May 12th, 2005

I Will Not Defame New Orleans.

Check-Up

Recovery is slow but steady from the nastiness that has ruined my angelic face last week.

The pain is manageable (I think, though I can't be sure because when I start to get another headache, I eat fistfulls of Percoset like they were drugs).

The hideous bumps, eruptions and sores on my face have ceased to spread and are now healing, which means I feel much better, but I look must worse.

I went for my second consultation with the opthamologist this morning.

I am growing weary with the health care system. As I wrote to dear Madame Winifrau this morning before my appointment:
I'm not terribly impressed with my doctors. I mean, I feel nothing but confidence in their retention of their schooling and I believe they hold plenty of sagacity in the sickness department from their years of practice, but I am weary of any party that subscribes ONLY to their side of the fence, i.e., they're very, very WESTERN, and quick to prescribe patented chemical compounds from huge companies who are currently basking in the glow of George Bush's saliva as it dribbles off their dicks.

Likewise, I am, perhaps even moreso, weary of the other side of the coin. The completely holistic/aromatheraputic/bang-the-drum-slowly hippie dox who think the world can be cured with an herbal compress and a cup of green tea.

Both are strong agents in battling illnesses, and both have their time and place. And I would prefer to find a doctor who understands that BOTH HAVE THEIR TIME AND PLACE. Alas, most health care professionals seem to have a thoroughly partisan relationship with either one or the other. Black or white.

Me, I believe in the gray areas. Life is not a Stephen Kind novel, after all. (Though looking at my face this week, you might be inclined to disagree.)

I'm using Arnica gel on my face, assuming that will help draw bad shit out and speed along the healing process as it has a tendency to do. I'm going to ask my doc about that today, and if he scrunches up his Ivy League-shaped nose and says, "What's Arnica?" I believe that will be the last visit I pay him.
It's not that I'm terribly prejudiced one way or another — Eastern v. Western medicine (to oversimplify). What I will not to be of the doing is taking serious advice from someone who refuses to hear the other side, whichever that may be.

In this way, medicine resembles religion. And history has taught us not to trust any group of people who are convinced that their way is the true way. I try to keep an open mind, and I demand that my doctor do so as well.

Sorry, Dr. MD-PHD-LLC-INC, I don't care if McKesson is giving you a huge endorsement, if you're not going to even discuss alternative medicine, then fare thee well, and I'll see you in hell.

And sorry, Dr. Rainbow-Britestar-McUnicorn, your remedy of evangelical veganism and nutritional smoothies made of nasturtium petals, sunflower husks and the fungus from the crotch of a ghecko don't impress me unless you're going to throw in a side-salad of top-shelf, morphine-based FUN!

Meanwhile…at the opthamologist…
I was early to my appointment and still sat in the waiting room for the requisite one hour, a tactic employed, I am certain, to establish power. He who makes the other wait is miles ahead in the race. (I use this tactic at my own work, and I stand by its usefulness. It would be the height of hypocrisy to get my panties in a twist over this.)

Eventually, I was whisked into a room and waited another 20 minutes. Dr. Patent came in, smiled, greeted, asked questions. My replies satisfied him that I was running the natural course of recovery without incident. He put a drop in my eye, looked at me through a scary machine, said the herpes on my eye have not spread, and are progressing as he thought they should. All good news.

Winifred suggested sunlight for Shingles. I asked him about that. He shrugged his shoulders, noncommitally: "If you get a sunburn, it will hurt."

"So will sticking my finger in a fan."

I asked about alternative medicine, not so much for his input on the matter, but to gauge his reaction to that word.

"For instance," I said, "I've been putting arnica on my face to help fast-forward the process."

He stared at me blankly, and began to cough into his sleeve as if to hide a burgeoning spell of laughter.

I explained further: "Don't get me wrong. I'm no steenking hippie. I'll happily buy stock in the acyclovir viral inhibitor I've been taking. Works great! I just prefer to stay away from chemicals when there are other options available."

His idea of "alternative" medicine was getting more acyclovir, but in a topical cream form. Uhhhh…

"Please come see me again next week," he concluded abruptly, exactly 4 1/2 minutes since we shook hands.

I took my little folder to the receptionist who asked me for $75. I said, "Hmm, $75 for not quite five minutes of consultation. That's like … $900 an hour. Don't you think that's a little … unrealistic?"

She began babbling about, "Oh, I know, I was sick this one time and I had to buy this medicine and it was really expensive blah blah blah."

"What time next Thursday would you like to see the doctor?"

I paused. "Actually, I'll call when I feel that I need an appointment. Goodbye."