Category Archives: Health Care

Doctor’s Office Dilemma

eyeseeyouDoctor’s offices are odd places.  Yes, you have an appointment and you manage to arrive on time or, maybe, a bit early.  Then, early or late, the waiting begins.  You will wait for thirty minutes to one hour in a room filled with sick people.  If you are not sick when you arrive, it is certain that you will be exposed to some malady before you depart.  You will breathe their polluted air, sit in their infected chair and handle their fouled magazines.  Who knows what microbes you have given or received?  Talk about a “human petri dish” and you’re not even on a cruise!

Finally, you are called back to an examination room where you will languish in solitary confinement – often for more time than you spent in the waiting room.  Wipe out any of your previously scheduled appointments, projects, or meetings.  Chances are good you will not make them.  But you had better make your doctor’s appointment because if you don’t…it will be a long time before you can get in again.

Let’s say you are so sick you can barely roll out of bed to feverishly stumble to the bathroom – much less get to the Doctor’s office.  Too bad!  You will have to get well enough to go see why you have been so sick!  House calls have gone the way of the horse and buggy.  Emergency rooms or walk-in clinics are just as bad – maybe worse.  So what’s the answer?  Simple.  Don’t get sick!

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Filed under Doctors, Germs, Health Care, Healthcare, Illness, Patients

From Committed Carnivore to Voracious Vegan

When you have open heart surgery (better known as the open chest surgery) they insert an instrument in an artery that is super accurate in measuring blood pressure.  After my surgery they told me that they had trouble trying to use my wrist because of the plaque buildup.  So they had to go elsewhere to find an artery to use.  I concluded from that bit of bad news that, in addition to the blockages they were bypassing, I have plaque buildup in all my circulatory system.  My brother-in-law had mentioned a book to me (see below) that I might be interested in.  I got it, read it, and realized that I might have avoided surgery all together if I had read it earlier.  Now, following further research, I have cut out all meat and dairy products.

So, my vegetable garden has become a lot more important since I became a vegetarian (actually a “no-fat vegan”).  I expect the garden will become my primary source of food.  In the meantime the produce department of the grocery stores has become the most important section.

We are fortunate also to have two sources of organically grown vegetables in Abilene and a three-times-weekly farmer’s market (mostly offering non-organic produce).

Why did I become a vegetarian?  Well, it certainly was not because killing animals and eating their meat disgusts me.  It was not because I came to the conclusion that eating only vegetables would save the planet (even though there may be some truth in that).  My mouth still waters at the thought of fried eggs, bacon, sausage, steak, pork ribs, fish, seafood, fried chicken, chicken-fried steak, barbeque and meat in general.  I love all kinds of cheese and other dairy products.  No one could love those delicacies more than me.  It took some powerful scientific facts to shift me from a carnivore to a herbivore.

If I had the power, I would command everyone to immediately read two books: Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., M.D. and The China Study by T. Colin Campbell, PhD and Thomas M. Campbell II, M.D.  The China Study is billed as “The most comprehensive study of nutrition ever conducted.”  It is informative, disturbing and hopeful.  I say, without reservation, it can save your life.  In addition I would require everyone to watch the videos Forks over Knives and PlaneatAfter that, if you still want to eat meat and dairy, that’s your choice.  My goal is to educate.  If, in that process, you are converted then praise the Lord!

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Filed under Diet, Food, Health Care, Heart, Home and Garden, Organic, Vegan, Vegetable Gardening

A Wasted Morning

It’s a shame to write only when one is irritated.  Do it often enough and you will earn the designation, “curmudgeon.”  I am, at the moment, highly irritated and I am writing.  But I promise not to make it a habit.

Abilene is not really a small town, but sometimes it seems to be.  One would think that most things would be readily available here, especially medical supplies.  We have a dozen or so listed in the phone book and so, I got on the phone and began calling to find a particular item I really needed today.  I called several places, a couple of which did not have the item in stock but promised they could get it by the next day.  I decided to keep calling around to see if I could find it in stock somewhere.

My first “hit” was a place called “Choice Medical Supply.”  Yes, the lady told me, they had some in stock.  “Great,” said I and hopped in the car to pick one up.  It was not a short drive but not all that far either.

