Why should my son be a doctor?

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Editor note: Dr. Dave Hepburn is taking time off from writing to focus on other aspects of information dissemination. Since this will be his last column, we want to thank him for his light-hearted approach to providing current medical information on widely ranging subject matter. We will miss him!

Mama, don’t let your babies grow up to be … doctors. Let ‘em be cowboys or rugby players or things …

How many of you health-conscious readers woke up this morning thinking about your left parathyroid? Likely about as many who woke up thinking about their pancreas or their uvula (that little worm like piece of meat that dangles in the back of your throat like bait and neither of us knows what for).

The only people who give thought to these pieces of their anatomy are those who have a pain or dysfunction of that specific spot. You simply don’t spend too much time grateful for the smooth operation of your esophagus unless it isn’t working. Unfortunately, the same is true for your doctors.

Chances are, few of you woke up thinking of your doctor this morning unless you had a dream involving scalpels, a hemorrhoid and Kanye West (redundant). But soon as something awful happens such as waking up with that uvula wrapped painfully around your parathyroid, you are on the phone to the doc. Nobody ever calls up when they are feeling good.

“Doctor, I thought I’d let you know that I have no pain anywhere and all systems are going well. My bowels are working great, my sinuses are clear and I don’t have herpes. Frankly doc, I feel so good I need a depressant.” No, instead we pretty much get to spend our entire day listening to bad news from hurtin’ folks.

One night while deep in the land of the dream weaver, at home in bed, I received a call at approximately 03:17.24 AM from a woman I had never met, who was a patient of one of the doctors that I was on call for that night. She complained about pain in her left whatchyamacallit radiating to her right thingamajig.

When I asked if she’d ever experienced this before, she replied “Check my chart, I was in the office last week”. I explained to her that I was in my own bed and not, as she had actually thought, sitting in her doctor’s office in the middle of the night waiting to hear about her whatchyamacallit and how it hadn’t been working properly for three years now.

Her response was “Well what are we paying you for?”

In fact, doctors get paid $0.00, regardless of how many times we answer your calls, night or day. Just part of our “calling” (sorry).

Myth: Doctors work from dawn to dusk
Fact: Doctors above the Arctic circle do not quite work to dusk during the summer solstice

Myth: Doctors are lousy husbands
Fact: I have never heard any of my ex-wives actually say exactly that… specifically

Myth: Doctors never get sick
Fact: We get sick all the time. We just horde the best drugs

Myth: Doctors make oodles of money
Fact: Doctors make less per hour than the Dickie Dee ice cream man

Myth: Doctors make lousy investors
Fact: Doctors invest well, it’s just the companies we invest in are run poorly

Myth: Doctors wear white coats to appear more clinical and dignified
Fact: Doctors eat Sloppy Joe’s for lunch and then don white coats

Myth: Doctors usually marry nurses
Fact: Doctors do fight with nurses but seldom does it ever approach marriage

Myth: Doctors have an intense distrust of lawyers
Fact: Okay you got me

Myth: Doctors are quite educated and literate
Fact: You’ve read my book

Listen live or call in to Dr Dave on his fun yet informative radio show, Wisequacks, heard each Sunday at 2 p.m. at www.cknw.com.