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Thread: Maybe I Shouldn't Tell About This

  1. #1 Maybe I Shouldn't Tell About This 
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    By now, I am branded an old cantankerous fart, and my views of the callousness of the "Medical Profession" are bred of stupidity and ignorance. So, against my better judgement, I've elected to tell my story. It entails medical "butchery" at it's best. I was 18, 2 months into the degree program at Devry Technical Institute, when the most terrible pain I had ever imagined struck. It centered in my upper jawbone, directly above the first molar. Overnight, the swelling made that side look as though I had an egg between my teeth and cheek. Easter Weekend was approaching. On Thursday before Good Friday, my Mother called our family dentist who explained his office would be closed until Monday. My sister recommended I call her family's dentist, a Doctor M. He took a look on Good Friday, shot 12 (!) X-rays, then suggested the possibility of a "maxillary cyst), called an oral surgeon, with whom he set up an appointment for me on the following Monday. Meanwhile, I took an antibiotic he prescribed, and on Sunday, I think it was, after having had pain so intolerable for several days I could not sleep, the infection broke through along the gumline, releasing a near mouthful of pus. The pain immediately subsided. The next day I dutifully drove, my mother accompanying me to the oral surgeon's office, Dr. Nicholas Choukas. He ordered complete X-rays of my skull, this being done immediately, then informed us that I had a tumor in my maxilla, the upper facial jawbone. This would require immediate surgery, and he proceeded to describe in detail the game plan. My Mother and I listened, speechless, horrified, as he told that a half-dollar-sized opening would be made in my facial skull bones above the teeth, through which entry would allow removal of the "tumor". It would be necessary to remove all the molars at that time. He called our hospital of preference, had them set up an operating room requiring a certain type of table he called out, this to be done on Thursday (it was now Monday). We went home scared to death. My Dad, arriving home from work, was told the news. He immediately, somehow, intervened on my behalf; what drove him thusly, I still cannot imagine. He called Dr. Choukas, who obviously attempted to paint the most dismal picture possible, my Dad then volubly calling him a "quack", and hanging up the phone. He instructed my Mom to call our old family dentist the next day, and have him take a look.
    Old Dr.Ott apologized to me for being unable to see me the previous Thursday, shot one X-ray, and declared there had been a bad abscess, now drained, he could not save the tooth, drilled down into the root, packed it with antibiotics, and on Friday, he yanked it out. I had mentioned nothing of the oral surgeon episode to him, but did ask him how he knew no cyst or tumor was present. His response was that given the circumstances, the tooth would normally be extracted, then later, if proper healing failed to occur, further inspection would seek the cause. I went home relieved more mentally than ever before in my 18 years.
    Six months later, the extraction having healed most acceptably, I went in for the usual check-up. It was then I revealed to Dr. Ott the entire Choukas story. His face bore a shocked look, he went to his bookshelves, drawing down a large text, and showed me color pictures of the proposed surgery. It was called the "Caldwell-Luc Radical Maxillary Operation": He explained it was a last-ditch effort employed to eliminate a cyst in the jawbone. He would not, however, verbally condemn the surgeon, though his face showed the compassion I knew was inside of him. He explained in greater detail: the opening through the facial bone was plugged with a hammered-in piece of plastic, which, 6 months hence, must be removed, and a slightly smaller one put in place, this process repeated for years, until the hole completely closed with new bone growth. Of course, having no molars on that side required a bridge of false teeth to allow proper chewing of food. MY DAD SAVED ME FROM THE AGONY OF THIS TERRIBLE ORDEAL! How he had the guts, foresight, or whatever else it was, to intervene thusly, I to this day do not know. Here's the "kicker": Being pretty technically astute even at 18, I had noted that the young dentist, Doctor M., who had sent me to Dr. Choukas, had a copy on the wall of his Diploma: It read, "Northwestern School of Dentistry", Degree of ...., 1955. The unscrupulous bastard Choukas, had a similar proclaim: "Northwestern University School of Dentistry", Degree of.... 1955!! Thus, they were in "cahoots", Dr. M. referring appropriate patient fodder to Choukas, for, what do you suppose? A case of booze at Christmas-time? This all took place in March of 1961. Here's the final BLAST: In 1995, 34 years later, I went to Chicago West Suburban Hospital, where my sister lay dying. I had not been back to the area for many years, but noted as I approached the doors of the Hospital Entrance, a bronze commemoration plaque, the uppermost name on which was, under Administrators, "Dr. Nicholas Choukas"!
    Wonder why I find the medical system corrupt, disgustingly so? Yeah, I know, "Isolated Incident". jocular


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    What year was this?


