STORIES PART 2

One of the most anxiety producing exams a woman can have is a pelvic exam.  Over the many years I’ve practiced, I’ve discovered that each patient’s pelvic can be optimized if you take the time to take a careful history prior to handing the patient a gown.

Nurses new to our staff were always confused by my insistence that the patient remain dressed until I interviewed the patient.  In particular, I wanted to know if my patient knew how a pelvic exam was done, what a speculum looked like, did they ever have trouble with a pelvic exam in the past and if they had any personal preferences for how the exam should be done.

One of my favorite patients (yes, doctors have favorites) told me that she hated pelvic exams but that if I told off colored jokes during the vaginal exam, it would help her relax.  I always made sure I had new material for her exam and we laughed our way through a difficult situation.

There was the woman who brought her husband into the exam room and explained that every time her husband gave her an orgasm, she got a bad headache.  As I took a history, it was obvious that both patient and spouse were uptight and anxious about discussing their problem but needed an answer and a cure as they were sexually very active.  I turned to her husband, hands together in a prayer position, did a head bow and said how proud I was that he had mastered the art of giving orgasms.  They cracked up, laughing their way through the rest of the visit. Ultimately, we solved the problem.  Saturday, close to 30 years later, my patient reminded me of that visit and thank me for my unorthodox use of humor.

The most fun I ever had in the office was when I brought a fart machine.  No matter what your age, farts are funny. My fart machine was triggered by a remote.  Jack and I taped it to the bottom of a chair in the check-out area.  One day I had my staff seat a pharmaceutical rep and his boss in the check-out area.  The boss was an A-hole so we sat him in the fart chair.  I waited until an older lady was checking out and then I pushed the button.  A loud, long, wet sounding fart emanated from beneath the manager.  The old lady gave him a disgusted look.  His employee gave him a disgusted look.  My staff maintained their composure, so I lit him up again.  

This time, the old lady looked at him and said, “That’s disgusting!”  The young rep stood up and walked away.  The staff cracked up as did the old lady who couldn’t stop laughing when I told her what I had done.  The old lady became a loyal patient and every time I saw her she asked if I had the fart machine hooked up.  The rep became a good friend and the A-hole manager never came back.

Here’s your daily music.  Enjoy.  Tomorrow we’ll review the humorous side of poop and pee.

STORIES

Saturday’s caravan of patients and friends was amazing.  Each of the 55 cars pulled into the driveway, one by one, and stopped to chat with Renee and me.  Each had a story to tell, some funny, some happy and some sad.  In 34 years you accumulate many, many stories.

One patient remembered the pregnancy scare she had at 18 years of age.  She was more afraid of her parents finding out about it then she was about being pregnant.  She thanked me profusely for charging her for Strep test rather than a pregnancy test. There are those who would call switching codes illegal, inappropriate and unprofessional.  I called it a holistic approach to my patient’s care, mind, body and soul. It obviously worked out well.  

It’s taking care of the little things, going that extra step and addressing the patients concerns that make the difference in bonding the patient to their physician, creating a strong doctor-patient relationship.  One of the most common things a teenager would say to me is, “My parents are going to kill me.”  They were always floored by my response: Rather than belittling their apprehension and fear, I took it literally. 

“Shit, I had no idea your parents were murderers. How many people have they killed?  Should I be afraid to be in the same room with them?  I’ve always suspected that your mother could turn on me in a split second!  Should I call the police?”

Almost always my humorous approach would defuse the situation and allow us to find a solution and involve the parents.  Humor belongs in the exam room which is the one place you rarely find it.  Humor, when used appropriately, helps defuse tense situations, dissipate anxiety and facilitate understanding.  Sometimes it backfires.

When my patient was really, miserably sick and was in the exam room with their spouse, I used to turn to the spouse and say, “I told you to give him all of the poison at once, otherwise he would suffer miserably.”  Generally, I’d get a laugh out of my patient and the spouse and, at least for a few minutes, my patient would feel better. On one unforgettable day, I looked at the wife and started into my spiel when I realized that the look on her face was a” how do you know” look.  Her husband caught it too and he got better when the poison was removed from his diet.  Needless to say, the husband loves me, the wife does not!

