I am so weary of medical professionals calmly explaining to me that I am getting old.
This I know.
My friends and loved ones would never talk to me this way.
My mirror tells me every day.
I have had the same general physician for years now. He’s completely incompetent and I like that about him. I walk in, tell him what’s wrong with me and listen for his suggestions.
Then I tell him what to do about it.
And he does it.
I’m no hypochondriac. I come from solid pioneer stock and our routine for healing a body part that tries to fall off is to “slap a little dirt on it”. There’s not much that some sunshine and fresh air can’t fix, so I’m rarely in his office anyway.
The year I came to him and quietly pleaded for something to help me feel better was a classic though.
“Doctor,” I began, “I feel so tired all the time. My hair is thinning. I have headaches. My throat is constantly sore.”
He ran some blood work to look professional.
Taking blood out of people proves you’re a doctor, as does a messy signature.
“My dear, your thyroid is fine, your blood work came back normal, you’re not pregnant and there’s no strep in your throat. I suggest an exercise routine.”
“But doctor! I’ve been losing weight for no reason already! I have no energy! I have no time!”
“Five kids, huh? I suggest you stop yelling at them, and your throat will feel better.”
“Do you hear me? I’m exhausted and I take my vitamins faithfully. This is ridiculous.”
“You want to gain weight? Eat a bowl of ice cream every night before you go to bed.”
This is where I began to understand who I was speaking with.
“Yes, and try going to bed at a decent hour.”
Obviously the man was out of his mind.
You don’t go to bed at any hour if you’re raising five kids. You don’t eat regular meals unless you count the ones over the sink. Hollering and pulling out your hair is par for the course. What this man needed to prescribe was a babysitter or a nanny. Hook her up to my IV please and refill the prescription for, I don’t know, maybe 20 years or so.
This is the doctor who, after a full physical to celebrate my 40th birthday, cheerfully explained that “from here on out, everything goes downhill”. I wasn’t to be surprised when “things just no longer work the way they used to” and I was encouraged to “take care of myself as well as I could, but it would be pretty futile”.
At this exact moment it occurred to me why they only let you have a paper gown in the room.
Even so, I was sorely tempted to use it as a weapon.
I keep him on my payroll because he lets me go to specialists whenever I ask. If there is actually something wrong, he is willing to let the big boys handle it. It takes a strong doctor to admit that.
This particular week, I referred myself to an ophthalmologist. One of my sons seemed to be having eye troubles and so in an act of support, I signed myself up with him to have our eyes checked together.
The good doctor did a thorough job, and gave the kid a clean bill of health.
He decided I needed glasses.
Perfect eyesight for my whole life and now this! Okay, okay, so maybe I hold the menus further away to read them lately, but I haven’t tipped over my water glass yet. It’s not like I can’t take an educated guess at what the entrée is.
He calmly explained…that I’m getting old.
I calmly explained that Jesus could slap a little dirt on ’em and I’d walk away with 20/20.
Just another quack thinking he knows more than I do.