Give Me What??

My doctor is a drug addict.  You are shocked, I dare say.  But it is not what you think.  I will give her the benefit of the doubt that she is not “on something.”  I mean she is addicted to prescribing drugs. 

For the last twenty years I have endured migraines – nearly daily.  I know how to cope, and they are not the consuming thought of my life, other than when one the size of a tsunami hits.  But the doctor is concerned about my comfort.  This is very kind of her, but I am not fond of the solutions she comes up with. 

“So, you say the migraines are about the same.  How do you manage them?” 

“I use Head On first, ibuprofen if that doesn’t work, and I break out the $30.00-a-pop little white pills you gave me as a last resort, so that I don’t spend an entire day zonked out in my recliner with a barf bucket close at hand.”  (She doesn’t want to know about the barf bucket.  I wish I didn’t have to know about it, either.  It’s a fact of migraine life – if I don’t do the $30.00 pill now and then.)

At the mention of Head On, she rolls her eyes.  I cannot help it if she is not a believer.  What works, works. 

“Migraines do not happen on the forehead.  They say to apply it to the forehead.” 

“So they lied.  I smear it where it needs to go.  They just make the stuff.  We don’t expect them to know how to use it effectively.  I tell you, it’s a winner.  I’m going to buy stock in the company.  Sales are way up since I discovered them.” 

She moves a little closer for effect, and starts to wheedle.  “I can give you something that you can take daily so that you never have to have another migraine.  Wouldn’t that be nice?” 

I shrink back.  “No, I don’t want to take pills everyday. I don’t need that.”  

(I don’t want to tell her that I would not be capable of remembering to take a pill everyday.  She is younger than I am and doesn’t understand about fifties-brain.  Fifties-brain is normal.  All my friends have it, so I know I’m OK.  It’s possible she could misdiagnose me with something dire if she knew about the forgetful moments.  Then she might really want to plug me full of pills – and maybe send me to a social worker besides.  I will never tell her about this blog, either.  That might also cause a date with a social worker.) 

“But you would never have to suffer a headache again!  Why would you not want to take a pill a day?” 

“It’s all about trade-offs.  The last doctor I had told me every time I take a pill, I’m deciding between alleviating a symptom and damaging some part of my body to get rid of the symptom.” 

“You told me the last doctor suggested narcotics for the migraines, too.  He did not know what he was talking about!”

“Which is why I see you now, instead of him.”  (This mollifies her a bit.) 

“There are many varieties of daily medication that I could give you,” she drones on, as if I have not already said no.  “Some are hypertension drugs and some are antidepressants.”  

I stare at her in horror.  My blood pressure is fine, and she wants to mess with it for the sake of migraines I already know how to control.  Antidepressants!  I have friends who take those!  One feels like she has her mouth stuffed full of cotton at all times, and the other breaks out in hives.  Both of them still cry way too much of the time.  I would probably get so happy I would giggle at inappropriate times, which would shock people who erroneously think I am dignified.  I don’t think so! 

“I think I will stick with the occasional little white pill.  I never use more than a couple a month, ibuprofen is effective a lot of the time, and the Head On works fine, as long as I’m not dumb enough to apply it to my forehead — really!”

“But too much ibuprofen is not good for you.”  (Neither would a daily dose of antidepressants or blood pressure meds be, but it’s all in the perspective, I guess.) 

She changes tactics.  “You are stressed?  Or depressed?  Migraines are often related to stress or depression.”  She eyes me sharply, looking for a chink in my armor. 

I am not depressed in the slightest, and I am not going to falsely admit to such a thing, no matter how hot the interrogation gets.  I am feeling a little stressed, though, about whether I am going to get out of this visit free of blood pressure and antidepressant pills.

I finally manage to squeeze out of her the refill I need for the $30.00-a-pop last ditch migraine-stopping pills.  I have been victorious in avoiding the daily dose treatment. 

As I leave the office, the light dawns about why the big pill-push: she probably owns stock in several pharmaceutical companies and wants to boost their business.  Maybe it would be better for all concerned if she invested in Head On.

Doctor Visit

A few days ago I dutifully visited the doctor’s office for the yearly physical.  I had as much fun there as you have when you go.  There was the usual extended stay in the waiting room – long enough this time to grow cobwebs on the end of my nose if I hadn’t purposely shifted around a little here and there expressly to avoid them. 

The medical assistant eventually called me back to the examining room.  I had met this person once before.  At that time, she was throwing around some vulgar language.  “She sounds like a mill worker!” danced through my shocked cranium.  Moments later, she began to share her recent history. 

“You ever been in here before?  Don’t think I seen you ever.  I used ta work at [a local paper mill], but they laid off, so I went back ta school, and I been here for ’bout nine months now.  The pay ain’t as good, but whatcha gonna do?”  (I have left out the expletives for the sake of your innocent eyes.)

We discussed the reason for the visit, and I was relieved that she knew and used the correct body part terminologies. 

On this second occasion, she was the soul of apologies for the long delay.  I tried to soothe her.  “Well, I understand.  It’s late in the afternoon, and I know things gradually get behind during the day.” 

“We weren’t behind until a few minutes ago.  We were right on schedule, and then I dunno what happened!” 

I made the mistake of telling her about a doctor’s visit from my past.  I had been left in an examining room in the “everything-off” state for forty-five minutes, and had begun to look for a “press button in case of emergency” apparatus.  The doctor arrived before I had found the button or had restored myself to my preferred public appearance.  He profusely apologized, explaining that the previous patient had needed more attention than anticipated. 

