Dr.Bones had an A.I. powered Tricorder and Dr. Long, in Mike Judge’s “Idiocracy”, had three probes in the ear, anus, and mouth. Today even doctors are having trouble getting a qualified physician. Secretary Azar, due to huge health care demand and logistical problems during social distancing, recommended increased telemedicine and for state medical boards to loosen regulations. The government even approved non-Hippa compliant Skype and Google conferencing apps to be paid by medicare!
Medical boards micromanage with self-righteous zeal more than current state governments with total lockdown, even in rural areas without covid. The medical boards have responded passive aggressively, requiring a doctor to apply for a state medical license for each state in which a needy patient lives. They require new patients, that need care, to be traditionally seen in person before telemed can then be utilized. This freezes-out undoctored patients from getting care while local doctor offices are shuttered! Mississippi has the fewest physicians per capita, but 1,200 physicians wanted to help by telemed and went through the expense of applying for a Mississippi license. The board decided they could only consult with patients they had already seen in another state , from in-person consults, as the board representative noted there were more than an adequate number of physicians with the ratio of 191 doctors per every 100,000 citizens.
The best the average Joe can do is find a triage Advanced Practice Nurse (APN) to refer to a specialist. With financial obstacles, insurance denials, and long wait lists for specialists, it is crucial to be your own barefoot doctor before seeking even triage. An ER visit will bankrupt you and shotgun diagnostics by the primary care provider will as well as they are under time pressure trying to guess which specialist to turf you to. Mother nature gave us a brain and the Greeks gave us the concept of logic(Induction and Deduction). If you apply a systemic review of all body functions to I.D. symptoms and signs, observable physical changes, you can induce the forest from the many trees. That allows your provider to take your written down theory to segregate you to the correct specialist who can deduce the exact illness at less expense and more expeditiously. Your search engine via internet is your improvised tricorder!
To wit, let us start. Notice when the signs/symptoms started, duration exactly or continuous, and any variation. Does anything ameliorate it or exacerbate it or precipitate it? What time of day or circumstances does it progress? Is it progressive or stable? What home remedies or other provider interventions have been tried or failed? Try to narrow down to at least broad categories: Degenerative diseases are insidious onset and progressive, neoplastic diseases cause weight loss, hard knots or spots, or blood from orifices. Infectious disease cause fever, weight loss, lassitude, or pain. Psychiatric illness causes mood disorder, irrational thinking or anxiety. Endocrine disease causes weight change, change in vital signs or change of bodily habit/routines. Parasitic disease causes pain or blood and is associated with tainted food /exotic food or insect or tropical environs/travels. Vascular disease causes loss of central nervous system (CNS) function or peripheral symptoms or classic shortness of breath (SOB) or chest pain. Nutritional disease come from odd diets or GI absorption/gut signs. Abnormal movements,loss of sense or alteration if consciousness is neurological. Toxic exposures come from an angry wife giving you rat poison (Like my uncle Ranzy experienced for being too stingy with his wife!). Obviously self-induced toxicity from drugs or withdrawal depends on being honest with yourself.
We all need to be more self reliant as the world has changed. Form a close network of friends and family and try to befriend the obnoxious doctor or lawyer uncle whose opinions you abhorred growing up. Educate yourself so you do not have a family doctor putting a probe in all your openings trying to catch a clue as to what you have developed. Hopefully we will not President Camacho as our leader.