Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Hey Doc, ya got any pills?

It has come to me of late, as I strain to recover from another bout of mystery illness, that the Doctors in the outlying reaches of the Philippines, or at least the male doctors that I have rummaged through to (fail to) find one I respect, are mainly bullshit artists and pill dispensers. I wish that just one would, upon hearing that I have a pain here or there, get out from behind his desk and actually place a hand on the painful area to see exactly where it is. He can poke and prod anywhere he likes, as I can assure you my former American doctors displayed no reticence about being thorough in the physical part of the physical. Let us say, I have been probed thoroughly, the most interesting being a bone marrow extraction to see why I evidently have water in my veins instead of red and white cells. Now this extraction is done via a 8 inch needle about a quarter of an inch thick which is ground through the hip bone to find the marrow. As the doctor cranked away, jamming it through the bone, he asked, "where do you work?"

"Uh, California Bank."

"Oh, they declined my request for a loan."

Perhaps it was just my imagination that he started cranking harder.

The routine in the Philippines is almost assembly line in its absence of thinking. Patient in. Hear complaint. Order a lab test or 25. Get the results. Concoct a diagnosis; it doesn't matter if it is right or wrong. Write up a prescription for at least 3 pills. Pay P250. Come back next month and pay again.

If I did what the doctors here said, I would be dining on chemicals, my guts full of capsules and pills and liquid medicines.

I get more information from the internet than from the bullshit artists who are, like so many hereabouts, mainly interested in preserving their egos, not caring for the patient. Dispensing a pill is not what medicine is about. It is about discovery.

I told my wife I want to see a woman doctor next time. Maybe they have more of a care-quotient. Maybe a woman is more inclined to search for medical truths.


  1. joe,

    if you are in metro manila try seeing my doctor,
    jose oreta jr., Saint Luke Hospital. just tell him i referred you to him.

  2. jcc,

    Thanks for the referral. I have logged it into my book of contacts.


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