In A Rule of Threes I talked about getting a third opinion on dentistry. Of course, I don’t really do that, and I don’t think I’ve ever even gone for a second opinion on general medical matters. If my doctor prescribes me a medicine I generally trust that taking the medicine in a good idea. I pains my inner skeptic, but somewhere deep inside me there’s also a practical person who knows I simply can’t question everything.
When the HVAC guy says we need more freon, who am I to argue? I have no clue how that system works. If the mechanic tells me the flux capacitor is on the fritz I keep it under 88. And if my doctor gives me two different medicines I pretty much trust that they won’t combine in some way that causes me to have a seizure and drop dead (although I do ask, just to make sure they’ve taken that into consideration.)
I suppose I could learn how the HVAC system works just so I can challenge the technician’s opinion. But I have to draw the line somewhere. I’m not going to medical school real quick just to make sure my doctor is making sound decisions. At a certain point I have to just say I trust that I made the right decision by selecting this doctor.
If a phone company technician comes to our house I’ll look over his shoulder the whole time. I’ll scrutinize everything he does and make comments. I make suggestions. I’m that guy. But it’s my area. I know what he’s doing. I understand phones.
The web is changing this bit-by-bit, allowing us to tap in to knowledge once well out of reach. Now whenever I get home from the pharmacist I go to the Drugs.com Pill Identifier and make sure I really came home with what the doctor prescribed. It’s not fool proof – I’m still trusting a long chain of people, but at least I’ve shortened it by one link.