The Future, Or What’s Left of It

Grandpa Remembers

“Man, that was a good dog…grandmother, pass me another piece of the collie. Kids, take it from your old grandpa, store-bought dog is usually pretty good but even General Kang’s Digit Lickin’ Good Seoul Fried Canine can’t compare to your grandmother’s fried collie. It’s just what the doctor ordered.”

“Aw hell, I’m afraid I’m showing my age. I forgot that most of you kids have never even heard of doctors. I know they hardly mention them in the history holograms and the last one must have been hunted down, oh, maybe forty years ago. Just a few miles from here, by the way. The authorities got word that someone was operating an illegal clinic..yes Jimmy, a clinic is kind of like the Spleens n’ Things in the mall except you don’t have to answer a bunch of silly questions before the kid behind the counter hooks up the splenectomatron…and they only had to follow the few old people in town who looked healthy and that was that.”

“He tried to run but his white coat gave him away. Yeah, they used to wear white coats, just like lawyers do today which is where they got the idea. It’s a good trivial pursuit question. They had some half-breed Physician Assistant trackers so he only managed to make it to the next county. You don’t actually see too many Physician Asistants around anymore either even though it’s not illegal to be a Physician Assistant…no really….there’s no law against it but most of them feel safer on their reservations.”

“They had a trial of course, but he wasn’t exactly a model citizen and at that time lot of people still remembered how those doctors with their fancy medical education and their big fancy doctor words used to rub it in our faces that they knew more about our health than we did. The jury delivered a guilty verdict pretty quickly after he was hanged.”

“How do I know so much about doctors? I’m not proud of it but I once went to the doctor. Don’t act shocked. Everybody was doing it back then. It was a weird time and we were all into some pretty crazy shit. It’s who you went to see when you were sick, for crying out loud. I swear I didn’t respire.”

“Must have been…oh….almost sixty year ago. Your Grandmother and I had just come back from our honeymoon in Paris. Man, I’m showing my age again. Of course it’s not called ‘Paris’ anymore but ‘Al Pareez,’ and I know it’s pretty drab now that the mullahs have taken over but back then, must have been the Spring of 2053, it was still known for its nightlife and vivacious culture. Kind of like Des Moines is today.”

“So anyways we got home and I started to get really bad belly pains. I felt hot, too, and was vomitting all over the place. Your grandmother, who had taken a few electives at the medical community college….”

“Oh, wait, I guess you’ve never heard of those either. Well, fer’ cryin’ out loud, where do you think we got our new doctors after the medical schools were abolished? Rather then wasting four years of your life in school and then up to seven extra years on top of that which is that it took to train somebody to be able to lord it over the rest of us with their oh-so-superior knowledge of physiology and their smug little secret language that nobody else could possibly understand, all you had to do was take a couple of night courses in the area of the body you were interested in. In fact, the “vagina” classes were pretty crowded before people decided that it really wasn’t that exciting…just by itself and not connected to anything…the vagina I mean. Not that I’m straight or anything like that…although there’s nothing wrong with being straight.”

“So your grandmother, who had finished about a month of the three-month Intestine course before she decided to give it up for a more promising career in retail sales, figured it was food poisoning and told me to go to the Emergency Room…no, Billy… wasn’t really a ‘room’ at all. It was usually in the basement of those big hotel-like things they used to keep sick people in. There’s the ruins of one outside of town. You know, next to the big crater where the McDonalds used to be before we finally drove those smiling clown bastards into Canada for good. They called ’em ‘hospitals’ if you must know.”

“Anyways, just take my word for it, that’s just where you went if you got sick all of sudden. To see a doctor, you understand. Your Uncle Mark drove me there. Even back then it was in a pretty rundown part of town. There was the usual group of seedy cardiologists hanging around a scrap-wood fire right outside the entrance. I threw them a couple of bucks even though your Uncle Mark told me that they’d just spend it on old copies of JAMA. He was right, of course, but who am I to judge? It’s not like they were Nephrologists. Now those guys were sad. They used to try to bum syringes so they could check each other’s blood chemistry.”

“After selecting our court-appointed malpractice attorney, we went inside and ‘presented’…that’s genuine doctor talk kids and I’d better not hear you saying it in public… we presented ourselves to the young lady sitting at the counter. Waiting for medical service was technically against the law but it was unavoidable, seeing as our attorny had to inspect all of the hospital’s certifications. Sometimes they tried for a settlement right away and it was not uncommon to walk out of there with a couple of thousand bucks. So while the our lawyer started putting the heat on, your Uncle Mark and I went to the craps tables to kill some time.”

