But I Digress

I appreciate digression. Changing the subject can be a relief. Laughing is therapeutic. Silliness interrupts cycles of despair or just self-absorption. We can breathe free, if only for the moment. So I think wandering to a new path in service of the silly helps us deal with matters that are dead serious to all of us.
Pacing is critical in a marathon. Sprint for 26+ miles, and you will finish in a box. I find it tough enough to stay on my feet as is. Fatigue, if not exhaustion, is wearying. We live that fact each day. Chuckling is taking a rest. We can stand around and hyperventilate together.
The bad news is that too son it is time to get back to work.
Did any of you see the NBC report about the doctor who told patients they had MS to lure them to undergoing expensive tests and therapies? Surprised? Hippocrates must have rolled over, wherever he is hanging out these days. Medical fraud seems like a particularly cruel dishonesty. Scaring sick people out of their hard earned money seems pretty cynical. Individuals are so vulnerable after a bad diagnosis. This is another reason to seek second opinions.
It’s good to be ringing my hands again.

21 Responses to But I Digress

  1. Jan1 August 19, 2015 at 8:55 am #

    I’ll have to explore that NBC report with Dr. Google (not surprised, though). And likely another reason I haven’t had an MRI since my last Mayo visit in 2012 — we both agreed that since I’m not taking MS meds, there really is no solid point in “knowing just to know.” Thankfully, there are honest people out there. But it’s up to us to figure out who’s who.

    • Richard M. Cohen August 19, 2015 at 11:26 am #

      I think we need to stay on our toes.


  2. Jan1 August 19, 2015 at 10:28 am #

    Oh, how very egregious (found that clip). I know fraud happens, but I can’t say that I’ve ever really fully understood just how people can purposely hurt others in that way (money and well-above average lifestyles are typically at the core). I mean, I get it, but how does one actually live with one’s self, and not care?

    Also read that it’s not only Tysabri now that endangers for PML. All rather scary stuff.

    Any way you look at it, the stakes are high. My current health is also rather scary (neuropathy well-described on Lyrica commercials, walking issues, head and back pain), but I am fully in the driver’s seat of responsibility, action, and consequences. Prefer the swimming, food restrictions, and denial approaches, thank you very much.

  3. Brian L. August 19, 2015 at 1:45 pm #

    Saw the NBC story. Wow!! How do we punish someone like that? Since we can inflict the MS mimicking disease EAE in mice, perhaps we could do the same with that doctor. What’s good for the goose…

    • r. cohen August 19, 2015 at 4:42 pm #

      Let it go. He’ll get his.


  4. grandma s August 19, 2015 at 4:11 pm #

    Has the AMA responded to that doctor’s awful behavior?

    • r. cohen August 19, 2015 at 4:44 pm #

      The AMA? Wopves guarding the chicken coup?


  5. dale August 19, 2015 at 4:16 pm #

    Well, the dentist’s practice pretty much tanked after he shot the lion in South Africa. Social Media is a powerful thing. We can either go viral exploiting his evil plan or feed him to the other lions (I have a friend in SA. He knows a guy. If I could post pictures I’d show you his South African hot tub….)

  6. Erica August 19, 2015 at 4:18 pm #

    Wrote to the MS Society asking what they’re doing to help get his license revoked. Crickets.

  7. April August 20, 2015 at 12:48 pm #

    My daughter was born with spina bifida, for 12 years I kept her out of every non life saving surgery and believe me, those physicians let me have it. But I thought about all the things she COULD DO. She could scoot around on the floor & go down a of stairs on her tummy, eat on her own, talk, sing and she was happy. She loved to color and stack things and play with Legos. So I told them I didn’t care if her legs were crooked and I would only do things that would save her life. She had nearly died a few times before, I understood her fragility in a concrete way.

