Raajeev's Corner - 2020

Take Two and Call Me in the Morning

By Rajeev Aggerwhil

During the last few months of the pandemic, I have been seeing more diversity on local and network news – a lot more Indian doctors offering medical advice. Ten years ago, the only place you would see Indian people on TV was on PBS. That was just because they were answering the phones for the telethons.

In India, health care is not good. I am not saying the doctors aren't highly qualified. It's just hard to believe they are very motivated when they also believe in reincarnation. “Yes, madam, I am going to try. But your husband is coming back, anyway."

God forbid, if I really get sick, I would rather get treated by an Indian doctor. The doctors in India deal with serious illnesses like malaria, typhoid, and leprosy. What's an American doctor have to deal with? “Oh, Hay Fever! This is going to get me in the medical journals."

In fact, one of my friend's parents came to the US from India a couple of years back with malaria. American doctors didn't even know what malaria was. One doctor thought malaria was the newest member of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Another one concurred, “Yeah, yeah. Malaria. Donald Trump's wife." No, doc. That's Melania.

It is also a fashionable trend with the American doctors to make everything a syndrome. I went to see a doctor with fever, shivering and a cough that sounded like a dog's bark. The doctor told me, “It's not the flu. It's probably Irritable Canine Syndrome."

Western doctors also lack common sense. A patient walks in with a stomach ache and the western doctor will do a sonogram, ultrasound, CAT scan and check for vague diseases. Not once would he ask if the patient had eaten anything. In India, we are very used to dealing with all kinds of stomach aches. Usually the remedy is, “Here, take these two loaves of bread and call me in the morning."

Since we have moved so many times in the US during the last few years, I have had to pick new doctors every time we move to a new city. Tools such as Yelp and Google help. However, I like to meet the doctors before I make a decision because so many of them don't take care of themselves.

I wouldn't take on a personal trainer that says, “Hey, we are going to get you in shape. Oh, no. No. I can't do those exercises. I am busy with this bucket of chicken wings."

Actually, I wouldn't mind attending medical pageants where the doctors parade around like a fashion show with the announcer saying, “Dr. Johnson comes highly recommended. He has four degrees and three children. But weighs in with a whopping 180 blood pressure. Oh, that will knock Dr. Johnson down. Dr. Singh here is on three medications. Weekly shots of insulin, Prozac and Viagra. Proceed with caution."

It is also not fair that they get to look at our personal history but we are not supposed to judge them. Why don't I get to look at my doctor's medical history? “Oh, wait a minute. Low blood sugar. That's going to be some shaky hands, Doc. I don't know if I want you to cut into me."

I read somewhere that the body has a natural tendency to heal itself. With a good diet, proper rest and a stress-free life, you can fight most diseases. Any doctor will be happy to give his or her patient this advice … as long as they can charge $200 for a consultation fee.

The problem with modern day medicine is that it always focuses on the symptomatic cure; suppress the symptoms while ignoring the problem completely. This is why I don't buy my wife jewelry. Sure, it would suppress the flare-up but the fundamental problem will still be there. Me.

Western medicine is also like doing a patchwork. A patient comes in with high blood pressure. The doctor lowers the blood pressure. Great but now the sugar level has gone down. Let's increase the sugar level. Oh, now, they can't sleep. Let's get them some sleeping pills. Now they are too lazy to exercise. They are gaining weight and increasing the blood pressure.

We live in a throw-away society. Your car breaks, you get a new car. Your phone breaks, you get a new phone. Thank God, the doctors still believe in fixing things. Not once have I walked into my doctor's office and heard him say, “Oh, you pulled your elbow. Try this new robotic arm. This one has no marks and has a better camera."

One of our friends is a cardiologist. He had a party to celebrate 20 years in the medical profession. In his speech, he thanked his family, his staff and McDonald's. His medical practice is thriving. He has done so many bypass operations that they named an artery after him. “Just below the left ventricle is the Dr. Patel Circumflex off-ramp."

I am grateful that I don't have to deal with cardiologists or other specialists. However, I went to the dentist last week. It was bad. He was really mad at me. Not a single cavity. He yelled at me, “Take some candies on the way out. I've got kids to feed. Drink some soda and don't brush every day. I've got a payment coming up for my yacht." I also had a problem while eating, I'd bite my lips. The dentist's eyes lit up. He advised that my lower teeth were misaligned and suggested a procedure to take out my lower jaw, realign it and put it back. And after paying for the cost of that procedure, I'd have no money left for food.

I took a little bit of time to compare the death rate of Coronavirus patients in India versus the US and found India to be about 35 percent lower. Some of my Indian friends doubt the accuracy of reports from India.

Others boast that the immunity in India is higher because of the BCG vaccine, less reliance on fast foods and poor hygienic conditions!

I believe that besides the proper precautions like social distancing and covering faces with masks, one thing is certain. Regardless of the kind of medical treatment available in the country you are living in there is no better time to be in control of our bodies.

That means proper diet, regular exercise and a stress-free lifestyle to give our body the proper immunity to fight any viruses or any future pathogens.

That is commonsense and that is something no doctor will dispute, whether they believe in reincarnation or not! And I'll waive the $200 consultation fee.


Los Angeles-based comedian Raajeev Aggerwhil has starred in Nickelodeon's TV show 100 Things to Do Before High School and also acted in the film based on the television series. See his videos on YouTube.