Retirement Talk

WHAT to do with the rest of your life?


    T'aint So, T'is Too

Jackie Spinks


                             The Magic Market

                      Medicine has been getting a bad press lately and I don’t know why.  And it’s not entirely the governmental obsession.  Let me cover what some of medical critics have to say.

“Between 1999 and 2007 the use of anti-psychotic medication on kids between the ages of 2 and 5 more than doubled. (Vanity Fair, Jan. 2011)

I know a schizophrenic when I see one and any five year old thinking a bear is peering out from under his bed is definitely delusional, as bears don’t hang out under beds, they hang out in the woods. Come on guys, where’s your common sense—anti-psychotics for a 2 year old????.  Surely you can cover expenses in a better way.

Another shocker, and I quote, “As for anti-depressants, placebos have been found in a large number of cases to be more effective. (Vanity Fair, Jan. 2011).  I took anti-depressants in my twenties. And I paid fifty dollars for a bottle of sugar?  Put me down for gullible.

Conservatively speaking the annual American death toll from prescription drugs considered, “safe” can be put at around 200,000.   Three times the number who die from diabetes, four times from kidney disease, and dwarfs the number who die from street drugs, such as heroin and cocaine and dwarfs the number who die from automobile accidents.” (Vanity Fair Jan. 2011)

Another big medical controversy that’s going on in the scientific community  is the one about the mind and body split. And probably the biggest page turn, on this one goes back four hundred year.  It all started with Rene Descartes. And amazingly Descartes, who’s not only the father of modern philosophical, theory, but the father of the mind and body as independent entities  —one spiritual and the other physical. And this hypothesis has been around for four hundred years. 
And most interestingly, this reasoning has held up strong until about a decade ago

But today, shrinks are starting to believe the mind affects the body and the body the mind.  And the French post modernists have begun also to question Descartes assumption about this separation of mind and body.  And how come it took them 400 years to began questioning their idol? 

AS for Foucault, another important thinker, he also dumped Descartes. He claimed Descartes analysis of mind/body wasn’t limited to medical problems, but extended to psychiatrists and the treatment of insanity.

College textbooks now emphasize the lack of split between brain and body. So how did we get to where we are today—with the media challenging most of our concepts about pharmaceuticals and therapeutics—but challenge it as it may, it doesn’t seem to have affected our concern about our bodies,

with the Bureau of Labor Statistics claiming that over half the growth in labor in the next decade, will be in the medical fields. It looks like a big cash flow there, although I’ve also read that in these hard financial times docs are having to send out notices and fliers, to get their customers in.

In my forties and fifties I hit the bottle regularly—pill bottle, or placebo bottle, that is, although I’d probably have been healthier if it HAD been the booze bottle. As for myself, when I visited the doc, I did not belong to the 75% of us who didn’t have anything wrong with them, except worry and an unhappy life, as I was certain, no absolutely positive I was in the 25% category of patients who visit doctors, who had something wrong with them. Like everyone else I do flimflam on myself. Need to play someone for a sucker—look no further.  Here’s one of them.

I can be rational all over the place, but when it comes down to  my hunk of protoplasm that’s protesting, there’s something wrong with me. And it’s not some brain neurons making  wrong connections.   How stupid could I be.

Anyhow, the French post modernists have also questioned the assumption about medical knowledge and the power doctors have gained over people.  Which brings me to the third reason for this media jazz that has first, medicalized society and now with health insurance skyrocketing and making millions,  wants to disqualify it. But this one will be a harder one for them to tackle as society has a desire for Gods or God-like people. 

The post-modernists believe that doctors gain power through the clinical or observing gaze.  Like who doesn’t trust their docs more than their priests or ministers? And as the new rules allow the patient to be touched and prodded, the myth of a doctor’s diagnostic wisdom was further enhanced.  And medical gestures, words and gazes took on a philosophical density that had formerly belonged only to intellectuals and mathematical thinkers.

Furthermore, Docs also started speaking about this or that in the body and as a result of their probing Docs became All Seeing / All Wise and furthermore those white coats were/ are a strong symbol of their priestly status.  And I hate to admit it, but I/we do think of docs as all-knowing Gods, with the answer to all that ails us. Just get to the docs and let him/her bestow their gaze upon me and I will get well, although docs are wrong with their diagnosis 40% of the time.

But I don’t care as I like to believe in magic and all they have to do is prod me a little and examine my fluids and voila, I leave the office with a prescription and feel better already. 

We mostly get the world wrong, even though we’re old enough to know better, because we’re basically children and crave to believe there’s something besides our measly little old bodies is out there.  And we like to assign stuff like hefty boozing to having a biological basis.  It used to be a boozer wouldn’t get much respect,.  But now it’s a disease and a heavy drinker gets AA, medical insurance, rehab, etc. 
So on one hand what used to

be in our heads-- or choices we made-- is now in our biology. And what used to be in our biology is mostly in our heads. In other words we have done a 180. But contrary to anything I say, our belief in the magic in our health markets will not only continue, but grow. 

And even though our Deity in a while lab coat won’t perform magic for us, we will continue to believe ever and ever more fervently, as remember, over half the new jobs formed in the next decade will be in the health professions. But there’s natural  law, that everything that goes up, must come down. 




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