My Physical

questionAfter waiting in waiting room, then in examination room and being grilled by his assassin of a nurse, good doctor showed up. He was a serious looking guy. He acknowledged my presence without even looking up with a curt node. He kept on looking at his papers with an expression of concern. I had a feeling he was trying to find some imperfection in my perfect physiology.

He had the kind of personality that will even find a way to ruin a twin delivery with something like, “Congratulations you have twins but they ate their 3rd sibling.”

He just kept on looking into these papers. Occasionally he will mumble an “hmm” or “oh”. What could it be that this great scholar had found out simply by looking into these papers? Finally he looked at me. He gave me a kind of quick look over that a customer gives a piece of meat at a deli.

I tried to break the ice by pointing out that his kids are very adorable. He looked somewhat puzzled. I pointed out to the picture on the wall. He told me they are not his children. It turns out that this was a UN poster for hunger among children. The kids were of 6 different races as well. I apologized sincerely. I am sure he thinks I am some kind of a smarty pants. I made a mental note of putting my glasses on next time.

He asked me a whole bunch of questions. They all would be considered a serious violation of me and my privacy if he was not a doctor. Their obsession with bodily fluids, cavities and orifices is second to none. He kept on asking me if I have seen blood in one or all of these areas.

Then he gave me the good news that I will have to undergo a lot of routine screening. I will be screened for diabetes, cholesterol, kidney disease, liver diseases and anemia. If I want he can check my prostate “good old-fashioned way”. To leave no doubt in my mind about what the “good old-fashioned” way was, he raised his index finger. I told him I don’t know what this particular organ is supposed to do but I am sure it is fine.

After this he went to give me a whole lot of advise about things which you are supposed to know by the time you come out of high school. Only in US, a doctor will be considered a “good doctor” by insurance companies for talking about it for 15 minutes and then checking 200 boxes and writing 4 pages about it. The advise went something like this:

Eat greens, wear a seat belt, stay hydrated, get enough fiber, exercise, lose weight, don’t text and drive, don’t eat and drive, don’t drink and drive, don’t fall asleep and drive, look for blood in urine/stool/spit/sputum, don’t have a seizure and drive, don’t drop dead while driving, get vaccines, take Aspirin, eat fish and have safe sex with strangers. I told him I am married. Is he advising me to have sex with strangers as long as it is protected? I also told him that my wife might not approve of it but if it is something life saving then what choice do I have? He corrected himself and apologized for not realizing that I was married.

To be continued…

I

Visit to Doctor’s Office-Weight Loss Series

After spending some quality time in depressing surroundings that is a doctor’s waiting room, my name was called. I was ushered to an examination room. Calling it a room was fairly generous. It was the size of a vertical coffin. If that alone did not make you claustrophobic, they had all other angles covered.

The interior of coffin was done in shades of suicidal gray and deathly pastel. The overhead lights were those bright fluorescent types that they banned even in former USSR. There were all kinds of artsy posters on the walls. This eye-catching artwork had a practical purpose though. It warned that you could have colon cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer and few other types of cancers. You ignorant soul might not even know about it. All you have to do is to ask your good doc for screening for these things. He will arrange for all your body orifices to be probed thoroughly so that this cancer will have no place to hide. They also had a very serious looking guy pointing a finger at you and asking, “have you had a colonoscopy”?

You could also have diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, mini stroke, diverticulosis, abnormal cholesterol or heart disease. You might have low testosterone, low estrogen, low bone mass and anemia. On a different note you could also have heart failure, kidney disease, hepatitis or skin cancer.

It also reminded reader that you should inform doctor if you don’t feel safe at home, had unprotected sex or have suicidal thoughts. Especially if you had suicidal thoughts after having unprotected sex. Because let’s face it; HIV is fairly manageable now a days.

The nice Nurse was an old-fashioned, old world nurse who still had the head thing and all. She did not believe in smiling or laughing. She handed me one of those nightmarish hospital gowns that open in back and never have all the straps in place. I made the regular lame joke that generally I am paid for this kind of thing. Either she did not find it funny or she wanted to put me right in my place. She gave me kind of the look that a Mummy (Egyptian type, not your own) gives you when you crack a joke.

I told her that I do not see the need to put this garment on, as I am here for a quick physical only. Apparently there is nothing like a “quick physical” and doctor would prefer me in this “thing”. She left the room and I did change into the “thing”. Just to make this an unforgettable experience, they even had a mirror in the room.

With my last shreds of dignity snatched away from me, I decided to make most of what I had been given. As a token of my protest against this objectification of my body, I decided to keep the socks on. I really cut a fairly depressing figure in this flowery loose robe. A knee-length robe with socks is never going to make you front cover of GQ. I decided to take the socks off. The reflection in mirror was even worse. I put them on again. But then I was worried it would add weight, I took them off again.

