One Last Physical

Samain                                       Moon of the Winter Solstice

As 65 nears there is one more physical left under the old, private insurance model.  COBRA, which allows extension of private medical insurance for up to 18-24 months after loss of employment or retirement, if you can afford it, has kept the Health Partners plan in place until February 14th, when this baby boomer adds another droplet to the silver tsunami.

So, one last time under the private health care insurance model that has bankrupted and made more ill hundreds of thousands in this the wealthiest of all possible countries.

Tom Davis has seen me now for four years or so since Charlie Peterson took off for Colorado, Steamboat Springs.  Tom collects native american pottery and hopes some day to become a docent at the MIA.  He’s a good doc, a geriatrician in the mix.

Each year.  Downtown to the Medical Arts Building.  Park in the ramp, find the skyway.  Take the elevator.  Yes, nothing to eat or drink other than clear liquids since midnight.  The blood pressure cuff, measuring my major health problem.  Once by the nurse.  Then again by Tom.  Maybe yet again.

The ritual questions.  Any difficulty swallowing?  Any changes?  And on.  Probing with words while the eyes watch, looking for signs, fleeting symptoms.  Diagnostics at work, the differential tree now second nature, honed by so many patients.

Disrobing. The paper gown.  So cute. Poking, coughing.  A reflex tested.  Prostate checked.  Prescriptions refilled.  Blood work drawn.  Urine sample.

After visit summary in hand, back out through the lobby.  Others wait.  For the blood pressure cuff.  The ritual questions.  The disrobing.

Next year though it will be socialized medicine and a local HMO taking care of the visit. Medicare is not the problem, it’s the solution.

The ritual question for solving the problem:  for whom will you vote?