Category: disease

My Scrape With Modern Medicine

Forget Obama Care. There are more serious things out there, and any one of them will make you thankful for any kind of medical care if you are unlucky enough to have those problems. Those problems revolve around critical organs like kidneys, livers, hearts, lungs, brains, etc. Well, some people have no problem getting along without a functioning brain, but I digress.

During my physical examination this last March, my EKG looked a bit out of the normal (what ever that is), and my personal physician recommended a stress test.

Two weeks later, I was in my doctor’s office for that stress test which I apparently flunked. My return visit, two weeks after the stress test culminated in the recommendation for a nuclear stress test. A nuclear stress test includes some stuff tainted with radio-active isotopes, injected into my veins while I was monitored by all sorts of paraphernalia.

Two weeks later, I was told I had flunked the nuclear stress test. I guess this was supposed to be a foregone conclusion, but I figured out that if there were an emergency, somebody would have called me. This time, my doctor tells me to go to a cardiologist.

After another two weeks, I went to see the cardiologist. It only took that long because I figured nothing was wrong, and the cardiologist was just CYA for the internal medicine guy. Besides, if anything were wrong somebody would have called me.

The first question the cardiologist asked me after reviewing my records was, “Why are you here?”

Ahhh…  Those words were nice to hear. Nevertheless, the cardio guy sent me to Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta for a coronary CT Scan. This is a regular CT scan, but involves being injected with a dye so that the images will be more pronounced. I queried the cardiologist at Piedmont about the risk of the dye on my one remaining kidney. It was possible for the dye to destroy my kidney, and I didn’t look forward to being on dialysis for the rest of my life.

He tested my blood on site to see if my kidney could handle the test. He also told me that he could not assess the real risk, and I had to sign an additional waiver for them to run the test. Death, as usual, was a potential result of the test.

One and one-half weeks later…

Yeah. I put off hearing about the test for a while. Besides, if there were something wrong somebody would call me. My cardiologist later told me that was not a good idea. I needed to pay more attention.

That’s when he told me that the tests for coronary artery disease were false. My testing had been a false positive. In the world of statistics, my tests resulted in a Type I error, a false positive.

I am very fortunate. Many men of my age have coronary artery disease, and some of those guys fall dead without warning. I am glad my doctors paid such close attention, and had me take confirmatory tests. It was all worth it.

Oh, and I will not wait for the doctor’s office to call me with test results, anymore. I will pester them on the idea that I just might have a problem that needs prompt attention.


In my house I am privileged to be the grocery shopper. I have apparently behaved myself, and have been rewarded with this exciting social activity.

Grocery shopping is a very interesting thing. You can see people at their best, and at their worst. You can see if they are thrifty, or extravagant in their tastes. Some people are in a terrible hurry, and some of us consider shopping a leisure activity. Some people are friendly, and some are not.

If you seek diversity in people, a grocery store is one place guaranteed to produce the desired result.

Yesterday, at the grocery store I kept passing the same woman while I shopped. She seemed to be taking the opposite route route through the store. She was going up and down the aisles, and I was going down and up. This meant that we met each other at least half-a-dozen times.

Now, here in the South, we are courteous, polite, and sometimes a bit flirty. We always acknowledge the presence of another person, especially one of the opposite sex. It is not that grocery shopping is a sexual pursuit, but some swear on the abundance of opportunities on the produce aisle, or in the ice cream section. You can probably meet a common sense person on the oatmeal aisle.

I know one guy who met his future wife at a Walmart prescription counter. This may not have been a good place for amorous encounters.  She had more diseases than a hospital, and no health insurance.

But, I digress…

At any rate, I kept meeting the same woman on the grocery aisles, and at first, we just smiled in acknowledgement of each other. The rest of the time nobody made a big deal of the meetings. When we seemed to be heading for the same grocery line it seemed appropriate to say something.

“It looks like you are preparing for a crowd at Thanksgiving”, I said. She replied that she would be preparing dinner for about sixteen people. The conversation was short, polite, and was not inappropriate. She was just another harried shopper trying to get ready for the big family event. I am sorry to disappoint if you were expecting something lascivious.

Our original Thanksgiving pioneers did not have grocery stores, and they probably had very few smiles. You see, pioneering can be a really hard, and hungry job. If you land on a strange shore and cannot find fertile land, plentiful game, and adequate water supplies in quick order, you are screwed. You stand a good chance of starving, as many colonizing pioneers did.

Remember the stories of the settlers at Jamestown and Roanoke, Virginia. Starvation, disease, troubles with the native Indian tribes were big problems. They had to put up with each other, too.

The Roanoke colony did not survive, and Jamestown was touch and go for several years. The Massachusetts Bay colony was fortunate in its survival, too.

Colonial success was not guaranteed.

We have our intractable problems, today, but they do not go to our very basic physical existence. Our problems are political, economic, spiritual, and personal. They are important, but one reason for Thanksgiving is to keep all this stuff in perspective.

Happy Thanksgiving, people. My advice is to spend the day enjoying life, and to devote some time for prayer.

Coupon-osis Strikes The Nation!

It had to happen. As soon as I get interested in something, somebody has to ruin it for everyone else.

Fox News in Atlanta reports that an area Kroger store manager refused to accept coupons from Khadijah Herring, a woman known as a devoted, frequent couponer. When Herring asked about his decision,  the manager said, “…because you are a habitual coupon user”.

Wow! A new disease is threatening society, extreme couponing!  You just think you have had heard of everything. Just wait until our government hears about this new threat.

There will be Congressional action to stop this horrible trend. They will establish couponing as a hate crime, and impose extraordinary punishments for these egregious infractions against our fellow man.

Out of work scientists will make studies of couponing habits, and will establish a pathology and a name for the disease, couponosis. The studies will not contain actual mathematics or data. Like many government funded scientists they will make it up as they go.

Now that we have a crime and a disease, we have to have a cure. That, boys and girls, will be a new, gound breaking, bank disolving procedure, the couponoplasty. It will consist of inserting large objects into the nether orifices of taxpayers.

But, wait! They are not through. Those bogus studies will be siezed upon by the National Science Foundation as an indictment of the American health care system. The Federal Government will be impelled to act quickly because things will be worse than they thought.

Look for a new entitlement system for those habitual couponers. A special issue of food stamps will be legislated. There will be big, perforated sheets of coupons called buckoffs. These will be clippable, crisp, one dollar coupons redeemable for food, rent, fuel, booze, and breath mints.

Problem solved.