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The medical adventure continues


The good news in my ongoing battle to lose weight (and alleviate gout) came courtesy of a website telling you how many calories various activities burn.
Walking, for a guy my weight and age, uses about 200 calories per hour (CPH), the digital assistant assures me. Running comes in at about 500 followed by vigorous cycling at 600. I thought swimming, at 700, was the top fat burner until I plugged in playing golf with a motorized cart. According to the program hitting the links eats up a full 750 CPH!
Obviously there’s something wrong, but I don’t care. If people can watch FOX believing they are getting news, I can hit the links believing I’m burning calories by the bushel. It’s not a Tea Partier’s fault they have an egregiously distorted view of the world. It’s not my fault the weight is not coming off because I’m playing golf three times a week.
The bad news is that my regular doctor has thrown up her hands in the effort to figure out what is going on with my body. This, in turn, has caused me to look for alternatives. One comes courtesy of Bernadette, a Jackie of many trades and a friend of Sabra’s family we know in Denver. Bernadette suggested soaking my foot in my own urine would leach out the toxicants causing the problem.
The other alternative is more mainstream: seeing a rheumatologist at the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics (UIHC). I shouldn’t be too hard on the UIHC, because without it Sabra would have died from the stroke she suffered a couple years back. It’s a state-of-the-art medical facility, but it’s a bureaucratic nightmare within another nightmare that has become our healthcare system.
Urban legend has it, the first outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease actually happened at the UIHC and not in Philadelphia as commonly reported. Before anyone knew what was going on, the disease killed an entire wing at the hospital. Rather than reporting it, the myth goes, officials simply had the entrance to the wing drywalled over and painted the same as the adjacent hallway. You might think this impossible if you’ve never been there. The place is a three dimensional maze of hallways bending at oblique angles connected by elevators that pop up when least expected and hide when needed. I think M. C. Escher consulted on the design.
My first attempt at seeing the specialist was thwarted as someone clicked in the wrong place and I wound up in the waiting room of a nephrologist. I didn’t catch the mistake because I had no idea what nephrology was. Do you? Turns out they are kidney doctors. If I was quicker on the draw I could have asked about Bernadette’s advice, but in the end all I wound up with was another appointment the next day.
At both places, I was required to fill out the pre-visit form, always required but never looked at. I know the forms are not reviewed because I’ve become creative at filling them out, and no one yet has asked me about being pregnant.
Finally, I made it into the examination room where a nice young woman doctor from Wisconsin saw me. She said she was a “fellow,” but she looked like a gal to me. Whatever. She asked a ton of questions and seemed genuinely interested in my condition. An older man from Hungary, who said he was a doctor but not a “fellow,” took a turn asking the same battery of questions over again. On the forms and to the doctors I told them I was currently taking Pravastatin to reduce cholesterol.
Somewhere along the line, they convinced me sticking a needle into the joint of my big toe to get a fluid sample was a good idea. They also ordered a blood test. Ouch and ouch. Both tests turned out inconclusive, so I was sent home with a new prescription, which the pharmacist told me I shouldn’t take with Pravastatin.
She game me a funny look when I told her I was going to pee in a bucket.