DIY Health Examinations

My TV happened to be tuned to a medical discussion show. I caught a panelist who appeared to be arguing that women performing their own breast self-examination is over-rated. His reasoning seemed to be that if everything appears to be fine, it inspires overconfidence, so people won’t go to the doctor.

I took flying lessons in the 1970’s. Preparing for a short training hop in a twin-engine Cessna from Hayward, CA, local weather was lousy. My flight instructor and I phoned Oakland Air Traffic Control with our instrument flight plan, and we asked about Oakland field weather there. The controller replied that their airport was operating under Visual Flight Rules, visibility two miles, ceiling 1000 feet.

We asked if he’d looked out the window lately. “Just a minute,” he told us. On returning, he replied, “I’ll be damned. It’s raining!”

Looking at the night sky with binoculars is not the same thing as the Hubble Space Telescope. Self-examination is not the same thing as an MRI scan or a visit to Mayo or Johns Hopkins. But nobody argues you shouldn’t look out the window when you can just get the weather from Channel 5 meteorologists.

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