Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Back in 2007 I was diagnosed with high cholesterol and high blood pressure. My doctor advised medicines and I caviled and whined and begged "Please don't put me on medicine. I'm no good with pills. I never remember to take them. Let me see if I can deal with this through diet. I lost this weight before. I can do it again.
For the first and only time in my life a doctor yelled at me. "Don't you realize you have serious, life threatening conditions? YOU COULD DIE FROM THIS!" he shouted at me. My doctor is so young and has such a baby face that it's hard enough to remember he's probably closing in on 40 - much less imagine him trying to look fierce. That's a real disadvantage with his baby boomer patients who grew up with family doctors who looked more like Professor Dumbledore.
Still, 2 months later I had an incident that convinced me to cooperate with him. As I sat in his office, nodding in submission I said to him "You know - especially in this largely Christian community, the thought of death is never that frightening. While I am in no hurry to die, I'm not afraid of it either. I believe there will be something wonderful after this life and so does almost everyone else who walks through your door. So telling a patient "YOU MIGHT DIE" is just not that convincing an argument. Next time a patient refuses to follow your sage advice tell them:
Don't you realize? You might LIVE - FOR 20 YEARS - IN A DIAPER, IN A WHEEL CHAIR, DROOLING INTO YOUR BIB?"