Over the next few weeks, I hope to make you laugh a little and smile a lot by recounting some of the ways I incorporated humor into my practice of medicine.  The stories are real and the patients involved in the stories have given permission to use them.

Here’s today’s music.  At LZFTC we tried to give you what you wanted but, if we couldn’t, we worked hard to give you what you needed.

THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES

Yesterday was incredible. It started off incredibly bad.  My motor skills were shot. My back and other joints screamed at me.  My mind kept repeating “PACK, PACK …”  I had a momentary lift in my spirits when I looked out the window and saw the glimmering water of my pool.  That joy immediately went away when my scale started in on me.

“Hey fatso!  You’ve got pictures to take today.  Do you have a tent that will fit you?”  Lately, I hate pictures!  Literally, I don’t recognize the guy who is standing where I’m supposed to be.  However, there is no time to wallow in it (LOL) as we have a showing at 1:15.

Showing done, we return home and prep for pictures.  The photographer and his wife are delightful.  He takes pictures in front of the house and by the pool. By now I’m thinking it’s enough, but he wants more pics out front.  Click, click, click (sounds usually associated with my medical practice) and we are done.  It’s time to sit down.

Thanks for the memories!  I’ll never forget the honking, the fire truck and the long precession of cars packed with love and memories!  It was as if the sun had come out and all of my pain and immobility had been washed away.  I wanted to ignore Covid-19 and hug and kiss each and every one of you!

Thanks for the memories!  You made me laugh, you made me cry.  You actually brought me some of the most cherished items available today, toilet paper and masks.  I’ll think about you when I use them.  Please stay in touch.  My cell phone will stay the same and I’ll always be glad to hear your voice.  Oh yes, one more item: consider yourself hugged.

So, thank you Lisa, Spring and the crew! I woke up this morning feeling good and singing, “Thanks for the memories.” Yesterdays memory will ranked right up there with my wedding, the birth of my children, finding Lake Zurich and you guys!

Here’s Frank’s version for your pleasure and my version for what its worth:

Thanks for the memory
Of things I can’t forget
Journeys on a jet
Our wond’rous weeks in beautiful LZ
With Renee and the crew
How lucky I am to have been with ya’ll

And thanks for the memory
Of summers by the pool
Halloween dressed as ghouls
We had such a time in old LZ

Of Maki and me
That we didn’t even stop to pee


Now since retirement I wake up
Alone on a gray morning-after
I long for the sound of your laughter
And times together

The good and the bad
Oh what parties we had


So, thanks for the memory

Renee and I are blessed

To share so many memories with you

Not bad for a short fat Jew

Who bids ya”ll adieu

It’s off to Indian Trail

To start anew

Close to family and friends

Old and new

Thanks again, for the memories!

STUFF

If you found the genie in a bottle and the genie offered to provide you with any tool you could imagine, what would you ask for?  I’d ask for a retrospectascope.

The genie would give me one of those strange looks and ask, “What the hell is a retrospectascope?”  My retrospectascope would allow you to look back at any point in time and either put you on the right path to success or, in my case, stop me from making a fool of myself.

My mother moved from Norfolk to our house in Long Grove in 2009.  At that time, I told her to sell most of her belongings and only pack the essentials as we had a full house and everything she could want.  I was furious when the movers showed up with the entire contents of her house.  I still have a substantial amount of her stuff and she died in 2014.

Flash forward to today.  As I’m packing to move to our new, much smaller house in North Carolina, I realized that Renee and I have packed way too much.  We started packing weeks ago and promised to take only the bare minimum.  We failed!

It’s hard to let go of stuff!  I’ve got stuff of my mom’s and my dad’s.  I’ve got stuff from my childhood, my college years, Mexico and my Illinois life.  I’ve thrown stuff out only to pull it out of the garbage later.  How do you give away or throw out your stuff?

One thing is for sure.  I owe my mom an apology.  She couldn’t let her stuff go.  Looking back through a retrospectascope armed with the knowledge I now have would have stopped me from being an ass.No one understands stuff better than George Carlin.  If you’ve never heard his “Stuff” here’s a 5 minute version

NIGHTMARE

I’ve been watching too much TV and reading too many spy books.  As a result of media overload, I had a vivid nightmare last night.  In the dream, we were sitting at the kitchen table enjoying a holiday meal with my family.  My grandson starts the following conversation:

RJ – “Zadie, what was your favorite MRE (meals ready to eat) when you were growing up?”