When I arrived, the lady I talked to on the phone led me into a room whose walls were lined with this and that.  But when we came to the place where it should be…guess what…it wasn’t there!

“I thought it would be right there,” she said.

“You mean, when I called you didn’t check to see if it was really in stock?” said I with growing dismay.

“I’m sorry,” she offered, “I thought we had some.”

“Look,” I said, “that’s the reason I called ahead so that I wouldn’t make a useless journey!”

“So sorry,” she said, “it’s my fault.”

At that moment, some language I learned long ago in the oil field came to mind.  I wanted to say, “You’re (fill in the blanks here) right!  It sure as (blank) isn’t my fault!”  But, keeping in mind certain biblical injunctions regarding a Christian’s speech, I simply stalked out.

Returning to the car, I consulted a phone book we keep there for situations such as this, and called some additional suppliers.  I kept striking out until one person told me that “West Texas Rehab” would be my best bet.  Since it was on my way home, I stopped in.  The very kind and polite lady there said they had sold their supply business and it was now “Travis Medical.”  She offered to call for me and, wonderful news, they had one!  It was two-thirds of the way back to “Choice Medical” but I was so happy to have found what I needed that I willingly and joyfully drove to their place.

In spite of having difficulty finding their location, I arrived in high spirits.  “We called a few minutes ago, looking for (the elusive item),” I said, flashing my best smile.

“Oh yes,” the man jovially responded, “it is right over….well, I thought it was there.”

“Oh no!” I said, my smile turning to a look of horror.  “We called,” I cried, “you said you had one!”

“I thought we did but it turns out it was this thingy,” he said lamely (the “thingy” bears little resemblance to what I was after).

“But that’s the reason I called ahead!” I responded with growing anger.  I looked for a table or something to turn over and drive everyone out with a cord of whips.  In the end, I simply walked out with slumped, defeated shoulders.

Finally, all hope of imminent success gone, I called one of the other medical suppliers who had promised they could have one by the next day.

“Should be here between 10 and 11 in the morning,” she said.

“Are you sure?” I asked with trembling voice and a tear threatening to form.

“I’m sure,” she said confidently.

As you might guess, dear reader, I’ll believe it when I touch it.

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Filed under Community, Health Care, Humor, Incompetence, Language, Random Thoughts

Let’s Give it Some Air!

I hope to see some form of healthcare reform soon.  When I look at our present system, it becomes obvious that it is largely greed-driven.  I have given up on the system regulating itself and now I say to the industry, “Get ready for the government to take over…you’ve been begging for it!”

The “healthcare bill” before congress, however, is a disaster in progress.  At nearly two thousand pages of lawyerspeak gobbledygook, this bill is as inaccessible to the people as Barack’s birth certificate.  Deals have been made with special interests behind closed doors.  Legislation has been pushed through like a plunger on a clogged toilet.

Everything organic eventually decomposes.  It happens two ways: aerobically (with air circulation) and anaerobically (with no circulation).  Compost is a good example.  Compost made with good air circulation smells earthy and sweet.  When something rots without access to air it stinks like overripe sewage.

There is something rotten about what the congress has done.  It reeks to high heaven!  The stench results from anaerobic secrecy and backroom deals.  This healthcare bill needs some air!  Let’s put it in a form we can understand and keep the flies of special interests from infesting it with greedy maggots.

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Filed under Current Events, Health Care, Politics, Random Thoughts

Lunch with Dad at Table Fifteen

I see wheelchairs everywhere…some leg-powered some arm-powered.  The room is packed with people waiting expectantly for food.  A few have dozed off, chin on bibs.  One lady has her head on the table…seemingly lifeless.  There’s not much conversation.  Recorded Christmas music issues from a boom box balanced on a wooden podium in the background.

I observe two sorts of staff: indifferent and attentive…the attentive ones passing out an occasional hug to grateful residents.

The diners come in all shapes, sizes and conditions…some with their wits, some obviously without.  As far as I can tell everyone except the staff is white…no blacks or Hispanics in sight.

We are joined at table 15 by Mary…impatient for her food.  Soon she will be impatient to be taken back to her room complaining of back pain.  I try to talk to her but she is not in the mood.

Behind us an orderly softly sings Christmas carols with each phrase in a different key.

