Friday, August 10, 2012

Colonoscopy Blues

By Meg Curtis, PhD

The real horror of current American culture does not turn up on the news. Stephen King doesn’t touch it, either, in his bestsellers. It begins with a little ditty which rang out on the radio all last week.

Before listeners could even down a bagel or pour their first cup of coffee, nosy singers had to insist that they schedule a colonoscopy! Don’t say these raconteurs were trying to save lives. They were contributing to an endless round of medical tests which raise costs sky high.

They were institutionalizing a medical way of life. Who asked for their assistance? Who asked for their intrusion? If medical ethics require confidentiality between doctors and patients, how about those ethics starting right before breakfast and continuing until a late night snack?

The commercialization of medicine means privacy no longer exists for American patients. They can’t even escape the psychological assaults by Big Pharma in the privacy of their own home, sitting before their own very own PC, where endless emails offer discount Viagra to women.

As if that horror weren’t enough to promote serious abdominal chaos, ads continue to assault the subconscious through the day. These commercials promise relief from vaginal sculptures. They also list the serious side-effects which all too often include premature death.

The same kinds of ads apologize for mistakes of the past. They come close to promising eternal life, thanks to the medical industry. They manipulate fears, contribute to anxiety, and then insinuate they offer the cures for the maladies they list in catalogues from dawn to dark.

If what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, why can’t what happens in a doctor’s office stay there, too? Or do Americans have to go to Vegas to find a doctor who comprehends this truth: Colonoscopies do not belong on listeners’ breakfast tables. Raspberries and yogurt do!   

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