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Why am I making my own medical decisions?

A View From the Edge

Old people always seem to be talking about medical issues. Is it because their conditions are so chronic that it is all they can think about or is it that they have no one they can rely on? When we were kids, mom or dad would advise us and guide us into dealing with a cold, flu, mumps, cuts and bruises. If we got seriously ill or had to go to the hospital, we relied on our parents to pass on the doctor’s advice that we would then happily take. It was a matter of trust as well as trust by chain of command. Mom and dad said they trusted the doctors; you felt safe in their hands.

When you get older, there is no one “above” you that you can automatically trust. It is why, as an adult, you seek out and hopefully acquire a general practitioner whose opinion you can trust. If you’re lucky, you also have a few good medical friends you can turn to and ask for their guidance.

Sincerely, I would always prefer to have some guidance that matters in medical decisions. Increasingly, such a one-on-one trustworthy relationship with a single doctor seems to be disappearing. And, what makes matters worse in this pandemic, is that all we get from those ultimately responsible for the management of the pandemic is conflicting, flip-flopping and always acrimonious advice or facts. When was the last time you went to a doctor’s office and asked for advice only to have the doctor and nurse argue on what’s best for you? Would that give you any confidence at all? How about your doctor seeing your test results and keeping the facts from you, telling you he or she had no guidance at all? Or how about the doctor telling you that your treatment or prevention from getting a disease is out of his or her hands and it would be better if you asked neighbors or even the town mayor? Of course, you wouldn’t take that advice, you’d either go it alone or you would get another doctor.

In a sense, that’s what we’re all facing now. Mishandled medical preparedness (the administration knew COVID was deadly in February), misguided and contradictory advice, flip-flopping every few days, refusal to take any responsibility or preparedness… and people you know or maybe people your friends knew have died and countless millions of others have lingering effects.

Right now, it is time to change those medical advisors, get rid of the bad parenting this administration continues to offer and get a new, more reliable, more sane, medical team in charge. Your parents didn’t lie to you when you got sick or if there was measles going around and what that meant for you and your friends. You were told the truth, guided on the outcome and, like a comforting miracle, you survived. Today, under this bunch of whackos, I don’t have any parental, comforting faith in any word they say. I’ll be glad when they finally go.


 Peter Riva, a former resident of Amenia Union, now resides in New Mexico.

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