Finally, the trays begin arriving and the lady who had her head on the table comes to life and begins doing slow-motion wheelchair wheelies.

The food is nutritious and good.  I am grateful.

As lunch is consumed (not in whole but the part) the diners disappear one-by-one back into the maze of halls to find their rooms.

Is this my future?  I don’t aspire to lunch or any other meal in such circumstances.   Nevertheless, if Jesus tarries it is probably the lot of many of us.  Maybe I’ll be the one with my head on the table.  Even so, come Lord Jesus!

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Filed under Aging, Health Care, Nursing Home, Random Thoughts

Thoughts on Turning Sixty-Seven

old-man1I entered my 68th year last month. My 91-year-old father might disagree but I guess I am now “old.” I find old age fascinating on several levels. It is, for example, in old age that you wish you had taken better care of your young self. The aches, pains and other afflictions are not pleasant. To realize that you have been categorized as “old” is not particularly good for the ego. Neither is the realization that you are no longer (if you really ever were) attractive to young women. These days, if they smile approvingly at you, it is because you remind them of a loved and respected father, grandfather or great-uncle (get that straight and it will help keep you out of a lot of trouble and embarrassment!).

These are the routine parts of old manhood. But, what I am writing about is something rather unexpected. It is the insight I’ve gained because

I have lived long enough,

read enough books,

encountered enough problems,

misunderstood enough,

experienced enough reversals of fortune,

loved enough people,

lived through enough crises,

eaten enough crow,

had enough experiences – positive and negative…

…to realize the arrogance of my youth. Not necessarily an obvious, exterior, obnoxious, puffed-up know-it-all arrogance. But rather that which rises out of misplaced self-confidence, academic knowledge and an assurance that one has found authentic truth.

I was thinking today about an encounter I had back in the late seventies with a man who held an opinion (more of a belief) that I considered downright wrong…maybe even ungodly. I thought, how can he believe that when Scripture says this? I knew the experiences that influenced his opinion, but I also knew what the Scripture said. Now, at a comparable age with my own collection of experiences, I see what he was saying and why.

In my dotage I find myself considering, accommodating, tolerating and investigating ideas I would have rejected out-of-hand in my youth. I find myself believing things I never would have contemplated in my younger years. Now, older, sadder and wiser, I shudder at past positions taken, claims made, assurances given, defenses offered and explanations proffered. Today I am finally ready to reason more than react. Arrogance has been consumed by humiliation.

In our culture, older people tend to be marginalized and that’s a shameful waste. We are considered out-of-touch, hopelessly behind the learning curve and set in our ways. And, that sad assessment may be true for some of us. But I find myself more curious, more open-minded, more tolerant and receptive to new ideas than my youthful self.

Why did I have to get old to get reasonable? How much more productive and peaceful life would have been if wisdom did not depend on experience! Could I please try it again and this time with what I’ve learned? Oh the joyful thought of youthful living guided by age’s wisdom!

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Filed under Health Care, Ignorance, Love, Meaning of Life, Men's Issues, Mind, Peace, Random Thoughts, Respect, Scripture, Whitsett News

Broken Down in Break Week

The best-laid schemes o’ mice an ‘men
Gang aft agley,
An’lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!

(Robert Burns, To A Mouse, On Turning Her Up In Her Nest With The Plough)

It is Break Week at Sunset (and, consequently at Charamon in Abilene) which includes Thanksgiving. I was looking forward to getting a bunch of stuff done (won’t bore you with the details) but Brenda and I are reluctantly entertaining the worst cold (bacterial, apparently, as opposed to viral) we’ve had for years. Our doctor kindly saw us both and has given us the requisite antibiotics and steroid shots and a breathing treatment for your’s truly.

cold.jpg

It would have been satisfying to leave some shamefully neglected tasks in our powerful wake as we plowed through the murky waters of waiting work. But, truly, as Robbie Burns warned, our plans have gone “agley” (whatever that means) and we are left with “nought but grief an’ pain / For promis’d joy!” Oh, we’ll weakly eke out some effort and put paid to a few of the more impatient chores. But a much more glorious and joyful outcome had been anticipated. Bummer!

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Filed under Current Events, Health Care, Poetry?, Whitsett News