Sunday, July 17, 2011

Of Dogs and Men

I have been reminded quite a lot the past couple of days of just how much of a control freak I am - regardless of the progress I have made tamping down that piece of my personality.  The cliche about old dogs and new tricks is a cliche because it contains more than a just a smidge of the truth.  In dog years I am 308.  And more mornings than not, I certainly feel old. 

Friday night Margaret dragged me over to the local McMedicine Dispensary - a joint called Medemerge in Green Brook.  The medical malady?  Poison ivy.  Yep.  I sought out emergent medical treatment for poison ivy.  I have been avoiding answering my cell phone the past forty-eight hours.  I am trying to avoid the inevitable call from the Association of Men advising me to tear up my membership card and mail the shards back to them in an envelope.  Poison ivy.  Unbelievable.

The nicest thing about this particular dispensary of medical aid is its cost:  $20.00.  All I paid was the co-pay required by my health insurance.  No complaint there. However that old saw about "getting what you pay for" is in full force and effect at this particular joint.  After Margaret and I cooled our heels in the examination room to which I was assigned - where we waited for about twenty minutes or so - in came a young girl (a nurse's aide perhaps) to take my "vitals".  She neither measured me nor weighed me.  She instead asked me, "Do you know how tall you are and how much you weigh?"  If I possessed my brother Bill's wit instead of a poor facsimile thereof I would have simply answered, "Yes" or perhaps, "Yes I do and I'll give you three chances to guess it yourself and win a prize!"  Alas, all I could muster was an honest, direct answer to her question.  Nice to see that the honor system is in full effect at McMedicine. 

Shortly after her departure the medical professional in charge of my care entered the scene.  Margaret kept addressing him as, "Doctor" although I never caught whether his white coat identified him as an M.D. or as a P.A. although considering the medical problem of the moment was poison ivy, had it identified him as "A.S.C." (Angel Second Class) he would have been overqualified for the task at hand.  Then again considering the examination consisted of him asking me where I had it, me telling him that my torso from my rib cage to my upper thighs looked the outfield walls at Wrigley Field and offering to show it to him to confirm that what I thought was poison ivy was indeed just that, nothing more and nothing less and then him politely declining my offer and informing me he could see all he needed to see when I rolled up the sleeve on my shirt, perhaps it was beyond his diagnostic capabilities.  House was not in the house if you catch my drift.

Having been diagnosed in a McMedicine Minute with poison ivy and prescribed a shot of some type of steroids as well as an eight-day regimen of steroid pills (on Monday I shall sign a contract with the San Francisco Giants as the heir apparent to the now-retired Barry Bonds) and assured that all I had was poison ivy, I was surprised when the nurse who came in to administer the shot told me as he prepared to give me the shot in my "bottom" - and yes for those keeping score at home the pronoun was he and the reference to the intended target of his needle was his/not mine - that it appeared as if I was dealing with something in addition to the poison ivy.  Sure enough, after the nurse left the examining room the doctor returned.  This time, he actually examined me and in doing so confirmed the nurse's diagnosis, which of course required an alteration to the prescription, which was not in my favor monetarily I assure you.

The good news is that for all of my griping and kvetching I feel considerably better this morning than I did Friday morning.  It was the journey from there to here that frustrated me.  I loathe ceding control of any situation to anyone else.  It is a trait that makes me a terrible airline passenger and an even worse patient.  I know it and regrettably there seems to be little I shall ever do to correct it.....

....at age 308, this dog is simply too old to learn that particular trick.

-AK

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