“I was pretty sick so after a few minutes our lawyer motioned to us that the hospital didn’t think he had a case and motioned us to follow him into the Emergency Room. We passed several nurses who held out strange implements and devices but our lawyer was having none of it. We were going to deal with the doctor and nobody else. ‘No sense frying minnows,’ our lawyer explained.”

“We found the doctor in the back and after reading him his rights, our lawyer motioned to us that the consultation could begin. Against my attorny’s advice I waived my HIPAA rights so the doctor didn’t have to wear a blindfold and examine me in a darkened room through a one-way mirror. Hey, usually I’m as ready as the next guy to defend my rights but Panamerican Idol was on the holoscreen that night and I wanted to get home in time to see it. Without saying a word, and as was customary, the doctor heaved his documentation onto the table for our inspection. I saw that his JCAHO ass-wiping proficiency certificate was up to date and that he was in full compliance with all federal diversity requirements including having his prescriptions translated into Klingon. It really was a lot of documents and I wasn’t feeling well so I made a motion that I was willing to accept the documentation as presented and my attorney reluctantly agreed.”

“My attorney was magnificent. He consulted with me at length before letting me answer any questions and I plead the fifth quite a few times on his advice, especially when it came to my past medical and travel history which he felt was irrelevant. Clearly, as my lawyer stated, the doctor was badgering the patient. But you know, the funny thing was that although we had that poor over-educated bastard on the run, I never got the sense that the doctor disliked me. His contempt for my lawyer was clear even though he tried to hide it but I got the strangest sensation that not only did he know exactly what was making me sick but somewhere, deep down, he wanted to help me. I saw he was older than most doctors and I guess he was ‘old-school’ because there were no beer logos on his white coat of the kind that most doctors had to display to make any money.”

“I told him I needed some antibiotics. He told me I had appendiwhatsities or something like that. And then the magic was gone and I saw that he was just another arrogant relic of the bad old days before they caught on that the customer was always right. We got a court order from a the vending machine back in the waiting room and I made the doctor write my prescription for antibiotics in Klingon just to show him who was in charge.”

“I threw it away, of course. Panabx is my brand of antibiotics and try as I might, even the court order couldn’t get him to prescribe it. Some nonsense about allergies and whatnot. Like, hello, they’re medications. How can anybody be allergic to those?”

“Well, the Panabx did the trix and after a month or so, I’m not clear exactly how long because apparently I was in a coma for a while, I was as good as new. Uncle Mark still bugs me today about the money I owe him for all the Bud Electrolyte he had to buy. I went through liters of it and even if you can get it by the gallon at Cosco, it’s not cheap. Luckily the nice boy next door had taken an elective in high school on Blood and Stuff and he was able to put a line into my vein, or ‘artery’ as they are sometimes called, for the fluid. My vist to the doctor wasn’t a total loss. We never got a settlement, the doctor was too crafty for that, but I did get a nice fifty-dollars-off-your-next-visit coupon which was kind of puzzling because the Single Payer in my town had died a few summers before.”

“Man. That is some good fried dog. Anybody want the last drumstick?”

15 thoughts on “The Future, Or What’s Left of It

  1. Friggin’*brilliant*…

    The Pandaverse that spans from cromagnon medical edumacation to the plantations to the future writ on the walls and in the stars…

    This one though, man, it’s amazing.

    Best post yet, in a series of best posts yet…

    Seriously, very well done. Very well done.

  2. That has to be the funniest thing I’ve read in a long time. It’s also kind of scary, because a part of me can imagine that future.

  3. Love it! I was just reviewing the Dr. Phil I missed and there was a lady on there who decided she’d treat her osteoporosis the way she wanted to and certainly the doctor was not telling her the correct things. Oh boy. Thanks for writing, I love your stuff!

  4. I am a huge fan of Dr. Phil. I saw that episode last night (we Tivo them) and I thought the lady in question proved that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Her objection to taking the medication were ridiculous and ill-informed, like most people’s.

    I thought Dr. Stork did a good job of edumufuckingcating her.

  5. Health Insurance? What’s that? We don’t have taco insurance to pay for our Gorditas. In the future, when all care is delivered through low-skilled, low-payed, and poorly educated community college graduates in shopping malls why would we need health insurance?

  6. Mike, Your just so smart thinking Panda’s real name is is Gus…yeah…I read those his other blogs too and his name ain’t Gus. Good try SMART-ASS.

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