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  4. #3  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum View Post
    What year was this?
    March, 1961. I had started at DeVry in February. Having missed over a week of school, I had to drop out, to resume during the next quarter.
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    Wow Joc! Your Dad was on top of things! (not speaking of your mother!!) *ducking*
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    Quote Originally Posted by babe View Post
    Wow Joc! Your Dad was on top of things! (not speaking of your mother!!) *ducking*
    Had it not been for his steadfast insistence in looking at things logically, I would have been made the victim of what I see as "butchery" at the hands of a ruthless Charlatan. joc
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    yet you are continuing to blame and demonize the entirety of medical science for something that happened a half century and two generations of medical professionals ago. That is not logical or reasonable in any way.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum View Post
    yet you are continuing to blame and demonize the entirety of medical science for something that happened a half century and two generations of medical professionals ago. That is not logical or reasonable in any way.
    Yes, I see your point, and admit that I blame individual practitioners with whom I have experienced very incongruous behavior. To the contrary, I do not blame the "entirety of medical science" nor demonize it, but do take issue if you mean to imply that two added generations of medical professionals has removed or changed the fact that doctors are human, and thus fraught with the same frailties as everyone else, those including of course, the possibility of some acting in self-efficacing ways to further personal benefit.

    I laud your pointing out that my delivery may be construed to mean other than I intend it to. Perhaps the driving factor, in my particular personal case, is that over my lifetime, I have encountered, for whatever reasons may exist, more than my share of medicos whom I would not recommend to others. jocular
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    We need to be informed, and not take everything a doctor says as "right".

    It is our right to question and we should.

    I have some great doctors.

    I still question them.
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    Joc - you were the victim of the prevailing social culture at the time that was anyone with a degree is intellectual and a demi-god and not to be argued with. It still persists today but I would ask you one question......what did you think doctors were really? We are ALL humans - that is the point and if you can conceive of it being done you can be guaranteed someone is already out there doing it.

    Having recently been under health care for three years I would say one thing - be your own expert in your own health. Research your illness and the medications and learn to listen to your own body. Many times I have stopped nurses sending me home with the wrong dosage or told them what bloods they should be taking - you have to be on top of your own particular circumstances because they see hundreds of people every day. They cannot possibly be expected to know every individuals story off the top of their heads.

    And yes there are some out there who will find ways of making money out of other peoples misery - it happens in all professions..... c'est la vie!
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by jocular View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum View Post
    yet you are continuing to blame and demonize the entirety of medical science for something that happened a half century and two generations of medical professionals ago. That is not logical or reasonable in any way.
    Yes, I see your point, and admit that I blame individual practitioners with whom I have experienced very incongruous behavior. To the contrary, I do not blame the "entirety of medical science" nor demonize it, but do take issue if you mean to imply that two added generations of medical professionals has removed or changed the fact that doctors are human, and thus fraught with the same frailties as everyone else, those including of course, the possibility of some acting in self-efficacing ways to further personal benefit.

    I laud your pointing out that my delivery may be construed to mean other than I intend it to. Perhaps the driving factor, in my particular personal case, is that over my lifetime, I have encountered, for whatever reasons may exist, more than my share of medicos whom I would not recommend to others. jocular
    One of the problems as I see it, is most people don't go to a doctor unless they really need to. By then they want to stop the pain or end the sickness ASAP, and if you can't trust your doctor, that's a very bad time to find out. In this day and age, you have the ability to find out a great deal of information about a doctor before there's an emergency. Make a point to do it. The way I look at it is doctors are a resource that I can use when I need to. I can always choose to get a second opinion if the cure is going to be very rough or nasty.