Zadie – “When I was young, we didn’t have MREs!”

RJ – “If you didn’t have MREs, then what did you eat?”

Zadie – “We ate food.  My mother always gave me my own 1 pound Porterhouse steak.”

RJ – “What’s a Porterhouse steak?”

Zadie – “Prior to Covid, we ate meat.  The butcher would kill a cow and cut it into portion called steaks, roasts, hamburger, etc.  Then we would cook it.  It was phenomenal.”

RJ – “Why can’t we have steaks?  What happened to the cows and butchers?”

Zadie – “It’s a long story.  The Covid virus killed hundreds of thousands of people.  People thought Covid was a joke, so they ignored it.  As the virus spread, it mutated and attacked other species.  Your Bubbie and I practiced “shelter in place” rules and mostly withdrew from society.  Because we took it seriously, we are all alive today to enjoy this holiday meal with you.  We’ve grown to love the MREs almost as much as steak.”

Bubbie – “Riley, it’s time to ask your 4 questions.  Did you memorize them?”

RJ – “Do I have to?  OK.  Why is this night different from all other nights?  Why do we mask and glove on all other nights but tonight we shed our masks and feast on cooked food rather than MREs?  Why didn’t everybody listen to the scientist and shelter in place?  What’s a grocery store?”

Zadie – “Well, RJ, those aren’t quite the questions I expected but I’ll answer them.  First, a grocery store was a wonderful place where you could walk around and pick up all kinds of wonderful foods; meats, vegetables, fruits, fish, chicken, and many more things.  They were relatively cheap, so you filled a cart full of goodies and took them home to eat them.  Zadie was 100 pounds fatter during those years.”

RJ- “What does fat mean?”

Zadie – “That’s a topic for a later discussion. What’s truly important is teaching you why people didn’t listen to the government and authorities.  During the first Covid Pandemic, the internet and journalists filled everyone with fear, rumors and conjectures.  The governments of the world put everyone in isolation, and it worked for a while.  When things looked better, the people, bored and broken by being isolated, rebelled and the government caved to their wishes.  Isolation rules were lifted and, eventually, the virus came back with a vengeance.”

RJ – “Would things have been different had we stayed in isolation longer?”

Zadie – “I think so.  Look at us, we’re the healthiest people around.  By the way, Bubbie bought you guys new masks.  They’re N100 with all the latest tech built in.  They even function as cell phones so you don’t have to touch anything.  I almost forgot to ask.  Are your new body gloves comfortable?

So, is it a nightmare or a glimpse into the future?  As for Renee and me, we will continue to keep a distance between us and the rest of the world.  We’ll mask, wash our hands frequently and wait for the vaccine. 

Have you seen the price of MREs?  They are skyrocketing!  I suspect others have had similar nightmares.  As America opens for business, let’s not forget to be cautious and never underestimate Covid’s fury!

Here’s today’s song.

WRITER’S BLOCK

Well, I’ve run out of words.  Renee and I are actively packing with a move date of May 29, her birthday.  I suspect that my writer’s block will last until the move is complete.

In the meantime, I’ll link you to articles I read that I think are helpful and appropriate.  Today, ZdoggMD does a nice review of the in’s and out’s of antibody testing.  Just click on the hyperlink. As always, if you have a subject you would like m to cover, let me know.

If you know where I can find decent toilet paper, please let me know.  I still don’t understand how TP disappeared from the shelves.  Currently, I’m using something that reminds me of sandpaper.  

Here’s your song of the day:   https://youtu.be/fm-q0ELuk1A

Hope you enjoy, “Our House.”  Certainly, anyone who buys Casa Segal will.  I just opened the pool and it is beautiful.

STILL RIDING THE ROLLER COASTER

Mornings start at 4 a.m. and tend to be great.  Some mornings, my body forgets it has Parkinson’s.  This morning was one such morning.  My legs worked, my balance was good and nothing hurt.  I made a cup of coffee and sat at the kitchen table contemplating the move. 

