Friday, December 4, 2009
What were we thinking?
A couple of months back, during a period of apparent insanity, we scheduled several appointments this week with various doctors.
On Monday Mrs. RWP saw Dr. H., her eye surgeon, because it was time for her second annual checkup after cataract surgery on both eyes. He was to have seen me on Tuesday for a regular ophthalmologic exam, but I canceled.
On Tuesday, Mrs. RWP got me in to see Dr. B., our regular family doctor, because of sinus congestion and a non-productive cough that has been cooking for a couple of weeks now. His diagnosis was “upper respiratory infection” and I was sent away with a prescription for an antibiotic.
On Wednesday, both Mrs. RWP and I were seen by Dr. R., our dentist. We had grown increasingly apprehensive in recent weeks but it turned out well. Instead of a root canal, Mrs. RWP received a filling. Instead of an extraction, I received two fillings. All systems are GO.
On Thursday, I saw Dr. M., my cardiologist, for my twenty-eighth regular semi-annual checkup, which I have been having, semi-annually, of course, ever since my heart attack back in January 1996. Back then, Dr. M. was the newest kid on the block in a rather large local practice. Now he is chief of cardiology at one of the largest hospitals in the area and his picture appears on billboards, in glossy magazines, and even on the side of a bus in Atlanta. It appears I am disgustingly healthy. My EKG was perfect. My blood pressure was 118 over 68. My cholesterol is very good, as my high-density lipoprotein (HDL) was just under 40 and my low-density liproprotein (LDL) was 134. I can never keep these straight. Apparently the goal is to keep the high one low and the low one high, and 134 is considered a low high and 40 is considered a high low. Got that? Me neither. I do know which is considered the “good” cholesterol and which is considered the “bad” cholesterol because way back when I was in cardiac rehab in 1996 (they let me out on good behavior) the therapist told us to think of the H in HDL as “Happy!” (smiley face) and the L in LDL as “lousy” (frowny face). The Happy/high, which is the lower number, should be as high as possible and the lousy/low, which is the higher number, should be as low as possible. Or maybe I have that backwards. But I do know one thing: It helps to eat a lot of peanut butter and it helps even more to cook with olive oil. And I have started taking Niacin once again to make the happy even happier.
Today, Friday, is an appointment-free zone. I suppose we could have tried to get Mrs. RWP in to see Dr. D, the orthopedic surgeon who repaired her torn rotator cuff and replaced both of her knees, just to make the week complete, but her appointment isn't for another three months.
A day without a doctor’s appointment is like a day without, I mean with sunshine.
Another plus: not one of those doctors asked me to turn my head and cough, drop my pants, or bend over.