doctor, who is also my wife’s doctor . . .

We always spend a few minutes talking about my wife, who, to use the medical terminology, is “really crazy.”

“She is really crazy,” the doctor says. “I don’t know how you keep your sanity. You always seem so calm. I bow to you.” And she stretches both arms out and actually bows.

I’m glad someone is able to get a laugh out of it.

Then she refills my Paxil prescription so I can make it through the next six months . . .


Setting Expectations

3 Jun 2005 /
Doctor pointing at an x-ray

A family member had surgery recently and had to sign a consent form:

I have been advised that all surgery involves general risks, including but not limited to bleeding, infection, nerve or tissue damage and rarely, cardiac arrest, death or other serious bodily injury. I acknowledge that no guarantees or assurances have been made as to the results that may be obtained.

And so on . . . Don’t say you weren’t warned!

Medical professionals are very good at setting realistic expectations with the customer, whereas in IT we take customers into projects with glib assurances and wishful thinking.

I wonder if we could make a practice of saying to customers even something as simple as this:

“This project — like all projects — has a number of possible outcomes, and not all of them are good. Let’s go over some of the more likely scenarios . . .”

Thus spoke The Programmer.