Archive | June, 2016

The Drive-Through

27 Jun

How often have we all gone to our family doctor for a routine physical or just a quick inspection & thump on the chest so we can get a prescription renewed, & left the office with that new prescription in hand AND an unexpected “dark passenger?” (My husband & I were Dexter fans & I don’t think Dexter would mind too much if I use his “dark passenger” reference because that’s what I’m about to describe.)

A friend recently told me she was feeling a bit under the weather. She said she’d gone to her doctor the week before & picked up a “bug” while she was there.

I’m guessing we ALL know just what that’s like. You go for your routine appointment for whatever simple reason, open the door, step into the waiting room & suddenly & unexpectedly you’re in a TB Ward. It’s even worse during flu season.

When you land inside & the automatic door closes behind you, 144 sets of rheumy, bloodshot eyes turn in your direction &, amid sniffling, runny noses & gripping, productive coughs, people obviously struggling with the heartbreak of recurring, infected sinuses look in your direction. They grudgingly welcome you into their “Contagious Zone” & you enter at your own risk.

Suddenly, getting that work related physical or that renewal on your blood pressure medicine takes on a lot less significance. You start thinking that risking a stroke without your blood pressure medication renewal would be a small price to pay in light of entering that waiting room & exposing yourself to, well, God knows what.

My heart goes out to my friend as she deals with the “dark passenger” she picked up last week at her doctor’s office.

Several years ago I was working around the house in jeans & a sweat shirt & not wearing a bra. Comfort is one of the luxuries of having time at home alone.  When the mail came it included a check I’d been waiting for so I endorsed the check, filled out a deposit slip, grabbed my purse & went to the bank. When I got to the Drive-Through I told the window teller that I knew a woman had invented the Drive-Through. She asked me why & I told her, “So women who need to make a quick deposit can come & make it without having to put on a bra.” She laughed (& laughed) & said she understood exactly.

So remembering that exchange with the teller, I started thinking how convenient … & positive for our continued good health … a physician’s office Drive-Through would be. You’d simply make an appointment like you usually do & tell the phone person what your problem was. She’d give you a time & a number. When you got there you’d find a parking place in the lot because doctors are notoriously “running behind.” When your turn came, you’d be paged in the parking lot through a loud speaker & you’d drive to the Drive-Through window to which you’d been assigned … NEVER needing to enter that “Twilight Germ Zone” of a waiting room.

I realize that while this would be an excellent way to avoid the spread of unwanted “dark passengers,” it would also present a few new problems. For instance, the Drive-Through window would need to be fairly large, you’d need to be able to get closer to the building & those wind-sucking tubes that so efficiently carry your deposits into the bank would be obsolete. It would be virtually impossible to fit an ailing body part into one of those. The alternative, I think, would be to drive very close to the enlarged Drive-Through window so your physician could examine that part of you that ails you while most of you is still in your car. AND you wouldn’t have to wear a bra.

Probably this would be less efficient in a general practice office than it would be at the office of a specialist.

A general practice office would need to have multiple drive-up window sizes simply because a General Practioner takes a look at … & attempts to treat … just about everything & every  body part.  Even with that little draw-back, I believe it could still work.

But do consider the efficiency of the Drive-Through at offices of specialists. It boggles the mind. At an orthopedist office you’d just drive up to the window & stick your arm … or leg into the window. You could get an immediate x-ray & follow-up treatment while sipping your coffee & listening to your favorite song on Sirius in the comfort of your car. It would be a MIRACLE!!! If it became necessary for you to wait, you could just recline your seat, maintain your comfort & STILL avoid that “dark passenger.”

The same would work for an ENT office where you would just drive up to the window, open your mouth & have a tonsil exam.

I could go on at great length about how this would improve the “office experience” at offices of medical & surgical specialists for the PATIENT. And isn’t it about time it was “ALL ABOUT THE PATIENT???” Imagine how the Drive-Through would revolutionize outpatient surgery. The possibilities are endless.

And while we’re all thinking about this but not daring to say it, I will because this is my blog. It would be a real game changer for you & your proctologist.  I have a visual ………………

I’m thinking the only drawback … & it would be a huge one … is insurance companies. They would have to completely rethink their billing system & especially how to deal with the insured going to Drive-Throughs that are “out of  network,” which is what we might do while driving to our vacation destination.

While this is a fantastic, innovative & efficient way to handle physician’s office visits & would drastically reduce the number of dollars we spend out of pocket annually dealing with “dark passengers” we’ve picked up during a routine office visit, insurance companies would be totally unable to cope. And if the insurance company ain’t happy, NOBODY is happy … & they really don’t care whether we have the luxury of not wearing a bra.

crowded office 2





The Sadness & Anger of Our Times

14 Jun

I had an idea for a funny blog entry several days ago but didn’t have “writing time” until just now. God knows we could use some humor, but in light of this past weekend’s massacre in Orlando & the violent death of singer Christina Grimmie, my humor seems hollow now. I think I’ll just save that funny idea for a blog entry somewhere down the road when the sun isn’t blocked as it is on this clear & beautiful early summer day by clouds of grief, pain, anguish, anger & blame.

I would be remiss not to write something about this saddest of times while we, as a people, as a community & as a country are still struggling with the weight of yet another mass shooting. It happens so frequently now most of us have to pause for a moment to remember what the last one was.

