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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The New Auto Mechanics--Doctors and Dentists

Have you noticed something?
The new auto mechanics are doctors and dentists. Ever go into one of those fast lube places and some guy with no teeth holding a dirty air filter slouches over to your chair. "I highly recommend you replace this puppy if I were you and I noticed your fuel injectors haven' been cleaned and your radiator ain't been flushed and your differentials need the oil changed...for you just be bout six hundred and some change." We usually just nod and say, no, just change the oil with the tacit understand that this is the way the game is played. They try and make money and you say no thank you.

Now the guy without teeth holding a dirty air filter is wearing a tie and a mask and has all his teeth. I noticed this change with the dentists years ago when a hygienist came in and asked if I was ready to have those three cavities filled and that crown replaced. I sat up in the chair. "I don't have three cavities." The hygienist looked at her chart. "Well you have three areas that could be suspect...I'll get the doctor." The dentist came in and confirmed that I actually didn't have three cavities but that I might and this would be preventative. But we could wait and see if I wanted too. Fine. Wait and see. And if I wanted to replace that crown we could do that too. No. I don't want that. And if you want that whitening treatment we highly recommend or that fluoride treatment we highly recommend or swap out that old silver filling then we could do that too. I could have been back in the lube joint. No, I don't want my radiator flushed or my fuel injection system cleaned or my differential changed. Your funeral buddy.


Same with doctors now. Hmmm...these numbers are not right. What! What! Well your urine count is off. You better get an ultrasound. Your glucose is a little high, you better get a two hour glucose tolerance test. You better get a stress test, you might have an arrhythmia. But these numbers are all in the normal range doctor. Not necessarily. By the way how is your vision? My vision. Yes, any fuzziness...trouble seeing at night like in a pitch black room...do you ever trip over anything. Well yes....better get an ocular degeneration test while you are at it and you said you had some indigestion well we better get you scoped and by the way when was the last time you had a colon scope...hmmm...lets get that in there too...Are you ever hungry when you don't eat? Why yes. Hmmm...better get a hypothalamus test. What about sleepy when you don't sleep? Why yes. Alright... a sleep apnea test. You will need to check into the hospital for that one. How about walking...do you move when you walk? Yes....you'll need some crutches then.


Let's face it. Capitalism is not parked at the door anymore. The Hippocratic oath and capitalism move together now. There are monstrous student loans these doctors and dentists have to pay and lots of equipment that must be paid for. And there is competition. I knew I was in trouble when the dentist told me I could watch the inside of my mouth on television. How much did that cost? The depersonalization of health care certainly breeds an assembly line mentality and yes there are still good doctors and dentist out there. But the next time someone comes up to you with a dirty air filter and says you ought to get it replaced, then get a second opinion. You only have so many parts and these days there are no trade ins.
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Books by William Hazelgrove