    But you know that as we get older, we manage more health issues until something kills us. For me there is a point where the quality of life might be degraded enough that I won't want to live anymore. What do I do then? By law doctors can't help you die humanely and with a little dignity.
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  12. #11  
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    I'll also point out that you weren't dealing with doctors, you were dealing with dentists. A totally different breed of pain implementors in my experience.
    Its the way nature is!
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    Quote Originally Posted by LuciDreaming View Post
    Joc - you were the victim of the prevailing social culture at the time that was anyone with a degree is intellectual and a demi-god and not to be argued with. It still persists today but I would ask you one question......what did you think doctors were really? At 18, my exposure to doctoring had been limited to a tonsillectomy at 5, (the only hospitalization), and the usual childhood illnesses. Our family doctor was a kindly soul whose every awareness reflected genuine concern for the patient being addressed. Always a nail-biter, I developed a cuticle infection (known as a felon, whitlow, or run-around), which he injected with novocaine and lanced open. I distinctly recall that he nearly had tears as he admonished me to quit biting the nails; this was perhaps at age 11 or so. My perception of a doctor was then, an individual always of impeccable character. Otherwise, he could not have attained the status he possessed. Make sense at all?

    Having recently been under health care for three years I would say one thing - be your own expert in your own health. Research your illness and the medications and learn to listen to your own body. Exactly the point I have failed to convey myself! However, not everyone is adequately privy to the level of understanding needed to effectively do this. THOSE are the individuals who suffer most, the consequences of happening to be treated by a less than average practitioner.

    Many times I have stopped nurses sending me home with the wrong dosage or told them what bloods they should be taking - you have to be on top of your own particular circumstances because they see hundreds of people every day. Absolutely, one must try to understand all the implications of one's own illness, BUT, I disagree with letting practioners "off the hook" so easily. It is their JOB to take adequate time and pay sufficient attention to the records and charts presented to them for each patient, thus ensuring adequate individual attention, the darting of a doctor from examining room to examining room I see today highlights my overall argument.

    They cannot possibly be expected to know every individuals story off the top of their heads. Of course they can't. And this brings up the caseload,which today is ridiculously overwhelming in most the offices I've visited. My doctor in Missouri had 60patients booked one day when I was there! For an 8 hour workday, that allows 8 minutes for each patient, no breaks, no individually contoured attention. Ridiculous! And, by the way, he always sat down and listened to me, which surely detracted from someone else's care time, though I didn't know all this yet then.

    And yes there are some out there who will find ways of making money out of other peoples misery - it happens in all professions..... c'est la vie!
    Perhaps I simply lack your personal resilience. As I've said, being a cantankerous old fart, I want very much to see all things progress smoothly and efficiently, culminating in as acceptable a fashion as possible. When those requirements fall way, way, short of even being close, I feel glitches are present which COULD be ironed out of the process. jocular
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bad Robot View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by jocular View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum View Post
    yet you are continuing to blame and demonize the entirety of medical science for something that happened a half century and two generations of medical professionals ago. That is not logical or reasonable in any way.
    Yes, I see your point, and admit that I blame individual practitioners with whom I have experienced very incongruous behavior. To the contrary, I do not blame the "entirety of medical science" nor demonize it, but do take issue if you mean to imply that two added generations of medical professionals has removed or changed the fact that doctors are human, and thus fraught with the same frailties as everyone else, those including of course, the possibility of some acting in self-efficacing ways to further personal benefit.

    I laud your pointing out that my delivery may be construed to mean other than I intend it to. Perhaps the driving factor, in my particular personal case, is that over my lifetime, I have encountered, for whatever reasons may exist, more than my share of medicos whom I would not recommend to others. jocular
    One of the problems as I see it, is most people don't go to a doctor unless they really need to. By then they want to stop the pain or end the sickness ASAP, and if you can't trust your doctor, that's a very bad time to find out. In this day and age, you have the ability to find out a great deal of information about a doctor before there's an emergency. Make a point to do it. The way I look at it is doctors are a resource that I can use when I need to. I can always choose to get a second opinion if the cure is going to be very rough or nasty.

