“The practice of medicine is a thinker’s job, the practice of surgery a plumber’s.”

Today is sunny and beautiful. The ever-present wind is making the chimes play. The trees are swaying. More bird than I’ve seen for a long while have been at the feeders all morning. I’d label today hopeful.

At one I have a doctor’s appointment to discuss my MRI. I saw a line description of the results and it said: abnormal, referral to Doctor so and so. The doctor listed, aka so and so, was my surgeon on the last back operation. That didn’t make me too happy; however, I did see a bit of humor. I love the movie Young Frankenstein. When the doctor is putting together the parts of his creation, Igor is sent to get a brain. Something goes wrong and the doctor asks whose brain Igor chose. He says Abby Normal. That’s what ran through my head when I saw the one line results. I couldn’t help but chuckle.

When I was a kid, we never regularly saw dentists or doctors. My parents as kids hadn’t either so they just followed tradition. I did finally see an orthodontist for braces which were rare in those days. We even had to go to Boston by bus and subway to see him. I was seven or eight. The doctor’s name was Dr. Nice. I have a school picture of me in the third grade with my mouth closed, no smile. I was hiding my braces.

When I was about ten, I fell down the stairs which started my tradition of falling. We went to the doctor the next morning. He just cleaned it. I swear he used an SOS pad. All the way through high school I never saw a doctor. There wasn’t any need. Visits to doctors and dentists were based on pain.

Once when I was in the eighth grade I had a toothache and did go to a dentist, my father’s childhood dentist. I think his nickname was Butcher. He was about ninety, didn’t use novocaine, and I swear he pedaled to make his drill work. That was my last visit to the dentist until my senior year in college when I had to have my teeth checked for Peace Corps. I think I needed hundreds of fillings. That dentist didn’t hurt.

I saw the doctor once when I was in high school. It was for allergies. When I was getting ready for Peace Corps, I had to have a physical. I went to the same doctor as I had seen seven years earlier.

Now we’ll jump ahead. I have so many doctors I forget some of them. Other than check-ups I don’t see them more than once or twice a year except for my regular doctor. I see him when anything has gone awry. He’s the one I’m seeing today.

When I was in Ghana, if anything was wrong, I had to send a letter to the doctor in Accra to describe my symptoms. Luckily though I was healthy for the whole two years. I don’t think I even fell once. The closest I came was in the Sahara when a camel took off with me riding it. By the time I stopped the beast, I had just one leg thrown over the wooden saddle-like thing, and I was still holding the one rope rein. The camel and I were face to face. It spit at me. I am not a fan of camels.

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14 Comments on ““The practice of medicine is a thinker’s job, the practice of surgery a plumber’s.””

  1. olof1 Says:

    Who could ever be a fan of camels after that 🙂 🙂

    I never visited a doctor unless something was wrong, like when I was six and broked exactly everything in my right arm. The good thing was that it was then we found out I am ambidextrous 🙂

    We went to the school nurse every now and agin though when it was time to get vaccination shots. I started meeting doctors more regular when my joints started to behave strange 🙂 Now I normally see them once a year. Well I get a day off from work so I don’t complain too much 🙂

    I hope Your doctor says thatr the Abby Normal thing isn’t too complicated.

    Have a great day!


    • katry Says:

      He is going to send me to the pain clinic as the way to manage the pain. He doesn’t think surgery would change anything. There are differences from the last MRI but nothing meriting surgery!

      It’s a great story, my ride on a camel.

      I see some once a year, others twice a year. It just seems they all come at once.

      Have a great evening!

  2. Richard Says:

    Oh hell. We have another Bright Shiny to contend with – but at least it’s going to get cold. The WX types say we’ll be in the 30s tonight, and that maketh me a happy boy.

    Just got back from having my hair cut. Last time that happened was in mid-September or so – before I (re-)activated the trampoline injury from college in ’62 that led to my ortho doc appointment and the diagnosis of sciatica. Now that the physical therapy exercises seem to be paying dividends and I can walk without listing to the left à la John Wayne, my gait is almost normal again. I like that. I don’t look like ‘prey’ to the Street Vultures.

    The worst part of the sciatica, oddly enough, was reading the ‘side effects’ of the Oxaprozin he prescribed. Seeing the word ‘death’ repeatedly in the first paragraph – esp. when in conjunction with the words ‘cardiac patients’ – doth not the heart comfort. The long and short of the entire episode is that sciatica, with patience, caution, and proper exercise, can be and is a self-limiting problem. Now the pain is at a manageable level of intensity, and I doubt it’ll ever be completely gone, but so long as it’s under control, I’m happy.

    The dentist – to use a word in its loosest sense – of our childhood was one Dr Kron. I hated him. My brother and sister hated him. All three of us were white-knuckle patients. When he’d drill out the cavities, he’d inject the novocaine, wait maybe one – two, max – minutes, and then begin drilling. Unh, doc, it ain’t kickin’ in yet … but that probably came out sounding like ‘Mmm kkk, ih ain ikkin inet!’ or perhaps even less intelligible. Probably less. I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure those formative impressions were the reason I never kept up with my ‘dental health’ the way I should have. It’s probably also a very large part of the process that led to my present status of Proud Denture Wearer. Oh – don’t ever believe those commercials that show denture wearers chompin’ into an apple or an ear of corn. Ain’t gonna happen.

    Medically, I’m happiest when I see no docs and take no ’scrips. My cardiologist is the one I see most often, and even that once-a-year visit (and mandatory treadmill test) is too much.

