This is a guest post by regular commenter, AnOilMan. It’s rather personal and reflective, so please bear that in mind. I don’t have anything else to add, so will let AnOilMan take over.
What would you do?
Growing up, I was always prone to having colds that clung on. I’d have a cough for months afterwards. But last fall my coughing didn’t clear up. In fact by Christmas, I was coughing so hard that I was having a hard time keeping food down and friends started telling me to go and see a doctor.
An XRay, and some meds later the coughing mostly cleared up… mostly. A few months ago I was sent for a second XRay and based on that, I was sent for a CT scan. On the day I had the CT scan my doctor’s office hounded me to come in the next day. (They never do this… Let alone speak to a strange doctor since my GP wasn’t available.)
I sat down, and the doctor said that based on the XRays and CT scan they know that there is a mass growing in my right lung, and it has spread to my left. Its likely cancer, although an infection hasn’t been ruled out yet. A lot of things went through my head. But mostly, will my wife and kids be taken care of if I die. (Yes, I’m well insured.) Then I tried really hard to think of all the questions my wife would ask because I know she’d ask a lot, and that means she’ll ask me a lot. I was told that I would be seeing a specialist soon, and that everything was already in the works.
As I was heading home I stopped to get gas for the car, and started texting people. As the risks started to sink in I felt faint. I waited for that to pass before continuing on my way.
The thought I dwelled on the most is what kind of world am I leaving behind for my kids? Will they be in an unpleasant place with food shortages and constant heat waves? What will the world be like for them? Have I done enough for them?
Should I freak out about all this?
No… It’s not like we know what this is. But there is no doubt that the risk is serious, and it’s quite possible that the result may be a fast and brutal result.
Should I ignore all doctors out there because there have been a few quacks getting up to no good?
Clearly like any other field there are disreputable folks who will do whatever they can get away with to make money. So… should I ignore all doctors for the failings of the few? I don’t think so. I think I’ll check into the people who’ll be looking at me though.
Should I listen to organizations that are paid to spread misinformation?
Consider a company that profits from selling medication and smoking cessation aids like Pfizer. Is it reasonable to listen to PR firms supporting the pro smoking lobby? Not that I smoke… but it’s hard to imagine listening to PR firms handing out paid advertising, as Heartland/Pfizer do.
Should I read information from strange people on the internet?
There’s always someone somewhere crazy enough to claim they’ve got a miracle cure for something. Would you like a tin hat with that?
What about web sites that believe in UFOs and other conspiracy theories?
Seriously? Are these places credible enough to listen to? Should I worry? Maybe someone out there doesn’t like what I say!
Should I listen to someone who only has a high school diploma?
Interestingly I can’t find any examples of this in the real world. Perhaps it happens in the third world, but medicine is regulated for our safety. In climate science we have colorful people like this;
I tend to think of him as the Dr Nick of Climate Science;
How about a massage therapist with a bachelor of psychology?
Would that person be able to advise me on growths in my lungs? No. I don’t think he’d be qualified.
Should I decry the fact that I’m using state funded health care and try to go it alone?
Libertarians think that state funded health care is somehow inferior. I call completely and total bunk on that. I live in Canada where we live longer than Americans and pay way less for health care.
Maybe I should ignore it all!
Let’s face it, the CT scan was digitally dictated using Dragon voice recognition software. It’s entirely possible that it’s just a glitch, so I should just ignore all this and go about my life. Right? Is that a reasonable response?
Or should I trust an educated, decorated doctor who specializes in this field, and who has had considerable success in treating lung disorders?
Clearly he’s biased, he wrote the SOPs for most of the treatment processes. He also has a patent on one of the sensors he’ll undoubtedly be using. He also pioneered getting DNA typing into the biopsy process in this region. Furthermore, he directly makes money from the treatments.
As I was thinking of all that I remembered an interview between James Delingpole, and Sir Paul Nurse.
Apparently equating climate science denial to quackery completely floored him. I think that’s because Delingpole knows it’s true;
For what it’s worth, I’ll be listening to the decorated doctor who specializes in this kind of treatment.
What would you do?