Growing up, you probably played the board game,”Operation.” The object of the game is to test your physical skills on a patient nicknamed “Cavity Sam.” He had a large red bulb in his nose that would light up.
Remember those toy black doctor bags? As a child, I treated all the neighborhood kids. First, I would take their blood pressure with a plastic hammer. For their remedy, I would prescribe 2 candy M & Ms and tell them to call me, if they didn’t feel better in the morning.
Since I have been dealing with my own health issues lately, join me in a new game called “Survive the Medical Maze.” Warning= This requires concentration and stamina.
I think anyone, who has had an unsolved medical mystery can relate to my journey. In order to reach the proper diagnosis, you might have to see a myriad of health professionals. At one point, I was seeing an oral surgeon, cardiologist, chiropractor and orthopedic surgeon. Simultaneously, I saw, dentists, physical therapists and a physiatrist (another word for muscular/skeletal doctor.)
There was a parking space reserved for me at my local medical center, with my name on it. I think they might have named a hospital wing after me! My primary doctor had me on his speed dial. Then there are the waiting rooms. I judge them by the amount of magazines or newspapers lying on their tables. The walls are usually painted in soothing colors. My favorite sign says” If you have been waiting to see the doctor for more than 15 minutes, please see the receptionist.”
I have to admit, all the personnel, from the nurses to the specialists were professional and caring individuals. They listened patiently to their patient. Thanks and kudos to the physician’s assistants and x-ray technicians.
During that same time frame, 4 of my teeth, either fell out or broke off. The tooth fairy had to work overtime.
Then, I played the “process of elimination” game. That involved many scheduled tests. Among them were MRI’s , Cat Scans, blood tests and urinalysis. Dental X-rays, heart monitors, treadmill and nuclear tests were all part of the process.
The real trick was keeping them all separate. Part of the game was “Where is this doctor’s office located?” My husband would plug the address into our GPS and off we would go. “Would we get to our destination in time?” If this were a reality show, we would have been eliminated. My sister-in-law said it best” Being a senior citizen is not for cowards.” How true. You have to go into training to stay healthy to pass these endurance obstacles courses. Going from doctor to dentist appointments is like having a full time job. It takes a lot of time and energy. However, a real job will get you a paycheck. In this game you have to part with some of your take home pay.
Then there is the mental aspect to consider. I threw a “pity party” for myself, but realized I was the only one that got the invitation. When you are vulnerable, it is easy to become a hypochondriac. Convinced that I had every malady known to mankind, I searched the internet for similar symptoms. Nothing was out of my realm of possibility. Even though I did not have a medical degree, I was sure I had malaria, flesh eating disease or pleurisy. My paranoia included mersa, adrenaline overload and a dislocated rib.
Until I entered this medical competition, I hadn’t been to a hospital for years. Twice to have a baby and once to take my appendix out. This was a new experience. I relied on that traditional game of “Operation”. Maybe I had butterflies in my stomach or a broken heart, a brain freeze? Possibly it was writer’s cramp(soreness of the wrist), which is happening right now.
My last challenge was “What could cause this particular set of symptoms?. I am happy to announce the winner is me! Holding the trophy in my hands. On it is an inscription from my medical insurance. It reads “Winner of the Medical Maze” You have kept all your scheduled appointments. Thank you for being a willing and healthy contestant.