At 4 am, the house is quiet.  There are no talking heads spewing forth doom and gloom, no one reading the names of the dead, no silly TV shows; just me and my thoughts of the present and memories of the past.  It’s a great time to listen to the music in my head, write an article or two and even work on organizing a book.

By 10 am, I’m an old man.  My legs no longer work well and, with the struggle to walk, my mood sinks.  I’m 20 years older than when I woke up.  This morning, during my down time, I answered one of my former patient’s email.  I was honest and said life sucked.  I wrote about the frustration of trying to sell a home in the Covid era.  This morning, I was particularly down as I watched my pool glimmer as the sun came up. 

Usually, this is my favorite time of the year.  As my pool awakens, so does the neighborhood.  Normally, the sounds of kids playing, laughing and splashing emanates from my backyard.  I love the intermingling of the sounds of nature and kids having fun; living life to its fullest.  This year the pool will be mostly silent.  We will be gone and a pool service will be maintaining the water while waiting for someone to purchase the house and pool.

Some lucky family will know the joy of swimming and laughing in their own backyard.  I imagine they’ll play basketball, bags and volleyball while the dad serves lunch and dinner fresh off the grill.  All of this passed through my mind this am.  Then I imagined a pool sitting by itself, no children, no laughter as the house waits to be sold.

I’m still riding the roller coaster.  By 11 am, I’m really in the pits.  DING, my phone lets me know I have a new email.  It’s from the patient/friend I had just dumped my mood on and it’s special.  The email is uplifting and hopeful.  She couldn’t have done a better job at lifting my spirits if she had 40 years of experience as a PhD. Psychiatrist.

She threw me a life raft and I thank her for caring.  When I’m up, I write and so tomorrow you’ll read this article.   I’ll publish it just before I put on a winter coat and go sit by the pool.  Illinois weather really does suck.

For those of you who are riding the roller coaster, choose to be happy but make sure your friends and family know how you feel.  They are your life raft when the ride goes out of control.  If you are lucky, you’ll have friends like mine who will share their wisdom with you.

Here is today’s music: 

NURSES WEEK

I could not say it better!  Here’s a link to ZdoggMD.

I find it interesting that Zdogg attributes a large portion of his success to training he received from nurses.  During my 4th year of medical school I did my clinical rotations at Portsmouth General Hospital. PGH did not have a formal curriculum so the medical director assigned his old school head nurse the task of arranging my rotations and my training.

She was phenomenal.  First of all, no one ever said no to her.  Her skill set and knowledge were amazing.  I think she was the most respected person in the hospital.  Beyond arranging for my clinical rotations, she trained me as a nurse.  That knowledge helped shape me into the physician I became.

Unfortunately, nurses, like doctors, have become enslaved by the hospital’s and insurer’s lust for data.  We’ve all become data input specialists, clicking away, checking boxes and recording useless shit that is required by everybody except us (docs and nurses).

At the nurses core/heart is still the desire to care for those in need.  The next time the doc is running late or you have a problem with the hospital or office, remember the video you just watched and don’t take it out on the nurse!

One more thing.  I’ve have gotten multiple requests for my opinion about the “Plandemic” video.  Once again, Zdogg says it better than I can.  Watch: https://zdoggmd.com/plandemic/

I am aware that many of you do not like ZdoggMD’s presentation style but his material is factual and he is brilliant.

HAPPY TALK

Once again, I have a song in my head and an article to be written.  Please listen to “Happy Talk” and then read on.  I hope you enjoy this rendition of Happy Talk by Ella Fitzgerald.

You have a very simple choice, be happy or not.  Yep, it’s up to you.  Nothing or no one can make you happy if you don’t choose to be happy.  Unfortunately, others can make you unhappy if you choose to allow them to do so.  Let me explain.

Every time you open the above hyperlink, you are going to see an ad.  Did you watch the ad or did you hit the skip button?  If you choose to watch the ad, you probably have chosen to be unhappy.  The ads are provocative and disturbing.  

My patients are frightened, anxious, depressed, broken hearted, lonely, etc.  The economy is collapsing, people are losing their jobs, worried about paying bills, worried about food shortages, social unrest, etc.  I can go on and on.

