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Daze of My Life: Nervous Nellie I'm Not, But...
Daze of My Life
Nervous Nellie I'm Not, But...
In the context of the romantic notion, that it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all, I have a health-related scenario for your consideration: After having had an initial blood test on a Wednesday morning to determine if the cholesterol-lowering prescription I've been taking the last six weeks is having the desired effect, and not the cause of the painful left side effects that I've been experiencing near my rib cage, the discomfort of which lead me to call the advice nurse Tuesday for some assistance/explanation, would I have been better off (less agitated) had I not received a 6:45pm phone call Friday evening from my doctor's office--two and one half days after my blood was drawn--asking me to call my doctor's nurse on Monday morning (not a.s.a.p., just Monday)? Or would I have been more agitated if they never called?
If they never called I would have figured that no news was good news, not that they had neglected to call. But since they did call, albeit later than I would have preferred, now I'm wondering if some news, as in the attempt to contact me so late in the work week, is in fact cause for concern?
As a result of this non-contact contact, do I stew in my own juices or do I simply lie in my own bed? After all, it is my blood and whatever the numbers/levels are, I am responsible (no one else feeds me; no one else doesn't exercise me; no one else lives my life).
Well, I'm going to be lying in my bed, just like any other day. I will not go to a bad place immediately. I will wait before I get "my things in order." Furthermore, I will presume, that had I been on death's door--though after six weeks of taking 40 mg of generic mevacor, I doubt I would need to be admitted for observation and/or intensive care-type treatment--I would have been called sooner rather than later, and frequently enough so that I would have had the time and opportunity to actually speak with a medical provider.
However, managed care being criticized, unfairly or not, for what it is, or maybe for what it's not, maybe follow up phone calls to track down unexpectedly terminal patients who are totally clueless as to their deteriorating condition, would not have been made, because it's not in some employees' job description or the person who makes those kinds of calls called in sick that day, and there's no replacement and besides, everybody is busy anyway because my primary care physician is capitated at 5000 patients not 2500, and there simply is not enough time and staff available in a 10-hour day to monitor and manage efficiently?
So should I be nervous or non-plused? Should I be grateful that at least an attempt was made to contact me or, should I be angry that no real message of substance was left and that now I've got the entire weekend to interpret its meaning? I just hope I make it through the weekend alive.
I don't view this situation as a test, though, more of a pop quiz. But like so many of us, I never liked pop quizzes, I never felt prepared and consequently never did that well on them. But this is different. This is life. I do better in life than I ever did in school. I'll be all right. I just wish it was Monday already.
Kenneth B. Lourie is a regionally syndicated columnist who resides in Burtonsville, MD.
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