Thursday, July 7, 2011

Under Pressure

I made my second trip to see Dr. Quacky McQuackenstine in as many weeks yesterday, though this time just for a regular ole checkup (the voodoo antidepressants don’t seem to be resolving my Meralgia Paresthetica, by the way). When you get to be my age, and various vulture-esque great-great-grandchildren email you scary videos and then call to see if you’re still alive on a daily basis, you start thinking about taking care of yourself.

Prior to the examination proper, a nurse asked a few questions and took my blood pressure and pulse. “Yeah, baby … it’s milkshake time!” she exclaimed after the test. “Excuse me?” I replied. “Oh, nothing … it’s just that whenever someone here takes a blood pressure that beats the current highest recorded, the other nurses have to buy her a milkshake. Congratulations … you’re the new number 1!” I can’t remember the exact numbers … something like 560/375 or some such thing.

So finally, McQuackenstine comes in and starts mumbling about and tapping his computer screen like he knows what he’s doing, and asks about my BP.

Q McQ: Your blood pressure seems a bit high … do you eat a lot of salty foods?

Dead Acorn: No, in fact, I do my best to avoid them.

Q McQ: I see. (taps on his computer, no doubt looking up on the internet what else could cause hypertension.) Are you under any stress lately?

Dead Acorn: Well, let’s see … my sprinkler system is all messed up, and I’m going to have to dig up my lawn to repair it.

Q McQ: Well, that doesn’t seem too …

Dead Acorn: And we just finished the fiscal year at work and I’m essentially doing the jobs of four people, as my new boss and coworkers are somewhat clueless.

Q McQ: I can understa …

Dead Acorn: And a friend of mine has been staying with me since the beginning of June, and will be there through the end of July.

Q McQ: That cou ..

Dead Acorn: And his 16-year-old kid.

Q McQ: Yes, I …

Dead Acorn: And their 6-month-old puppy.

Q McQ: Very we …

Dead Acorn: And you’re about to stick your finger up my ass perform a rather invasive colon cancer screening.

Q McQ: I don’t think you nee …

Dead Acorn: And The Live Acorn is going to New York City for three weeks without either parent.

Q McQ: But …

Dead Acorn: And I think I’m out of beer at home. And …

At this point, he got up and shuffled slowly out of the examination room, head hanging low, like George Costanza walking out of Steinbrenner’s office. He returned a few minutes later, actually performed the exam, then informed me that the nurse would be in shortly to take a blood sample for some other tests, and that he’d have her retake my blood pressure afterward.

The nurse came in and got through all of the preparatory procedures (tourniqueting up my arm, pouring some whisky over the vein, wiping the needle on her pants to clean it) … then proceeded to stab at my arm like Tony Perkins in “Psycho.” She wiggled the needle around under my skin for at least a minute, and had the temerity to blame me for “jumping like a little school girl crybaby and making [her] miss” on her first attempt. Granted, there may have been a violent recoil in anticipation of searing pain slight twitch, but she’s supposed to be a professional phlebotomist, not some sadistic stabstress.

She finally gave up on my left arm, which at this point was shredded and bloody (“I can’t use blood that’s already on the outside, silly!” she explained), and at last was successful drawing from my right. At this point, she remembered that she was supposed to retake my blood pressure, and proceeded to take the measurement. “OH MY GAWD!” she squealed. “TWO MILKSHAKES IN ONE DAY!”

I figured that it was time to take this seriously and start addressing the stress-inducing issues in my life, so I bought a keg on the way home.

I’m already down to 120/80.


Niamh B said...

such a waste of whiskey, pouring it on a vein like that, we'lll never get through the recession at that rate

The Dead Acorn said...

I tried to tell her that, as I was trying to salvage what I could from the chair. Some people just don't understand that times are tough.