The Day the Doctor (and the music?) Died!

man wearing white long sleeved shirt

Photo by Miguel Arcanjo Saddi on Pexels.com

(Sung to the Tune of Bye Bye Miss American Pie)

Bye Bye Little Miss Menopause’s Guy

Took an Uber Car to Urgent Care, the receptionist did cry,

Them good ole nurses were eating Apple-a-Day pie,

Singing ‘he had a fatal heart attack, but we don’t know why?’

The day the doctor died.

And that’s when his entire office staff asked me to attend his funeral. Not only that, they said I was the patient who visited the most frequently and therefore Dr. Danzig would have wanted me to give his eulogy.

Sure he would! The man who called in sick whenever he saw my name on his appointment log?

We always had a real love/hate patient/doctor relationship going on, but right now I was in shock. Here was a guy I had faith in and went to each and every time I found a lump of cancer, suffered a stroke, had a heart attack, diagnosed myself with Early Onset Alzheimers or had numbness in my hands.  Each and every time he’d calmly tell me I was overreacting, and that symptoms of death didn’t manifest as a reflexive cough, a scratchy throat, itchy skin, flaky scalp, or a stomach that hurt when I laughed too hard.

I can own it. Yes, I was the proverbial hypochondriac. But I finally had begun to relax. Believing that he was right, and that by always following his sage advice, I would remain amongst the living.

And now he departs this earth without any warning?

You know what that means, don’t you?  Everything he told me to do — how to eat, how to drink, how to exercise, how to breathe, how to sleep, how to blow my nose, was entirely wrong. It had backfired on him and it was only a matter of time I would suffer the same fate.

This is different than your hairdresser showing up with gray hair, your teller at First American Financial declaring bankruptcy, or your mechanic’s own car brakes failing, — this is your doctor, the professional health expert that you trust to know what he’s talking about suddenly DYING!!

OMG! Before I meet my maker, maybe I should give serious consideration to writing my doctor’s eulogy. Here’s what I’ll say….

Dr. Danzig — it’s me, Little Miss Menopause. The one who’d sit in your waiting room, wringing her (numb!) hands, planning her own funeral. And now I’m attending yours, and reminiscing over all the visits and phone calls we shared…

I’ll always fondly recall the following little games we played:

  1. You’d leave the room after commanding me to undress. I’d panic, frantically trying to get that rattling, flimsy paper gown over my body in thirty seconds flat. And then, (I kid you not!) you’d strategically time your loud knocking on the door to the split second when my jeans/panties were off, but my thick woolen sweater was stuck over my head — so my voice muffled as I’d try to shout, “Give me one more minute!” You’d barge in and say, “What’s the difference if I see you naked standing vertical? I’m just going to gawk at you naked when you’re horizontal on my examination table?” You had a point, but still.
  2. Speaking of your table. Remember how you once admitted your nurse is forgetful and might not always remember to change the tissue paper between exams and how your last patient had syphilis. You little prankster, you!
  3. That time when I came in complaining that whenever I inhaled, I felt sharp pain in my lungs and you said, “The remedy for that is simple. Stop breathing.” What a card you were!
  4. Our cute phone tag shenanigans! I’d be desperate to find out my blood work results, (certain I had leukemia) and you’d (I have zero proof of this, but I wouldn’t put it past you!) have your leisurely breakfast at your desk, peruse my normal hemoglobin count which you’d record in my chart, then tell your receptionist, “Hold all my calls. I have an important meeting.” Next you’d chuckle as you’d overhear your front office phone ringing incessantly. Oh what fun!
  5. I’d bring freshly baked chocolate chip cookies to the lab, thereby bribing a technician to give me my blood results directly, breathe a sigh of relief they were fine and then proceed to hatch my plan. In your own sweet time, (bless your heart!) you’d finally return my phone calls, but hear the following outgoing message. “I’m sorry I missed you. If this is Dr. Danzig phoning, I have something urgent to tell you about glimpsing your wife in the restaurant where I was having lunch today. Leave me a message and I’ll get right back to you.” Then I’d go to a double feature at the movies and out for dinner. Wheeeee, good times!

Wait a minute, this really wasn’t a nice eulogy. It was more of a “cruelogy,” I thought as I imagined his bereaved family sobbing by his casket, none appreciating the humor in what I wrote. Serves him right though for always downplaying my symptoms, telling me they were nothing, that I was the boy who cried wolf who happened to wear dresses, and that everything was gonna turn out just fine.

A tear ran down my cheek as I imagined him experiencing his own chest pains, shortness of breath, left arm numbness, while optimistically telling himself it was probably just something he ate. Poor man believing his own propaganda. Doctor, heal thyself!

My phone rang and I answered immediately upon seeing the caller ID announcing Dr. Danzig. Really?

“Gotcha good this time!” he heartily laughed. “Now you know how I feel when you always insist you’re dying. And also — that’ll teach you to imply my wife is cheating on me!”

