Monday, April 1, 2024

The Dance of Death with Dr. Doom

I am up early to write as I have my appointment today with Dr. Doom.  We'll see how that goes.  We know, of course, that it can only go in one direction.  I am not going to walk away with, "Holy smokes. . . your charts are unbelievable.  You seem to be reversing time.  These numbers are great.  How are you doing it?"

Nope.  These visits only go one way.  I don't want to go to the doctor.  And I wouldn't if she hadn't gotten me addicted to blood pressure medicine.  I should never have listened to her in the first place.  I should have listened to me.  I am nothing but an algorithm now.  AI could do what she will do today. . . probably better.  Take blood, read the numbers, prescribe drugs OR send you off to a specialist.  

"I'd like you to see the. . . " (cardiologist, nephrologist, neurologist--you pick).  

I went to Easter dinner with my mother and cousin to my mother's neighbor's house yesterday.  Everyone in my mother's neighborhood uses this same doctor.  That's how I got started.  The neighbor is more than a little goofy.  She's had two heart attacks, she says from coughing fits.  She is on God knows how many medicines.  She has problems.  Her husband is a nice guy, but he thinks he know more about medicine than the doctors because he used to be a rep for a vitamin company.  He is one of those conspiracy theory fellows who believes that doctors don't want you to know about things because it would cost them money.  That's just silly, I think.  If there were vitamins that did what people claim, lobbyists would pay off politicians to make them controlled substances.  O.K.  So that is a conspiracy theory, too.  You got me there.  Rather, I did.  Still. . . he thinks he knows more than he does.  He is a lifelong practitioner of Akido.  That should tell you something.  He believes in the mystical powers of harnessing energy and transferring it through the body.  He is about my age and in rougher shape than I am, though, in spite of his knowledge of vitamins.  

His wife is taken away in ambulances every few months.  The last time was last week.  She sat on the floor, confused.  She didn't know where she was and wouldn't respond to her husband.  She had a two day stay.  They did tests.  They decided she was low in potassium.  Sounds fishy, but O.K.  This happened after a trip to Dr. Doom for her physical.  Dr. Doom has been prescribing her cough medicine with codeine for years.  This time, however, she said she wasn't going to write the prescription any longer.  Why?  

"Your blood test shows you had alcohol in your blood.  I'm not going to be responsible for you drinking and taking codeine and having an accident."

Wow, lady. . . just tell her the feds are breathing down your neck about writing so many opioid scripts.  

So the husband goes a little nutty.  He makes an appointment to see the doc.  He takes in stacks of papers he's printed off the internet to show the doctor she is wrong.  He starts talking about getting a lawyer.  He hits all the wrong notes.  

Now here's the kicker.  When he takes his wife to a new doctor, he says that Dr. Doom made a note on the chart that the wife is "opioid addicted."  


They have an appointment with Dr. Doom today before I get there.  There will be fire and brimstone.  The husband is going to tell her once again that he is going to sue her.  I threw a little gas on the fire at dinner suggesting he say that it was she, Dr. Doom, who got her addicted and threaten her with that.  He liked that suggestion.  I was only kidding, of course.  She's just going to say that she will not see the wife as a patient any longer and leave the room.  

My retired nurse friends told me a long while ago to change doctors.  One of them used to go to Dr. Doom, but she said something happened to her and she got weird.  She is that.  But today, in for a penny, in for a pound.  All I can do is hold my breath and hope to escape with minimal damage.  

As I heard a leading cardiac surgeon tell a fellow about getting his knee replaced, "If you go to the barber, you'll get a haircut."  

I know other doctors with the same idea.  Doctors are trained to find sickness, illness, disease, and physical injury, not health.  

I have not been feeling well lately, but I felt better yesterday.  I worked on transferring more travel pics onto the prescribed hard drive for part of the morning, then grabbed my camera bag and headed out to finish off the roll of film finally.  I drove to Gotham, to the big lake with the Farmer's Market.  The streets for a mile around were lined with parked cars.  Gotham has more residents every day as new apartment buildings and condos go up.  The crowd is younger, hipper, and more gender fluid.  Even prettier.  Sometimes when I go there, my pulse quickens with the action.  There seems to be a lot going on.  Nothing of importance, really, but a lot.  More cafes, more yoga studios, more botox clinics, more burlesque bars.  

