Whatever you do, don’t call ’em “health care providers”

Talking to Dad today, he tells me that next week he needs to go see the “clap doctor,” and has to take Mom back to the “farrier.” Translations:  urologist and podiatrist. Dad was treated for bladder cancer quite a few years ago, but goes for regular check-ups that involve having his “hobby” violated with “a garden hose,” after which he’ll “piss hot lead” for a few days. Mom has poor circulation and neuropathy in her lower extremities, so goes regularly to have her “hooves” trimmed. Dad has to drive her because Mom has dementia, but he’s thinking about breaking it off with the podiatrist, because “those bastards are getting as bad as the chiropractors. Once they get you coming, you gotta keep going back. They never actually cure you of anything. Just like the damned pimple doctors.”  Last week, Dad saw the “pump doctor,” i.e. cardiologist, another one of the “quacks” that he sees regularly since his heart attack last spring. Dad actually likes the cardiologist, even though it really pisses him off how much medication he is prescribed and the strong admonishment to cut down on his alcohol intake. It turns out that heavy  alcohol consumption over the course of many years will damage your heart and is a common cause of atrial fibrillation. As Dad put it, “Here all along, I thought I was being responsible by not drinking before 5 o’clock, and it turns out I’m nothing but an old drunk.” The cardiologist barely cracked a smile, but Dad keeps trying out his schtick on him, and it appears they’ve come to some kind of an understanding. Dad takes about half the medication the pump guy prescribes for him, and drinks about half as much gin as he’d really like to each evening. As for internists, Dad has gone through quite a series of them over the last few years. “They’re getting to be just like migrant workers. You start getting ’em trained up, and they leave. Can’t blame ’em, really, they don’t pay these guys enough anymore to make it financially feasible for ’em. Kids getting out of medical school and residency programs into debt up to their asses. Come the Revolution…”  Regardless, he will then launch into a diatribe about how the internists are “just there like tits on a boar,” anyway. That is, they don’t really do anything except refer one to specialists, order tests and push pills. “Healthcare providers, my ass! What an offensive use of the English language!”

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