If It's Not October, Why Am I At the Doctor?




It’s normally October when I post about my one-and-only trip to the doctor for the year. But here it is, only June. I had to have a spur-of-the-moment, unscheduled physical because I got a new doctor. I separated from my old doctor, who, while she did read my blog and I’ll give her credit for that, kept telling me I was fine. Cholesterol is 249? No problem! You’re great! That blip on your EKG that keeps getting rounder and uglier every year? Don’t sweat it.  Old Doctor unwittingly encouraged me to keep doing whatever I was doing. 

“I don’t have a single health problem and I’m not on any medications!” I would brag at parties, with cheese log stuffed in my cheeks and a tumbler full of wine in my hand. 

Then I switched doctors. Happy hour is officially over. So is going to the gym without a half-gallon of water. And bring on the maxi-sized pill case, because I’ll now be on all those supplements that are so popular with people my age.

New Doctor is not about to take all the blame for this drastic change in my lifestyle. He got all of my medical records from Old Doctor and then he copied them and emailed them to me. And that was the first time I ever saw with my own eyes all of my test results and all the things the doctor wrote down during my exams.

Holy crap. I had been careening toward an early death and had no idea. Eating out, drinking every day, eating cupcake frosting out of the bowl with a spoon, cracking jokes throughout my physicals with Old Doctor, and all the while my “numbers” were going up (or down, whichever is the bad way) and nobody thought to tell me. It’s all fun and games until someone has to have a colonoscopy.

Most of what she wrote down was positive. She said I was age appropriate, well nourished, and my mood was appropriate to the situation. I’m taking that all as a compliment and not that I was dressing like a slut.

I was oriented to person, place and time with no confusion noted. Seeing as I am often running late and forget what pharmacy I use, I’m pretty proud of that one. They made no mention in my records of the fact that when I exit the examining room, I never know which way to turn to get back to reception. Bad sense of direction and faulty short-term memory were not recorded.

But even some of the good things sounded pretty horrid. The picture of health isn’t a pretty picture when you’re forced to use medical jargon. I was shocked at how aged, puffy and diseased my internal organs sounded. Her report went through my whole body and made it sound like a lumpy, pulsating hunk of lard.

My head was normocephalic, atraumatic, without any gross head or neck masses.

My turbinates revealed no abnormalities, but my oropharynx and posterior pharynx revealed pink, moist, patent tissues without mass or erythema. (That just sounds like borderline porn.)

No bruits were anscultated.

She felt no murmurs, gallop, rubs or clicks.

No clubbing. (I don’t think I’m supposed to take that as an order.)

Bowel sounds present x4. (Times 4? Doesn’t that seem loud? That can’t be good.)

On my blood work, I was negative on occult (which I think is good. You never want the occult in your bod) and and no squamous were seen (also good . . . yeah, let’s just say that’s good). 

I’m third generation on my TSH, which is probably more evolved and hipper than first generation.

None of these things were the problem, though. Old Doctor didn’t write down anything bad, she just let the lab results tell the story . . . to no one. And New Doctor is quite the man of action, because he read those results and started making lists of things for me to do. And unfortunately, none of my newly revealed health issues have anything to do with inherited tendencies. It’s all stuff that I can, should and must (New Doctor says) work to improve. Damnit.

I promised him that I had already started to make some changes. He said he would run another set of labs and then he’d let me know if I can still have my one precious glass of wine every night. But the cereal bowl of frosting is out.