Call me crazy, but I love going to the doctor.
It wasn’t always this way, but now I have a new physician. He’s young and handsome. Smart and handsome. Caring and handsome. Listens to me and is handsome. Get my drift??
I also like him a lot because he is a problem solver and takes the long view on things. For example, like most of us, if I lost a little weight—maybe 25 pounds—I would probably have better numbers. I know that is true. Which is why I have been trying to lose the 40 pounds I gained during my last pregnancy. The child from that pregnancy is 16 years old, so clearly I have not been successful.
So my doctor has suggested many things, most of which I have tried in the past. At my last visit he suggested trying a new medication. I smiled and accepted the prescription from the earnest and learned physician.
Hold on there, partner.
I went home and researched the heck out of that medicine. I read all the studies that I didn’t understand. I lurked in chatrooms to find out the experiences of people who had taken the medicine. I visited the manufacturer’s website. I waited 20 minutes to talk to my pharmacist (hey, I live in Jersey. Waiting is what we do.)
It so happens that I live by the words of former President Ronald Reagan who famously said to Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev during the arms-control agreement talks: “doveryai, no proveryai” or, (in English) “trust, but verify”.
Its not that I don’t trust my young, good- looking physician. If I didn’t think he knew what he was doing, I wouldn’t have him as my doctor. It’s that I don’t trust anyone 100% when it comes to my health. Okay, if in the Emergency Room my leg is hanging off my body, I would probably be a little bit quicker with the trust thing, but when I have time to think about it, its check, double-check, triple-check.
Part of this comes from my family history. My mom had Type I diabetes and it was not well controlled. She suffered practically every consequence that you can imagine, and through to the end, she trusted her doctor implicitly, did everything he told her to do, and followed his instructions precisely. The Doc was in over his head, and was not willing to admit it.
But in addition to my personal experience, the medical and scientific establishment does not have a great track record when it comes to the health of black people. You may have heard of the Tuskegee Experiment, an infamous clinical study conducted between 1932 and 1972 by the U.S. Public Health Service to study the natural progression of untreated syphilis in rural African American men who thought they were receiving free health care from the U.S. government. Or the story of Henrietta Lacks, a woman an African-American woman who was the unwitting source of cells (from her canceroustumor) which were cultured to create the first known human immortal cell line for medical research. This is now known as the HeLa cell line. Her family was never compensated. And the stories go on and on.
So I check. Pediatrician says to give my daughter Gardasil? Check it out. Husband’s doc says he should take a cortisone shot? Look it up. We are fortunate to have the tools to educate and inform ourselves regarding our health care, so why not?
Doveryai, no proveryai, y’all. See ya later.