one of my favorite topics; who can you trust? I've
already tackled, and raked over the coals, insurance
companies, HMOs, lending institutions, and of course,
credit card companies. But now we're down to basics:
doctors and lawyers. If you can't trust those professional,
accredited, licensed, supposedly well-educated experts
in their field, then who can you trust.
Recent experience has taught me several things.
Probably the single most disturbing thing I've learned
is that there is no single opinion, no objective
truth when dealing with doctors and attorneys. That's
upsetting when it comes to attorneys, but downright
frightening when it comes to matters relating to
my physical well-being. We're talking my body
For almost ten years I went to the same Primary
Care Physician (that's what they call family doctors,
or general practitioners these days). He was a terrific
guy; in fact, I imagine he's still a terrific guy.
He and I had an established routine. We'd talk for
around twenty to thirty minutes after the nurse
had taken my pulse, temperature, and blood pressure.
When I was still smoking, he tried to convince me
to stop. When my blood pressure was too high, he
prescribed blood pressure medication. It got to
the point that when I needed a PAP smear, he suggested
that he do it, to save me the hassle of going to
my gynecologist. It never really registered with
me that I wasn't receiving a thorough physical
examination. I enjoyed just talking to him,
and besides, I felt fine. There came a time when
my PMS got so unbearable that he prescribed birth
control pills to be taken every day; ie; no periods.
Allelujah! I maintained that regimen for about six
years. Twice I asked to be tested to see if I happened
to be pre-menopausal yet, since I had certainly
reached that age, and both times he tested me, and
assured me that I was still fertile (not that I
wanted to be, but that's another story).
Needless to say, I felt terrible when I was forced
to change doctors due to the switch in my Health
Care Providers (that's what they call HMO money-making
machines nowadays). However, after spending an hour
with my new Primary Care Physician, I was fairly
well shaken up. He took my blood pressure, and then
gave me an electrocardiogram, where he noticed some
abnormalities. So, he referred me to a cardiologist.
He didn't like my birth control regimen, or the
fact that I hadn't been to a gynecologist in six
years, so he referred me to a gynecologist. He was
appalled by several other things I'd been neglecting,
so he referred me to two other specialists to take
care of those. I left his office loaded down with
four new doctor appointments, blood tests at one
lab, and a long-overdue mammogram at another. I
told him I didn't have the time to do all of this
and still work my usual 12-hour days, but he didn't
care. He had tunnel vision. All he cared about was
Now, the gynecologist didn't agree with all of the
things my Primary Care Physician had said, but he
was horrified with everything my previous doctor
had failed to do, and with the fact that I was being
"over-hormonized" as he put it by the birth control
pills. He also informed me that it was impossible
to test for whether or not a person was in menopause
when they were taking birth control pills. As far
as the results of all those hormones, without getting
any more graphic there are some definite problems.
The ultrasound, which has been added to my list
of appointments, should clarify things immensely.
And the cardiologist wasn't convinced that there
were abnormalities in the electrocardiogram, but
he was furious about the dosage and type of blood
pressure medication I was on. The stress test, another
new appointment, will clear up any indecision about
my normal or abnormal heart functioning, and the
new blood pressure medication he prescribed has
already proven totally effective. It actually lowers
my blood pressure.
So what have I learned from all of this? A. It was
much easier going to my first doctor then to my
second? B. Every doctor has his or her own opinion
about everything? C. You need to demand a thorough
physical examination and not just talk to your doctor?
D. You need to go to specialists for different body
parts because Primary Care Physicians exist to do
referrals? I don't really know what my "final answer"
is; all I'm sure of is that I no longer know who
I can, or should trust.
What can I say about attorneys that hasn't been
said before. Nobody trusts attorneys.* Nevertheless,
because I'm such a trusting person, at least when
someone who is being paid anywhere from $250-$400
per hour is giving me advice, I tend to believe
them. If they say, "Don't worry about this; it's
nothing." I really want to believe them. When they
say, "That will never happen" I want to relax. But
it just doesn't work that way. Over the last few
years, I've watched as either I, or someone I know
or love, has had "nothings" turn into "somethings"
and things that will "never happen" happen. What's
the reason for that? A. Are attorneys trained in
law school to repeat that mantra to all clients?
B. Are they so arrogant that they think by saying
it, it's true? C. Are they just incompetent, and
have no clue what will really happen? D. Do they
lull you into doing nothing so that they can collect
the really big money when something happens? Again,
my final answer is unclear, although in this case
I would bet it's all of the above. But it certainly
does raise the issue again; who should I trust?
My real question is why should I, or anyone else,
have to ask that question. Have we all just become
much more informed, and far more skeptical than
in the good old days? Or are there really more incompetent,
less trustworthy professionals out there than before?
apologies to the few truly honest, caring attorneys
out there, some of whom also happen to be good friends.