--Louisa May Alcott
This morning I feel like chatting about the medical profession and death. Fun, huh!??!
I am on my second pass through the book "At Peace: Choosing a Good Death after a Long Life." It is about too many medical procedures, tests, drugs, etc being pushed on folks over 65, and how to resist being "over-medicalized" when the situation does not warrant aggressive treatment which may even be more harmful than the original diagnosis.
My obgyn doctor who delivered my sons retired, so on Monday I had my regular well-woman checkup with a brand new doctor. I arrived early so that I could complete their paperwork prior to my appointment time, and I did that. Then I sat in the waiting room for 27 more minutes while even women who came in after me were taken back to their appointments. My name was finally called. The nurse took my blood pressure and had me sign a form acknowledging that Medicare might not cover the visit and agreeing that I would pay the bill if not. You know--paperwork and money stuff are first and foremost to cover all applicable asses. Then I waited another 20 minutes in the lovely paper outfit until the doctor arrived. She acknowledged my previous doctor's retirement, then asked if I had any problems. "No, I'm good," I replied. Then she proceeded to talk me into a colonoscopy ("I'm not doing that"), Cologuard (at home colon test... "no, thanks") and a bone density test. To that one I replied, "I would not take any of the osteoporosis medicines, and besides I'm a yoga teacher, and I have rock-solid bones." She was in the room fewer than ten minutes. She did the Pap test, and I guess that's all I was there for anyway. She left the encounter knowing almost nothing about me, but all the insurance t's were crossed and i's dotted. I'm sure the new doc felt that it was a perfectly wonderful visit. I have no delusions that my frustrating experience was unusual.
As I age, I am seeing with alarming frequency that the more people "doctor," the worse off they become. I highly recommend Dr. Harrington's book for consideration of alternative choices.