March 07, 2004

Myrtle Goes to the Doctor

I never talk to Myrtle much. I tend to look right past most women these days. Up until the last few years, I would flirt with women as part of my straight persona. However, since I came out as a gay man, my attention seems to fasten on the men in my life, even the straight ones. However, Myrtle is my neighbor so I volunteered to take her to her doctor's office this past Friday. Seems she’s been having these dizzy spells, and she feinted during an outing with friends last week. I’m not to know this last because she hasn’t told anyone. But, Her best friend, Alice told me that Myrtle was afraid she might have to go to the hospital if the “Prickly Needle” management find out. The management of our august facility are always afraid of being sued by family of residents, even though most families don’t bother visiting their incarcerated moms or dads much. (I guess I shouldn’t complain about Ruthie. She visits me all the time.) However, the least little medical problem happens to any of us, and we get slammed in the germ bin where all the “White Coats” ignore us because we’re old, strange, and going to die of something soon anyway.

On one visit for excruciating back pain. I was told to get used to it, that it would only get worse. That was the diagnosis and prognosis in one sentence. It’s as though we’re damaged goods, and there’s no point spending any time on us. Money, yes; Time, no!

Back to Myrtle. I drove her to the doctor and after we waited 45 minutes in his waiting room, Myrtle was taken back. She insisted I go along. We’re not good friends, so I was bewildered by that. The nurse weighed Myrtle, and then took us to a small examining room. You know what it looked like, poorly accomplished original art in expensive frames on the walls, probably bought at a local fair. Also, on the wall next to the door was a chart of the human body, see through, with the various systems in different colors; circulatory red, pulmonary green, limbic blue, nervous lavender. There was gray Industrial carpet on the floor, two metal chairs with dull rose upholstery seats and back rests. A gray laminated wood cabinet and sink stood along one wall. And, the big paper covered examining table set obliquely in the center of the room.

The nurse sat Myrtle in the seat closest to the sink and took her blood pressure. Then she asked me to leave the room and told Myrtle to take her top off. I sat in the hall outside the room, reading an old Advocate Magazine issue that I had brought with me for just this purpose. The nurse came out of the room, then the doctor went in the room. After five minutes he left, and the nurse went back in for a few more minutes. When Myrtle came out she looked relieved.

“What did he say?” I asked.

“He said it’s my sugar level, that I need to eat more often and in smaller amounts. If I feel faint, I’m to eat something on the spot. If that doesn’t help I’m to call and set up another appointment.”

So, for now, Myrtle’s hospital worries are over. I hope she takes the doctor’s advice and eats LESS but more often. She needs to lose weight! But, I’m being bitchy, so I’ll end my account for today.

* Image acquired from “About Us,” UConn Health Center,, Revised January 14, 2004 (viewed Sunday, March 7, 2004, 9:42 A.M. EST)

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