I seethed on the other end of the line. “You just wait, Dr. Danzig. I’m going to come in next time with bizarre mysterious symptoms and tell your entire waiting room that I was bit by a yellow-bellied sap sucker in your parking lot and it’s highly contagious.”

He chuckled, “Yes, but I saw you naked!”

Ugh, he had me there. But I was relieved he wasn’t a Dead Duck…. just perhaps a living Quack!

Readers — Do you have a healthy relationship with your physician? Do you wanna strangle him or do you love him “to death?”

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No Worries – – We’ve Got Your Back.

mad magazine

When a normal person is scared they have breast, skin or bone cancer,

They simply get examined by a doctor and have a quick answer.

But I worry the procedure will have serious complications,

Or their medical equipment will have poor calibrations,

Or the laboratory will make gross errors in their calculations,

Or the results will come back with (gasp!) positive confirmations!

So instead I go to a therapist and have lengthy conversations . . .

“How do I stop incessantly worrying about everything?” I ask.

They nod knowingly, sending me home with one simple task.

“Write down everything you fear happening, make one great big list.

Because once it’s down on paper, from your mind it’ll be dismissed.”

I take my pencil and put every single dread down in plain black and white

But maybe writing causes lead poisoning, how to avoid that disturbing plight?

And reading these awful lists are more frightening than thinking I have ovarian cysts.

To the depths of despair I sink, the only thing to do is find another Shrink.

The next one prescribes Xanax, Zoloft, Valium, and even a little Prozac.

Cuz drugs have your back & get you on track when life goes outa whack.

(Never mind the side effects, like filling your arteries up with plaque!)

Oh dear, this isn’t working; I think I need to just find a homeopathic Guru.

“Don’t Worry, Be Happy” a sign over his desk sounds a little too woo-woo.

He warns, “Thinking about something you don’t want, will surely bring it about”

Oh great, now all my concerns will come true, of that there can be no doubt!

“Thank you!” I say as I pay the pretty receptionist his outrageous high bill.

I can’t think about going broke; I need to worry about writing my own will.

But first my caring boyfriend offers (for free!) his own professional tactics,

“You need an adjustment,” he says, “You should never underestimate chiropractics.”

I climb up on his special table, wondering if it’s been recently sterilized.

“Just don’t touch my neck, back, shoulders or body…I don’t wanna be paralyzed.”

He shakes his head in frustration and I fear his prognosis is gonna be bleak.

“I know you pick our dinners and movies — my diagnosis is you’re a Control Freak.”

As I drive home I realize I haven’t heard from my kids, not a peep all day long,

Now I’m sure they’ve been kidnapped or injured, or something else is wrong.

“Kids” I say, “Why don’t you phone to pester me or tell me your life is a mess?”

“We’ve been told to keep things secret, so we don’t cause you further stress.”

This sounds like bad advice from none other than my ridiculous Ex.

Now how will I know if my son is on drugs or my daughter’s having sex??!

As a last resort, I take all my troubles to an Author’s Workshop and ask for advice.

“Go home and Blog about it, I’m sure your followers will think that’s nice.”

But I worry an 800-word story about an MRI and a malignant brain tumor,

Will cause my readers to suspect, “She’s completely lost her (odd!) sense of humor!”

So maybe I’ll write a poem – but gosh, should it be a sonnet, a limerick or a haiku?

And will my depressing topic elicit comments like, “Sheesh, we really dislike you!”

Where will this ever end? There’s no remedy for being a compulsive worrier . . .

I’ll just go back to sleep, it’s clear my future’s dim and so much blurrier.

Desperate, I read the label sewn into my bed, “Under penalty of law, do not remove!”

And I smile and think, “Wow, I can do that! Now my life will start to improve!”

Yes, pillows and mattress tags are something I can completely control,

So I can cross off worrying about arrests, going to jail and never getting out on parole!

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The Doctor Is In – – But I’m Out… (of my mind!)

formeAll my adult life I have dealt with a debilitating disorder – – it’s called, “Tell & Show Syndrome.”  Someone will TELL me about a new rare disease and WHAM! – – all the signs of it SHOW up throughout my body.

To say I am highly suggestible is an understatement.  I can read an article in a woman’s magazine entitled, “10 Symptoms You’re Too Shy Too Discuss With Your Male Doctor (But You Should Before It’s Too Late!)”  ~ Immediately I have all 10 plus 4 bonus ones the author wasn’t imaginative enough to think of.  Fear and panic overtakes all my shyness.  I’m gonna grab that Male Doctor right by his shirt color – – I might even consider going to Second base with him for a Second opinion.

I do have a regular physician I call several times a week, and I’m sure the nurses give him messages that go like this – –

“That hypochondriac lady (who resembles a very menopausal Amy Winehouse, minus the tattoos) is on the phone again.  Today she claims when she walks, it feels like thumbtacks/paperclips are poking her feet. Should we advise her to proceed directly to the local office supply store?”