    But you know that as we get older, we manage more health issues until something kills us. For me there is a point where the quality of life might be degraded enough that I won't want to live anymore. What do I do then? By law doctors can't help you die humanely and with a little dignity.
    Agreed and understood. The structuring of the medical society is today vastly changed from what it was when I was young. And indications are, it is about to change very much more, soon. As you say, let's reflect on what to do, when one's quality of life is no longer existent, basically. I've wondered about that for years, even before being faced with a few very trying medical episodes. Dying as humanely as possible is a realm falling outside the medical jurisdiction. Quiet, bloodless, suicide, carried out in as private a setting as possible? Is that the better alternative to facing a loved one with the burden of caring for me until death comes? Does it relieve that person enough to overshadow the pain inflicted on him or her? Should they be made to understand this in advance? Or, should the ageing, deteriorating individual be placed under the care of strangers? jocular
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexG View Post
    I'll also point out that you weren't dealing with doctors, you were dealing with dentists. A totally different breed of pain implementors in my experience.
    I especially like your descriptive use of pain! My terrible experience at a young age began, I should point out, with a dentist, true, but ended while being manipulated by a skilled and savvy oral surgeon, a DOCTOR, bent on "drumming up" business. As pointed out, the accepted medical way of handling a possible maxillary cyst was certainly not to employ a "last-ditch" procedure first. A routine, typical abscess extending into the bone surrounding the alveolar recess was then, and likely still is today, difficult to differentiate from a cyst. joc
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    Quote Originally Posted by jocular View Post
    Agreed and understood. The structuring of the medical society is today vastly changed from what it was when I was young. And indications are, it is about to change very much more, soon. As you say, let's reflect on what to do, when one's quality of life is no longer existent, basically. I've wondered about that for years, even before being faced with a few very trying medical episodes. Dying as humanely as possible is a realm falling outside the medical jurisdiction. Quiet, bloodless, suicide, carried out in as private a setting as possible? Is that the better alternative to facing a loved one with the burden of caring for me until death comes? Does it relieve that person enough to overshadow the pain inflicted on him or her? Should they be made to understand this in advance? Or, should the aging, deteriorating individual be placed under the care of strangers? jocular
    That's a good point, and I'm not sure what the general answer should be. But I do know how I feel about the answer for myself. I think the people that care about me the most should be a part of that decision as I believe they don't want to see me suffer for any length of time with no hope of ever regaining any quality of life. But if I was the one doing the suffering and I was of sound mind, I'd want the final word on that decision. After that I'd want a humane option, which we currently don't have.
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    Possibly the worst case scenario would be like that of Terri Shiavo, the woman who, some years back, being irrevocably lost but nonetheless still living, became the object of widespread contention both pro and con, regarding stopping of her life-support. It was what should have been a private affair, but dissenting family members, if I recall it correctly, managed to create a carnival aura over it. Most distressing was the way media presented it, not unbiased, as they are supposed to be (are they ever?). joc
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    Quote Originally Posted by lucidreaming View Post
    joc - you were the victim of the prevailing social culture at the time that was anyone with a degree is intellectual and a demi-god and not to be argued with. It still persists today but i would ask you one question......what did you think doctors were really? We are all humans - that is the point and if you can conceive of it being done you can be guaranteed someone is already out there doing it.

    Having recently been under health care for three years i would say one thing - be your own expert in your own health. Research your illness and the medications and learn to listen to your own body. Many times i have stopped nurses sending me home with the wrong dosage or told them what bloods they should be taking - you have to be on top of your own particular circumstances because they see hundreds of people every day. They cannot possibly be expected to know every individuals story off the top of their heads.

    And yes there are some out there who will find ways of making money out of other peoples misery - it happens in all professions..... C'est la vie!
    wise words!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bad Robot View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by jocular View Post
    Agreed and understood. The structuring of the medical society is today vastly changed from what it was when I was young. And indications are, it is about to change very much more, soon. As you say, let's reflect on what to do, when one's quality of life is no longer existent, basically. I've wondered about that for years, even before being faced with a few very trying medical episodes. Dying as humanely as possible is a realm falling outside the medical jurisdiction. Quiet, bloodless, suicide, carried out in as private a setting as possible? Is that the better alternative to facing a loved one with the burden of caring for me until death comes? Does it relieve that person enough to overshadow the pain inflicted on him or her? Should they be made to understand this in advance? Or, should the aging, deteriorating individual be placed under the care of strangers? jocular




    That's a good point, and I'm not sure what the general answer should be. But I do know how I feel about the answer for myself. I think the people that care about me the most should be a part of that decision as I believe they don't want to see me suffer for any length of time with no hope of ever regaining any quality of life. But if I was the one doing the suffering and I was of sound mind, I'd want the final word on that decision. After that I'd want a humane option, which we currently don't have.

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