Wednesday, January 08, 2014

D-I-Y Me?

A little stroll through the aisles of your local pharmacy makes it clear that we have now entered the wonderful world of medical do-it-yourself-ism.  There are test kits for everything from warts to pregnancy.  DIY health care is sure to save millions of dollars in unnecessary co-pays to doctors, but there’s a darker side to this story. 

 "Uh, hello?  I just used your "So You Think You Have a Brain Tumor" test kit and I think I... What?  State my symptoms?  Well, ok.  Excruciating pain in the left side of my frontal lobe, seeing flashing lights and, oooohhh…paaasssingggg…ooouut…”

“Whoopsie, that was a close one.   Now where was I?  Oh, yes, flashing lights, vomiting and severe ringing in my ears.  The test kit says I most likely have a brain tumor. The cute little picture of the brain turned pink when I…well, you know.” 

“What?  Cough into the phone?  But I don't need to cough?  A matter of routine?  Alright, if you say so.  Aaahemm, aaahemm!  I'm sorry, that's the best I can do, I really don't feel a need to cough.  It's just that I used your brain tumor kit from the drug store and it came up positive, so I figured I'd better call and find out what to do next before it gets worse.” 

“Place two fingers on the carotid artery?  I think my arteries are good.  It’s just I've got a big presentation due on Monday at work and I don't want to be passing out in front of the suits from corporate, so I...  What’s that?  Prick my finger and time how fast the blood clots?  Are you kidding?  For a brain tumor?” 

“Hey, wait, is this the right number?  I dialed the number on the back of the kit like it said.  This IS the right number?   And don't forget to sterilize the lancet?  Cheesy crackers!  What lancet?  I don't have a lancet.  Can I use a really sharp fork?  I've got a really sharp fork here in the drawer, but there's crusted egg yolk on it, can you wait a minute while I wash it off?  I'm putting you on hold, don't hang up, ok, don't hang up.”

“You're not ‘programmed’ to hold?  Heeey, am I talking to a real person?  Well, you don’t sound like it.  Ok, ok, don’t get huffy.  You say I should use the complimentary lancet in the test kit?  I didn’t see a lancet in the box?  Oh, here it…yikes, this sucker's sharp!  Crap!  Can you hold, I just stuck myself with your stupid lancet and…  What?  Oh yeah, duh, start timing, right.  No, I don't have a watch with a second hand.  Alright, alright.  One Mississippi, two Mississippi…”

“Ok, fifteen minutes and…and…forty-seven seconds.  Now what, I‘m getting pretty light-headed here?  What?  Did I remember to sterilize the lancet?  Oh, crap... What’s that you say?  For my convenience, there's a nice selection of  ‘So You Think You Have Tetnus’ test kits at my local pharmacy?  Yeah, thanks, you have a nice day, too.”

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