I went to the doctor with a cold, which basically means that I paid a $50 co-pay to have a professional male nurse look at me and go “Yep, you’re sick. Good luck with that.”
In the doctor-detective shows, the patients usually have some cool disease that can be cured with some kind of miracle /experimental treatment. They’ll struggle with the diagnostics, and then figure out the cure during some climactic or inspirational moment during the show.
“Hey man, you wanna pass me the salt?”
“The salt! That’s it! You figured out how to beat lupus! It was the salt all along!”"
And the patients are usually super hot.
In my real life, which is not nearly as interesting as any doctor-detective show, I show up at my physician’s office looking like Death, slinging snot everywhere, hacking up small bits of leathery lung boogers. I get the standard fare about drinking lots of fluids, they check me for strep or rabies or whatever, and they send me back out into the world to go suffer a slow death.
It’s just a virus. It’ll run its course.
I’d be more inclined to believe them if they weren’t so insistent that I always pay my co-pay right then, instead of billing me. ”Whoa there, buddy — let’s make sure you pay before you go, just in case you die at home. We didn’t give you any kind of real treatment here today, so God knows what’s gonna happen later.”
Instead, I wish that we paid for all healthcare afterwards, based on how well it worked. Waiters and bartenders are paid for each performance, so why not doctors? Here’s how the plan works: If you die, you don’t pay anything. If you do live, but it was a wrong diagnosis and you spent 3 months chasing the wrong cure, you give them a bad tip, just some marginal amount. Hey Doc, better luck next time. You’ll afford that second Lexus when you start brushing up on recent medical advances.
But when they nail the diagnosis the first time, and your doctor called and checked on you at home, and he or she went out of his or her way to pretend like you were more than just a 7-minute segment on their Thursday calendar, you pay them handsomely.
“Mister Young, you have six months to live.”
“Oh yeah? make it eight and I’ll double the pay.”