There's More to Life than Just Medicine

Practicing medicine can be frustrating enough without having to deal with all of the other challenges, large and small, that life throws at you.

Anyone reading and keeping up with my blog knows how frustrated I’ve become with insurance companies, prior authorizations, coding, patients, and more (see here, here, and here for examples). But there are other common things in daily life, outside the office, that drive me almost as insane.

I’d like to thank the manufacturers of mayonnaise and assorted jellies for bottling their products in plastic bottles. Why can’t pickle companies do the same thing? As a consumer, I’ve sometimes called companies to complain about various products. Two years ago, I called the people who make International Delight creamer and suggested they change the tops of their containers. After shaking the bottle and then clicking open the top, it sprayed cream all over the place. Well, two years later, they changed it. And I got a coupon, to boot, for a free pint of creamer.

Do companies that make bread really think that a flimsy plastic wrapper that tears when you try to open it and that is supposed to be held together with a tiny clip that you have to squeeze the plastic into works to keep the bread fresh for more than 15 hours? Can I see some evidence-based research on this?

Same thing goes for cereal boxes. All cereal should be in zip lock plastic bags.

And how about coffee? There isn’t any way in hell to reseal the originally vacuum-sealed bag with that stupid aluminum strip that’s supposed to fold around the bag and keep your coffee fresh.

And then there’s the US Post Office. I mail a lot of items that I sell on eBay. One man’s junk is truly another man’s treasure. But is it any wonder that the Post Office is losing money? I recently went to mail a couple of items, and let me tell you — the variations on postage and definition of what an item is, large flat envelope vs. small package, are mind-boggling.

I had an item that weighed just less than 6 ounces and wanted to send it First Class and get a delivery confirmation, which is $ .70. The cost was $1.73, just for the postage, but to send it with confirmation, I’d have to spend $4.95 to send it Priority Mail. You can’t send First Class mail and get delivery confirmation. I felt like Jack Nicholson in Five Easy Pieces when he tried to order his omelet and wheat toast, while holding the tomatoes.

“So the same envelope, First Class or Priority Mail, goes to the same address, with the same contents, delivered by the same postal employee, but I have to pay $4.95 to get delivery confirmation?” I said to the Post Office employee.

“Yes, sir, those are the rules.”

I told him to fuhgettabout it.

I’ve written to the Post Office, at least three times, suggesting an Alfred E. Neuman stamp in honor of MAD magazine (which I collect) being around for over 50 years. I thought that stamp would be a great moneymaker, but my idea has been passed by each time. But have you noticed, there’s a Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and a whole series on the Sunday Funnies?

I don’t get it, but “What, Me Worry?”

And you’re probably familiar with “partial” prescriptions? It’s when the pharmacist gives you a portion of the number of pills that the doctor wrote it for and promises you the rest later. I guess the picture below shows how some pharmacists remember.