How today’s worries affect you and your loved one’s hinges on one simple decision.  Am I going to be happy or not?  I know it’s hard to believe, but you can choose to be happy.  Yes, you have to deal with what’s going on in your life, but how you deal with it decides how it affects you.

Do you have a dream?  The song’s lyrics, “You gotta have a dream, if you don’t have a dream, How you gonna have a dream come true?” asks a pivotal question.  So, do you have a dream?

When I was young, my friends and I had dreams.  Dreams of happiness have guided me through life.  My dreams have changed with age; but, at each step, they have guided me.  At first, my dreams were about things, BMWs, girls, vacations, girls, mansions, and girls.  I think you get the gist.

Along came Renee and my dreams morphed into marriage, family, my medical practice, vacations, time with my buddies, etc.  As those dreams were realized and my age advanced, I dreamed of my kids’ successes, grandchildren, vacations, friends, etc.

Then came Parkinson’s.  I stopped dreaming.  Dreams became nightmares.  Then the nightmare of a pandemic became reality.  Dreaming became impossible.  Without dreams, life became joyless and depressing.  My former patients call daily.  They are in the same place as I am.

So, what changed?  Yesterday, a dear friend sat by the pool with me (9 feet apart) and we talked about world events, the nightmare of Covid, cabin fever and more.  That’s when he said, “I’ll be damned if I’m going to spend the rest of my life scared and depressed.  You have two choices in life: you can choose to be happy or not.  I choose to be happy!”

He’s a wise man!  I choose to be happy as well.  Awakening with “Happy Talk” on my mind is the beginning.  Now to start dreaming good dreams: dreams of playing with my wife, children and grandchildren will drown out the dreams of Parkinson’s and Armageddon. Dreams of sunny Carolina days, road trips to Atlanta and Virginia will fuel my happiness and keep me alive.

Do you have a dream?  If not, find one.  Choose to be happy.

Enjoy some music: 

https://youtu.be/QaH7Mdt5DkQ https://youtu.be/vuKt7USFPSo

I’M SICK OF IT

I really am sick of the news media.  Every 30 minutes reveals new “Breaking News.”  The new breaking news is the same as the last breaking news and, most probably, will turns out to be wrong.  That’s right, I said wrong.

You don’t need a mask.  You need a mask.  You don’t need an N95 mask, a home made one using toilet paper will work.  Maintain at least 6 feet of space between you and another person.  Tests show coughs go 9 feet or more.

A million people are going to die.  No, it’s more like 50 thousand.   No, it’s now looking like 100,000 will die.  It’s ok to let businesses open, people can protect themselves by keeping their distance and wearing mask.  It’ not ok to open businesses, it will lead to Armageddon. I think the truth is that every scenario is fraught with risk. So, weigh your risks against your potential benefits and make the decision that iseems right for you and your family.  Oh yes, you might also say a prayer or two.

THE TRUTH IS NO ONE KNOWS WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN OR WHAT’S RIGHT. The news media is interviewing “experts” in an attempt to grab market share.  Their experts use the scientific method to try to predict what’s coming next.  The key word is “predict”!  They don’t actually know what’s coming.  I think the best thing the pundits could do is to qualify everything they predict with a disclaimer or other qualifier.

“At this time, with the data we have available, we believe that 75- 100,00 Americans are likely to die from Covid-19,” is a lot different than “75-100,00 thousand Americans will die.”  Of course, it’s not as sensational as the qualified statement and therefore, not as likely to increase the news program’s market share.

It’s time we recognize that we are in uncharted territory.  We are learning and sooner or later will figure out what to do; but, in the meanwhile, we are on a roller coaster and can’t get off.  So, buckle up, take sensible precautions, protect those at risk and get back to living your life.

When you hear, “Breaking news,” don’t panic.  What they tell you today, they are likely to rescind tomorrow.  By the way, if you listen to one, one-hour news program a day, you’ll get all the info you need.  If you let them bombard you for hours every day, you’ll probably be more anxious and depressed than you need to be.

My favorite Covid news: https://youtu.be/_5DXs8xxaMU, will help make my point.