Funny man David Sedaris writes about his experience with socialized medicine in this New Yorker piece. The bulk of the focus is his interaction with his dentist and periodontists, but it was the below exchange with his doctor in France that had me laughing out loud:
The last time I went, I had a red thunderbolt bisecting my left eyeball.
The doctor looked at it for a moment, and then took a seat behind his desk. “I wouldn’t worry about it if I were you,” he said. “A thing like that, it should be gone in a day or two.”
“Well, where did it come from?” I asked. “How did I get it?”
“How do we get most things?” he answered.
“We buy them?”
The time before that, I was lying in bed and found a lump on my right side, just below my rib cage. It was like a devilled egg tucked beneath my skin. Cancer, I thought. A phone call and twenty minutes later, I was stretched out on the examining table with my shirt raised.
“Oh, that’s nothing,” the doctor said. “A little fatty tumor. Dogs get them all the time.”
I thought of other things dogs have that I don’t want: Dewclaws, for example. Hookworms. “Can I have it removed?”
“I guess you could, but why would you want to?”
He made me feel vain and frivolous for even thinking about it. “You’re right,” I told him. “I’ll just pull my bathing suit up a little higher.”
When I asked if the tumor would get any bigger, the doctor gave it a gentle squeeze. “Bigger? Sure, probably.”
“Will it get a lot bigger?”
“Why not?” I asked.
And he said, sounding suddenly weary, “I don’t know. Why don’t trees touch the sky?”
If you’ve never read Sedaris’s Me Talk Pretty One Day, get yourself a copy immediately.