Sunday, November 6, 2016

Nuthin' like the Real Thing



Happy November friends!
Disclaimer:  Even as I'm typing, I realize this is going to come across awfully self-serving ... so you can bail now if you'd like.  I dunno ... sometimes you just gotta talk to someone.


* * *

Ya know, for all the advances in modern medicine I've been privy to witness,  there's still a part of me that misses the sincerity of yesteryear.   I call it the 'Welby Syndrome.' 
... aka Marcus Welby, M.D. for other fans of 70's television.   


Some of y'all may remember, I voiced concern after my last 'well' exam in August.   While I adore the Nurse Practitioner I've been seeing for the last 8-9 years ... this time I felt like there was a giant stopwatch above my head. "E" was going through the motions with no eye contact and little conversation.  She disappeared as quickly as she'd come.  

Anyway, a few days later - after what might have been a royal screw-up with my labs and resulting prescription - I came to agree with a friend who trumpets the necessity for everyone becoming their own health advocate.   


Deep breath.  "If someone wants to believe I'm being a hypochondriac let 'em."   I remembered the kindly, empathetic M.D. Tom and I used to visit ... the one who discovered evidence of Tom's bladder cancer before any symptoms manifested themselves ... the same one who championed my right to fire my Infectious Disease specialist when she was refusing to release me to go back to work after the dog attack.  

Doctor H. left that physicians' practice shortly thereafter and I moved onto seeing his colleague.   (Probably just as well, as he was devastatingly handsome.  LOL!) 

That was then, this is now.  No doubt I thoroughly confused his scheduler when I called for an appointment.  "No, actually I'm fine.  I'd just like an appointment to talk to the doctor."  

Then there he was:  The neatly trimmed black beard has morphed into a fluffy snow-white cloud, but his startling blue eyes were warm ... and curious.   (Still handsome as hell, dang it!)

His, "Don't worry, I've all the time in the world" attitude -- and the Biblical verses stenciled on the walls -- almost made me  weep.

Well, just like no-one's supposed to 'bad-mouth' their boss in an interview, I felt a huge rush of guilt expressing my misgivings about his former colleague.    
He didn't concur aloud ... but when examining the results of my recent tests he frowned and asked, "Tell me again, why does she have you taking hormones for osteoporosis?"
   
I stuttered to explain, "E" believed they would reverse the bone loss ...  but I'd not a little concern learning (that) after 65 they contribute to heart disease.   Nervously, I quipped: "Well, I saw it on Facebook so that has to be true, right?)   
I expected he'd chuckle at my attempt at levity; instead he nodded.

Standing, he moved to sit beside me and voiced his own recommendations.  My osteoporosis is purportedly 'severe' -- but in addition to the effects of smoking for 43 years, he allowed that my family history and slender build were contributors.   
(Ha! Slender? I looove you, doctor!)     

Then, worried about taking up too much of his time, I off-handily asked about a couple recent oddities:  When getting ready for work I've had a weird weight in my chest and dull pain in my upper arm.    In spite of my poor diet and sedentary lifestyle, my labs and vitals have always been textbook perfect .... "So it's probably just anxiety, right?"
  
In the space of the next 15 minutes, my EKG came back.  In his words, "Not pristine" ... so now I'm the proud owner of a wee vial of nitro and referrals to see both an endocrinologist and cardio.

"I'm going to pot."  That's what my momma used to say as she grew older.  Now, I'm too honest to pretend I'm not worried ... more so about the stupid stress test than anything else.  I can't UNforget that my former hubby suffered his fatal heart attack while undergoing a stress test.)    

Now that the weather is becoming a little cooler (high 80's are still much better than 110) I'm looking at gizmo's out on Amazon that will prompt me to get up and get moving.    Does anyone else own a Fit Bit?   Considering all the choices, I wonder if a less-expensive alternative  ... one that only measures steps and heart-rate ... isn't a better alternative?    Everyone - including a favorite author whose weekly blog chronicles her 70#  weight loss - recommends doing 10,000 steps/day.   (How far IS that?) 
At 72 years young, if she can do it, so can I!

* * *

Thank you so much for listening .... 
Big hugs from Phoenix!
Myra


P.S. - 
I don't mean to sounds like I'm putting down Nurse Practitioners (v. doctors).  For now, this gal prefers the Real Thing!   






