Excellent move, this ban on 328 drugs. Much called for, given the patience of patients is wearing thin. In fact, we’d welcome a ban on a few more from the medical maelstrom, too.
Ban on loud, embarrassing references to your body parts and functions: “So, how’s the flatulence doing,” the doctor hollers cheerfully in front of the nurse you’ve been trying to impress, to which you strenuously protest you have no, zero, zilch flatulence, hoping you will not produce any effects of the said symptom under the pressure of this examination. The doctor follows it up with an even jauntier, “And how was your stool today?” enquiring about its health like it’s an errant child; was it pale, bubbly, running? You exit later into the waiting room, knowing that the 11 people there are now intimately acquainted with your misbehaving bowel movements.
Ban on doctors’ scrawl: All doctors who scribble in abysmal handwriting across your prescription should forfeit their fees. You and the chemist almost come to blows later, arguing whether it’s intoxifloxicycliclocin or othantioxyocysticomin, both of which he unkindly refuses to give you, claiming they do not exist. This doctor is silently plotting to kill you, undoubtedly in cahoots with that nephew who wants you to put him in your will.
Ban on well-meaning advice: Or you could do away entirely with doctor fees, seeing that every citizen of our country is a practising, highly-rated (in their own opinion) medical expert. You have a rash? Coconut oil, mustard oil, cold milk, hot milk, eggs on your hair, cucumber on your eyes, bitter gourd on an empty stomach, spit on your eye; everyone you meet insists on curing you. Stand on your head at dawn, press your spleen, swim, don’t swim — it’s bad for your sinuses, jog, don’t jog — it’s bad for your knees. In addition to your rampaging rash, you can now neither breathe (blocked sinuses) nor walk (bad knees).
Ban on lab tests: Remember your family doctor, who jabbed your tummy twice, peered into your ears, then gave you a dose of something that no self-respecting bug could survive? Now, your doctor won’t hazard a diagnosis without a series of tests — CBC, PVC, HIV, LOL… You read somewhere that 75% of lab tests prescribed are unnecessary — an epic medical scam is what it is! You wonder why the bee sting on your wrist needs a chest X-ray and colonoscopy, it’s not like you swallowed the hive.
Ban on scary medical jargon: The doctor tells those annoying interns hanging around, “The patient presents with sternunation and synchronous diaphragmatic flutters.” You’re dying, that’s it! You always suspected it. Google informs you that you have merely sneezed and hiccupped. And the bill gives you formication, which is to say you get the creeps.
Ban on ‘You-must-bear-the-pain’: Finally, ban the sadists who insist you smile while your stomach is twisting into vile knots or your head is threatening to split into two. “Good they’ve banned the drugs,” these martyrs will say, “Just imagine a lapping ocean and you will stop vomiting.” The only remedy is to train your next projectile on to them.
Where Jane De Suza, the author of Happily Never After, talks about the week’s quirks, quacks and hacks.