Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Talking Cure

I'm not in the practice of practicing psychosomatic medicine. However, when things work, they work.

Recently a young woman came to see me with a nonspecific problem. I'd call it Problem NOS, but let's not overdo the whole NOS thing, OK? So I do my thing. I got her history. It was typical for nonspecific problem alright. I'd give her typical treatment A, see her back in 1 month, and then change it to typical treatment B. Then I asked about her family. That's when the real truth came out.

Her cousin had a similar type of problem, which turned out to be a tumor. The cousin then underwent what sounded like heroic and painful treatments to no avail. She died.

So that was it! She was worried about a tumor. I sometimes have to tell people that they have a tumor, and worse, so I held my tongue at that point and moved onto the exam. Normal. Stone cold normal. Everything was so normal, in fact, that her longstanding nonspecific problem was turning out to be a good old fashioned problem that had nothing at all to do with any sort of tumor. She might have a tumor, but it had nothing to do with her complaint.

I told her so. No testing indicated. Follow up in 2 months. Oh yeah, it's OK to get pregnant because you're going to make it. But that means no meds to prevent or treat the nonspecific problem symptomatically - other than vitamins. She gave a big sigh and nearly hugged me (although I'm very huggable normally, I wear very starched shirts at work, which might hurt if someone were to hug me).

Just called her. No vitamins - she was so relieved she never filled the prescription. Yet she currently has no problem. It's a cure.

Now that's a good medicine.


Blogger marybishop said...

I love you for telling this story. On the behalf of all the scaredy pants in the world, thank you.

10:18 AM  
Blogger laurenbove said...

Yeah, what MB said!

3:23 PM  
Blogger Sally said...

That's great to hear. So often these days it's just all about prescribe, prescribe, prescribe.

5:23 AM  
Blogger Doc NOS said...

You know, nearly everyone believes they have something horrible when in fact it's just noting. Or a bruise, or migraines, or a stomach virus. This literally costs our society millions - I suspect even more. And it's nearly impossible to measure. Blocking some of this wasted money sure is great, but if you're wrong, then prepare for the lawsuit.

4:06 PM  
Blogger Sally said...

That's an argument some use against the provision of universal publicly-funded health care...

6:50 AM  
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