Saturday, August 13, 2005

One pill makes you taller

Almost everyone in Iran has a plastic bag filled with medication. That medication may range from antibiotics to Zantac and everything in between.

The other day, K came home with his plastic bag. "Please put it in some other bag," I told him. I couldn't bear seeing him carry around a clear plastic bag.

Doctors do not provide much information about lab results or prescribed medication, so it has become my job to analyze test results and research medications. Thank god for the internet.

"Look at all these negatives," K told me when he brought me a lab result to analyze. He was worried. After about 5 minutes I could tell him that the negatives were all good. No weird virus had infected him.

The more serious the illness, the less information doctors share with their patients. They might find one member of the family to inform. That family member makes the decision about who should know what, when. Since I am not that family member, I cannot tell you how detailed the information doctors provide is. My guess is that it is always too little to make informed decisions.

That is why people bring me their lab results. It's not that Iranian doctors are bad. Quite the opposite! They are excellent diagnosticians. It's just that no one ever knows how much information the doctors are sharing. People often think that the doctor is holding back. To be fair, I often get lab reports with the admonition not to share too much of the information that I discover.

Iranians do not want to make their own decisions. They believe in experts. I do not. What can I say?

1 comment:

rebil said...

Over 40 years ago when my father was diagnosed with cancer it was kept secret from him. I still regret not sharing the seriousness of his illness with him. Tlhere was much I wanted to talk to him about.