In the days since an angry 29-year-old man walked into a gay nightclub with a military assault weapon & a 9 mm handgun & took the lives of 49 innocent people, injuring 53 more, we’ve had time to think. The media, the FBI, first responders, victims & people who safely fled the nightclub have brought the horror of that night into our living rooms, our computers & to our phones with their eye witness reports & interviews. Our president, looking worn & bone weary, reported AGAIN on yet another tragic incident. Collectively, we know the details & we feel it personally.

Because the reality of yet another horrific act of violence is almost too harsh to meet head on & absorb, we’ve taken to social media; relating our grief & our anger to those on our FRIENDS list & filling our STATUS lines with what we feel the problems are that encourage these acts to continue time & again. I did it myself … so I know.

Because we know there’s not a lot we personally CAN do at this point & we desperately want to do SOMETHING to deal with that impotency, we post our thoughts on why we think these things continue to happen, what we believe the causes are, who is to blame & what can be done to get us back to a quieter & gentler time (which seems unlikely).

In the last few days I have seen blame leveled at our president, ISIS, the NRA, lack of control of military assault weapons, the FBI, alternate life styles, a sick & twisted psychopath, parents without control over their children, lack of mental health care, the decline of religion, climate change, sun spots & fleas (well, almost). While it may not be ALL of those things, I believe that some of them are contributors. The problem is not singular … it is multi-layered.

Probably, where we are right now has involved a long & arduous trip filled with missteps & circumstances too numerous to be aware of. It’s taken a while to get here &, no doubt, it will take a while to affect positive change, if that is even a possibility.

What we DON’T need is to be closed-minded.  We, & especially the powers that be need to listen closely to opinions & consider the possibilities instead of stubbornly clinging to our own opinions while wearing blinders & ear plugs. If we, as a people & a country are going to gain any ground toward ending these violent attacks we must be open to considering opinions we may not favor & attempt to be part of the solution …

There are steps that can be taken but there are also areas about which we have no control. Perhaps if we, collectively, make those changes we are able to make by coming together & putting aside our determination that we are RIGHT … & consider that others may also be right … then we, as a nation may be able to meet those outside influences head on & be victorious.  We, admittedly, have a long way to go.

My heart continues to go out to those whose lives were lost in Orlando; to their families & friends. And to all of us who should never be afraid to go out to dinner or to a movie or to send our children & grandchildren off to school. I hope that we will be able to affect the necessary changes while most of us can still remember those previously assumed pleasures.


Accompanying art work by Tab O’Neal

tab's orlando painting




I Ate a SNICKERS Today …

3 Jun

… not just a “Bite Size” or a “Fun Size” Snickers, but one of those “2 to Go” bars that has to weigh over a pound & has 2 almost full-size bars inside the wrapper. Each bar has 220 calories so that means my total caloric intake in just under 15 minutes equals 440 calories, which should be my entire caloric allowance for well over a week; maybe a month.  Total fat is 10 grams for just one of those “2 to Go” bars, so that’s a total of 20 grams of fat for the 2 bars I ate & that’s just scary. All that makes the cholesterol seem less worrisome at 10 mg for the 2 bars. But I ate the WHOLE thing & I’m not sorry. I’m GLAD. It was delicious & as those calories are making  a bee-line to my hips (from my lips to my hips) I’m telling myself I just don’t care. It was an earth-shaking experience & I LOVED it.

At least I didn’t wash that Snickers bar down with a Diet soft drink. I may be a glutton but I am NOT a hypocrite.

Willy sometimes brings a Snickers home to me because he knows I love them (those & Cadbury Eggs at Easter). I seldom eat candy & even less often make desserts … except occasionally when I make something like the strawberry pie I made on Tuesday because the strawberries were beautiful in the grocery store & they just SPOKE to me as I wheeled past them on my way to low fat bacon & cat food.

The last several times he’s brought me a Snickers I’ve saved them for later & today I suddenly realized I have a “stash.”  So I ate the whole thing & I still have 2 Snickers left in the cabinet (one of those is also another “2 to Go” double-decker) & my Snickers future looks very bright if I pace myself & forget they’re in there.

Somewhere behind my rib cage my pancreas is screaming.

I can still taste that caramel & nougat on my tongue. What the heck is nougat, anyway? I think it must be a mystery ingredient that makes Snickers addictive. Whatever it is, I don’t believe Snickers would be the same without it & whomever invented it or discovered it deserves an Oscar … or at the very least, an Emmy. It even SAYS it right there on the wrapper, “Snickers Satisfies” & that is the truest example of an understatement.

I think those guilty pleasures like Snickers are better because we know they aren’t so good for us. The fact that the ingredients are slithering around our hips & clogging our arteries just makes them taste better somehow because we know we aren’t supposed to be having all that stuff.

So why do they make them then? It’s some kind of conspiracy &, as I’m sitting here looking at that giant empty Snickers wrapper in my waste basket, I tell myself AGAIN  with determination … I just don’t care. That was one F-I-N-E Snickers bar & I’m glad I ate the thing … all of it … both bars.

Here’s what I think about life. I think life is short & mostly unpredictable & there’s a lot of sadness in this world. If anything … ANYTHING … can give us a few minutes pleasure … as long as no one else gets hurt … I say go for it. If it just happens to be a “2 to Go” Snickers bar, that makes it even better. It’s somehow a reward for making it through the unpredictability of life so far.

There’s a very calming quality to knowing there’s 2 more Snickers bars in the cabinet.

Sitting here with peanuts still hanging between my teeth, I’m looking back at the entire experience with something very close to love. I will think about it for a while & those memories will be fond ones.

I wonder if they still make Zagnut ……………..