Medical Transformations

The medical profession is a wondrous field with many modern marvels; but at our house we’ve had some big changes slap us in the face lately. For example, I had my very first stress test. The whole idea scared me to pieces for some reason. Maybe I was afraid of a bad result; but one thing’s for sure, I feel a run-on sentence approaching.

So there I was, minding my own business, huffing and puffing on the treadmill, really eager for my very first ever stress to be done, being completely frightened by the radioactive isotope they injected into my body for imaging, and I’m thinking yes OK Doc you can please tell me to stop now, holy moly I’m starting to get a bit winded here… no big deal but you can turn this stupid thing off any time now, and enough with the slanting of the treadmill awreddy, and yes I’m fine, we can be finished now, OK wow thank you for ending the test because I was lusting for my clobber hand to whomp the big red button that they never told me what it was for but it seemed rather obvious it was the EMERGENCY STOP; but I didn’t clobber it because I wanted to go through the whole test; and when I asked how I did they said, “you’ll find out later, go lay down in the imaging machine thing.”

So I did.

You see, after many years of an upper chest pain that seems to come and go with stress; my doctor finally decided I should have an EKG. She was a bit concerned about the waveform, so she sent me off for a stress test. About a week afterward, I received an e-mail that “the first part of the test was within the normal range.” Then I asked about the second (imaging) part, and they basically said, “we’ll tell you someday when we feel like it.”

I’m guessing this is an unspoken, extra stress part of the test?

Anyway, tried to get an appointment to have my physical exam; which needed to be done before the end of March to comply with the Blue (I don’t) Care Network (a cheapskate version of Blue Cross Blue Shield) requirements. The doctor was booked solid so I settled for a Physician’s Assistant. Now it’s been many years since I’ve seen a male doctor. I dunno, I just prefer females in that profession. However, this guy was very thorough.

For example, he had me do the “pole jumping maneuver;” during which I had to balance a fishing pole on my chin while jumping on one foot. Some kind of coordination test I suppose. Then there was the blindfolded “taste this and tell test,” which involves sardines, Tabasco, Swiss cheese, broccoli, and maple syrup. Why those all needed to be mixed together I’ll never know… but I think I have a great idea for a new sandwich. Lastly he had me bark loudly into an empty metal waste basket. That was my favorite part.

Well OK, maybe none of that really happened.

Seriously though, he was a great guy and really went the extra mile with me. Don’t tell my doctor but I think I’d rather have him give me an exam next time. Of course, I pestered him about the final results of the stress test, and he said, “let’s pull it up and see. Hmm… you aced it. You aced it.” So these chest pains are part muscular, part psychological. Nothing life threatening.

Very nice news indeed.

The second really big, pretty ocky and unexpected medical change thing came in the form of my Beautiful Girlfriend’s job. Unfortunately, the wonderful man she’s been taking care of for 33 years was informed that his insurance company would no longer pay for LPN care. Mind you, he is regarded by us as more of a family member than My Honey’s client. Sadly, his doctor made a huge goof on some paperwork; giving the insurance company the shark bait they’ve probably been wanting for years. In their infinite wisdom, the insurance scoundrels made the determination that our friend needed only the help of nurse aides; not full-fledged nurses. When My Sweet Honey Pie called her nursing agency, they informed her that she could continue to work for our dear friend; but for nurse aide wages. In other words, she’d lose almost half her pay.

Ummm… she said no. Well OK, she said lots of other things for which she called back and apologized. But hey, that’s just plain unacceptable and she stood her ground.

There’s an old saying that “when God shuts a door He opens a window.” But after devoting 33 years to care for a person and the door closes abruptly, it makes very big ouchies in the heart. Very sad business. Our friend got his doctor to send the corrections to the insurance company, but only time will tell whether this will get corrected. In the meantime things are a bit different at our house (and I’m sure at our friend’s house too). I’ve also mentioned that insurance (and many other) companies treat their employees like the mob treats its members. Case in point: if the mob puts a hit out on your brother; it’s nothing personal, just business.

Might be that the window those God People are opening is in the form of Social Security. Weird to be able to say it, but it’s actually good that we’re both old enough to start receiving benefits now. I’ve told her not to worry, but to grieve all this and make whatever decision she feels is right. I’m being as supportive as I can.

However, I think I’m changing my mind about something I mentioned earlier. Don’t think I’m gonna go for that sardines / Tabasco / Swiss cheese / broccoli / maple syrup sandwich after all.