Throwing A Wrench Into The Machine


Dave, I had blood in my urine, but the doctor ordered a colonoscopy.

My PSA, a debatable test, is elevated and now I’m about to become some doctor’s science experiment.

Dave, they basically treat me like I’ve got cancer and I have to prove that I don’t.

The three client have several things in common:

  • They are all men
  • They are between the ages of 55 – 65
  • This is their first real contact modern medicine

It has been over 30 years since I left Prudential.  Officially, I am no longer a sales manager and trainer, but I still mentor and coach a number of agents.  Last week an agent, two years in the business, asked me to help him.  He has yet to find his niche and his employer is only interested in applications.  I told him that there ae two things to remember:

  1. Our job is to solve problems.
  2. Most of our clients look like us.

When I was a young agent, most of my clients were in their twenties and thirties and I hoped to be introduced to their parents.  Now most of my clients are in their fifties and sixties and I hope to be introduced to their children.

And that brings me back to those three guys.  I’ve spent thirty-six years listening to women discuss fibroid-this and cyst-that, buy guy issues have been few and far between.  That is all changing.

Blood pressure pills and cholesterol medications are so commonplace that few of my clients fight the initial diagnosis.  And that stint on the high school JV football team, 35 years ago, gets the blame for the need of a knee replacement, not the 35 extra pounds they are now carrying.  But Type 2 Diabetes, prostate issues, and blocked arteries are the male wake up call to middle age and mortality.

Worse, the message is often delivered callously and with little regard to this being the patient’s first exposure to the medical industry.  I am used to hearing female clients tell me that their doctors don’t ask questions, don’t listen to them, and don’t encourage them to voice their concerns.  I’m now hearing the same complaints from the guys.

The doctors, especially primary care physicians, will tell you that the fault lies with the hospital administrators who limit the time the doctor has with each patient.  The other villain is the new electronic coding that forces the doctors to focus on their computer screens and the little boxes they need to check.

My message is the same to both my male and female clients – Stop the assembly line and threaten to get off.

Force the doctor to focus on YOU.  Ask questions.  Lots of questions.  And most of all, remember that we aren’t machines and they aren’t master repairmen.  We are all human beings.  We have feelings, weaknesses, and strengths.  We need to give the medical providers their due.  And they need to give us respect.