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Thursday, May 3, 2007

5 -- The Case of the Missing Doctor

NOTE: This blog is a continuing dialog between the two faces of rilla. The identity crisis is explained (if such a thing is possible) in the first edition. Click here to read: 1 -- Introduction

rilla: So, someone I know is approaching menopause, and…
Rilla: That’s a bad word.
rilla: What is?
Rilla: Menopause.
rilla: Just because you’re scared stiff of the idea doesn’t make it a bad word.
Rilla: This doesn’t sound like a children’s story.
rilla: It isn’t.
Rilla: Oh! Well it doesn’t sound like it has a happy ending either and I tend to like happy endings.
rilla: You know, if you don’t stop blabbering, and take a breather once in a while, people will think we have A.D.D. I would appreciate it if you would zip up until I’ve finished the story. Good. So, this lady’s blood count dropped to fatally low levels because she was losing blood and she was advised she needed surgery. However, and here’s the clincher…ready?...You listening? Oh, you’ve got your lips pursed, I get it…very cute. Well, her surgery, despite her fatally low blood-count, is labeled ‘non-urgent’ and she is made to wait two whole months to have it, losing blood all the while! How scary is that!
Rilla: Can I speak now? Yes? OK. That’s nothing. I read in this health magazine about a man who suffered from a brain-injury in a car-accident but no nearby hospitals had a neurosurgeon! The result? He had to be airlifted to another hospital, but there was a storm, and he only got treated six hours later. He was lucky to be alive, and he lost all his memory, everything, wife, children, previous life, nada. The worst is, it could have been prevented if his local hospital were not so understaffed.
rilla: OK, here’s a funny one.
Rilla: That was supposed to be really frightening.
rilla: It was. I thought I’d lighten the mood a bit. So, there are two patients, and both limp into their doctor’s offices. The first is examined within the hour, his hip is x-rayed and hip-replacement surgery is scheduled for the next day. Within two days, he is home recuperating. The second waits a week to see his family doctor, waits eight weeks to see a specialist, gets an x-ray which is reviewed two weeks later and finally has hip-replacement surgery scheduled for two months later. What is the difference between the two patients?
Rilla: Oh, I didn’t realize it was a riddle…
rilla: The first is a golden-retriever, the second a senior-(human)-citizen!
Rilla: I thought it was supposed to be funny. That is just plain depressing. Where did you get that story?
rilla: It was in a chain-email sent by a friend.
Rilla: You read those things? I only read real stories, like the one I told you about in the magazine.
rilla: Which magazine?
Rilla: Prevention. According to the article, 30 million Americans already live in areas where doctors are in short supply. Not only that, a full third of doctors today are over 55 and getting ready to retire while at the same time, a large proportion of our population is going into the senior citizen bracket and will require more health care.
rilla: So what’s going on? Why aren’t there new doctors coming onto the scene?
Rilla: It’s all a conspiracy.
rilla: OK, now you’ve done it. Back to your conspiracy theories again. I thought you had something serious to offer for a change. To think you actually had me listening to you…
Rilla: How about this then…the number of students entering medical school per 100,000 population declines every year. By the year 2020, the country could be short 200,000 doctors!
rilla: Where’s the conspiracy in that? There must be a valid reason.
Rilla: The valid reason is that Congress passed a law that ensured the decline in the number of doctors. A 1997 Act cut funding to teaching-hospitals on the recommendation of the American Medial Association which forecast that there would be an excess of doctors to the tune of 165,000 by the year 2000! Talk about getting your numbers wrong!
rilla: Well, I bet now that they’ve realized their grotesque mistake, the laws will be reversed.
Rilla: No such luck. The only way to get any action taken is to get involved… petition your legislators.
rilla: What, me? Write to a legislator?
Rilla: I thought you were a writer…
rilla: But…
Rilla: Don’t be ridiculous, it’s easy. The magazine even offered a link to a website you can use, and given the amount of time you spend on the computer…the sooner the better, it can take up to 14 years for a new doctor to enter practice from the time he or she started out as a student. Do you want to wait 43 days to be seen by an orthopedic surgeon even if you are in pain? That’s the average in LA already. Think what will happen if we don’t make changes now.
rilla: I don’t like signing things…I’m always in pain anyway. Have you done it?
Rilla: Of course I have.
rilla: Oh! Well then why do I have to…
Rilla: The more signatures the better.
rilla: But…oh, never mind.

Get involved, sign a petition to stop the doctor shortage from worsening.
Go to: to read more on what you can do.

Maybe someday it will be as easy and affordable for you to see a doctor as it is for us! Ha ha!

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intuart said...

One of the biggest problems I have with menopause, really the only significant issue to date, is that darn name. Ok so we're wo-men, men-struate and then get men-o-pause, give me a break. We need to rename these major life processes. BTW is it just me or do you think those words are kinda ugly too?
"She is Venus when she smiles,
But she's Juno when she walks
And Minerva when she talks"
author Ben Jonson crediting women with loveliness, majesty, and wisdom

Rilla said...

Hey intuart,
Thank you for surfacing out of art long enough to read my blog! I thought your reflections on the ugly words were interesting. However, I do believe that the 'men' everywhere is a coincidence. For instance, I think that the word 'man' has Germanic roots. Whereas the word 'menstruation' comes from the Latin 'menstruus' or monthly and 'menopause' possibly comes from the Latin 'meno' or minus or subtract. I'm not an expert, so you word origin types out there please correct me. Of course, their lack of relationship still doesn't make them attractive words! And, I'm all for being lovely, majestic and wise...if only ;)