Wednesday, March 15, 2006

A Generic Letter to My Doctors

Dear Doctor,

I have only two questions: Is it serious? And is it treatable? Understand that I come here as a last resort. I am here either because my internal and external sensors are insufficient to determine just how serious the problem is or my own efforts to treat the problem have not prevented it from getting worse. I prefer not to take medication, so please use the diagnostic tools at your disposal to find the source of my symptoms before handing me a prescription to cover them up. If I complain about pain, or any symptom, it means that I want to know the cause, not that I want a drug for it. If a test is not covered by insurance, tell me about it anyway so I can decide for myself whether it is worth the out-of-pocket expense. And while I respect that you spent a good deal of time and money going to medical school, please keep in mind that I have been living inside my body for quite a long time and have at least some idea of how it usually functions. Just because something is “unlikely” doesn’t mean it never happens. If you keep these things - but especially my two key questions - in mind, I think we can make this a productive visit.

Many thanks,



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