Tag Archives: health

The “yearly” physical 

I know that they are important. After all, all the television doctors got together in a commercial to tell us that regular medical checkups are important. And when Alan Alda puts on his Hawkeye doctor face, I try to listen.

The problem, of course, is that for the last five years I have found one reason after another not to have a “yearly” physical. You’ve heard the reasons: I’m too busy; I’m not sick; I can’t afford it; It’s just too creepy. And then there’s my reason: If I go, they might find something wrong with me and want to treat it. It doesn’t matter that even if they didn’t find it, it would still be there and getting worse…I have spent five years believing I can’t be sick if I don’t go in for a checkup.

Finally, it was time. I am getting old, my knees are aching, I haven’t gotten the required vaccinations and worst of all, all the doctors I knew before have all retired and when I fill out forms I have no family doctor’s name to put down. Reluctantly, I called for an appointment. Unfortunately, they were able to schedule one.

Of course, for the month that I waited, I obsessed about it every day. I was sure they would find something direly wrong with me and I would then be confined to my bed, so I had to get everything done before I went. I nearly killed myself with household projects.

Finally, the day arrived. Adding to my anxiety level, I sat down in a waiting room where the news was on. Everyone knows that the news is no way to reduce your anxiety. I was alone in the room, so I turned it off. Five minutes later, it switched back on…by itself. Another thing that does not reduce your anxiety is ghosts.

I was called in before I could get out my ghost-o-meter. First thing they wanted me to do? Step on the scale. Great. The darn thing actually groaned when I stepped on it. I’ve been comforting myself that my scale was just not accurate..weighing too heavy. According to the doctor’s scale, my scale is being generous.

They handed me a gown that didn’t quite cover and a questionnaire to determine if I’m depressed. Well, of course I’m depressed! I’m at the doctor’s office for a physical! Duh!

Blood pressure and blood work were next. It is hard to maintain a really good blood pressure when you have that cuff strangling your arm…the arm that was just jabbed for blood, mind you. Then I was treated to a dizzying set of numbers and for each one, my response was the same: Is that good?

The actual exam was just as fun and invasive as I had anticipated and they ask the most ridiculous question in the world: Okay, now we’re just going to (you fill in the blank with any procedure). Are you ready? My answer? “Of course not! Just get it over with.”

The worst part, of course, is the additionally scheduled tests they want. Mammograms have always been a particular favorite of mine. “When do you want us to schedule your mammogram?” the nurse, inquires, holding pen over paper.

Let’s see: they’re going to smash one of the most delicate parts of my body between two paddles (for want of a better name), twist it closed until my eyes are leaving their sockets and then instruct, “Don’t move.” When do I want to do that? How about the twelfth of never?

Thankfully, my physical is done (except for the mammogram) and all that’s left is to wait for the results of the tests. The doctor assured me that so far it looks like I am in excellent condition: blood pressure, cholesterol and other blood work were excellent; the exam found nothing unusual, so I’m hoping for good results overall. I’m at that point now where I am feeling relieved that I went for the physical and good about myself for not throwing a fit over all the vaccinations.

However, for the next year, when Alan Alda puts on his Hawkeye doctor face, I’m going to tell him exactly where he can stick his advice…and it’s somewhere on his person!

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Slipping him a mickey…

I drove home from Minneapolis this weekend. It’s unusual for me to drive the majority of the trip when we go to the “Cities” to visit our kids. Usually Roy drives and I give him a short break now and then.  But today, I’m proud to say that I did the vast majority of the driving…however, it wasn’t exactly by choice.

It all started with Roy’s backache. He’s been struggling with upper back muscle tension for several days, but this weekend he was particularly uncomfortable. So much so that he actually allowed me to give him some pain medication on Friday—something he prefers not to do.

Nonetheless, he struggled with sore muscles all weekend. I worried. I always do that…I overthink an eye twitch into a stroke or a bug bite into a fatal rash. So of course, a muscle ache could be any number of terrible things and I worried all weekend.

Then, of course, there was the abnormal sleeping. Usually on a trip anywhere away from our beds, we both sleep poorly and he is always up early. He declared both nights we were there that he slept soundly and had trouble getting up in the morning. And he napped every opportunity he got.

This morning was particularly rough. He arose late and was extremely grumpy. His muscles were still bothering him. We went to church and he sat down and fell asleep. That was odd because he doesn’t ordinarily sleep in church. And he was so deep in sleep that he didn’t notice when his son-in-law got up and left the sanctuary because he was overheated. He was really out and he missed a terrific sermon.

We went for a walk after church and he sat on a bench and fell asleep. Since his grandsons were there and he likes to watch them play, I was worried that he fell asleep. Then, when we went back to my daughter’s house, he fell asleep again, so deeply that he was hard to wake up to go to lunch.

He fell asleep on the hard benches we sat on to wait for our table at the restaurant and even when we woke him up, he still acted groggy. My worry finally reached its peak when we had to head out of the cities in heavy traffic and he admitted that he was afraid of dozing off if he tried to drive. Since I normally nap while he drives, this was particularly unnerving.

After this admission, I, of course, took the wheel. I drove and he fell into such a heavy sleep I had to work very hard to get him to respond if I needed something. I was frantic. What medical problem was he having? Should I be stopping in one of the towns along the way and seeking medical assistance?

In my mind, I ran back through the day, searching for something that could account for his grogginess. I remembered giving him some of my over the counter pain medication that morning and suddenly it became important to check the label on that. Maybe it was reacting adversely with a prescription med he takes. I stopped the car and got out the bottle of pills. It was my regular over the counter pain medication…only it was the PM version. In other words, I had been giving my poor husband pain medication with a sleep aid additive the whole weekend!pills

So I had, in effect, slipped my husband a mickey that morning and then tried to put him behind the wheel of the car. As I was driving along, still coming to grips with this, he suddenly woke up. “Do you want me to drive?” he asked in a sleepy voice. “No, I definitely don’t,” I answered, “I’m going to be driving this time.”

He’s back to full alertness now and has a new appreciation for how cautious he should be about whatever pills I give him. He also informed me that it’s illegal to drug someone and then transport them across state lines. I hope I don’t go to jail for this!


© Jackie Wells-Fauth and Drops In the Well, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Wells-Fauth and Drops In The Well with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


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