Thursday, December 31, 2009

Whose headache is this?

Oy, Barbara B. is requesting more narcs. An on-line check confirms my fears--four different docs doling benzos and Percs.

In office, she’s misery embodied, waifish voice barely heard, partner stroking her arm.  Part drama, part pain, no knowing what’s what.

Five phone calls, the last one to Barb.  I’m no longer the problem, but what’s the solution?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A curry-ous case

Green curry, rice, and a doughnut for lunch. (Eat as I say, not as I chew!)

I’m good to go for my first p.m. visit, then a carb-laden cloud rolls over my brain.  Chin heads to chest, I struggle with eyelids.  My patient drones on about issues, but suddenly stops, eyeing me with alarm.

“Are you okay?

Monday, December 28, 2009

A window to her soul

Overweight, and diabetic, she shut me down with mono-syllables.

“Watching your diet?”



“No.”  This punctuated with a lift of the lip.

“Anything special for Christmas?”

“Why yes.” She shifted, eyes widened.  “I decorate my apartment, especially the window.”

She e-mailed a pic of the window dressing. Shimmering, bejeweled, it sparkled like her eyes at the end of our visit.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Time to pass it on!

Lillian works full-time in food prep, fingers and toes in arthritic twists.  Her face pale and drawn, feet afire with gout.

“You need a cane,” I urge. And so much more...

She gives an ‘as-if’ sort of shrug.

“Hold on a sec,” I advise.  Return post-haste with my mom’s walnut cane. Here, I conclude, is one worthy heir.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Reflux redux

Carol complained of acid reflux.  On the exam table that day, her abdomen rose like a nine month pregnancy...but she wasn’t.

“Am I in trouble doc?” she asked when she saw my face fall.

The gynecologist delivered a twenty pound ovarian tumor.  As promised to Carol, I scrubbed in and watched.

The path report was, thank heavens, benign!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Thanks...I guess

My old patient had on a good-looking jaunty wig and a leopard-print top.  She smiled at me and said I was cute. 

Nice perhaps, looking good for my age, but cute?

I thanked her but questioned the adjective.

“No honey,” she enthused.  “You are cute.  You and your pony tail and your little purple nose.”

Say what?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Can I be saved?

A first year teacher, lots of exposure, frequent colds.  This one was bad--severe sore throat, painful cough, no voice at all.

I knew the answer, but looked him over for the hands-on touch.

Son (I didn’t really call him that), you’ve got a helluva virus.”

He grabbed a pen and pad, looked up anxiously,  “Could you spell that?”

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The kid and I in 30-some years?

Bea still drives; she’s 91.  Son Gabe’s a sprout of 72.  He seemed down, so she brought him by for a morning visit.

“Doctor,” she began after both sat down, “He doesn’t do anything, he just mopes in the house!  He should get out and be with his friends.”

“Mo’om” he wailed, stretching two syllables from one.

Monday, December 7, 2009

An unstructured life

I’d asked Linda in to discuss her bone density.  The usual stuff--enough bone to get through her life but no more must be lost.  Calcium, D, exercise, drugs...

Wait!  We’ve got tears, lots of them.  What’s going on?  This can’t be just bone!

Lost job, lost love, no bones about it.  What’s the drug for lost hope?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Pet therapy

Carol warned me last minute; she’d scheduled this appointment to ‘fess up to hubby a large credit card debt. 

Yikes!  Have I lost my mind? He’s Hell’s Angel scary, she’s frightened and thin.

By sheer luck, my dog was the fourth in the exam room that day.  Five scrawny pounds, a lap technician working her charms.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

A couple of problems

Mr. C. came for his physical, his wife in tow.  As I took his history, she sat quietly, lips pressed firmly in a downward line.

"So how do you spend your days?" I asked.

He pondered the question, smiling slightly as he considered his answer.

"He doesn't do a goddamn thing," came a thin, angry voice from behind.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Who you calling old?

Carolyn was a psychiatrist at a time when women weren’t and state hospitals were full.  At 90, to my surprise, she opted for a new heart valve.

A year later, she flew to Paris; after two, she fell in love with a man at the home.  She died today at 94, two daughters at her side.