32 comments:

  1. I think you did the right thing, we do have to take up our own health care because the doctors today are so buried and rushed that they have to use NP instead of doing it themselves. I like them if I have a cold or need a shot or have a sore throat but for something that needs extra, MD all the way. prayers for your test. I had a stress test, had no problems with it and they found nothing. pretty much what you were having. so lets go with this will be a waste of your time and they will find nothing... glad you made the decision to see the handsome doc. also doctors only know what we tell them, they can't look at us and see what is wrong.. I keep telling my husband that. he thinks because his lab is perfect nothing can be wrong. our doc when I try to tell him things about bob, he says his labs are perfect and he is 80. I want to smack him. the doc not bob, although sometimes....
    I have lived a long time with osteoarthritis but not what you have so far. my friend has it and it is very painful for her. she is 84. you don't need a fitbit, just decide what you are goig to do, like walk 30 minutes or walk and hour or get in a pool and swim and then do it. I have excericses I do 5 days a week and I don't need a watch to tell me how long. I walk a mile in 20 minutes. so when I walk I know how far I have been by how much time I walked. at the gym 19 laps around the basket ball gym is 1 mile, that is how I know how long it takes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL about smacking the doc!

      Of course you're right about not needing a 'gadget.' My will-power is so low, I figure spending $$$ on a prompt might GUILT me into moving.
      Seriously, you remind me of my mother. She never exercised a day in her life until daddy passed shortly after they moved to Port Charlotte ... then she joined a seniors' exercise group, exercised to some blonde gal on morning TV and began walking further ....and further.

      Delete
  2. A very amusingly-written post, but also a very sobering one. In my humble opinion, you are making all the right decisions. We definitely need to be our OWN health advocates....

    Your description of the white-bearded Dr. and the Biblical verses on the walls inspired me to visualize Mount Sinai and Cecil B. Demille epics....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw Jon, you come up with the BEST analogies!
      You KNOW, my mind's going to go there next time and I struggle to keep a straight face.

      Delete
  3. Don't start an exercise program until your stress test is over and cleared by the doctor. Good you did go in and talk to the doctor. I prefer a woman provider over a male, I loved my nurse practitioner in Montana, but sometimes the real thing is good to see too. Saying a prayer for you.

    Betty

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Betty; I hadn't considered waiting.

      I'd rather visit a woman provider as well for the ikky-annual business. (TMI?) Actually, Dr. H. has 2-3 female colleagues, and it's my understanding, no-one's 'patient selfish.'

      Delete
  4. You absolutely did the right thing, Myra! It is SO important to listen to that inner voice when it comes to our bodies and health. I have a Garmin which is less expensive than the FitBit and does exactly the same thing for a lot less money. You have a doc you know and trust, so allow him to do his job and make you well. I'm praying for you!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was just looking at the Garmin last evening. Thank you for saying so!

      Prayers are certainly appreciated ... make that, valued. I'm being a coward, but I just need to look at my hubby, who's a living example of the power of prayer.

      Delete
  5. I'd say you're on the right path and with the right, albeit handsome, doctor. ;)

    All jokes aside, I'll be praying for you, Myra. Getting older has many challenges, as I'm discovering, but I think a positive attitude, and a great sense of humor, are two of the best medicines and you have both.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know, you hit the proverbial nail on the head, Dayle. Attitude and humor are an unbeatable combination. Thank you for saying so!

      Delete
  6. Oh, 10,000 steps is about 5 miles. That is rough because we do step different. 30" is the normal male step, female an inch or two shorter.

    But to the decisions. I am on your side. You know more about you than anyone. I believe in MANY cases the Nurse is actually better qualified to call the shots, BUT, but if your head/heart 'just somehow knows', then one should do as you have done.

    Of course you will worry, that is what we do. It makes us feel better, LOL. But in 99% of the cases the worry was fun but in vain.

    I pray all goes well, I really expect to hear a good report and add 20 mg to something and see me next year.

    (I am good at not-worrying for others! My self? Not so much.)

    Love ya, and hugs to the big guy (Not the doc!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hugs delivered!
      5 MILES?!?!?!? ... Jus' hand me a shovel and bury me now. Throughout elementary and high school when they'd have us running laps on the track, I'd invariably pull up short with cramps under my rib-cage. The PE teacher(s) would routinely make fun of
      me, so I learned to hate exercise. What will be, will be. Thanks for the encouragement!

      Delete
  7. Yes, we do have to be our own health advocates. A good doctor these days is hard to find. I used to have one of those Dr. Welby type doctors and have not found anyone to replace him with. The result is that I don't have a doctor. I love your quote about the stress test. A truer word was never said.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Ma!
      Heck, come-on down and I'll introduce you to Dr. H .....we can share a cup of coffee after the fact. (Wouldn't it be loverly!)

