Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Right to Life

This is not about history or about writing, per se. It's about the right to life, to choose the course of my life without someone else charging me a fee for it.

Doctors are often given certain freedoms because we so often trust them with vital parts of our lives. However, doctors are just human beings. We are human beings as well. And we all have the capacity to judge for ourselves in many cases, including some medical issues. Take blood pressure for instance. I have high blood pressure and I check that pressure twice a week myself, on a meter that I purchased at a pharmacy. It's a pretty accurate meter and hasn't given me a wrong reading yet. I have medication that I take every day... the same medication that I have taken for years and will take until the day I die.

The timing of my eventual death is now pretty much in the hands of someone else, not a supernatural deity whom most of us would agree has greater resources at his command than any doctor on the planet. If I don't show up at my appointment, pay my usual fee, then I don't receive that little slip of paper that gives me the right to continue life for another six months.

In most parts of the world, they call this extortion... receiving money for no particular reason but for the fact that you can. And they hold our lives in the balance.

Seeing a doctor on a regular basis is not just a good idea. It's a requirement. The argument goes... that without doctors, I would be dead right now because my hypertension is a natural part of my life cycle. Now that I have reached the point in my life that I would naturally be dead, I no longer have control over my own fate. I must pay a doctor $280 a year for no other reason than to check my blood pressure, my weight, ask me how I feel, and basically operate a "toll booth." I check all of these things anyway. I can tell my doctor when I walk in the door what they are, and that I'm feeling fine, say "just give me my permission slip so I can continue to live," and then leave. Or not, in which case I'd die.

I'm not saying that it's not a good idea to have regular appointments. But, my life is no longer mine. I am now required to pay for its continuance. And this is America. We're supposed to be free. Guess it's like the seatbelt issue, you now have to wear it or get a ticket. Yet, if you are the only one in the car, isn't it your choice to take that chance? Like motorcycle riders having a choice in some states to ride without a helmet. It's not smart, no. But, it IS their choice. Because they have the freedom to make that choice... a choice that only involves their own lives.

Must I continue to pay for my life? Is that right? Or do we give doctors far too much privilege? I agree that they earn a great deal of it. I do. But, once the diagnosis has been made, nothing is ever going to change it. I've known some people who take gobs of vitamins and supplements in an effort to avoid the doctor's control of their lives. They want to take back the control. Unfortunately, they often delude themselves into thinking that they can do it without prescription drugs. In most cases, that's simply not true. Delusions can kill us and very often do. If these people had control over the vital medication that they need, they may still be alive today. But because they chose freedom instead, they sacrificed their lives.

Doctors take advantage of their privilege in this way, operating a "cash cow," an extortion service. And they hold our very lives over our heads.

I want my freedom back. I no longer have it. I am shackled to a doctor who bleeds me of my money for no reason whatsoever. This is wrong.

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