Sometime back, one of my “mentors” told me to keep in mind that when talking to career management, only one person was interested in my career. And that was me. I have concluded that it is the same with medical care. Don’t get me wrong. I am delighted with the medical care provided to me, but it is up to me to make sure I get what I need.
The chief of gastroenterology at Walter Reed examined me and decided I was too healthy to receive a colonoscopy. I may be one of the few people you will ever know who fought to get a colonoscopy. I won, if you can call that winning.
When one of my young friends had a massive heart attack on the 8th fairway at Fort Belvoir, I decided to get my heart checked out. I figured out I needed a nuclear stress test. Again, another stone wall. My primary care physician concluded that there was no medical justification to give me the test. I am convinced that the Fort Belvoir Hospital gives a prize to the Doc who saves them the most money and I believe my Doc is in the running. Well, I finally found a friendly cardiologist who let me walk on her treadmill. I passed. Me, me, me. Over ten years ago, I had a basal cell problem on my nose. I got to keep my nose, but every six months, I check in with a dermatologist. One of the problems with military medicine is you are constantly losing your doctor and getting a new one. So last June, I had my six-month checkup. The doctor was pleasant and thorough. She froze a few spots on my face, but thought I should have something called “blue light” therapy for the area around my jaw. We decided to wait until golf season was over. After the treatment you have to avoid the sun and even bright lights.
I got my blue light appointment in October. My doctor was out on maternity leave and the new doctor looked younger that my grandson. The technician asked what area to treat. The Doc said, “Oh, let’s do his whole face.” I know, I know, I should have spoken up. The technician painted my whole face with the medication stick. Then he put metal goggles over my eyes.
The blue light machine looked something like a beauty-shop hair dryer. I had to sit in it for an hour. Remember, I had on goggles and couldn’t see a thing. It was really a long hour. I tried meditation. I tried yoga deep breathing. But most of the time I spent trying to figure out where I went wrong. Me, me, me had backfired.
By that evening, my face looked like a lobster just pulled out of the boiling water. And it hurt. It took me about two days to realize that my face was burnt. After three days, most of my facial skin was on my pillow. By the time my face peeled for the third time, I was not a happy camper. The only thing that pleased me was all the tales I was making up about what happened to me, me, me (skiing in the Himalayas)!
Well, it’s all history now. And I don’t think the precancerous cells on my face faired any better that I did. I’m no longer furious with the child doctor. I’m also letting people touch my face for a quarter!