Thursday, September 16, 2010


I had my annual physical exam yesterday.

It went well though some test results are still pending. Once past the dreaded scale - I follow Calvin Trillin's rule that clothes add 13 pounds - things went quickly, but were not rushed. I've found that the internal medicine specialists tend to spend more time with you, asking questions and rechecking your file. They are the intellectuals of the medical profession.* I like that. I once dropped a doctor who seemed less than thorough. Since I dislike visiting doctor's offices, I want the time there to count and don't want to leave wondering if something was missed. George Kaufman said he wanted a doctor who would rather spend the weekend studying medical books than be on a golf course. I'm with George.

My doctor is relatively young and he does seem more like a medical book than a golf guy. I've had some excellent older doctors, but they kept retiring on me. This one is very bright, asks good questions, and is eager to explain things. He should be around for a while.

I once went to a doctor who would listen to my answers and then, in a strong German accent, would reply, "Wrong!" He'd explain why I'd failed to give a thorough response or why my layman's diagnosis was pathetic. I grew to like him once I got through the Stalag 17 flashbacks. He accurately diagnosed a condition another doctor had missed.

Every year, more seems to be computerized. "Do you want a flu shot?" my doctor asked. Tap. Tap. Click. And in a few minutes a nurse appeared to give the shot.

I found that this visit didn't trigger the usual jitters. I must be getting old.

*The surgeons are the fighter pilots.

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