Whoever said ‘health is wealth’ must have spoken so after experiencing its corollary, which is: If you are unhealthy, you are bound to become ‘unwealthy’, thanks in the main to the doctors and the clinical labs that they, bound by the Hippocratic oath, refer you to for sundry tests.
The basic question then is, who is this Hippocrates? Oops sorry, the question should read: How do you remain healthy? And is it possible to save both your pulse and purse? Well, it is debatable, and it depends on which physician is treating you and how serious he is (as opposed to how serious your ailment is).
So, this straight-away takes us to the point, how to identify a good doctor? Those using stethoscopes and sporting long, flowing white coats must be ruled out on grounds that only those physicians portrayed in Tamil cinema and DD serials wear them anymore.
In the last few years, medical science has decidedly advanced far enough for doctors to now completely dispense with the need to use stethoscopes. Doctors themselves have improved their skills so much that they now take just one look at the patient, or whoever turns up at the door, and immediately diagnose that he or she is in very urgent need of a CT scan or a biopsy.
Medical community has slowly reduced the status of the ‘steth’ to something that a school student uses when doing duty as a doctor during the fancy dress competition. And with the stethoscope becoming passe, the white coats, whose only use I can think of is that they came stitched with cavernous pockets big enough to hold a squiggly ‘steth’, too have no more earthly use.
Also, be wary of doctors who still write out prescriptions for medicines. Tonics and tablets are something that the guy at the local medical shop tells you to take. Veteran physicians now use their letter-heads only to suggest the name of a clinical lab where the patient has to undergo the test and screening process suggested by them.
Doctors, it should also be said, are particular that the patient undergoes the ‘tests’ only in the lab suggested by them. Apparently, modern medical science has evolved to the level where it can result in severe damage to your entire immune system if you make the stupid mistake of undergoing a clinical screening process in a lab not recommended by your GP.
Doctors have more or less come to the consensus that leaving any choice to the patient is more dangerous than the HIV virus. But as a free individual, you will still have options —- whether to pay in cash or through card at the clinical lab.
But whichever option it is, your health insurance will not save you. For health insurances, by an expert planning, are devised in such a manner that they cover all the ailments and afflictions in the world except the one that you have come down with. At any rate, the amount that any health insurance provides you would not be sufficient even to cover the cotton and gauzes costs.
Anyway, doctors are just one aspect of your health. A lot hinges on your lifestyle and what you eat. Good food habits and regular physical exercise are generally highly recommended. But when you fall sick, which you will, considering the atmosphere that is around here, your good physical work-outs and dietary habits will be of no help.
If anything, they will work against you. Let me explain: If you smoke, and are down with some lung infection, the doctor will naturally tell you to cut down on the cigarettes. Or if you are hypertensive, the doc will put his foot down on alcoholic beverages and oily stuff.
But if you don’t have any habits and are still down, the doctor will be confused. And when a medical man is confused, he knows only one thing to do: Refer you to for all the tests in the world, including the nuclear ones (provided the US agrees and the Communists allow).
So no matter what you eat and how you maintain yourself physically, the bottomline is more CT scans, more echocardiograms and more reports and print-outs that suspiciously look like INSAT pictures of an area covered by a big depression.
This gives us a fairly wholesome idea of philosophy that is behind the medical community. In case you need a round-up, this is it: At the base is you. And in you is some affliction for which you need treatment so that those who have studied medicine and also set up shop with clinical labs can have a family and life to look forward to.
And by the way, the answer to the question that I inadvertently asked, ‘Who is this Hippocrates’ is: All things considered, he must be the father of modern economics.