Monday, April 2, 2018

Not Winning Friends Lately

[“Let Inga Tell You,” La Jolla Light, published April 4, 2018]  ©2018

Well, I haven’t always been winning friends lately, particularly not among gastroenterologists, environmentalists, and even a few dentists.  To follow up:

I wrote a column recently called “Down in the mouth” about coming in for a routine teeth cleaning to my long-time (40 years!) dentist office and being subjected to a lot of high-pressure sales tactics regarding procedures I should have. My own dentist had recently retired, so this was a new staff.  It was really a dilemma: I would do anything my old dentist suggested but this felt eerily reminiscent of used car shopping at Mossy Toyota. 

A number of people wrote to say, “I know just what practice this is.”  Except it wasn’t! It seems as if retiring family dentists are being replaced with what one reader called Wall Street Dentistry – maximizing dental procedures (particularly the replacement of crowns) whether the patient needs them or not.  One reader wrote:  We had not learned the new dental-speak "code" words.  Deep cleaning, in code, translates to "Bentley payment due" in English.  Routine X-rays?  Code for "air fare for ski trip to Austria" next month.”

Of course, a number of other people correctly guessed my dental group as well, expressing similar sadness that a practice in which they had had such faith for so many years now was apparently owned by a conglomerate in Las Vegas – with all the faith you might expect from that. 

In another recent column entitled “The last parking place in La Jolla” I lamented that La Jolla’s historically easy parking (except during the summer months) now appeared to be a thing of the past.  It wasn’t surprising that I heard from people along the lines of, “Are you kidding? Compared to New York and L.A.? Quit yer whining!”

It was also noted that parking is not easy in any place you’d actually want to live. I’d say that’s probably true of lots of places you DON’T want to live too.  For me, that would include New York and L.A. (and not just because of the parking.)  Couldn’t pay me enough. I have the incredibly good fortune to live here.  To be a La Jollan is to have expectations, and parking was one of them. Or at least used to be. 

Flushing drugs down the toilet….First of all, thank you to all the kind people who sent good wishes to my husband Olof after his January heart attack and the head injury suffered doing a face plant into an armoire en route to our bedroom floor.  I am happy to say he is progressing beautifully, including recovering from the debilitating effects of having been inadvertently inflicted with statins in the hospital. In my column, I mentioned that in my fury at discovering the bottle of statins sent home with him (he’s severely allergic to them), I flushed the pills down the toilet.

I’m not sure whether the worse offense was doing it or mentioning it, because I actually know you’re not supposed to do this as it can affect marine life. And other than this incident, I never do it.  But geesh, you would have thought I’d killed every fish from here to Tokyo.  Instead, I am hoping that local marine life are at least enjoying improved LDL.  And even more that they aren’t suffering the same effects as Olof which would have left them lying on the bottom of the ocean floor writhing in agony.  Jokes aside, the issue is more complicated than that: it can affect our own drinking water as well.  Anyway: I shouldn’t have done it, I apologize for doing it, and I promise to never ever ever do it again!

Colonoscopies…OK, it probably wouldn’t be too surprising that local gastroenterologists are not my biggest fans at the moment.  Several have taken the time to engage me in cordial but dissenting dialogue asserting that the  new DNa  colon cancer test misses too many cancers (although it is an alternative for people who “don’t want to be scoped.”  Does anyone WANT to be scoped?) It was suggested that my really bad experience recently was probably because I have Kaiser and/or didn’t get the anesthetic Propofol.  Nope: I have a top-of-the-line PPO and all my care is through Scripps Health or UCSD.)  And yup, I had Propofol. 

After my first colonoscopy column, I was inundated with colonoscopy horror stories, some of which included genuine harm to patients.  Inflicting so much misery and potential harm on millions of people who have no symptoms and no history of colon cancer seems like a high price to pay.  Just my personal view at this point.  I do, however, want to mention that there is another “colon prep” product that I learned about called Suprep, considered  the “least bad” (damning with faint praise) product on the market.  And now: I promise not to write on the subject again!

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