Wednesday, May 16, 2012

..."This Maiden She Lived with No Other Thought"...

…than to love and be loved by me. I’ll come back to that later.

My dad was born at home.

He was born with club feet.  He called them “ballerina toes” because both feet were sharply pointed down. So his dad broke his little newborn ankles and his mom made splints and casts and in relatively no time at all my dad’s feet were corrected and he was fine.

He played sports all the way through school, and though he told me he would sometimes experience a little pain or limping he was fine.  During a physical exam to enter the US Air Force, the found some bone issues, removed the offending bones and he said he never, ever experienced pain again. …Although he did have some funny looking toes.

Fast forward 50 some years and the same man visits multiple doctors within a span of 10 days with severe vomiting, dizziness and fainting. He  dies without ever knowing what was wrong. We found out after they did the autopsy.

I try not to ever tell any doctor I visit about this story because they assume that I am now paranoid.

In fact I don’t ever share any kind of anything that might suggest stress or anxiety because then they hop all over that.

They get little hard-ons knowing they can give you some drugs and send you out the door. They work for that insurance company bonus for not ordering certain tests, they work for drug companies for getting you hooked on dope, and some of them work for vanity plates, but they don’t work for you or your health.

I stay torn between sharing all of my symptoms, fearful that I’ll leave out something significant that could turn the tide and find the problem, and saying as little as possible because I don’t want them cherry picking the “interesting” stuff and wasting my time trying to solve problems  that I don’t have.

Have you seen the movie “Take Shelter”? Guy goes to the doctor about trouble sleeping and some other unexplained stuff and the doctor hands him some pills because his mother was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic.

His mother.

They didn’t ask him any additional questions or run any tests to see if there was anything PHYSICALLY wrong with the man. They just hand him the drugs and send him on his way, telling him they can recommend a good psychiatrist if he’s interested.

If he’s interested.

Later on the guy- still feeling no relief from his symptoms and honestly feeling worse and a bit anxious- gulps a few more pills than he should and is awakened in the middle of the night with a seizure in a scene that I found to be pretty scary in its realism.

I won’t spoil it for you, but ultimately, the somewhat controversial ending  of the story proves a point that I’ve been making for years.

Doctors treat what they want to treat, whatever is the trendy thing in health care, whatever they’re sure the insurance will cover. Never mind what you need or what you came for.

I recently had my first visit with a new primary care physician. She tried to sell me on tetanus shots, a pertussis vaccine, a pap smear, and a physical.

I was there about the spine thing. We never did get around to addressing that.

So I think of my dad and I think of that movie now while I’m back (again!) on the trail to finding a primary care physician. I had no plans of ever going back to one EVER, but the specialists told me that I had to have someone to coordinate my care. 

Part of me just wants to follow the family tradition: die first and then be diagnosed by autopsy.

I believe in efficiency. And what’s more efficient than dropping dead?

My grandparents are long gone. My granddad died before I was born. (The elder Mr. Efficient had a heart attack one morning leaving for work. Never even made it across the front lawn to the car. That’s how you do it.) And my grandma’s been gone for almost 20 years.

What this means of course is that I’m at the mercy of so-called medical professionals instead of receiving the quality care I would at the hands of my grandparents, a factory worker and a part-time nurse’s aide/full time homemaker.

I suppose the alternative is to just keep chugging along as I have been with throbbing pain as a part of my everyday life. I guess the more I think about it, living with the pain might get easier with time.

It’s finding a doctor that’s not brain dead, and trying to get treatment for my actual problem that’s probably going to kill me.

You might have recognized my title from the poem Annabel Lee.

This is the very first  piece of work I ever heard from Edgar Allan Poe (ironically his last) and it is the piece that made me irrevocably hooked on the man.  To this day he is my favorite writer,  and apparently there’s a good reason for that (aside from him being a phenomenal writer, of course.)

I received a disc of the film scan from my MRI.  I promise you,  you don’t know how cool you are until you get to see the inside of your head from every angle, one slice down at a time. I mean, really the things you can see on that thing.

 Remember that lady who thought she saw the Virgin Mary in her brain scan some years back? Yes, well watch me work people.

You will find below one of my brain scans. The front of my head is the bottom of the picture. (And that lump thing is my eyebrow going up at a strange sound.)

Notice in my massive frontal lobe (haha) what appears to be, in my opinion, an image of the great Edgar Allan Poe, thus proving I was meant to be a writer. And my mother would add, a writer of gruesome stories of strange deaths.


Doesn’t that look like almost every picture you’ve ever seen of the man?


Someone else suggested it looked more like William Shakespeare.


Either way it made me smile.

There’s a little writer in my head. I might be one of the greats!

Someday someone will make massive sand sculpture about me…

Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy…

(see the other sand sculptures and keep your fingers crossed for the Travel Channel to bring back SandBlasters )

Mixed bag of earworms this week…

Robin Hannibal – Transit


Joe Tex – I Want to (Do Everything for You)


Ronnie Foster – Mystic Brew


Seriously, if you know the name of the chick on the corner in the hat, please tell me. I’ve had a girl crush on her since ‘94.

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