Opinion: Abnormal practice


A hallmark of good stewardship for our corporeal bodies is regular health care. But in a time of isolation and lockdown, how do we keep up with routine maintenance Many general practice physicians are waiting by the phone with patient counts low and offices closed. Do we have a responsibility to our good doctors to keep our regular checkups in much the same way that we are ordering carryout from the local trattoria? 

Many caring citizens have marched on with scheduled appointments, hoping to support the local team and to keep the baseline of personal care up to date. One such recent virtual visit illustrated the gaps of nontouch medicine to both medical professional and patient. The pleasantries of general self-reporting on weight, overall comportment and the vagaries of aging aches and pains became the focus of the exam. Thankfully absent were the more physical elements of the physical. One does not look in their own ear or throat. Also gone were the more invasive examinations that occur as we age. 

There was some talk of the current state of medicine. There was some talk about appropriate ways to fend off, or forestall, contagion. There was some talk about coping with the stress of it all. Then, there was a prescription for a blood draw – to be administered at a time and place that was available, open and comfortable. One can assume the results would bolster the chat and lead to a bit more accurate diagnosis. It is dangerously reminiscent of the 2006 film on government overreach, “Idiocrasy,” where medicine is largely practiced by vending machine. Still, there is comfort in the abnormal normalcy of it. The doctor closed by admonishing that we get a “real” appointment when able.

A dental cleaning is coming up. It should prove to be virtually interesting.