“Practicing” Medicine

March 4, 2008 at 5:17 pm 14 comments

The phrase “practicing medicine” has always bugged me.  In my world we “practice” only until we’re qualified to “perform”.  We practiced hitting tennis balls into the garage door so we could ace an opponent in a match.  Practiced to a ticking metronome so we could play at a concert.  I wonder which people will benefit from the “practice” Pap’s doctors have had on him?

Today he goes in for more leg surgery.  Its outpatient this time, because through their practice the doctors have figured out they can do the same thing with a laser that they, just three years ago, did with a scalpel.  Too late for Pap, he’s already been marked up like Frankenstein.  In theory, this procedure will improve the circulation in his leg so that he doesn’t lose his foot.  It’s only a theory though, that was what the last two leg surgeries were supposed to do.  The heart by-pass was supposed to not just save him, but give him a new lease on life.  It gave him depression, phantom pains in his ribs and $160 a month in medications.  It gave him fear…fear of death, fear of throwing things, fear of sun, running, throwing a grandgirl into the air.  It gave him a half life.

I wonder, sometimes, if it were not for the family’s expectation that he was obligated to let his Doctors “practice” fixing him, if Pap would have just said no to all these procedures and passed on whenever his heart gave up.


Entry filed under: Family, rants, writing.

How Do You Write? Two Years and Counting…

14 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Absolute Vanilla (an  |  March 4, 2008 at 8:14 pm

    I have a very dim very of modern/allopathic medicine, which is not helped by having a friend who is no longer a “practicing” doctor who reckons all doctors are just the pits.

    I do hope things go with the leg surgery and that this time the op does exactly what it’s supposed to do – not what it’s supposed to do “in theory”.

    Okay, let me stop now before I get on my soapbox!

    Good luck and strength.

  • 2. Delmonti (Dave)  |  March 4, 2008 at 8:20 pm

    It’s a difficult call. I guess I’ll find out soon enough myself

  • 3. stacy  |  March 4, 2008 at 8:24 pm

    I have a lot of confusion myself on this subject. Starting with, is it really a life just because we can keep it from ending? We can take better care of ourselves and there are procedures that increase the quality of life, but when is it enough? We weren’t meant to go on forever….at least not physically.

  • 4. LauraJ  |  March 4, 2008 at 9:47 pm

    i wrestle that question…only it’s a bit different… what would our lives be like had A not had back surgery 5 years ago? He wouldn’t be paralyzed but would he still be alive? We do the best we can with what we’ve got left AFTER we’ve made the decisions. It sucks.

  • 5. Dr. John  |  March 5, 2008 at 5:17 am

    I know doctors aren’t perfect. My specialists made more than their share of mistakes. But they saved me. They brought me out of the coma . They taught me to walk again. When I visit with my grandchildren I know it was worthwhile for me. Besides if they keep practicing some day they will get it right.

  • 6. QuillDancer  |  March 5, 2008 at 8:04 am

    Sometimes the “cure” is worse then what ails you.

  • 7. Little old me  |  March 5, 2008 at 2:43 pm

    I was told 5 years ago I would need surgery on my foot; there was a 50% chance that it would work, but 50% that it would be worse. I was told at the time the problem would not rectified itself. I decided to live with the pain I knew. About 2 years ago I found the pain getting less and less and worried that I was losing the sensation in my foot I went back to the doctors to be told the foot was healing itself! It’s hard to decide to know what to do for the best.

    Good luck with the op.

  • 8. hammer  |  March 6, 2008 at 4:09 am

    It’s a crapshoot most of the time. Doctors are mosty playing a guessing game in these matters.

  • 9. Janet  |  March 6, 2008 at 8:54 am

    That’s rough. Hope the operation went well.

  • 10. mattresspolice  |  March 6, 2008 at 10:15 am

    I hate doctors. Except when I, like, really sick.

  • 11. J.  |  March 7, 2008 at 12:39 am

    I hope this comes out okay.
    Thoughts with you, sweetie.
    As for the medical field, I refer to it as the “machine”. Once you’re sucked into the machine, it’s hard to get out.

  • 12. DaveM  |  March 7, 2008 at 2:24 am

    You do wonder sometimes whether its best left to nature. Doctors sometimes just make a best guess. But its a case of damned if you do and damned if you dont. All the best flower.

  • 13. Hayden  |  March 7, 2008 at 8:43 am

    thinking of you, kat. hoping that all goes well. Maybe this time…

  • 14. Mimi  |  March 7, 2008 at 8:49 am

    First of all, thanks for still checking in on me even though I have been gone. It really means a lot:) Sorry to be such a crappy blog buddy. I have certainly met some special people thru blogging that are always there even when I am not.

    I understand and agree with your point of view. Medicine is a blessing, but it can be a mixed blessing. It can prolong life, but what about the quality? I think each case is different of course. It is a subject I could go on forever about.


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