My wife and I go to a private medical clinic. We live 5 minutes outside of Montreal, where we are supposed to have access to the public system we pay
for through our taxes. However, there's only one public clinic here and they don't take on new patients. A few years ago, the government introduced
private clinics and they've been growing like crazy. But that's a topic for another time, I'm just trying to set the background.
As clients of this clinic, one of us is entitled to a free physical (just one of us, only once). My wife asked me to go since I hadn't seen a doctor
in a long, long time. I humoured her and went.
The exam is supposed to last one and a half hours. It lasted all of 25 minutes, because I stalled the doctor with questions. Family background: one
cancer -throat-, officially caused by smoking, but my uncle's doctor attributed it in reality to the 3+ cases of beer my uncle drank every day. No
heart diseases. My dad had a triple bypass 15 years ago. But you have to understand that as a kid his daily breakfast was toast spread with bacon fat.
When he left the air force, he worked as a butcher, hard physical work. But he weighed 195 lb for his 5' 3"... Once he retired, he stopped his
physical activities and that's when he started having problems. So his problem was due to lifestyle, not to a bad heart.
I also told the doctor that I was against Big Pharma and not to prescribe any pills for me and to put that in my file.
He asked me to get a full blood test, since he didn't know me. I thought that was not a bad idea.
A couple of weeks go by and I get a call from the clinic for the results. Not from the doctor, but from the receptionist. I have nothing against
receptionists, I fully understand these people do more work in an office than anybody else and generally know more about the goings-on. But the
receptionist is not a doctor, nor even a nurse, so she should not be deciphering my medical results.
First thing she says is that I need to go by the clinic to pick up a prescription for a cholesterol pill. I immediately said "No". The line went
dead for about 10 seconds. I don't think anyone ever said no to her before... Then she said, "well, it's your right". My right! Of course it's my
right. She then proceeded to analyse the rest of the results. Everything is fine. Just what I expected. Then she took on a triumphant tone and said:
"Here's why the doctor prescribed the cholesterol pill; your cholesterol level is fine, but your blood sugar level is slightly elevated and with
your family history, it means you're at high risk of having a heart attack at any time!".
So my blood sugar level is slightly elevated? No questions as to why. When you take these samples, here at least, they ask you to not eat or drink for
at least 12 hours prior to the test. I'm a musician. I go to bed around 3 and wake up around 9. Which means that I was having a snack at around 1 or
2 am and downed that with a couple of cups of coffee, double-sugar. So my blood sugar level is only slightly elevated compared to someone who hasn't
eaten or drank in 12 hours? That's good news to me! And my dad's bypass puts me at risk of a heart attack??? Where do they dream this up?
Again, I said no pill. She said that if I refused to take the pill, I would have to make drastic lifestyle changes. First I'd have to quit smoking. I
have my opinion on this which you can find here
. I do not wish to discuss this matter
further in this particular thread. Next, she says I have to completely change my eating habits. I asked her if that meant that I had to start eating
at McDonald's... She said, "no, you have to avoid places like that". I explained that we have a huge garden where we grow most of our stuff and we
get the rest at a farmer's market. Meat is only high-grade, no drugs, etc. My wife and I transform our food ourselves. I don't eat at McDonald's
and other places like that. Ever. And we don't buy processed food except for cheese.
"Oh, OK, she says, that's good. But you need to exercise." I replied that my paying job is bathtub reglazing. It's physical work with lots of
heavy equipment to haul. She said "Oh, then you're doing fine. Continue like that. But we'll keep the prescription on file because you should
really take it."
So next time your doctor prescribes a pill, ask questions!