Prepare yourself. A problem that would have been cured in your grandmother's day by a strong dose of tonic will now cost you in the neighborhood of three months' salary, the antique clock in your dining room, and all the fillings in your teeth.
There is no such thing as a GP anymore. The General Practitioner has been reduced to bones in the La Brea tar pits, along with the rest of the dinosaurs.
"I'm feeling weak and tired," I told a Doctor of Internal Medicine.
He put his hand on my wallet and told me to cough (Henny Youngman wasn't kidding!), after which he recommended that I see a heart specialist.
"That's it?" I cried. "No blood work? No EKG? No stress test? Just 'go to a heat specialist'?"
"Yes," he replied, while counting out my life savings.
So I went to a "heart man,' as he's known in the biz.
He presented me with a bill before he even examined me, then said, "You have six months to live."
I looked at the bill. I'd never seen so many zeroes in one place before in my life. "I can't pay this!"
"OK, then I'll give you another six months." (Did Henny Youngman go to medical school?)
"Oh, and I'm sending you to a respiratory specialist," he said.
When I showed up there, the respiratory specialist sent his secretary out to give me my bill in the parking lot! On it was scrawled the name of a neurologist and the time of my appointment.
The neurologist's office called me and gave me my bill total over the phone. I was then told to report to the ICU.
At the hospital, still not knowing what was wrong with me, I was placed inside an oxygen tent and put on suicide watch. When the doctor finally came in, he looked just like Henny Youngman.
I took one look at him and said, "Take my life...please."