By DeeDee Corbitt Sauter
I have heard rumors that our health care system has problems and that no one is getting the care that they need. It has something to do with insurance in addition to the belief that physicians, nurses and even veterinarians are generally incompetent. Clearly, the people making these assertions do not have the resources I have through Google, Facebook and personal friends.
I cannot recall a day when I have not been given unsolicited advice on weight loss, child rearing, a cancer-free life and how to cure allergies and eradicate depression. It is irrelevant as to whether or not I actually suffer from these ailments; the solutions are at my fingertips. It is a shame the entire health care team is not up to date with the latest and greatest information like the rest of the population. I am grateful for the immediate access I have to all these medical miracles.
On the opposite end of the spectrum are the people who need immediate, constant and copious health care advice. Because of the apparent degradation of our educational system, (according to social media), which subsequently affects the proficiency of the physicians from whom we are supposed to seek advice, they refuse to go to the doctor. Instead they are forced, minute by minute, to post information about their symptoms, emotional state, the color of their auras, their repetitive dreams and the odor of their socks. Sharing all this information is necessary to improve one’s general well-being.
When these people seek medical counsel, they often make their inquiries in a public forum, such as a Taekwondo class, a preschool play or even the middle of the grocery aisle—followed by their own diagnosis. Confirmation of their analysis is then necessary to reinforce their beliefs that doctors are not necessary.
Sometimes, a more opened-ended form of communicating is preferred to capture the most comprehensive catalog of diagnoses possible. Social media is the best venue for this technique. Posting the least number of words and the most compelling ones to describe their symptoms and related emotions, such as “excruciating pain” or “irate,” usually elicits the immediate attention desired.
For the more visual friends, a captionless picture of a tattered, one-button-eyed teddy bear sitting alone on one side of a room with all the other toys on the other side, a close-up tear sliding down a mascara-smeared face or even an image of a huge broken heart generates queries followed by reassurances of love.
Both of these systems are highly effective. I have watched and read an impressive number of cures in the past couple of years. Before the real diagnosis are made via the Internet, allegations that doctors “practice” on people and that they actually don’t want to cure anyone so that their patients keep coming back and spend more money are most often mentioned as reasons not to trust these “overly educated” professionals.
Of course, as a nurse, I have never in my entire career encountered anyone with a degree in any health care field who has not wanted to help their patients. That doesn’t mean self- serving medical professionals don’t exist; I am sure they do. I watch a great deal of “Forensic Files” and have found out that there are some really mean people out there.
The bottom line is that, because of the evident deficits in the care we currently receive, it is obvious we are neither immortal nor possess superhuman powers. The president, Congress and the Senate need to stop wasting their time trying to solve a problem that already has a solution.
Get on Facebook. If there isn’t a cure written in between the posts of gourmet meals and crying puppies, it is not worth pursuing.
DeeDee Corbitt Sauter is a resident of Prince William County. Her column, “Tambourines and Elephants,” appears monthly in Prince William Living.