Friday, August 28, 2009

Chicken Parts

When I was meeting with orthopedic doctors on a seemingly daily basis last year due to severe problems with my knees, one of the treatment options that was brought up was to inject me full of chicken parts. Really. Sometimes I think that doctor's make "recommendations" like these just to gauge how silly and sheeplike their patients actually are. After we agree to have them inject various syringes of goop and chemicals into our bodies, they hang around the coffee pot and exchange stories and laughs.

Doctor #1: "Hey Bob, I had this one patient who was so gullible, he allowed me to squirt Chicken McNuggets with barbeque sauce directly into his body."

Doctor #2: "Wait, I thought you were Bob. Anyway, you must realize that your story is only hilarious if the treatment is covered by insurance. Now, let's go play golf."

It seems to be the case, however, that somewhere, somehow, somebody figured out that injecting processed rooster combs into your knees can act to reduce the painful symptoms associated with osteoarthritis. I don't know about you, but I really have to wonder how anybody might come up with this idea for patient treatment. I have this picture in my mind of the Far Side cartoon where several egghead-type scientists in lab coats are standing around a table with a duck on it. They are about to pour a beaker of liquid on its back. On the chalkboard behind them are results of previous experiments of this sort: "Like acid off a duck's back" (crossed off), "Like syrup off a duck's back" (crossed off). Do scientists just sit in their labs all day sucking in huge government grants and trying one random thing after another until they stumble across something and hail it as the next great breakthrough? Perhaps. I either can't say or I won't say, after all, I am a scientist myself and I must keep certain things in the strictest confidence.

All of this made me remember a plot line from Star Trek - The Next Generation where due to some freak accident involving a ripening rutabaga, Captain Picard and Dr. Crusher could communicate to each other without words; their minds were somehow merged together so that they shared every thought. Well, they were walking along a path and came to a fork in the road. Dr. Crusher asked aloud, "Which way should we go?". Picard responded quickly and forcefully, "This way. (pointing to the left)" Dr. Crusher looked at Picard and said "You don't really know, do you? I mean, you're acting like you know exactly which way to go, but you're only guessing. Do you do this all the time?". Picard then said something to the effect of "If I just speak with assurance and confidence, everyone assumes that I know what I'm talking about." Ahhh, this is all starting to make sense.

Doctor: Do you want me to put hunks of ground up poultry into your body in an expensive, uncomfortable, and highly dubious procedure?

Patient: My, you speak with assurance and confidence! Hook me up.