The World According to Nick
My take on Software, Technology, Politics, and anything else I feel like talking about.
Thursday, December 15, 2005

Just Go to the Doctor Idiot 

Here is a pretty stupid story from MSNBC about testimony from advocates for the creation of an Office of Men's Health in the federal government. Here is some of the opening testimony that was the lead into the story:

Frank Greenhalgh admits he had a problem.

"I'm 68 years old and in pretty good health now, but I abused my health a lot in the past as far as overeating and drinking too much," he says. "At 50, though, I would never have gone to see a doctor."

Unfortunately, run-ins with gout, diabetes and high blood pressure changed all that, says Greenhalgh, a retired electronics design engineer living in Amityville, N.Y.

"I used to believe - and it appeared to be true - that I could eat and drink and not get sick or have any problems," he says. "Then, about age 50, I started to notice that there were cracks in my regime."

Encouraged by his wife and two daughters, Greenhalgh saw a series of specialists and now gets the regular check-ups and tests he knows can help keep him healthy. He's also eating better, exercising more - and feeling better.

"I've become a total believer," he says.

Alright... pretty simple story. Moron never went to the doctor, and started having health problems. Moron finally goes to the doctor and gets help from specialists. Problem solved. But of course, that's never enough. What can the government do about it?

It's a lesson millions of other American men are learning the hard way — even powerful political leaders like Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho.

"I'm a prostate cancer survivor, and I've learned through my experience how important preventive efforts are in terms of maintaining a strong, healthy lifestyle, as well as the importance of early detection," Crapo says. First diagnosed five years ago, Crapo says he's now cancer-free and "cautiously optimistic" he'll stay that way.

Crapo's experience got him thinking about how vulnerable men are to serious illness, and how many don't know where to go for the information they need.

That's why he's sponsoring the Men's Health Act of 2005 — a bill aimed at creating an Office of Men's Health at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Here's what I don't understand. What is this going to do to change things one iota? There are already plenty of information available about the need to be screened regularly for different conditions. There are public service announcements, private foundations, and drugs ads galore. The problem is that a lot of men simply don't go to the doctor as they should. More importantly, your doctor is where you are going to get the best information for you. So... how is this office going to solve the one real problem that was pinpointed? Unless they are going to start rounding people up in vans, and sending them to the doctor against their will... nothing that office does will solve the problem.

Frankly, I don't see the problem. People need to take responsibility for their own health and welfare. If you can't get yourself to a doctor for a physical now and then, and you miss something that could have been treated if caught early... then I'm sorry to sound crass, but you might just deserve your fate.

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Name: Nick
Home: Wauwatosa, WI, United States

I'm a Software Consultant in the Milwaukee area. Among various geeky pursuits, I'm also an amateur triathlete, and enjoy rock climbing. I also like to think I'm a political pundit.


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