"And beside, what really kills me, is how you Americans just care about the money. Man, quality of life is much more than the money. It's support when you need it. It's knowing that you are protected in case something goes wrong and it's not entirely your fault..." Thank you for this. As an American, I have this argument *constantly* with some...
Agreed, for the most part. I *do* play doctor, however, in certain cases. The aforementioned "sniffles", which we don't have a cure for anyway and which my healthy young adult immune system appears to be taking care of for me at an appropriate rate, tend to give me cause to try various "home remedies" and other comfort measures. (The ones that don't sound dangerous, anyway - those old mustard plasters apparently give people chemical burns sometimes! Chicken soup and some frozen orange juice concentrate eaten like ice cream, however, or ginger ale for mild stomach bugs, are nice and make me feel like I'm doing something besides simply waiting it out.) I suspect if I had something terminal and untreatable I would probably take any and all desperate measures I could, as well. But until modern medicine gives up on me, I'm not going to give up on it either. The problem I run into for me and even more so for many people I am acquainted with is that (In the US) for the uninsured "working poor", ie people who can cover rent, bills, groceries and some small luxuries but are blindsided by any unexpected expense over ~$150, there are times when one simply can't drop by and consult a physician, or more likely can make it for the initial visit and get a diagnosis but can't afford to address anything that isn't a major and immediate threat to one's health or life. I know a bipolar who couldn't afford the specialist referral when his GP was no longer able to renew his prescription for mood stabilizers who for some time was having to purchase his mood stabilizers in Mexico and bring them back every few months. People with that condition are not usually known for working that hard to be med-compliant. I also know someone who, against the advice of myself and everyone else, performed minor surgery on a dental abscess and was somehow successful, leaving only a small facial scar. Several people warned him that this was potentially extremely dangerous and a terrible idea (it was an abscess from a root canal that went septic), but he claimed lack of funds and refused to apply nearly as much effort to finding emergency medical assistance as he did to poking a semi-sterilized syringe into his face. Despite all this, he was (somehow) successful in what he was trying to do, and managed to avoid any obvious or immediate complications. Anyway, my point is this: there are a growing number of people who are encountering serious (or imagined) barriers to consulting a professional about anything that doesn't leave them without a choice. I don't want to make this question political given that there's a lot of debate right now about health care in the US, but what does the medical community recommend people do in these situations? For example, I've had recurring pain in my left shoulder that is infrequent but getting worse for the last seven years, was told it is probably a pinched nerve somewhere and I should go see a specialist or two and get it taken care of. Since it doesn't happen too often and doesn't impair my ability to work or continue to live, the cost means it remains a luxury until I enter another income bracket. I know many similar stories. I suspect this is why so many people are trying to play doctor themselves lately, and I'm inclined to agree with the medical community that this is not a good thing. What do physicians suggest?
I know I'm just going to be throwing more armchair psychology into the mix, despite the fact that this is my field of study, but I'm inclined to agree. If anything, I would go a step further and say that the only possible working definition of sane that we've managed to come up with so far is equivalent to functional. (Cue the programming jokes) The definition of sane, if you try to pin it down any better than that, seems to become "I know its absence when I see it". My current thinking is that there probably is some better version of sane than we're currently able to define or produce, but paradoxically it wouldn't last very long in current societies because it would be not at all functional in any of them. But don't listen to me, I'm completely crazy.