    I had to give up custody when I got ms because i couldn’t lift her I was paralyzed on my right side. So those doctors talked her dad into every possible treatment. They made it seem like her life would better if he them do everything the my wanted. They told him I was a bad mother to get their way. Well of course he wanted to believe I was a huge failure, I was his ex obviously I had poor judgement I left HIM. They knew that when they manipulated him into all those treatments.
    fast forward 6 years and countless “correctional” surgeries later and my daughter is very overweight, because she lost so much of her mobility. her spine had to be fused from a botched chiarri surgery that they did as an explotitiry surgery. So she can’t turn her head. they had misdiagnosed her and missed a stomach issue thought it was something with her brain, did that stupid surgery and her tummy got to the point they had to remove some of her intestines. She has a feeding tube oxygen cpap she just barely learned to talk again and it’s not to the level she was at before she got their help. She can barely use her hands and she can’t lift her arms. Well done. She has a full time nurse. Tax dollars funded this horror because my ex is military. But all I care about is how much pain she was/is in. For nothing. hope can cost you EVERYTHING. It’s not free and reality isn’t the bitch we want to believe she is. if I have a religion, it’s reality. I love it, it’s not all wonderful and it’s not all shit. It’s just all true. God bless the truth. When my neorolgist said “you have ms and there is no cure” it sucked. But she didn’t give me ms snd she didn’t make it up, she’s reality personified. Best doctor ever. And you should see her reviews, people hate her.

    • r. cohen August 20, 2015 at 4:18 pm #

      You are traveling a very tough road. I am sorry. There is nothing I can say to that is worth reading. Intelligent restraint can be hard to come by. It sounds as if free care made its own decisions. Bad chopices can not be undone.

      I wish you and your daughter well.


  8. Lyla August 20, 2015 at 6:54 pm #

    I have come to believe that I need to be able to comprehend my health as seen from my vantage point, in order to make decisions about my health care. April, you have been through a lot and it must have been very difficult to endure all you have been through.

    It used to be that my doctors would spend as much time with me as I needed. They asked questions. They listened to my answers. We worked on things together it seemed. Now, I have 15 minutes and I feel as if I’d better talk fast.

    I’m feeling a little angry today. I don’t want to be, but I am. Last weekend I found adverse side effects listed on the printed information inserted with my DMD medication that I’ve been complaining about for months to my doctor. I suppose I trusted that I would have been told about the possible connection between the medication and these side effects. Instead I have had surgery for one problem and a protracted struggle trying to abate another malady.

    Maybe there’s just too much information and too little time for the mainstream medical professional to comprehend and react appropriately. Or maybe they just don’t try?

    Whatever the cause, I no longer entertain blind faith in medical expertise. I’m ok with that. Really. And I will still go to my physicians when things get out of hand. They have a part to play.

    Live well,


    • r. cohen August 20, 2015 at 8:25 pm #

      I always am amazed by people who are so patient are so reasonable. I am slo angry.


  9. Sue in TX August 21, 2015 at 1:52 am #

    Yes I agree with lyla, one can not have blind faith in medicine. Especially Beware of a dr whose self assuredness is routed in arrogance. A truly confident dr will answer your questions. Not all
    Tests are necessary. Every symptom does not require medication. A truly confident dr will answer your questions and do some hand holding on occasion.

    • cohen August 24, 2015 at 8:18 am #



  10. MB August 22, 2015 at 1:22 pm #

    Scaring sick people with a false diagnosis, or over-prescribing for an accurate diagnosis (if you don’t take this drug your left earlobe might fall off in three years) is all the same crap.

    People who are not feeling well are easy prey. We can’t treat ourselves so we trust others (doctors) to help us. You are right–2nd opinions are a must. Trust but verify…

    • cohen August 24, 2015 at 8:19 am #



  11. Nan August 22, 2015 at 10:36 pm #

    Is it just me or were others struck by the comment of one of the women erroneously diagnosed with MS…”I had my suicide plan ready to spare my family from taking care of me “. Ouch. Explains why friends disappear, even family. I see you, but wouldn’t want to be you!

  12. Alina August 23, 2015 at 4:37 am #

    Dear Richard,

    I’m not going to lie, I came here because of Meredith. She’s the most adorable human being I’ve ever seen on television. But I found myself intrigued by your writing and read back so many of your old entries and just wanted to tell how I’m inspired I am by your story. Thank you for putting it out there.

    Live well!

    • cohen August 24, 2015 at 8:21 am #



  13. CP August 23, 2015 at 2:03 pm #

    I’ve worked in healthcare over 23 years and if I could find an alternative way to make a living, I would. I thoroughly enjoy working with people and helping them get back to living their lives. The problem is the companies I’ve worked for are greedy. The ONLY thing that matters is money. It’s sickening. I had a therapist friend ask a regional director that was harping about therapists not providing enough minutes per treatment session (the more minutes the higher the revenue category), “what about compassion? What if this person wasy my mom?” and the director replied “none of these people are your mom”. When you stop viewing a patient as a person and only as a dollar sign, bad things happen. My advice to anyone is get a second opinion. Educate yourself. Be an advocate for yourself. And remember that health care workers are working for you. You’re in charge.