Medical Science Marchs On
I hate it when one of my doctors retires, moves, or, for some reason, hangs up his/her stethoscope. I put years into training them. The loss forces me to educate new doctors—many of them the age of my grandchildren and unable to recognize the eccentricities of my aging body.
It used to be, I’d visit a doctor with much trepidation, even for an ingrown toenail. I feared going into the office, feeling reasonably well and walking out with an ailment I could neither spell nor pronounce and a prescription not covered by my healthcare plan.
No More Rubber Mallet
Physicians used to shine a light into your eyes to see if you were alive or not. Nowadays, they spend much of my visit, peering into a computer, where they’ve stored more information on me than Facebook.
They used to whack you on the knee with a rubber mallet. Poke a wooden stick down your throat while you gagged and said, “ahhh.” They held a pocket watch up to your ear to test your hearing. If you could make out the big “E” at the top of the chart six feet away, you were good to drive.
Most often, at the end of the visit, you got a smile, a pat on the hand, and told to take an aspirin twice a day. If you were lucky, they’d suggest a small glass of wine at bedtime.
Advising Your Doctors
Today I let my physicians know when magazines in the waiting room are outdated or the office plants look sickly. I express my disapproval at the music selections played on call waiting. I fuss when making an appointment is nearly as complicated as scheduling an AT&T repairman. (To tell the truth, I just think about doing all these things. I, invariably, become distracted when I go to recounting my ailments.)
Some Humor Needed
Having done my turn in the waiting room, the first thing a nurse wants to do is weigh me in like I was readying for a high school wrestling match. Recently, when my poundage went up from my last visit, I pointed to my face and said, “Can we make an allowance here? These masks are awfully heavy.” She didn’t find that funny, perhaps because others in the geezer age-bracket had tried that one already.
As I’ve “matured,” my doctors have become my new, best friends. Our regularly scheduled meetups are costly, but revealing. In recent years, my many physicians want to talk politics. We spend about 25% of the time on my medical problems and 75% on world problems. I suppose that’s a good ratio. If that ever flips, I’ll know I’m in bad shape.
Despite my attempt at medical humor, I bow a knee to the many health providers, who are getting us through this pandemic, from Dr. Fauci to the National Guard members, carrying needles instead of guns. We need their expertise and patience more than ever.
God bless ’em everyone.