Dear Teacher, This Is Why I Didnʼt Write Much of Anything on Thursday…

Not too much got written on Thursday (nor on Wednesday, as Hump Day marked my first substitute teaching job in more than a month, even if it was only for less than a day), either for the blog or more importantly for the November novel. Although later in the afternoon I did feel worthlessly lazy, the real issue was time taken from my otherwise busily typing hands. I started with one medical appointment, for a physical, and ended up with three (two new ones out of the first, and one of those newbies slated for later in the same day, Thursday). And nothing is wrong! (At least not yet…)

I have been seeing too much of doctors this year. I just had my annual physical on Thursday morning, supposedly just a regular thing, mostly to get my prescriptions renewed for another year. However, The Lovely One wanted me to make the most of this appointment by actually remembering to tell Dr. Bill about all my various (old age) symptoms and issues:

  • tinnitus
  • “glittering eye”
  • and various other pains and problems we wonʼt list here (mostly because none of them were important).

The appointment was at 8:00 in the morning, the first for him for the day. As The Lovely One and I must go through the HealthCheck 360 exam each fall for Janetʼs health insurance, in order to save money on lab tests and the number of blood-draws we endure each year (discounting donations — which reminds me, itʼs probably about time to give again), the doctor and we have agreed to use the insurance program blood work for most of our annual tests. Thursday was my opportunity to talk about what they showed and pick up my new prescriptions.

The basic blood pressure (124/82) and cholesterol (my two meds) part of the exam went smoothly and predictably, and I had my new prescriptions in less than fifteen minutes. Dr. Bill was puzzled why the HealthCheck blood work didnʼt include electrolytes and noticed I should have my thyroid test, too, which meant I would have blood drawn for those tests before I left. (Perhaps I should mention I have an enlarged thyroid, but for fifteen years now, itʼs meant nothing — the thingʼs just big.) The tinnitus issues (of which I have complained before on this blog) took more discussion because I had neglected to mention it when I saw our doctor as a doctor (rather than just a friend) on our last visit (the one that introduced me to the world of lipomas — astonishing the things one can avoid knowing anything whatsoever about in a lifetime, even at my rather advanced age; I wonder what other worlds of information await — wait, and you will learn, my children). He decided after explaining some possible causes that I should probably be referred to an ear, nose and throat specialist about the ever-present, each-day-louder ringing in my ears as well as a noticeable hoarseness I have developed since retirement (which I think is due to me just not talking for ten or more hours a day). Now I will get to see another doctor for another time this year, early in December. Thereʼs the first of the newly added medical appointments.

This recreates an actual experience of mine driving back from Dubuque this past summer.

Obviously, he thought the supernatural screeching was important to some degree. The “glittering eye” issue (about which I have written a little now and then here) intrigued him more, enough to look into my eyes pretty closely (reporting I have minor cataracts, news to me), but guessing that my problem is most likely to result from ”ocular migraines,” a brand-new word for me. He suggested strongly that I get an appointment with an ophthalmologist to get checked for corneal issues, floaters and possibly retinal damage. We talked some more about other issues, and we were done. I waited about ten minutes, and a nurse came to draw my blood and then make the ear, nose and throat appointment. Then I was finished, I thought.

At home, I decided that putting off the call to the eye doctor might just make me forget altogether, so I phoned. Unexpectedly, after I had briefly explained my concern, the secretary asked if 1:15 today (which from our chronologically advanced point-of-view on Saturday would mean Thursday) would work. Could I say no? So I called Janet, who was annoyed that the actual doctor I was seeing was an optometrist (the one I visited to get new glasses back in March) rather than a full MD (me, too, initially, as I had protested on the phone getting my appointment), but she reached the same conclusion that I had: it was a starting point, and there were ten ophthalmologists right there with her in the office. We arranged to lunch together (my appointment was for 1:15 in Dubuque), and that left me with about half an hour to type Thursday morning before I had to get on the road.

Lunch was lovely at Star (I ordered their daily special, grilled pork loin with mashed potatoes and green beans, and I had enough left over to bring home for supper that night; Janet enjoyed Asian chicken salad), I dropped her back at work, and even fighting the idiot Dubuque traffic on Highway 20, got out to Medical Associates west campus six minutes ahead of the appointment. I was summoned beyond the desk (for the second time in one day, now that I think about it) after only five or six minutes after my registration, conversed with the assistant, who also checked on my vision basics (eye pressures 15 and 15) and dilated the eyes. After the customary wait for the chemicals to work, Dr. Walker took me back in the examination room, listened to my explanations (all over again from my point of view, but I took the opportunity to revise for a fifth time how I described the experiences), and shone bright lights in my eyes as she studied them from every conceivable angle. She said I had perfectly normal, healthy eyes — so the symptom (my “glittering eye” experiences) did not result from cataracts, corneal damage, mutant fluorescent floaters or anything else in the vitreous humor, or retinal damage. Her conclusion: “ocular migraines,” just as the old family physician had deduced earlier. (And about which, if plans hold steady, you shall learn more than enough, dutiful readers, probably on Monday.)

Our visit had one last bright moment. When I mentioned the possible cataracts perhaps observed that morning, she checked the optics again, assuring me that earlier conclusion had been mistaken: “healthy, healthy eyes. All okay.”

I got home about 3:15 (driving with my sunglasses on, covered by the doctorʼs plastic shades — my eyes were dilated, still are as I type this later Thursday), and the writing day was pretty well gone. I wrote this (having started before I left for lunch and the optometrist — can you spot the break?), and I will write Fridayʼs promised post. I donʼt know if one word will be added to the novel other than the couple hundred I put down this morning. Oh,well, thereʼs always yesterday (think about it; I didnʼt have Slaves to the Lesser Moon arise from a malfunctioning time machine for nothing).

©2010 John Randolph Burrow, Magickal Monkey Enterprises, Ltd, S.A.

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