How is trust broken?
It may be by a sudden betrayal, but often you wake up one day and realize that the perfidy has been a long time growing to the point where you finally put the puzzle pieces together.
Despite personal experience with some dedicated and excellent teachers, I reached that point with our educational system some 30 years ago.
It took a little longer with our health care system. About 25 years ago I began to have my doubts, a slow process that accelerated exponentially over the last three years. I feel blessed to have two physicians in our own family, but even they, being newly-minted, have a tendency to parrot the official lines they were taught in their establishment med schools. With time and experience, they will be great, but that doesn't mean I trust them to know best right now.
In the United States, thanks to our well-established educational rights and freedoms, it is relatively easy to obtain a good education while eschewing the conventional educational system. Not so with medical care. When you are extracted from an auto accident and taken to the hospital, that is not the time do insist, "leave me alone; I don't trust hospitals." Even if you really don't trust hospitals. I suspect that what a doctor told me many decades ago is still true: Doctors are very good at emergency medicine; it's their approach to health in between emergencies that you can't trust. I will elaborate in a future post on occasions where the medical establishment has failed in those interstices in my own life. For now, it suffices to say that, malgré a few wise and compassionate doctors I know personally, my faith in our medical authorities is at an all-time low.
This was driven home to me today in a way that caught me completely by surprise.
I've been sorting through old medical records, and wondered why a urinalysis would be concerned about nitrite levels. (I also wondered why urinalysis isn't generally done any more. It's been longer than I can remember since a doctor asked me for a urine sample. But that's also a question for another day.)
I posed the question to Google, and the Cleveland Clinic answered.
It seemed to me that the Cleveland Clinic should be as good a source as any, but their answer did nothing to bolster my waning confidence. True, they let me know that nitrites in urine can be a sign of a urinary tract infection, which answered my question. But the language in which this information was expressed made me want to flee as far as possible from this organization.
Bacteria in your urinary system cause nitrites to form in your pee. The bacteria enter your body through your urethra (the tube that carries urine out of your body). As a result, you develop a urinary tract infection (UTI).
The bacteria may travel to your bladder (the organ that holds urine), causing bladder inflammation (cystitis). From the bladder, a UTI can spread to your kidneys, the organs that make urine. This leads to a kidney infection (pyelonephritis).
Women and people assigned female at birth (AFAB) are more prone to getting nitrites in their pee. In fact, people AFAB are 30 times more likely than people AMAB to get UTIs. That’s because their shorter urethras make it easier for bacteria to enter the urethra and reach the bladder. Also, a person AFAB’s urethral opening is closer to the anus, where stool comes out. Exposure to poop containing E. coli bacteria is a common cause of UTIs.
You've got to be kidding me. Who do they think they are talking to? They leave you to infer from the context that "AMAB" probably means "assigned male at birth," yet think they need to explain what a bladder is?
And how am I supposed to have any confidence at all in a medical facility that uses an abomination like "people assigned female at birth"? Of all people, doctors ought to be clear about basic human biology. If the Cleveland Clinic believes that a birthing attendant's pronouncement can determine whether a baby is a boy or a girl, how can I believe anything else they might say?
(I mean, if a Supreme Court justice faltered when being asked to define the term "woman," you would certainly expect my faith in her intelligence and wisdom to be compromised, wouldn't you? Oh, wait—that really happened, didn't it?)
And what's this "pee" and "poop" business? Those are slang terms that might be used with very young children, or perhaps among close friends—certainly not by medical professionals who hope to be taken seriously!