Nurse is back. She took my weight and all the usual stuff that they do. She told me I have great veins. I thought it was a compliment till I realized that she was planning to draw some blood. With her demeanor I was not sure if she would use a syringe or simple suck it out of my veins. I told her I am absolutely healthy. But doc would still want to check my cholesterol and thyroid hormone levels. I have already waited close to 45 minutes in waiting room, 25 minutes here, filled out my life story in all kind of forms and this healer is nowhere to be seen.   To be continued…

John Doe-Has A Gallbladder?

Credit to horsey-healthcare

The next person to visit is a surgeon. She also has a team of her own following her. She means business. “Have you passed gas.” I did not know how to answer this charming question. “Why do you still have a gallbladder?” I was born with one I guess. “Why has it never been taken out?” She seemed real angry. I am not sure if it is me or the gallbladder.

The nurse informs her that patient only has some stones in gallbladder and as per radiologist there is no obstruction. “”Are you going to tell me what a radiologist thinks? They don’t know nothing. You know who becomes a radiologist! Don’t you!” I feel she thinks even lesser of radiologists than gallbladder.

She made sure I stay hungry, “In case we have to open him up and take that damn gall bladder out”. I don’t think even the priest can save my gallbladder now. She wanted complete control of situation. She changed iv fluids because the other doctors, “Don’t know what they were doing.” She wanted Anesthesiologist, “In case we have to go in rather quick”. She wanted to write something in my chart but her pen didn’t work. She threw the pen, nurse ducked while changing fluids without even looking up. It looks like staff has had good practice of ducking to avoid things being thrown. One of her interns mumbled something. She yelled at him about not being so stupid that she loses faith in mankind.

I have another doctor in now and it is not even 11 in morning. As usual he has a team of his own. He informs me that he is here to find out what’s wrong with my kidneys. He was very interested in my urine. Majority of time he was there he kept on looking at urine in my catheter. He was personally offended that it was yellowish brown and not light brown. I swear that at one time he was trying to smell it. He did not want to waste even a drop of my urine. He wanted my urine to be collected for 24 hours. He instructed nurse that every drop I drink or pee has to be accounted for. He wanted to know about frequency, urgency, strength of stream, incontinence, turbidity, night-time urinary activity and everything else about my urine. He wanted another ultrasound of my kidneys because “one never knows”.

I asked him what’s wrong with my kidneys. He went into a very lengthy explanation. He spoke for 5 minutes. I don’t remember or understand most of what he said. However what I could make out was: kidneys, no urine no good, failure, ultrasound, CAT scan, more testing, dialysis, more testing, urine, kidneys, failure, golden urine, more testing, protein, more testing, kidneys and some more testing. It appears once you have kidney disease the treatment is more testing.   to be continued…

John Doe gets an overall!

I have been in ICU for only 3 hours and there is a line of visitors forming outside. The first one is a guy who wants to take more blood to do “morning labs”. I told him that I have already given blood multiple times for all kind of tests. He told me that those were “admission labs” and now we need “morning labs”.

The next in line is X-ray guy. He wants to take an x-ray of chest as I am in ICU and I would need a “daily X-Ray”. There is a Respiratory therapist who wants to see if my oxygen can be lowered. This is followed by Physical therapist and Occupation therapist. It is not even 8 AM yet. My nursing assistant comes in now to do new shift “vitals”. She pleasantly informs me that I have been urinating well and my bag is full of golden-colored urine. She is going to report this wonderful development to Nurse who will come in. But first she would check my rectal temperature.

My “Hospitalist” comes in now. This is a different guy. I asked him what happened to guy from last night. He told me that he was a Nocturnist. “So he is not a doctor!” Oh..he is but he only works at night. I feel bad for Nocturnist. He must have some kind of a rare disease that he can only work at night. He tells me about the parade of doctor who will be passing by today.

I ask him who is the person sitting in my room. She is a sitter. We are monitoring you 1:1 as you were running around naked and the whole Petunia thing…Again he goes over the plan for the day. I will be visited by Cardiologist for possible heart disease, Nephrologist for possible kidney disease, Pulmonologist for “spots” on my lungs, Urologist for Melon sized prostate, Neurologist for falling, Psychiatrist for running around naked and trying to hump Petunias, Gastroenterologist and Surgeon for Gallbladder and stones and Hematologist for “abnormal” normal white cell counts.

I will also undergo an Ultrasound of kidneys and bladder, an Echocardiogram of my heart, some blood tests to rule out any Autoimmune diseases and assessment of my swallowing capabilities. They are leaving no stones unturned to find out “why I was running naked and trying to hump Petunias”.

In the meantime I will be continued on iv fluids, 3 antibiotics in case there is an infection somewhere, one medicine to protect development of GI ulcers, another medication to prevent clot formation, Aspirin for possible heart attack, something called Haldol to treat any more episodes of me running around naked, Lorazepam for agitation or sleeplessness, Flumazenil if I get too sleepy with Lorazepam. I am very impressed that they even have a plan to deal with possible side effects of possible medication that I might need possibly.