“Ohhh!  Dr. ___________  did that yesterday!  She had a guy waiting for her in the examining room for an HOUR!  And she was just sittin’ in her office doin’ I-don’t-know what.  Probably nuthin’.  I finally knocked on her door and said, ‘That guy’s been sittin’ in there for an hour!  Get your [posterior] in there!'” 

My eyes got wide.  “You said that?  To the doctor?”  She nodded, a satisfied smirk on her lips.  “What did she do?”

“She just looked surprised and smiled.  But she quit foolin’ around and got herself in there!” 

I pondered during my examining room wait why this woman still works for the clinic, and came up with the probable reason: the doctors are all afraid of her.  If anyone ever tried to fire her, she would no doubt tell them, “I dunno what yer problem is, but I ain’t leavin’.  If you wanna go, you can just all clear yerselves outta here, but it ain’t gonna be me that goes.  I got work ta do.” 

Or perhaps the outlandish behavior she continually surprises them with is valuable as a source of entertainment in their otherwise humdrum routine of poking other folks’ anatomy.  It’s possible she retains good rapport with the union boss at her former mill job, and that boss is intimately acquainted with Mafia people who have a thing against doctors.

Nose Bumps

We never stop growing.  Oh, I know.  Supposedly, the physical part stops, and we just enjoy a growth in wisdom as we mature.  Ha!  Anyone my age knows better.  Physical matter continues to attach itself to our persons, and I’m not even talking about cellulite (a euphemism for grotesque fat bunches).  Young people do not sprout forests of bristles in their nostrils and ears.  That is reserved for old folks, who also grow odd curly hairs out of the tops of their noses.   And then there are – growths. 

Bumps on noses run in our family, so when my husband sprouted one, we were not surprised.  I left it unmentioned for years, until it commenced to get larger.  I watched it bear offspring next to the parent bump, and, fearing that the situation might increase to the point where he could not see out of one eye, I decided to delicately broach the subject. 

“Paul, if you don’t do something about that bump, pretty soon you’ll have to get a periscope to see over the top of it!” 

He mentioned it to his doctor, who was not overly concerned (but then we’ve had a history of finding him to be not overly competent, either).  “Nothing to worry about, my man.  Just buy yourself a tube of acne cream. Smear it on twice a day.  A little dab’ll do ya.”

I was appalled with the physicianal advice.  “He’s got to be kidding!  It is NOT a zit!  Zits do not grow to the size of garbanzo beans and then start families!” 

The doctor won, temporarily.  The tube of acne cream was duly purchased and applied, without even miniscule results.  Meanwhile, I had desires to do my own little surgical procedures.  “Paul, I know how to fix it.  It’s a cyst for sure.  I’ll just sterilize a needle, poke it, and you can squeeze the gook out of it and be done with it.” 

garbanzo beans

garbanzo beans

Hubby gazed at me in horror.  “No, you’re not!  It’s my nose, and if I like it with a bump the size of a garbanzo bean, it’s gonna stay that way!”

I think he had visions of me thrusting a darning needle three inches long into his snoot – right up to the eye of the thing.  He probably imagined me grinning wickedly and enjoying his excruciating pain in some demented fashion.  I pleaded, nagged, and wheedled, explaining that I was thinking of a minor prick that would barely break the skin and wouldn’t even bleed – much.   He remained steadfast: it was his nose, and he’d grow whole gardens of things on it if he wanted to. 

He pointed out other people who had bumps on their noses – in pictures, on the Internet, walking down the street, and especially at family reunions.  I was not impressed.  When I married him it was for better or for worse, in sickness or in health, with or without excess appendages, but why sport an unsightly bump that precluded seeing out of one eye if one didn’t have to?

“It gives me character – a certain uniqueness.” 

“It’s not unique.  It’s a shared family heirloom.” 

“Family heirlooms were meant to be cherished.” 

I gave up and forgot about it.  You look at a garbanzo bean on a nose long enough and you don’t notice it anymore.  However, ideas had been germinating in Paul’s brain.  Sweet thingie!  He wanted to please his wife.  Without telling a soul, he tried the needle-aspiration-and-squeeze procedure, and achieved nothing.  Not being daunted by small setbacks, he decided on a more drastic surgical approach.  We are still trying to recover. 

I happened upon him immediately after he had showered one evening.  “Paul!  Why is your nose bump bleeding all over the place?” 

Somberly, he pointed to a large block of pumice stone on the edge of the tub.  “The doc said if I went to a dermatologist they would shave it off.  I thought I’d save a few bucks and do it myself.” 

Pumice stone.  At least he hadn’t decided to do the shaving with his razor.  That might have required a visit to the emergency room and a little plastic surgery to boot.  I have not had good experiences with emergency rooms.  Whether we were there for the kids or my husband, the doctors have usually insinuated that I was somehow the nasty culprit that caused all the damage.  I must look sinister.  I suppose, in a sense, this time it would have been true, since I was the one who had made such a stink about removing the garbanzo bean in the first place. 

We managed to get the bleeding stopped without a need for a transfusion, but for several days it continued to bleed with each face wash.  Men do not understand about washing owies gently.  This is why children always want Mommy to deal with wounds, not Daddy. 

After sporting the largest bandage Curad makes for several days, Paul now has the injury under control.  We have a beautiful scab on top of the undiminished garbanzo-sized growth.

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