Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Annals of Medicine and Nature

On questions and tests and critters....

Interview (Tuesday 11/1)

Doctor: Are you married, single, divorced?
Me: Divorced. Left a traditional marriage in '83. Been married-equivalent for ten years.
Doctor: (looks confused)
Me: Mary and I are spousal equivalents. (The same doctor is also examining Mary this day.)
Doctor: Your friend?
Me: (smiling graciously) Spousal equivalent.
Doctor: (nods slightly as understanding begins to dawn, progresses down her list of questions) Any surgeries?
Me: Major surgery in 1966 after I was hit by a car. Two broken legs, compound fracture on the left, simple fracture on the right. Ruptured intestines. (Point to my waist, grinning.) Big scar.
Doctor: (wrinkles brow) 1966? You were -- eight years old?
Me: Seven-and-a-half.
Doctor: (a bit sadly) Seven-and-a-half.
Me: And a few outpatient surgeries. Had a couple of sebaceous cysts removed in the 90s. And voluntary laparoscopic sterilization in 1983.
Doctor: How many children do you have?
Me: None.
Doctor: (eyes widening) No children?
Me: Never wanted any.
Doctor: (takes time to process information before continuing) Parents living?
Me: Both dead.
Doctor: When did your mother die?
Me: 1982, from diabetes and coronary sclerosis.
Doctor: How old was she?
Me: 57.
Doctor: (winces)
Me: My father died three months short of 85, in 2002.
Doctor: A long time alone.
Me: (nods)
Doctor: What did he die of?
Me: Suicide.
Doctor: (pauses) Did he -- shoot himself?
Me: (shakes head) Asphyxiation. He put a plastic bag over his head, wrapped the twist-ties around his arm. It was the method recommended by the Hemlock Society.
Doctor: (nods thoughtfully)
Me: I last spoke with him three days before he died. He was healthy except that his legs kept failing; no one could find anything wrong. He didn't want to go into a hospital or a nursing home. (Pause) His friend found him, showed me what he [my father] did.

The rest of the interview and examination were relatively ordinary, except that the doctor was momentarily alarmed when she saw the stains on my bra and wondered if I was discharging something awful. I couldn't imagine what she was talking about, but then I looked and started to laugh. I'd taken a brisk 2-mile walk before my appointment, more than a mile of that in the rain. And I'm very good at sweating.

To her credit, she dictated her notes into a microcassette recorder in my presence (correcting herself when she said, "friend," and adding, "spousal equivalent"). She was quick to recover her composure, too.

Blood pressure: 110/80. Not bad.

On Friday 11/4 we went to one of the local hospitals to have routine bloodwork done, though it's the first time we've been tested since we moved down here. When we exited we spotted a bird nest inside the second "EN" of the "OUTPATIENT ENTRANCE" sign. I don't know whether the nest is still in use or whom it belonged to.

We had a very welcome breakfast afterwards, having fasted before the tests. I drove home and parked on the driveway, since I'd be off to a meeting later. When I made to leave, I saw a Southern Dogface butterfly sampling the wares of our honeysuckle.

A member of the white and sulphur family, the dogface is so named because the forewing markings form a "poodle head shape" according to the Audubon Society Field Guide to Florida.

If they say so.

And inching up the garage door was a young Eastern Tiger Swallowtail caterpillar.

This one comes close to the specimen at The more mature caterpillar is green, so this one's still just a little tyke. The Oklahoma Biological Survey has a good photo of the older, green version here.

I thought I'd photographed one of these as a butterfly, but I'd actually gotten a Giant Swallowtail instead. When this caterpillar grows up it will look like this (Photo courtesy of the University of Florida).

Monday's (11/7) call carried the welcome news that we're both in the normal range for all the relevant body functions, though I've got to start watching my cholesterol intake. Still, it's been three years since we'd been tested, and I was thrilled my numbers are still "good". Good, but cautionary enough to keep me an honest woman.

There are a couple more human-oriented procedures to go -- plus we've been treating Red for a urinary infection common in male cats his age. He goes to the vet tomorrow for another test, to see if we have to keep him on antibiotics.

We're stepping up the dosage on Mary's allergy shots, so I keep those days clear -- staying at the ready with Epipen and Benadryl in case she has a reaction. So far, so good.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow... and I love the history given via converstation with a much more interesting to unfold that way rather than just tell it outright.

9:39 PM  
Blogger twila said...

what a great post to come home to! I'll have to catch up on you bit by the pics and the "bug lessons". No really, I'm learning a lot!

8:58 AM  

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