Saturday, June 6, 2015

Doctor Doctor, Gimme The News

When I was a kid, there were not as many choices for doctors as there are today.  There was the old-fashioned pediatrician who made house calls.  As a budding first grade Typhoid Mary, I brought home Chicken Pox and infected the whole house.  The doc came with his black bag and said "Yup.  Keep 'em home," condemning my mom to whatever the incubation period was for probably a few bucks for the diagnosis.

Then there was the GP-the man who had an office in the front of his house, who examined us with a Popsicle stick in one hand and a cigarette in the other.

Up until I at first, didn't want to get pregnant, and then just had to be, my only doctor was my OB/Gyn-the man I still shave my legs for.  He played college baseball, so most of our conversations still revolve around either his or my sons' Glory Days. I've had very little need for intimacy with anyone else.

Except a Gastroenterologist.  Ten years ago, the 50-something dad of one of my son's friends was diagnosed with colon cancer.  Everyone in our circle rushed to get colonoscopies and there were no-polyps parties to celebrate. One other dad and myself had out own pity party because we were shocked to have polyps.  A lot of them, but why? We ate well, drank little, exercised and had no family histories of cancer. We had to endure annual procedures until we were both deemed cleared and put on 3-year maintenance plans.  Wingman, who was 18 months younger than me, breezed through his when he finally turned 50 to my amazement. Here was a man who ate mayo on jack cheese right out of the fridge and washed it down with a martini, and he had nothing. Not one damned polyp.

Right after my big 6-0 birthday last fall, I decided that it was time to broaden my social circle of medical professionals. It took me 6 months to make my first appointment for a physical that I hadn't had in 15 years.  Everything was fine-except blood work showed that I was Vitamin D deficient which supported my SADD self-diagnosis. She suggested more sunlight daily or Vitamin D supplements. Being a mall rat, I had to opt for the supplements until beach season starts.

I grew up when boys had Farrah Fawcett posters and we had the Johnson Baby Oil guy. Baby oil laced with iodine for the perfect summer tan. My new dermatologist was not amused. She probed and poked and took pictures of a spot on my nose and one on my shoulder. But she said there was nothing bad, and advised me to avoid the sun unless it was with a strong SPF sunscreen and to wear a hat. The GP said more sun but the dermatologist said no? The GP must be a smarter woman. I went for my 9 month late annual mammogram. It came back normal. Albeit a year late on a 6-month check-up, my dentist told me I had no cavities. This is a piece of cake, or so I thought.

Yesterday I had my first colonoscopy in 4 years. What can I say about the prep?  It's what you wish on the woman who messes up a perfectly folded pile of sweaters and pray there's no TP handy. But a new big pile of saved magazines and Sex and The City on DVR made for an OK evening. Enough said.

I have a new doctor, since my health insurance changed with getting a new job last year. Unlike my OB/GYN, we don't have a history or much to talk about. She questioned my other procedures, I said "good night" to her and the anesthesiologist, and sometime later, woke to a nurse trying to keep me from getting up off the gurney.  The nurse said "The doctor wants to talk to you," which I know means that things didn't go perfectly.  She said I had five (FIVE???) polyps which she removed, and then asked me about my tattoo. 

Tattoo.  I don't have a tattoo.

Oh but it seems I do.  In a previous procedure there was a polyp that was removed and bore further watching so that spot was tattooed.  This new doctor removed a new one near that tattoo. I have to come back in a year for another procedure.  In the meantime, watch the drinking and avoid the processed junk foods, don't smoke, exercise and take calcium supplements.

I sit wondering about that tattoo.  Wouldn't it be nice if it was a star?  Or a fairy.  A fairy would be pretty.  But right now, all I think about is that I have my own internal Tramp Stamp.  And that I don't want any other tattoos where this one is.

Time for a glass of milk and my multivitamin, Fish Oil, Vitamin D and Iron. And two calcium supplements for good measure.

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