This morning I began my spring break with a trip to the doctor. Knowing I would have a week off, I called a few weeks ago to schedule my yearly exam. The only thing is that the doctor is apparently booked up for physicals until May. Here’s the thing about my doctor. He’s a guy. No shock there. But, he’s the only MD in the practice. He is assisted by four female PA’s (physician assistants). These lovely ladies (and I’ve seen them before for regular visits) are more than competent and have an excellent bedside manner. However, knowing that these types of examinations sometimes require the patient to stand before the doctor in various states of undress, I was a little leery of agreeing to the exam by one of them. But, I didn’t want to wait several months so I said yes.
So last night I made sure not to eat or drink anything after midnight. I woke up this morning and took my kids to school. I did not drink my morning coffee. Apparently I’m allowed to drink black coffee before bloodwork because it won’t throw off the results. However, I do not particularly like black coffee so I skipped it figuring I could make it until 9 or so and still be OK without my morning caffeine. I did, however, drink a gallon of water in anticipation of a urinalysis test. I can usually pee on command but I wanted the insurance.
I checked in on time and, before I could finish filling out a standard form, I was lead to a room where a nurse checked my vitals — temperature, blood pressure, weight. My temp was 97.9. Good. My BP was 120/80. I am told this is great. I remember not too long ago when a dyastolic number of 80 was considered high, but apparently not so much anymore. But on the last stat I am not so thrilled. I have been weighing myself on a regular basis over the past two months. Happily I seem to have been able to shed some of the pounds I put on over the past year. After my father-in-law died (yes, let’s blame Marigold) I pretty much ate a lot and stopped working out. My current schedule really precludes any time at the gym and we don’t own a bike (the only form of cardio I can safely do with my spinal fusion). But Lent has been having a positive effect and I’ve gotten down from 205 to 192. Seriously. So imagine my shock when the scale in the office read 199… I know I was fully clothed when normally I am not for a weigh-in but I don’t think my jeans and shirt weigh 8 lbs. together. I took a seat, a little dejected, but not too concerned.
Then, when it was time for the PA to enter the room and begin the exam proper, she began by commenting on my girth. “Well, it looks like your weight has been stable.” I pondered that for a moment. What in the hell does “stable” mean in this context. She explained. Apparently last year at this time I was 191 (their scale, fully clothed, which means I was probably coming in at about 185 at home). At some point in the fall I was in for some other reason and weighed in at 205! Well, I knew that so it didn’t bother me. But I was still shocked that it was that much of an issue that she’d mention it first. On the plus side, I guess it means that there was nothing else of note on which she could comment. Heart rate, lungs, everything checked out just fine. There was a funny moment, though, when she asked if my family history had changed. I explained to her that my mom had a TIA (mini-stroke) in November. Immediately something of a frown came over her face and she looked down and scribbled something on my chart. I wanted to say “But that was my mom. I’m fine.” Mercifully, I don’t think the AMA indicates a hernia test as standard for a physical exam anymore. Many of you (especially if you are women) might be puzzled. Let’s just say that this is the third physical in a row where I have not had the doctor ask me to drop my pants so that he could essentially molest me like a TSA screener. I have never understood the point of that exam anyway. How on earth is my turning my head and coughing while you fondle my reproductive organs going to tell you anything about anything?! On second thought, I don’t really care to know. I’m just glad they don’t do it anymore. It’s awkward with a male doctor. It’s even more awkward with a female doctor. Plus I hate embarrassing people.
The final piece of this puzzle is the thing that always makes me anxious. I was taken into a room where a very nice phlebotomist proceeded to draw a few viles of blood. Oh God, I hate this part! I was on Accutane years ago and had such a bad experience with the monthly blood work that I have never voluntarily given blood since. Fortunately, this lady knew what she was doing and it was over soon.
Spent the rest of the day cleaning around the house and then playing with my kids. Have I mentioned that I love Spring Break?