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Homegrown health care

04/22/2013 @ 9:48am

At some time or another, nearly all of us will avail ourselves of the healthcare system. This is true even for Superman, but only because he was being such a jerk to Lois Lane that she decided to fix his wagon by secretly sprinkling powdered kryptonite in his underwear.

Modern media has only made things worse. Back in the day, a person could live an entire lifetime and experience its everyday aches and pains without giving them a second thought. Not anymore!

Thanks to cable TV and the Internet, the tiniest discomfort can be swiftly magnified into a life-threatening malady. It’s a hypochondriac’s dream. Or nightmare, depending on how you look at things.

Got a nebulous twinge in the abdominal area? Could be that you have exploding spleen syndrome! Do your burps taste funny? Maybe you suffer from a deadly form of dystopian dyspepsia! Your elbow suddenly itches? You might be afflicted with the heartbreak of desiccated epidermis!

There once was a time when having a healthcare problem meant summoning the village shaman. Maybe a chicken would be sacrificed; perhaps some sort of homebrewed potion would be administered. The healthcare professional would then sit at the patient’s bedside until he or she got better -- or didn’t. And nobody was ever sued for malpractice because a goat should have been sacrificed instead of a hen.

That stands in sharp contrast to today’s healthcare consumer. He or she has been bombarded by television commercials that tout medications for ailments that the patient would have never imagined otherwise.

Doctors have to deal with people demanding pills for such things as flatulent earlobes or acute toenails. Prescriptions are written to remedy such issues as restless eyebrows and excessive knuckle puckering.

It’s even worse if the patient habitually watches celebrity tele-doctors like Dr. Oz. Were you to take every supplement recommended by such docs, you would waste away because your digestive system wouldn’t have any room for food.

Like most, I’ve had times when I’m not hitting on all cylinders. After recently enduring a string of days of feeling thoroughly “blech,” I decided to seek the advice of an expert.

The problem is, I am too cheap to pony up for a real medical opinion from an actual medical professional. I instead opted to consult with Otis, whom I consider to be both a good friend and a top-notch automotive repair expert. I figured there are so many similarities between the human body and modern cars, the same principles should apply to both.

This decision was made easier by the knowledge that Otis often gives out free advice. Another plus is that Otis would never so much as utter such words as “prostate exam” or “colonoscopy.”

Otis had his head buried deep in the engine compartment of a late-model sedan when I strolled into his shop. Glimpsing me out of the corner of his eye, Otis smiled and chirped cheerily, “Hey bud, what’s up?”

His upbeat demeanor instantly elevated my mood. Physicians take note: A cheerful bedside manner can be a powerful curative.

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