Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Medical Meme

This is a different sort of meme.  It's been in my meme collection since 2008.  Interestingly, one of the Swap Bots I've done recently was a "Publicize your Blog" and one of the people who reviewed mine seemed to be surprised that there were such things as memes for blogs.  Heavens, most of the blogs I read do memes from time to time...most of my favorite blogs do memes from time to time.

So let's try a meme about medicine

1. What is your worst memory of when you visited the dentist?
I have to list three.  I can't describe a specific visit but my first dentist was very old fashioned and did not believe in novocaine, a water drill, or x-rays....and yelled at children who cried.  Fortunately he only drilled 3 cavities for me, but when I switched to a more modern dentist, when I was 12 years old, because the first doctor never did x-rays, they found 12 cavities in my mouth.  Fortunately, with novocaine, filling them was almost a pleasure.

My next worst memory was the dentist I had when Walt and I were first married (Walt still goes to that office, commuting to Berkeley to do so!).  In 1970, when I was pregnant with Tom, the dentist yelled at me--a lot--for not flossing my teeth and scared me so badly, I didn't go to the dentist again for more than 20 years.

The third had a happy ending.  After never opening my mouth around my friend and co-worker Cindy (who was working as a typist while getting her dental practice estabished), I reached a point where I was convinced I was about to lose my front teeth and, terrified, confessed my dental history to her and made an appointment.  She could not have been more kind, gentle, and encouraging....and discovered that I was not about to lose my teeth.  I have since probably put all 3 of her children through college, but I still have all my teeth.

2. How many primary doctors have you had?
Lots.  I don't really remember the doctors I saw as a child.  Or, actually any doctors before we moved to Davis (other than ob/gyns).  I've had about eight primary health care providers, at least one a nurse practitioner rather than a doctor, in the last 40 years. The best were the two (one doctor, one nurse practitioner) I had while I was working in the ob/gyn office.  They were not only my health care providers, they were (and still are) my friends
3. What has been your biggest medical fear in life so far? Why?
When I was growing up in the 1950s, polio was the huge terror of every child's life.   There was no vaccine and I was haunted by pictures of children in iron lungs.   Since I also suffered from claustrophobia, the idea of being locked in a metal container, unable to move gave me nightmares.  I would wake up in a cold sweat terrified I was going to get polio.

As an adult, my biggest medical fear is being incapacitated in such a way that I would have to rely on someone else for everything (which, really, is just a modern day version of an iron lung, isn't it?)

4. What is the worst illness you have ever had?
I've been very fortunate that I have not had any serious illnesses.  My only hospitalization (other than for childbirth) was to have my tonsils removed when I was 4 years old.

5. What are your thoughts on the state of the medical system?
How much time do you have?

Actually, I became a member of Kaiser in 1954, when I was 10 years old, so Kaiser is the only medical care I have known and I have no complaints (perhaps because I have been fairly healthy all my life and haven't required much in the way of medical care).   But having worked in medicine for so many years and watching what is happening around the country, it's appalling that we have such a terrible problem with medical care. What is more, it's appalling that so much attention is being spent on trying to reduce medical care for women. It seems to get worse with each news cycle.

Sometimes I think, looking at what is happening for medical care for women and with education, which is being cut and cut and cut everywhere, that we are now living by the rules of the sea with respect to budgetary cuts:  women and children first.

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