The Doctor Will See You Now
When you’re in your 80s, you see a lot of doctors. Most of them have to use both hands to carry your file. I wonder if they wear a back brace or other type of support.
I recently saw my Primary Care Physician, a guy I’ve seen since I was mugged in a church parking lot nearly 20 years ago. (I stopped going to church in my first or second year in college and being attacked on church property didn’t persuade me to rethink that decision.)
My doctors are used to getting a lot of sass from me and aren’t bashful about returning the fire. After the PCP took my blood pressure, I said, “So I have four more days to live?”
“Have you paid?” was his response.
My latest blood test showed one elevated reading. When I told him I’m sometimes very sleepy in the morning after the gym and breakfast — not tired just sleepy — he suggested that I have eggs for breakfast and no bread for the next two mornings. I love bread, a category in my view that includes bagels. I’m fairly sure this experiment will last only the two-day timeframe he mentioned. Then I will return to my usual pattern of bread (toast, roll or bagel) with preserves or honey and cereal or eggs.
Next week I see the orthopedist and a couple of weeks later the heart doctor. The orthopedist frequently mentions my age, and I plan to humor him by repeating what a guy at the gym told me recently: “People say I look good for 75. I’m 70.”
The heart doctor skis and the last time I saw him I handed over a two-page note about skiing in the St. Anton, Austria, area, a spot my son, grandson and I have been lucky enough to visit frequently, though unfortunately not recently. It was to be the doctor’s first visit there, and, if he got to go, I’d bet that will dominate our conversation. Who wants to talk about the loop recorder he put in my chest last December when we can chat about skiing down the Valluga or the Osthang or the Fang, all runs in St. Anton? Neither he nor I will be in a hurry to stop talking.
My all-time favorite doctor is no longer with us. Dr. David Samostie was our main doctor on Long Island before we moved to Munich.
I was once on the examining table in his office and described a pain I had. He opened a big medical book on his desk and started thumbing through the pages as he said, “I wonder what that could be?”
Whatever it was, I survived it.
Come June it will be time for another colonoscopy. What are the chances that afterwards the doctor will say, “You look good for 90, but you’re only 84”?
(Posted April 6, 2022)