I’ve been off Accutane for just under a full year now. I’m pleased with the results, but am not sure it was worth the psychological roller coaster that ensued. Regardless, I saw my dermatologist for a check up this last week. While he is pleased that I’ve responded well to the treatment, he isn’t satisfied and by no means done.

My dermatologist, as many of my doctors, are at Loma Linda Medical Center. Their motto is “To make man whole” with a nod towards Christianity (they are a Seventh Day Adventist organization). When I worked there and received my orientation, the spin was given to do our best to heal every aspect of a patient through caring service and such. It’s a kind of holistic approach, I suppose.

Scarring from acne is next in his list of targets for my skin. Naturally, this treatment isn’t covered by my insurance. Not to mention that I don’t seem to see the same things in my mirror that he sees on my face. That’s not to say he isn’t right, but it got me thinking that I’ve stepped into the highly commercial side of health.

This is an area now, judging from the visit I had last week, where the patient is made to feel that things could be just a bit better than they are now for a nominal (or maybe not-so-nominal) fee. Never mind that I had to pay my $15 co-pay to hear that I should come back in January to discuss these uncovered treatments (a discussion that will likely also require a $15 co-pay as it will happen in the guise of a check up). The point is no longer to make the patient whole. Rather, the motto twists* into “To make man almost whole, but not quite, and for $200 you can get a procedure that will make you whole for about a year.”

Sufice it to say, I won’t be making that appointment. I try to take care of my appearance and like to look my best. I think the fact that many more people make steady eye contact with me post-Accutane than they did pre-Accutane is proof enough that I need not go further.

*This is not at all indicative of the entire organization. I know of many amazing doctors at Loma Linda, one in particular who did help me find wholeness.