    On a different subject entirely: Ever since I saw the KFC commercial for their ‘Nashville Hot’ chicken, I’ve been curious about it and wanted to try it. I did that today. I won’t do it again. It should more accurately be called ‘Chicken That Causes Blinding Pain And Makes You Curse A Lot!’ … This chicken is way hotter than it needs to be. It’s almost as if a KFC ‘Bubba’ got a bee up his ass about ‘hot chicken’ and then thought ‘Hmm … we’ll make it real hot and say it’s from Nashville!’ … ‘Bubba’ obviously never understood good food is about seasoning and not about culinarily-induced pain. It’s also a greasy and oily formulation, a departure from KFC’s normally non-greasy (well, lightly greasy) chicken.

    The batter is reminiscent of lava in the process of cooling, with a distinct ‘hard shell’ to it when it’s crunched – but not because it’s ‘crispy’ – it’s as if it’s cooked at too high a temp and becomes ‘heat-hardened.’ On the ‘plus’ side, the chicken is topped with three (count ’em, three) oily dill pickle slices. The best – and most welcome – part of the meal is the cole slaw, ’cos it provides some cool-down after the ‘Nashville Hot’ gets finished igniting your tastebuds. So, if you’re brave, give it a try … but bring along an extinguisher.

    In the ‘Say WHUT!?’ Department – in celebration of my Fresh Haircut – we have Mr Richard Penniman (a/k/a ‘Little Richard’) doing – of all things – ‘I Feel Pretty’ … you remember that from ‘West Side Story,’ yes … ? Of course you do … we all do …

    • katry Says:

      Today stayed a lovely day in the mid-50’s. I wore a flannel shirt and that was enough.

      My pain seems almost constant. If I sit and read, I’m just fine, but if I do something or carry something or walk a bit I’m n pain which can get intense. My doctor is referring me to the pain clinic for ways to manage it.

      I hate listening to the possible side effects of the drugs they advertise on TV. I did laugh at one which is a blood thinner, and they said how much better than warfarin which I take. The one they advertise has no blood tests or dietary restrictions. I didn’t know I had any so I looked it up-kale and a few other green leafy are the only restrictions, and I don’t eat them anyway.

      I have a few crowns but the rest are full teeth. After I had my teeth fixed, I made sure I took great care of them.

      My cardiologist is twice a year. He usually says looking good see you in 6 months.

      I like hot food but I also like to taste the food I’m eating. In Ghana the food was so hot my lips even burned. I think there is still a KFC in Hyannis but I haven’t been there in a long time.

      I haven”t ever heard this before. I like it!!

      • Richard Says:

        I hope the pain clinic helps. You might want to ask them about what my physical therapy doc used for me – they’re called the ‘McKenzie Exercises’ and they’re downright effective when y’ follow ’em every day. If you want to see some of the ones he gave me to do, I could scan the pages and send ’em to you. It’d be nice if my teeth hadn’t been bad all my life, but they were … cavities, broken / chipped, etc … now I never have to worry about another root canal – or the sound of the drill. We exit the world as we entered: bald, toothless, and naked … there’s a ‘symmetry’ to that, eh? Ever notice those commercials for the ‘WünderDrugs’ take longer to list the side effects than they do to talk up the benefits … even the ones for sex have longer lists of ‘No, don’t do that!’ than of ‘You’ll have so much fun!’ … there’s an on-air ad here now for a place named – no kidding – The Priapus Clinic … maybe ‘Mr Priapic,’ Wm Jefferson Clinton, is a ‘silent partner’?

      • katry Says:

        I really want to be free enough of pain to be able to walk without having to keep stopping.

        Are the exercises similar to PT which I had for four months? If not, I’m willing to give them a try.

        My teeth are soft and the braces caused cavities, but I’ve taken good care of them so I can’t even remember the last cavity I’ve had.

        The side effects of most of those would scare the heck out of me. How would I know I was internally bleeding?

        I think I would have used a far different name for my clinic!

      • Richard Says:

        Kat, I don’t know which exercises your PT people used for your case – it’s possible they used the McKenzie exercises for your therapy but just never pointed out that’s what they’re called. You might ask them if those are the exercises they used for your therapy. If it’s not, and if you want to take a look at these, I’ll be happy to scan ’em and send ’em. They’re easy enough to do, and I complete my entire session in about 30 or 40 minutes … and you can use the most effective ones to ‘spot treat’ during the day if the pain starts acting up … I don’t think you can ‘over-do’ these exercises …

      • katry Says:

        I had been given many papers of exercises from them but none had a name for all the exercises. The truth be told I don’t think I’d be as faithful as you are in doing them.

  3. Birgit Says:

    Good luck!

    • katry Says:

      No surgery! He is referring me to the pain clinic. I could click my heels in the air but it might hurt my back!

  4. Bob Says:

    A camel is by definition a horse designed by a committee. 😆

    My mother was a continuous worrier and took us to the doctor regularly. At least twice a year the before school year and in the spring. If we developed a fever she called the doctor who came to our house and gave us a penicillin shot regardless if we needed it or not. My mother didn’t think she got her money’s worth unless we got a shot. She insisted we see the dreaded dentist biannually who would fill the cavities of our baby teeth without anesthetic. This was during the time before the benefits of fluoride were known. In Texas fluoridation of the water supply was considered a communist plot.😁
    Since then I have put several dentist’s kids through college by having crowns, root canals and implants.

    Today was another beautiful day of partly cloudy skies and cooler mid 70s temperatures.

    • katry Says:

      They are vicious creatures. My mother grew up in a family which was never brought to the doctor’s. There were 8 kids, and the family could ill afford it unless there was an emergency. That was the way it was for us as well.

      My sisters and I go every year for our physicals and go to the dentist twice a year and any other doctors necessary.

      I have dental insurance which covers some of the bills for grown and such. The surgery I just had on my gums cost big bucks but only $75 to me.

      It was also a beautiful day here.

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