Instead I go to my beloved online medical information mecca – – “The Web MD.”

First of all, it never occurs to me that the word “Web” in their name is a subtle symbolic tip-off that I should stay far, far away.  Let’s think about this, shall we?  Who has webbed feet?  Ducks!  And what do ducks say?  “QUACK!”  Hello??

But this does not deter me from typing, “thumbtacks sticking feet” into the symptom-checker box and obtaining The Diagnosis From Hell.  Four horrific diagnoses, actually.  One relates to my Brain, one relates to my Heart, another to my Lungs, and the final one to my Stomach.   Interestingly, none of the diseases have anything to do with Feet. And all are extremely fatal.

Having gotten C +’s in my Deductive Reasoning classes in high school, I know it isn’t possible that I am afflicted with ALL four of these maladies. That’s only logical, right?  So which one should I eliminate?

Next I do what I always do at 2:00 in the morning – – I log onto a hospital patient message board and post about my situation, asking if someone “out there” has ever experienced a symptom like this but everything turned out to be completely fine?   I stare for hours at my computer screen waiting for anyone to give a reassuring response.  And then it dawns on me . . .

The reason nobody can answer my question.  Everyone who had this same problem has already died.

Should I start writing my Obituary or my Will first?  And Guardians for my precious kids!  Why, oh why couldn’t my ex-husband and I ever agree who to name as caretakers in the event of our deaths??   His sister puts ketchup on eggs, doesn’t believe in orthodontia, plus Danielle Steele is her favorite author.  So what?  I shoulda let all that go.

“Please God,” I bargain, “I know last week I hated this world and said I’d rather be dead than go to the Department of Motor Vehicles to renew my expired driver’s license.  But I promise to find gratitude and renew my zest for life – – just please don’t let me expire!”photo 2-3

There’s nothing left to do.  Except find a brand new doctor who hasn’t heard about my “Boy Who Cried Wolf” past.  My previous doctors have issued, “WARNING: Circus Side Show Freak” bulletins about me to the medical community at large, so this will be no easy task.

Finally I show up on the doorstep of an office in a faraway town.  I watch as their “The Doctor is in” sign lights up.  I’ve always believed first impressions are important so here is how I fill out the paperwork on the clipboard.

 New Patient Form:

NAME:  (circle one)  Miss/Mrs./Ms    I’m divorced so technically it’s “Ms.”  But please call me “Miss” as in “Little Miss Menopause.” Although Mr. may be a distinct possibility these days – –  can you check my testosterone level?

AGE:   I just caught a glimpse of you at the reception desk….I could be your mother big sister.

REASON FOR TODAY’S VISIT?  Look at me!  Isn’t it obvious?  I just need the Dr. to confirm how much time I have.

WEIGHT:  Who cares at this point?   Just order me a size 8 burial gown.  And yes, I’m banking on the fact that loss of appetite will kick in soon with this particular disease.

PROFESSION:  Writer  (Pssssst!  Hot tip:  Publish this form.  Everyone knows a deceased author’s last work commands a high price.)

EVER SKIPPED A PERIOD?  Yes, but I’m working diligently on eliminating my run-on sentences.

WHOM CAN WE THANK FOR REFERRING YOU?  You mean blame?

PERSON TO CALL IN EMERGENCY:  Um…my two ex-husbands will deny knowing me.  Let’s see….My kids will just ask, “what’s for dinner?”  Oh, don’t call the neighbors, they’ll tell you I should have been deceased 8 times already!  Hmmm,  I think you might call Mabel, my hairdresser.  But when you say, “Died”  – –  you better spell it.  She’ll think you mean Clairol Nice n’ Easy Deep Burgundy Brown.

I’m interrupted by the Doctor, who calls me in.  He listens to my heart and pronounces it steady and strong.  I resist the urge to ask when he’s last had his stethoscope calibrated.  I describe how I feel  (this time likening it to feet stabbed with steak knives) but he cuts me off before I can get to the Web MD part.

DR:  Have you ever heard of Transient Paresthesia?

ME:  Oh no, Dr.  Not that!  I don’t even ride a train or bus!

DR:  Not “Transit.”   Transient, meaning Short-Lived.

ME:  Good Lord, you mean I’m gonna go even quicker than I thought?

DR:  Where ya headed to?

ME:  Aren’t I dying?

DR:  We all are.  But I think you’re gonna survive this one.  Transient Paresthesia = Limbs falling asleep.

As I depart, I glance over my shoulder to see him sketching a big-haired woman with the caption, “BEWARE OF CREATIVE BLOGGER WITH TOO MUCH TIME ON HER HANDS….She needs to be cut off ASAP!!”   He then posts it on the WEB MD  website!

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