I’M Sick Of It

In my day, the olden days, sometimes people just got sick. Now everything is a syndrome or disorder with a strange name and probably some acronym. I am sick of these. Of course for every syndrome there is a pill — typically with side effects that would keep me from ever using the cure.

Today I read about a new one that tops all that came before it.  POIS. I am sure you must have heard of it. No? It stands for post-orgasmic illness syndrome (I told you that they are all syndromes).

What are the symptoms of PIOS you ask? As described in an article in the Chicago Tribune, POIS is when men are allergic to their own semen, developing a mysterious flu-like illness after they have an ejaculation. Seriously? I do not intend to make light of the poor schmucks who suffer from this debilitating illness. Symptoms include feverishness, runny nose, extreme fatigue and burning eyes, which can last for up to a week.

No, I come to make fun of the researchers in the Netherlands who found these men and chose to study them only to come up with some asinine name like post-orgasmic illness syndrome.

Is there any illness left to discover and name. I get it with astronomers naming planets and stars…but illnesses.

I long for the good old days when you could just be sick.

Doc, Doc. Who’s There?

Doc, Doc. Who’s There? Fifteen. Fifteen who? Fifteen minutes is all the time I have for you.

In the past few months I have tried a new primary care doc, a podiatrist, an orthepedic surgeon, two rectal surgeons (don’t ask), a dermatologist, an opthamologist and a dentist. Of that list only the dentist I had seen before. In virtually all the cases these docs came highly recommended. All I can say is that you never know what you will get but it is more likely than not that you will be disappointed.

My primary complaints apply to virtually all on the list. They put you though standard procedures to tell if there is anything extremely obvious. Hell the primary care doc did the same things that docs have done for decades. He listened to my chest, looked in my ears and nose and had me say Ahhhh as he looked down my throat. He then ordered the standard blood panel and that was my annual physical. He listened more to my breathing than to anything I had to say about my health or symptoms.

In these days of diagnostic tests all I got fingers up my butt from the rectal guys (as opposed to a scope which might actually allow the doc to see what the problem was) The first guy wanted to do surgery and did not even tell me of the potential problems that the second guy did. After wrenching my lower back, the orthopod had me bend in each of 4 directions, took x-rays and gave me three sets of pills– steroids, muscle relaxers and a  narcotic for the pain. He had no idea what was wrong with me. Of course if I took all the pills I would be a vegetable, albeit a comfortable one.

Of all of the docs only one treated me like a modestly intelligent consumer of medical advice. The podiatrist explained what he was doing and why. He explained what he found and what it meant. And finally what we would try for now and the next course of action if the first one did or did not work. He had no great bedside manner but he did spend more than 15 minutes with me and I came away feeling like he would help.

I assume it is the fee for service approach discussed during the Congressional health care debate that drives the behavior of “let me see if you are within two standard deviations of the mean.” If so I Dr. Doctor do not need to figure out if your problem is caused by something outside the norm. I can just send you on your way telling you that as long as you can cope with the pain not to worry.

How come I did not even get all those cover your ass tests I read about in the health care debate?  Where is my share of the excess. At least I would feel as if someone is paying attention.

BTW. If anyone has a good Doc, Doc joke please submit it. I have to admit I could not come up with a good one.

Get That Flu Shot!

Contemplating getting the shot doesn’t count. Being at a client site on the day they are administering shots to the people you are working with doesn’t count. As proof, just two days before I came down with the seasonal flu I did both.

To put things in time perspective that would have been Thursday October 8. By Saturday my body was telling me that something was wrong. However I attributed the tiredness and the achy feeling to my workout– these have been so infrequent that I just figured it was all due to being out of shape. By Sunday the combination of aches, pains, fever and congestion worse than a Chicago rush hour made me realize that it was the flu. If only I had taken the 45 minutes to go to our company clinic. 45 minutes seemed like such an inconvenience. Or better yet if my company had made flu shots available at my work site more than the two days I was traveling on business. As it turned out the 45 minutes would have been a great investment.

Speaking of business, while clients can be very understanding of your illness on a personal level (rest, go to the doctor, take care of yourself were consistent comments) that does not mean that their work product can be late! So Monday with fever raging I was working at home trying to delay what I could and think well enough to deliver on all that remained.

Then to add to my personal pain, literally, I coughed. This was one of those violent, retching body shaking, come out of nowhere coughs. You could hear the sound of the tendon in my lower back rip. It ripped even more when I coughed again 2 minutes later. I now had screaming level, constant pain in my lower back. It hurt to sit. It hurt to stand. It hurt to breath.

By this time I had time for one, and only one doctor appointment. I had to choose. internal medicine for the flu or orthopedic for the back. No contest. I  made an afternoon appointment with the orthopedic surgeon. Fortunately no disk damage. I left with prescriptions for steroids, muscle relaxers and narcotics. If  I were to take the latter two there would be no driving or even thinking straight. I skipped the narcs so I could work and because I have an aversion to excess drugs.

By the next day the fever broke and the constant pain left. However for the remainder of the week I had bad cold symptoms, could not stand up straight or walk stairs without pain and was exhausted all of the time.

Next year I take the flu shot and as soon as it is available I am doing the H1N1 vaccine. The pain/time trade-off makes it worth while.