"How tall are you?" asked the nurse. I had to admit that I really didn't know.
I always think of myself as 5'7-1/2" tall. It's what I always was in the days when they measured such things. When I was working for Dr. G, he asked me once how tall I was and when I told him 5'7-1/2" he laughed and said there was no way I was that tall.
Walt mentioned, a couple of years ago, that I was shorter than I used to be. We now stand eye to eye instead of me being taller than he is.
The nurse said she'd check my height. Whaddya know! I'm now 5'5-1/2" tall.
I also had to step on the dreaded scale and was amazed to discover I'm 15 lbs less than I was when I was last there (in 2005). Since I have not been following any particular diet other than the c-food diet (see food, eat food), it was not exactly an unpleasant thing to hear.
Of course you know that you aren't exactly Twiggy when the nurse, after taking your blood pressure with the "large cuff" decides she'd better recheck with the thigh cuff. Good lord--my upper arm is as big as most people's thigh. How embarrassing.
My doctor came into the room. "It's nice to finally meet you," she said. She's been my doctor since about 2003. I pointed out that we had met before and she said that was once, in 2005.
My mother was raised Christian Scientist, which she uses as her excuse for not going to see a doctor until things are critical. Of course, she converted from Christian Science in 1953, but she still hangs on to those old beliefs, when it suits her, even though she really doesn't believe them. She hates taking pills. When she was in the convalescent hospital after her broken ankle, she wouldn't ask the nurses to get her pain medication because "they had other sick people to tend to" and she didn't want to bother them.
She hates going for well-checkups or preventive checkups. She was supposed to see her regular doctor after she was released from the convalescent hospital, but she didn't see any reason for it, so she never went for follow-up care.
It was very frustrating for me to convince her to see a doctor for her sciatica recently. She had been reading a book and had diagnosed her condition and figured there was nothing the doctor could do for her. But the pain was bad enough that I convinced her to go.
Turns out she had sciatica and there was nothing the doctor could do for her. Damn. I hate it when she's right! All he could do was to give her instructions for what to do until the pain subsided.
Well, I was raised Catholic and my father joined Kaiser in somewhere in the late 40s or early 50s (it was founded in 1945). At the time it was a little office down on Market street, sandwiched between The Emporium and Lerners stores. You walked up a long narrow flight of stairs to get to the doctor's office. I don't remember when they moved to bigger quarters.
So I've grown up with managed care, with seeing the doctor regularly for prenatal care, taking the kids for regular appointments, etc. But once all the kids were born, I really didn't do regular doctor appointments for myself either. I didn't want to be told I should go on a diet (I'd been on one since age 10), or hear that there was anything wrong with me. I'd have eye exams and, when I was working for Women's Health, gynecological exams. But I'm not the sort of person who runs off to the doctor at the drop of a hat, or who even makes annual appointments.
When I was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes (on a rare occasion when I actually went to see the doctor), it was a guy I knew socially from my old Women's Health days, who had transferred his practice to Kaiser. It was one of those rare periods in my life where I was actually kinda sorta taking care of my health and I promised John I would be a very compliant patient if he would add me to his list, so he did.
He was great about diabetes follow-up. His nurse called regularly for you to go in for meetings about one thing or another and John was always there at the end to chat with each of the patients gathered around the table (usually 10-15 of us). It kept me on track and kept me faithful with taking my blood sugar reading in the morning and doing what I should be doing, most of the time.
But John was too good for Kaiser. He eventually left and set up a private high-priced obesity clinic. A year or so later, I learned that I had been turned over to a nice Iranian lady doctor, but it was a year before I finally gave in to the reminders from Kaiser that I was due for an exam that I finally met her.
There was no exam, just a getting-to-know-you and ordering tests and mammogram. I got the mammogram; I don't know that I had the tests done. I knew that my A1C (which tests for your blood glucose level over the past three months) would be high and I was operating on the Ostrich Philosophy of health care.
On a regular basis, I would receive papers in the mail telling me I was due for my A1C and conveniently "lost" them. I didn't want the doctor to know that I was being non-compliant. Silly of me, I know. Juvenile. Just like my mother!
Well, they finally called me to set an appointment and by this time I'd decided that it would be kind of nice to stick around to watch Brianna grow up, so I took a deep breath and let them draw my blood and agreed to see the doctor to discuss the results.
They didn't instantly call for a gurney and rush me off to the hospital, so I was encouraged by that. Death was apparently not imminent.
The numbers are bad, of course. I knew they would be. But I now have a new working glucose meter (my old one stopped working), I have diabetes medicine, I have an appointment to take a refresher course in managing my diabetes, and I have renewed enthusiasm (well, resigned acceptance may be a better term!) to get back on the program. Sort of.
I go back in for a blood pressure check in a week and I'm also supposed to e-mail the doctor with blood sugar readings in a week. An awful lot of this stuff is done on line now and I'm a sucker for a new site to play around with on line, so there is an actual chance that I might stick with it for awhile!
Now if I could just convince Walt that every 5-10 yrs isn't often enough for a physical exam, this household might be on the right track, health wise, as we head into our twilight years.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
MILES TO NOWHERE: 63.5 miles