Last updateFri, 27 Nov 2020 10am

First health test—find the right doctor

One question we hear a lot down here at Lakeside—should I get my medical care or surgery in Mexico, in Canada, in Cuba, in Europe, in the States? Or do it myself?


We are all likely to face a situation where we have to figure out our best health care options. Unfortunately, of course, once we do finally make up our minds about our choices, someone will come along who did exactly as we planned and now walks on all fours. So, based on my extensive research with medical services and friends with peer-approved hypochondria, I have this advice for all:

You have to do some field studies. That means the next time you have any kind of symptoms—this could be anything from ringing in the ears to restless leg syndrome, or restless ear syndrome to ringing in the toes; it really doesn’t matter—the point is...

Find a dedicated medical practitioner who is glad to see you, who can’t do enough for your comfort and concerns, and who doesn’t follow you out to the receptionist to make sure you pay your bill.

For example, Dr. Daniels, my former doctor north of the border, treated me (I’m stretching the word’s meaning considerably) for four years. He was always available on a moment’s notice; there was no waiting around. It took me a while to realize that the reason he was always available at a moment’s notice seemed to be that he was a miserable, pessimistic man who couldn’t say enough to make me feel terminally ill, no matter what symptom I brought him. “So, your uncle died of  Wayne’s disease in his forties, he would note over and over, without ever telling me what Wayne’s disease was, or how Wayne got it. Also, his waiting-room magazines were old, featuring cover stories about the hula-hoop craze and Roy Orbison.

In stark contrast to Dr. Daniels, is my current physician in Mexico, the youthful Dr. Ortega (not his real name), a pleasant professional, caring and personable, even available to come to my house if necessary, willing, I suspect, to even deliver me a pizza.

Science tells us that our doctor-patient relationships are principal components to wellness, because professional amicability, patient trust and doctor sincerity affect patient psychology, which in turn can have actual therapeutic effects. So choose carefully.

Check a website or two about any health condition you may be experiencing, and find some obscure bit of information about it, or something very new in the science, and politely test him with questions from your research. For example, ask him how many leeches he prescribes for shingles. If he offers any number under 40, drop him. The correct answer is 42. (I made that up.) But you get the point.

Alternatively, note if he pulls out a tongue depressor and asks you to say “Ahh,” when you have fallen on your hip—he may be behind in diagnostic techniques.

Do not engage any doctor whose attire includes feathers.

Remember that another part of the magic of Lakeside is that we are now overrun with health care providers. There may be more doctors here now than real estate agents. (The only thing easier to find than a real estate agent at Lakeside is a bottle of Coca Cola.) Anyway, you can have two or three fave practitioners on call at any time, making possible ready access and multiple pieces of advice. The more patients the doctor has the better, unless they have too many. If you find yourself waiting in the office for so long that you note patients using defibrillators on one another, this is “too  many” patients.

Have nothing to do with any doctor who has a Katrina doll hanging behind his desk.

Make sure your doctor is honest. Ask him if he drinks tequila regularly. If he doesn’t, he may not be up on the latest science. Tequila, even more than red wine, has considerable health benefits. (The truth.) Check it out. You’ll thank me.