      Delete
  8. Whether you are going to a doctor or to a NP or whoever you need to seek a second opinion if you don't feel things sound right. I am glad you mentioned the heaviness to your doctor. I totally understand your fear of a stress test. When I had a stress test several years ago, the techs and the doctor laughed about their weekend, while I was 'dying' on the treadmill. Stay stong, my fiend, I'll say prayers. I'm with Ma up there...I have no doctor either. What will be, will be!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's SO RUDE of your techs and doc. discussing their personal business in front of their patient! Normally I'm compliant (aka, a coward) but if that were to happen here, I'd likely jump off the damn treadmill. What will be, will be ... indeed! :)

      Delete
  9. Glad you were able to advocate for yourself. sometimes we have to! I was scheduled for surgery on the wrong kidney once and I told them in pre-op that I would not even allow them to start an IV until it got corrected. It put a severe crimp into there OR schedule that day. Too bad. It wasn't the hospital's fault and it wasn't the surgeon's fault. It was the PA's fault. I don't have a Fit Bit or any gizmos. I would have fainted dead away if someone called me slender! (I'm not in that category.) You're doing the referrals, right? Loved your Donald Duck image!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OMG, that's scary business about the kidney mix-up. Good for you!

      Yup, so far I'm scheduled for both referrals late this month, but I'm seriously hoping I can ask for (and get?) a nuclear stress test v. the treadmill.

      Delete
  10. Good for you. I believe we do have to be our own advocate. You are slender, girl. And graceful, too. I have a fitbit. I started at 10,000 steps but couldn't achieve. 6000day is a better goal for me with joint pain. We go to the Rec Center in town and I spend about 40-45 minutes 3x week on 3 machines: treadmill, row machine and NuStep. Other days I do some weights & floor work. You will find an exercise plan that's right for you, I'm sure. If you don't have a blood pressure kit, buy one at Walgreens. Best investment. I am praying for you as you continue your tests; please update us! Love you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mary, HOW long has it been since we've seen each other? Slender? You're toooooo kind!

      Yes, when Tom was going through chemo and radiation we bought a blood pressure kit ... and still use it. Always a great reminder.

      Delete
  11. I'm seeing a lot of doctor's these days. Our doctor that we have been seeing for 25 years seems rather rushed lately. I saw a cardiologist for two years and he was rather amazed that I made my own diagnoses. (Long story) He was impressed. My two newest doctor's that I see at the hospital clinic are awesome. they sit up on the counter top and I can ask as many questions as I want. The guy I'm seeing about my knee is a jerk, seems to have no time for me. I feel like he thinks because I'm 65 my life doesn't matter!!! Praying all is well with you....((Hugs))

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's sad about your 25-year physician with what I call the "Jiffy Lube" philosophy. God knows, I wouldn't want to work in health-care these days of Obamacare!
      I'm so sorry about your 'knee' guy. May karma come smack him right up the side of his millennial cheekbone!

      Delete
  12. This is my worst health year ever, my bladder continues to get infection, why they do not know. I insisted on some test I am not sure they would have recommend if nothing else but for my peace of mind, glad I did. I have peace of mind now. Also very actively pursuing some more medical test to rule out a genetic disease my mother had. At my age , elimination is the best news ever...but it takes time to and perseverance to get treatment. So I say to you, Good for you, keep going till you have answers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Betty! I'm so glad you stopped by ... so in turn, I might learn a little more about you. ('Said your newest 'groupie', aka follower.)

      I'm going to keep your perseverance in the front of my mind when I'm apt to 'chicken out.'

      Delete
  13. Dr. Welby's my kinda doc. (Or course, Dr. Chamberlain was pretty easy on the eyes...)

    You're not a hypochondriac. You're a smart cookie. When that inner voice tells you something's wrong, you have to listen. Good luck with the stress test.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! I almost forgot the original 'McDreamy' Dr. Chamberlain!
      ... Whatever happened do ya suppose, to his rival, Ben Casey?

      Delete
  14. My wife went through hell a few years back with her immune system issues. She will be the first to tell you that NO ONE has a more vested interest in your health than you.
    We don't take any medical opinion as the gospel. We ask hard questions and get second opinions.
    Also, we had jawbone trackers but they didn't last long. We now have Fitbit HR trackers and we love them.
    I was getting 10k steps a day until the weather became brutal here. I dropped down to 8k but now that it's cooling off, I'll be increasing back to 10 k. I do a little dance when my tracker buzzes saying I met my goal. Rock On GirlFren.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This sort of encouragement I can appreciate!
      (... Tho' still waiting on Mother Nature to cool it with the hot flashes.)

      Delete
  15. A gal I knew told me once her father-in-law saw a special about blocked arteries and asked his doctor for the test. His doctor said he was wastinghis money but ordered to make the patient happy! He had an 80 percent blockage in his ventricles and would have died without the procedure. His doctor told him he saved his own life. You know your own body.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's really scary!
      Thanks for stopping by, Anne!

      Delete
  16. You're definitely right--we have to be our own advocates. I know medical offices see a fair share of hypochondriacs on a yearly basis, but they can't assume that's the norm.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I do have a Fit Bit and just bought the hubby one too. Take care of you!

    ReplyDelete

Thanks so much for dropping by! Your words are like hugs from afar.... and who doesn't love a hug!