recent entry into the world of pain, I’ve spent a lot of time with medical
procedures and medical professionals. In case you haven’t been keeping
up with my life, my right arm has recently been afflicted with severe pain,
rendering me useless for activity and turning me into a crabby old grouch.
Pain, of course, can only be ignored for so long before it’s time to see a
doctor. One of the worse things about doctors, as far as I’m concerned,
is the foolish questionnaires you inevitably have to fill out to theoretically
help them diagnosis your condition.
First, there is the list of medical questions about catastrophic diseases to
which you must check “yes” or “no.” Have you ever had cancer,
diabetes, heart disease, stroke, gout, body odor, halitosis or hangnail?
You dutifully go down the list checking “no” beside each box and wonder if
people with some of these things would really be able to fill out these forms.
Then they go on asking all about your pills, medications, and what sort of
chemicals you are putting in your body. Accustomed to the prodding
questions, I carry a list of medications, dosage, and how often I take them.
Actually there are only three since they don’t count coffee or breath mints.
Any allergies? This is important because giving a medication that you are
allergic to could cause you to end up leaving the office with a halo and wings. Thank
goodness they don’t care about allergies like dust, pollen, mold and being
allergic to watching football on TV.
Any surgeries? They love to ask about surgeries. Unfortunately, you
can’t deny having been under the knife because your body carries the scars
forever. I finally thought this all out one day, the best I could recall,
and wrote it down under my list of medications. The year may not be right,
but at least I will be consistently wrong without having to figure it out each
Finally, my favorite part, the nude drawing of a person on which you are
supposed to mark where the pain is and what kind of pain, using x’s, o’s,
arrows and such. The figure is, of course, devoid of any anatomical parts
and is either a man or a bald woman. I wonder where you would put the x if
the pain is in a private part. Fortunately, mine is not, so I dutifully
mark the x’s and resist the urge to give the figure hair and earrings.
Eventually the nosey questions are all answered, your next of kin, emergency
phone number, and whether you have a living will is marked. You wonder
just what exactly it is that this doctor plans to do to do today that might
require a living will and wish you had remembered to kiss your honey goodbye and
say I love you to all your children, pets, and plants.
Now it wouldn’t be so bad if you could answer the questions once and be done
with it, however, the entire process is repeated every place you go. If
you are referred for X-rays or an MRI, you must answer the fifty questions
again. By the end of the day I am putting “writer’s cramp” in the
blank space for other diseases.
I wonder what would happen if I checked “yes “ to all the
catastrophic diseases and gave my next of kin as Mickey Mouse?
Actually, I don’t think it matters as long as you get the name of your
insurance company right. I am fairly certain that no one ever reads or
even looks at any of the other information that they ask for. In spite of
the surgeries I so carefully wrote down, the technician still asked, “Have you
ever had any surgery?”
And the first words out of the doctor’s mouth are always “Where does it
hurt?” regardless of how carefully you have drawn x’s on the nude