I found a place to park about half a mile from the market.  A car was just pulling out.  Yay!  So I grabbed my bag and took out my camera.  It had no lens.  Wait.  What?  My mind has been muddled for a few days with the sickness and all.  I had brought the wrong camera.  I sat in the car for a moment watching the parade of people walking by in the brightly lit street with shadows.  Fuck me.  Deflated, I started the engine and slowly drove back to my own little village.  I still had to get champagne and some little chocolate covered cherries for my mother and cousin.  

When I got to Whole Foods, I reached in my console to get something out. . . .  Did I say "fuck me"?  The camera with the unfinished film was in there.  I guess I had put it in there when I went into a store the day before.  Something.  I don't remember.  As I say. . . muddled.  But yea.  I had it when I was in Gotham.  

Selavy.  I'm guessing I won't win the billion dollar Power Ball, either.  

When I got home, I started transferring more files.  I'd get sidetracked from time to time.  Here was a picture I never processed.  There were a bunch of Ili.  And then, out of the blue, something occurred to me.  It was a revelation brought about by the photographs.  Don't tell me there is no point in making pictures.  There she was, standing in the Cafe Strange.  She looked lovely and happy.  And BOOM!  I realized that the night before I went to L.A., she had come to my house out of the blue.  She rode with me on my scooter to get bbq.  I asked her to come with me to L.A.  I'd already paid for the rooms and the car.  She just needed to get a ticket.  We looked it up.  It was cheap, under $200.  

She didn't come.  

That scooter ride was the last good ride I took.  The next one was the day after I got back from L.A.  The next time I got on the scooter, I almost got killed.  I'd never thought of that before.  Would things have been different if she had come?  Would she have been on the scooter when I got hit or would the whole thing never have happened?  

It means nothing.  Just something.  There she was in that picture pretty and laughing at the Cafe Strange.  That was the place I left from on the last Vespa ride.  

It was getting late.  I had told my mother I'd be over at 3:30.  I needed to take a walk.  I thought I had time.  

At four, my mother was calling me.  My time management has been off lately.  

When I got to the neighbor's house, the wife was all over me.  She likes me, which is nice, but she coughed and coughed and coughed all night long.  At the dinner table, I sat between her and my cousin.  When the deviled eggs were passed around, I said, "I love my mother's deviled eggs."  My mother said, "I didn't make them.  Your cousin did."  Then my cousin said, "I hope they are good.  My taste buds have been off.  Things just don't taste right.  

Holy shit.  That's what I thought. 

"That's the Covid," I said.  That is what I had been thinking all along.  They all had it, I was certain.  Maybe that has been what is wrong with me.  So for the next hour or so, I sat between a woman who could not quit coughing and a woman whose taste buds are off eating the food she had made.  

And that was Easter Sunday.  My Apple computer tells me it is Easter Monday.  What the hell is that?  What I DO know is that it is April 1, April Fool's Day, and I have an appointment with Dr. Doom.  

I'll need to buy some hard drives today.  I have completely filled the 1TB drive with travel pics.  I will need bigger ones.  I have a lot more drives to search yet.  There are trip pictures I am missing.  Once I have that project finished, I will go through the million photos to pick out ten or twenty or thirty of the best to put on the website.  Then I will begin on the next thing, probably setting up files with pictures of people I've known.  Now you might think these are going to suck, but you'd be wrong.  I made some pretty weird pictures.  Remember, I was a zoology major as an undergrad, but I took all the photo courses that were offered at the university that had one of, if not THE best photo program in the country.  I had been exposed to the weird and the avant guard.  There will be some good stuff there--what is left, anyway, of the early stuff.  My mother threw most of it away when she was cleaning her closets.  

As always. . . selavy.  

O.K.  Here's something to calm me down, something to slow the pulse and reduce my b.p.  Here's something to help me chill.  

Makes me want a cocktail, though.  

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