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.

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