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Saturday, May 15, 2010

When Going Galt Touches You

This morning I received a letter in the mail from my primary care physician in which she tells all of her patients that she is retiring from practice. The fear that clutched my heart was only overshadowed by the absolute joy that resounded through my Objectivist soul.

So, she's going to do it. Believe it or not, I'm trying to encourage my orthopaedic surgeons to do the same. Then next on the agenda, my gynecologist and podiatrist. I keep thinking of the doctor in Galt's Gulch and his conversation with Dagny Taggart.

'Do you know what it takes to perform a brain operation? Do you know the kind of skill it demands, and the years of passionate, merciless, excruciating devotion that go to acquire that skill? That was what I would not place at the disposal of men whose sole qualification to rule me was their capacity to spout the fraudulent generalities that got them elected to the privilege of enforcing their wishes at the point of a gun. I would not let them dictate the purpose for which my years of study had been spent, or the conditions of my work, or my choice of patients, or the amount of my reward. I observed that in all the discussions that preceded the enslavement of medicine, men discussed everything--except the desires of the doctors. Men considered only the "welfare" of the patients, with no thought for those who were to provide it. That a doctor should have any right, desire or choice in the matter, was regarded as irrelevant selfishness; his is not to choose, they said, only "to serve." . . . I have often wondered at the smugness with which people assert their right to enslave me, to control my work, to force my will, to violate my conscience, to stifle my mind--yet what is it that they expect to depend on, when they lie on an operating table under my hands?'

I admire my physicians, if only for putting up with me. I am not an easy patient. I'm pretty much like House in that regard as well. Always thinking I know more or better. I do not want to see these hard working men and women enslaved and debased because they wanted to heal. I will not be one of their slave masters. I refuse it, so I have, for the past 12 years or so, as I saw what was coming, slowly encouraged each of my doctors to leave their jobs and retire. Since my PCP had only been my doctor for less than two years, I get the feeling she was already there intellectually before I stepped into the picture.

I'm not stupid. I know that being a Type I Diabetic probably puts me at the top of the Death Panel lists. Insulin is expensive. Testing supplies are very expensive. Complicating factors are expensive to treat. Especially if you like eating butterscotch pudding like I do.

She's closing at the end of June this year. So, I will end up back at my idiot physician who will make it so much easier for me to manipulate my care. Yes, he's easy. She made me work hard to keep my sugar down. She made me get my eyes checked, my feet checked, my yearly mammogram. She made me work at making MY HEALTH my responsibility. She was witty and easy to talk to. I am going to miss the hell out of her. But I wish her well in Galt's Gulch. I'll see her there often.

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