Friday, July 10, 2015

The Office Visit

The Office Visit


A phone call to remind me of an appointment that I had put out of my mind. I can always find time for doing things, so why then did I dread the reminder call? A month before, a similar call reminded me of a fasting blood test, but that phone call did not bother me at all. I guess I was looking forward to the breakfast stop at the Family Tradition restaurant after the test, thinking about the bacon and eggs with coffee, or maybe the French toast. The restaurant was just around the corner from the office, and it was on the right side of the road, so it was easy to get to. Breakfast out is a rare treat that I indulge in once every few months.

A 10:00 appointment allowed me to have my coffee and rye toast, with maybe a little jam, then run an errand or two before going. I was feeling fine, so why was I having these uneasy feelings about this visit?

The office was full as I signed in and paid the copay fee. I settled in on one of the easy chairs and tried to find a magazine to read. The doctor was running behind, and after an hour wait I found an interesting article to read. Just as I got into the article, the nurse called my name.

On the scales, temperature probe in the mouth, and blood pressure band on my arm, as the nurse went through the routine with some small talk. My arm went numb as the bell finally went off. She directed me to a small exam room that was a little chilly. I sat in the cold for thirty minutes and listened to patients in the adjoining rooms explain their symptoms to the doctor, before he burst through the door with his computer under his arm. A quick handshake and he connected the computer to the monitor and printer, asking how I was doing. Here was my chance to spill out all my ailments, as thoughts of more pills or another test, slowed me down.

"Been doing just fine!" I blurted out.

His concentration was now on all the data streaming down the monitor faster than I could read it, not that I understood anything that was displayed anyway.

Stopping on a list of numbers, he started making some notes. "Have you had any pain or numbness in your legs?"

"No, they have been just fine."

"Your last sonogram shows an increase in calcium in your arteries. Something must be interfering with your cholesterol medication." We reviewed all the medications I was taking, including the over-the-counter ones. As I listed them, he kept telling me to stop taking them.

"We are going to have to get you back to a base line to find out what is working."

"I would like to stay on my memory pills!"

"We need to find out if it is causing the problem, I don't want you to have a stroke!" He continued to study the numbers. "You know there is an upside and a downside to any medication. We are going to adjust your medications to try to reverse this trend, but we will have to monitor you carefully, in case of kidney problems."

"It would be nice to come off of some of these pills."

"Well I am going to put you on another cholesterol medication twice a week. Continue taking what you're on the other five days." His printer buzzed as he printed out several sheets of instructions and refills. "Come back for another fasting blood test in six weeks and a follow-up visit the following week. Give this to the front desk."

While checking out and scheduling the next appointments, my mind whirled with all the new data. Confused, I would have to retype my medication list of what and when I take each medication.

Life is interesting, and getting older gives us more to look forward to, like the reoccurring ‘office visit’.

Copyright © 2015 Hubert Clark Crowell
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