Thursday, June 21, 2012

Dr. Office Visit Number 3,343,342, or something like that

So I've probably seen more doctors in my life than 90% of the U.S. population.  Better yet, I've seen more doctors than 99% of people my age.  And I still get nervous.

The doctor comes in.  He shakes my hand.  The usual first question he asks is, "How's your asthma?"  Usually I say, "Good."  Today I say, "It hasn't been a good year for my asthma."  Which is true.  It's been a rough year as I note here and here and to a greater degree here.

He listens too me.  My breath quivers, a nervous quiver.  "You sound like you're moving air good.  But you do have a wheeze in your right upper lobe."  Then he sits down in the doctor chair.  

I tell him about my hunting camp experience, and my experience sorting through old VCRs in the basement, and my using theophylline to end an attack -- five year old theophylline.  I keep a bottle in the cabinet as a memento of the day I took that last pill after 30 years of dependence.  I told him how these asthma attacks occur on weekends, and I don't want to use the ER.

I say, "Maybe I should have a script for theophylline."

He says, "Well, I was thinking I'd give you a medrol pack."

I say, "Ah, even better."

Now you'd think that considering I'm a lifetime extrinsic asthmatic I'd have an asthma action plan and a medrol pack on hand all the time, but I've never had one.  I do now.  

He also gave me two samples of Symbicort to try, again.  He did the same last year.  My experience with that stuff was it works fast but it makes my heart beat like Alupent used to.  I tell him I want to try it again.  So we'll see how that goes.

After bantering a bit, small talk about work, he says, "Well, I'll see you in two months.  I want to keep an eye on you for a while."  He starts to walk out.  I know now I have to ask what my wife wants me to ask, and I'm nervous to ask.  But this is my last chance.

"MywifewantedmetoaskyouifIcanhavesomexanax," I say.  "I don't feel comfortable asking for it, but she thinks I need it."

He smiles, and sits back down.  "Sure, I think we can do that.  Do you think you need it?"

"Well, I have four kids."

"Nuff said." He opens his computer pad, writes something.  "Done."

"I had a prescription once before," I say, "and I decided I better quit.  So when my old doctor asked me if I wanted a new script I said no."

"It's a pretty safe medicine.  It has a slow onset and isn't very addictive.  I think it should be okay."


"No problem."  He stands.  We shake.  On the way to the car I remember he never mentioned my blood pressure.  He never really even touched me, which is fine by me.  I just wonder if it's a good thing.

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