Painted with a Broad Brush

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

I went to the doctor the other day for an annual wellness exam. I’m not sure why my insurance company insists that I have a wellness exam but they pay me $50 to do it so, I comply.

The visit consisted of a fully clothed interview with a physician’s assistant who asked me what I wanted to discuss today. I had just come from a particularly fun mountain bike ride so I told her all about it.

She listened to my heart and lungs and stomach with a stethoscope placed over my down jacket. Her subsequent report said we had discussed: Mild brain atrophy and chronic kidney disease. I’ll have to concede the brain atrophy part because I have no recollection of having discussed either of those things. There was nary a mention of the stimulating bike ride.

The physician’s assistant’s assistant administered a cognitive test, asking me to remember three words and draw the face of a clock. Banana, sunrise and chair weren’t that difficult to keep in mind but it was difficult to resist responding, “It’s, uh, like, person, woman, man, camera, TV,” but feared she wouldn’t get the humor. She proceeded to take my blood pressure, 98/72, and checked my oxygen saturation 97%, weighed me, 121.8 (still fully clothed including jacket).

I was sent home with three pages of instructions. Here is a sampling:

  1. To prevent falls, take up throw rugs at home; use a walker or cane for instability and hold onto railings when going up or down stairs. Nary a mention of training wheels!

2. Please be sure to get some regular physical activity at whatever level you are able. I am also encouraging the following; Annual Flu vaccine (we had already determined that I was current on this), improving physical health, improve mental health.

I was super impressed that she was able to diagnose the fact that I needed to improve my mental health. Usually it takes getting to know me to learn that I need to work on that.

The last recommendation was to not drink any fluids after 6:00 P.M. to improve bladder control. That imposes a pretty narrow window since I’ve been told one shouldn’t start drinking until after 5:00 P.M. Gotta go now as it’s 4:48 P.M. and I need to roll up my throw rugs. Cheers!

Photo by Enis Yavuz on Unsplash

14 thoughts on “Painted with a Broad Brush

    1. LOL. You’re hilarious.
      I’ll probably break my neck and save everyone a lot of trouble in the long run. My POLST has instructions to pull the plug if there’s any doubt. I’ve seen what’s in store if I walk my mom’s path and I wouldn’t mind skipping it.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I think it’s great she only expects you to remember 3 words, not 5…that’s about the same gender gap for memory as pay. But you have to tell us…were there extra points for saying them in the right order?!?


  2. So, let me get this straight – a cursory exam (the kind I’d do on a enraged rattlesnake), listening (but probably not) to your tales of physical daring, followed by a diagnosis of chronic kidney failure and dementia with instructions that would be really far out there IF you were in chronic renal failure (since you wouldn’t be producing much urine) and to take precautions as if you were physically and mentally fragile (and unable to navigate around a house after you told her you biked down a mountain)!! Next thing you know the insurance company will increase your rates since you now have one foot in the grave and are a “high risk”! And people wonder why out medical insurance system is broken!!


  3. Hysterical take on a process I have been engaged in for some time. Unfortunately I had to ignore anything my examiner was telling me because I do have to concentrate on remembering the three words that I knew were really important and even had to say both sunrise and sunset because I could not remember which one was the third word. I have learned that my jokes about the process are not in my best interest. I also have an active lifestyle. They did not ignore it but seemed annoyed that I was taking up their time when they had sick people waiting. But I only come in because their reminders seem so insistent.


  4. Yup, I’m learning that healthcare providers are singularly humorless when it comes to a patient making light of a condition that has potential for billing. Best not to joke about senile dementia when one is treading a very fine line.


    1. We laugh that we may not weep, Michel. Our health care system is so useless. 60% of us are overweight, including our healthcare providers! But it’s considered “body shaming” to tell people how to eat a nutritious diet and to get out of the car and walk.


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