Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The doctor is to be feared more than the disease

So after a weekend of painful elbows, I made an appointment to see my doctor, here in Hong Kong. I was fortunate to get an appointment the same day, and left work a little early to go see him.

When I went into his surgery he greeted me with, "Hello Mr O, how are you, today?"
Surely it is blindingly obvious that, having made an appointment to see him that day, I haven't come to tell him that I am perfectly well.

So I tell him that my left elbow is swollen and painful, but that the earlier proble I had with my knee is OK. So he looks at my elbow, moves my arm around, looks at other parts of me and asks me some questions. Then its time for the diagnosis, "well your elbow is inflamed".

No shit, Sherlock! This is a great job, the patient tells you what's wrong and you turn it into medical language, "doctor, I have broken my leg", "yes, you have a fracture of the femur, that's 700 HKD please"

Any way he is not sure why my elbow is inflamed, so he has given me loads of tablets and told me to come back in a fortnight. To give hime his due the tablets seem to be helping a little bit, but I am probably growing a massive stomach ulcer from all the anti-inflammatories I am shoving down my throat.

As Voltaire said, “Doctors are men who prescribe medicines of which they know little, to cure diseases of which they know less, in human beings of whom they know nothing”


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