Tag Archives: Health care

I never know how to feel about my teeth. I don’t think they’re horrible to look at, but I certainly wouldn’t want to flash them to onlookers. For my interest (what little interest I possess in my teeth) they are perfectly tolerable. I call on them to masticate my boluses, and they perform quite well.

I never know how to feel about my dentist either. My dentist looks at my mouth for about 10 minutes, while the nurse or hygienist spends the majority of my visit violently scraping away at the boundaries of my oral cavity. When I visit my dentist’s clinic, all I expect is to be told to floss more regularly.

I never floss regularly. Even before beginning to work on my mouth, my hygienist commented that she could tell my gums were unhealthy. She further commented that, as she worked, there was a lot of bleeding; healthy gums do not bleed. She said that my gums suck, and that I have gingivitis. My brushing was commendable, and I could have the most beautiful pearls in the world, but what does it benefit me if the frailty of my gums lose them? Then my dentist, claiming not to be a man of numbers, further demised my ability in caring for my mouth when he informed me that I have at least 14 small cavities between my teeth.

I have to take care of my mouth everyday. Duh. It sounds easy and trivial, but this is something I suck at. It’s not too different from America and her citizens’ health.

I never get any praise when I floss in the morning and use my anticavity paste at night. You won’t get any praise for avoiding McDonald’s angus third pounders or Taco Bell’s new $2 deal. ((The new Taco Bell deal is absolutely absurd. How are you going to start selling Doritos at a TexMex?)) Maybe it’s not entirely getting praise, but then it’s entirely not seeing immediate results. American desires dictate immediate profit. So I missed a night flossing — I’m not dying, so it’s alright; I’ll pick up tomorrow. So you slipped and ordered the number 3 from McDonald’s — you didn’t die after the meal, so it’s alright; you won’t order it next time.

Taking care of my teeth means not seeing immediate progress. Taking care of your health means not seeing immediate progress. Progress isn’t always immediate, and if we continue to expect progress to be immediate — even in the slightest — we will remain stagnant, and perhaps even begin to digress.

Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of medical books, blogs, and articles. The past two months have unlocked vaults containing shelves and rows of valuable insight into the profession I aim to pursue. Amidst the texts’ perspectives, I’ve singled out a specialty I might be interested in. Among two others at this point, I’m intrigued by primary care physicians, our family doctors.

Theirs is a noble role on the front lines of health care. You’d never know, though. In war, we readily recognize Marines, but we require a reminder to recognize that behind every Marine, there are a number of military personnel enabling and supporting him or her. In health care, we readily recognize the neurosurgeons and oncologists, but a reminder isn’t enough to push us to recognize the family physician. The medical practitioner totem pole, from what I gather, has carved family physicians near the bottom. That’s hardly the place for these Marines to be.

Obama has recently presented a new health care plan. I’ve no idea what I think of it since I am still trying to understand how health care works. (( is a sight that might help. One of the data the website cites is that most Americans don’t understand health care.)) What I do know, from what I’ve been reading, is that if Obama wants this universal health care, someone has to remedy the stigma that primary care physicians have been gradually scarred. Recruitment into these ranks has been decreasing, and given the lifestyle and compensation of the specialty, it appears that unless an intervention and reformation is applied, primary care physicians will soon become a sight to see. “You saw your doctor yesterday? I’m still hoping he’s received my call.”

I might want to be a primary care physician. I don’t want primary care physicians to enter the profession without ample means to reduce the weight in their bag of scholarly debt; without deserved respect from their peers and the public; without the mind of a businessman, but instead of a healer and preventer who doesn’t have to worry about whether he will be paid this hour with these — and not this — patients. Medicine — our health — is not a business, and like so many things in America, somehow it’s managed to become one.