No, not for obvious reasons like cost, no insurance, or not believing in western medicine.
My friend J hasn’t been to a doctor since who knows when, has insurance, her husband goes whenever necessary. Her mother died of breast cancer and her sister managed to survive it. Yet J hasn’t had a mammo done in ages. She says she’s afraid to pick up the phone and make an appointment, afraid she might hear bad news if she has an exam (of any kind). Our response (from me and another friend “Leah,” who is a registered nurse): The news could be a whole lot worse if there really is something wrong and you don’t get on it right away. J’s husband agrees. And nothing changes.
Friend P is just as bad, if not worse. Hasn’t seen her doctor in at least 3 years, was supposed to get an abdominal ultrasound at that time and never got around to it, has been very unwell lately, feeling sick and coughing almost all day and part of the night, could be an ulcer, GERD, hiatal hernia, etc. and needs to be diagnosed. She agrees that it could be a serious problem (ya think?) and needs to be medically evaluated, swears she is going to call for an appointment, then fails to do so. She has a good job, big salary and benefits, no dependents, no partner, no debts, so it’s not a money thing.
Leah and I have reminded both J and P that Leah’s husband, T, died just last year of a sudden, massive heart attack caused by several clogged arteries…which could have been diagnosed and treated had he ever bothered to see a doctor or even just get a Lifeline screening done. He died at age 61. His dad had died of the same problem, around the same age. Leah now thinks he was just afraid of what he might have found out. He would never listen to her, though. His death sent shock waves all over our neighborhood. Yes, he had insurance, a job, and was going to retire in a year.
These people have as much as admitted that they are probably shortening their lives by not taking care of themselves. J wants to be with her young grandchildren a lot. I just hope she gets to see them grow up.
P thinks her job takes priority over anything else, that the whole company will collapse if she takes off a day or two. She gets in late, works inefficiently, won’t delegate, stays till 1am and then goes home and eats dinner (which surely must be making her problems worse). She is very overweight and looks like hell.
There’s no way to force these folks to see a doc, since they are adults and not my charges.
It’s all very frustrating.
Do you know people like this? Does any tactic work with them?