“Doctoring for Dummies – The Intro to the Book,” by Janice Arenofsky

Feb 29th, 2012 | By | Category: Fake Nonfiction, Prose

The practice of medicine is not as complicated as many people make it out to be. It’s not brain surgery.  At least not usually. Have you ever watched Mystery Diagnosis? Dissected a fruit fly? Made your spouse wait for you while you reprogrammed your cell phone? See, I told you so. You know more about performing a quadruple bypass than many ophthalmologists, and they went to medical school.

Seriously, though, healthcare is constantly evolving.  This puts you on a level playing field with real doctors, who also must learn about new procedures and treatments. For instance, look what happened when laparoscopies became trendy. Everyone had to practice key-hole surgery without knowing a multi-lateral incision from a double bolt. Everyone ended up bluffing.

Did I hear you say degrees? Not important. I bet you know a whole bunch of people who will cut your grass for a price. Have any of them ever taken a course in landscaping? Received a certificate from Target? See what I mean: If you bill it, they will pay. Just get yourself some nice stationery and you’ll find out.

And while you’re shopping, why not pick up a copy of Doctoring for Dummies. You’ll find out the latest self-diagnostic web sites plus the very best in Miracle Cures from such dedicated flim-flam artists as The Medicine Man. Doogie Howser, MBA and The Chicken Soup Yenta. With this sort of keen competition, doctors can no longer get away with retro advice like “Take two and call me in the morning” or “It’s probably just a little gas or heartburn.” Patients want to hear scary-sounding diseases such as “terminal anal fissure” or “peptic duodenumitis.” They want their treatments complicated but cost effective.

Another free tip: Cultivate a “take-no-hostages” attitude—starting with the “Physician Heal Thyself” injunction. Explain how you cured yourself of an ugly eye twitch on hearing Jennifer Aniston’s name. Go ahead—embellish on your self-healing success story, but make sure your case history is power point-friendly for medical conferences (goody bags are optional).

Once you are recognized as the “Great Healer,” no one will pay much attention to framed degrees and other bothersome credentials. And don’t get your stethoscope in a knot over the “Physician, Do no harm homily.” Chapters 5 through 8 of Doctoring for Dummies will help you cope with even the most annoying patient. For example, say Ms. X is convinced her sudden craving for Godiva Chocolates will lead to gustatory binges on nails and metal shavings. Try reverse psychology: ask her if her sudden obsession with weird eating means she’s just plain weird. If that doesn’t work, send the patient to an “anomalies” specialist. Most clients are happy to know their pain and suffering are flukes–statistical oddities that may land them on Reality TV. Best of all, anomalies professionals repay your kindness threefold in kick backs.

Above all, remember this: Most patients will forgive almost anything if you throw in a free house call and admit you too hate the sight of blood. House calls are covered in “The Dos and Don’ts of Medical Impersonators.” We’ve also included an appendix on frequently used medical phrases for deprogramming hypochondriacs, malingerers and patients who abuse your answering service.

Good luck and good doctoring!


Janice Arenofsky has written humor for many national venues, including Hobo Pancakes, Purrr, Collectors News, and Verbatim. www.janicearenofsky.com

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