Friday, May 20, 2011

Brave New World

Thursday I had an obligatory visit at my doctor's office.  Obligatory because if I do not show up at least once a year, the doctor will not issue a prescription for the medication I have been taking, successfully and with no side effects, for thirty years, and which keeps my heart from over-fluttering.  The ARNP who checked me out was a very pleasant and professional young lady who confided in me that she had been working on her mother for ten years, and apparently mom still was refusing to go have a colonoscopy done.  Maybe refuse is too strong of a word.  Decline is better.  That's what I did, decline.  She asked me when I'd had my last mammogram and Pap smear, and did not pass out when I told her it must have been early 2006.  Then she mentioned the colonoscopy, and I politely demurred, adding "I don't take flu shots either."  To her credit, I did not get a lecture, but just a gentle reminder that she hoped I would think about having these things done.  Then she gave me a scrip for a panoply of blood tests.  I'm anemic, so taking my blood doesn't make my day any better.  Those are fasting blood tests, so after midnight I can have nothing but water, although she did say that in the morning, I could have water and black coffee.  I might consider it, since the black coffee was thrown in.

I suppose there are very good reasons for my submitting to being prodded and poked, and in no way do I want to encourage anyone to follow in my footsteps.  I am all for preventative medicine ... for other people.  Oddly enough, needles don't bother me, and my experience with the medical profession has been, for the most part, positive.  I don't fear doctors or nurses or phlebotimists or even technicians who turn my chest into a bosom pancake. My bosoms always bounce back, so to speak.  No harm, no foul.

What I dislike is getting caught up in an endless cycle of doctor visits, laboratory tests, and prescription medication.  My personal manner of preventive medicine has been benign neglect, and so far it has worked.  The few times I have had real health issues, I went to a doctor and took care of it.  I take two prescriptions, and two only, and that is only because they are vital to my ability to function.  I respect and envy people who have the discipline to take supplements that improve the quality of life, but I won't even take a vitamin pill.  I realize that one day this pigheadedness is likely to get me into trouble. 

On the other hand, I don't smoke, I rarely drink and never in quantity, and I don't abuse drugs, legal or illegal, so that should count for something.  Genetically, I stand a chance of hitting my century mark.  My biological relatives on both sides had long life in their genes, and despite having been born at the turn of the last century without the advantages of modern medicine, all lived well into their eighties and nineties.

I think that the "better living through chemistry" mindset has overtaken our society.  We drug our kids when they are young, and then we wonder why they turn so easily to street drugs in their teen years.  There are legitimate uses for medication in kindergarten, I suppose, but a burnt out teacher with a room full of boisterous kids isn't one of them.  (Neither is a foster parent who can't be bothered to try to work with a child the old fashioned way before screaming for the child to be put on meds).  I'm still annoyed that my son's kindergarten teacher suggested Ritalin because he was a bit of a motor mouth.  Imagine that, a five year old boy who talks a lot and doesn't enjoy sitting  at his desk like a little soldier for six stultifying hours, listening to La Vaca Grande drone on.  After Rob asked when she had gotten her medical degree, we had his classroom changed. 

When the time comes, when I have no other choice, I'll take my medicine, but until then, I'll take my chances.  At least my mind is clear and my kidneys aren't overworked from processing poisons.

It's a wonder my blood pressure hasn't gone through the roof ... the cat got at my knitting again.  Fortunately, I had not switched over to my brand-spanking new size 9 bamboo needles, but he messed with the yarn to the extent I had to frog back several hours of work.  Bummer. 

In the news:
  • The Food Police are trying to get Ronald McDonald fired.  Why should I care, I hate clowns.
  • The CDC has warned the public to prepare for a Zombie Apocalypse.*
  • A mother in California has been injecting her 8 year old aspiring beauty queen daughter with Botox to improve her looks.  Fortunately, child protective services removed the child from her custody.
  • An organization in San Francisco has gathered enough signatures to put a proposal banning circumcision on the ballot.  All the Jewish residents are going to have to flee to "haven cities" to get their kids snipped on the eighth day.
  • Newt Gingrich steps on his own ... *ahem* ... while wearing golf shoes, after attacking his party's economic program.  If you like train wrecks, this is the candidate to watch
  • Is Saturday, May 21, 2011 "Judgment Day"?  If it is, my courtroom bud Trish has the right idea in holding off paying her bills until Monday.
  • President's Mideast Discourse Elicits Dissonant Responses in U.S. and Abroad - oops, looks like Obama just borrowed Newt's golf shoes.  Quel mistake, Mr. President.  You can't fix things in the Middle East by forcing Israel to return to pre-1967 borders.  Hope you have other sources of campaign dollars, if you know what I mean.

*If zombies ever start taking over the planet, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says we'd better be prepared for it.

If the undead really start roaming the earth looking for fresh brains to eat, we can't rely on our ability to shoot 'em dead the way people do in video games or in horror flicks. Instead, the agency says, we need to treat it like any other disaster.

"So what do you need to do before zombies…or hurricanes or pandemics for example, actually happen? First of all, you should have an emergency kit in your house," Dr. Ali S. Khan, assistant surgeon general of the United States, wrote in a blog on CDC's web site. "This includes things like water, food, and other supplies to get you through the first couple of days before you can locate a zombie-free refugee camp."

When I mentioned this article to my son, he became quite animated.  We all agree that in the event of a zombie apocalypse, the emergency kit should include water, food, medication, and ordnance - you know, military supplies like weapons, ammunition, combat vehicles.  My son, the Eagle Scout, still lives by the Boy Scout motto:   

"Be Prepared."

 Or maybe that should be "Live long and prosper."  

Have a happy happy joy joy day.  Let's hope the evangelists are wrong about the Rapture, but if they are correct, it has been a pleasure blogging with you.  See you on the other side.


  1. Oh - do I hear you on this one! I used to be like you until December, 2005 when I was a guest of Florida Hospital at Celebration with what they thought was heart failure. Since then I now regularly see - in addition to my internist - a cardiologist, electrophysician, endocrinologist, nephrologist, podiatrist, (did I leave any out?) Once you see them once they have you for life! Not to mention that I am years late for my colonoscopy, and while we are in the area, let's not even mention a prostate exam. (Doesn't get any easier living with an OCD/hypochondriacal wife.)

  2. I had a similar experience in 2006 when I found a lump under my arm ... for months I was at the mercy of every doctor and technician in Central Florida, at least it felt that way.