Friday, April 9, 2010

This week in medicine

Monday afternoon, I get a phone call from Athens Area Surgical Associates—these are the people who will be doing my parathyroid surgery later this month. I talked with a woman who asked me if it would be possible for me to come in that afternoon and pick up a doctor’s order for some lab work—they wanted to check up on my calcium levels, which as I previously reported, was so high that’s one of the reasons why I was admitted to the hospital a while back.

I explain to the lady that since the ‘rents are out of town (they were on their Savannah sojourn) the earliest I could stop by would be Wednesday morning, since I don’t drive. She put me on hold for a second or two, and then returned, telling me that would be copasetic.

As luck would have it, the kidney doc’s office called at about that same time to let me know that they weren’t having any success in located a third medication they had prescribed for me the previous week—they had called both Walgreen’s and CVS, plus a couple of the smaller pharmacies…and apparently none of the ones they contacted carry it anymore. So the game plan was changed—the girl in that office tells me they have a high phosphorous diet they want me to follow, and that she’ll put it out in the mail that very day. I interrupted her to say that since I had to go by the surgeon’s office for the lab work instructions, I could just as easily go by their offices and pick up the diet list…and she seemed keen on that plan, so she acquiesced.

Wednesday morning arrives, and Mom and I set off for a grand adventure in which we try to locate the surgeon’s office. Truth be told, it really wasn’t that hard—I used Google Maps and it turned out to be a piece of cake finding the building…except that the office was in a building behind another building. This required me to do a little hiking, as I comically tried to unearth just where the entrance to the office might be. (Later that day, my sister-in-law stopped by the house with my nephew, and she remarked that she saw me walking around…she had taken said nephew for his checkup, and apparently his doctor is in the same complex.) We could have uncovered the location of the office easier had we driven around to the back—but in the end; I did get a nice bit of exercise so ultimately no humans were harmed in the making of the appointment.

With lab work list in hand (and I just want to tell you, nothing makes me madder than a doctor requesting that I have this stuff done…and I have to pay for it) we shoot over to the kidney doc’s office, and I go in to get the diet list. While I was there, I talked with the women in the office and told them that I was perfectly willing to pick up the prescription at some other pharmacy; I wasn’t married to Walgreen’s, in other words—that’s just where my parents get their prescriptions filled. One of the ladies tells me she’ll call around to see if the prescription can be located at some place like Kroger’s or Publix and promises to call me back…but since I have heard nothing as of this writing, I’m assuming it was all for naught.

I look over the items on the diet list and one of them mentions (1) can of 12oz. cola as being a good source of phosphorus—something which produced a Costanzian response in me: “I’m back, baby!” It seems to me, however—this is a theory put forth by TDOY administrator Pam R.—that a can of lemon-lime soda would have more phosphorus, though…and anyway, I’m trying to make a concerted effort to stay away from the soft drinks (though I have made concessions to Fresca and Sprite Zero mixed with cranberry juice).

Both my mother and I cracked up when we looked at the protein section, because the first item listed was “carp.” It’s a family joke; it’s what my father affectionately calls tuna. My father hates tuna salad, tuna casserole or any other kind of combination/permutation of tuna—but he will eat it without too much complaint. This is because he grew up in a time when there wasn’t much available on the family dining table and so one ate what was there—and believe you me; he has an endless reservoir of stories about this condition. I know I’ve mentioned this in the past, but my father never tells a happy story. Every single anecdote is about a distant relative of the Shreve clan who does something extremely foolhardy and ends up suffering the consequences. It’s like living with Uncle Fletcher of Vic & Sade (“…later died.”). Another item amongst the protein suggestions was “shad roe,” and now the running gag around Rancho Yesteryear is that “dinner will be shad roe with a yogurt chaser.”

The thing I don’t understand with regards to the phosphorus diet is that it seems to contradict the calcium I’m not supposed to have. For example, they had chocolate milk on the list—and since Mom had to make a Publix run that day, she came back with a bottle of the chocolate moo cow juice (which she split over two successive breakfasts). So if I get any grief over this, I’m blaming the kidney doc.

Anyway, this long-winded post was written to let interested parties know that I received another call from the surgeon’s office yesterday informing me that they’ve decided to move my surgery up from the 28th to the 21st. (Yes, you can imagine my delight.) Thanks for being patient while I ranted about this—confession is good for the soul.

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Edward Copeland said...

Diets from doctors, especially different specialists, are full of contradictions since they all assume (know matter how much they know) that you are only seeing them and what they are treating you for is the only possible problem you could have. Since you are into the kidney realm, I don't know if avoiding stones is an issue but avoiding calcium is not only a must but some other things to avoid: salt, coffee, tea and spinach.

Bill Crider said...

At least you'll get it over with sooner. We'll be thinking of you.

Pam said...

Coffee and spinach. Those two will be soooo hard for you!!

Stacia said...

I know you're nervous about the surgery (and as someone who is delaying surgery for as long as possible, I'm 100% with you on that), but I'll bet you anything you'll feel better than ever once it's over and you have started recuperating.

Good luck coordinating the diets. Doctors are so bad about these things; I recall a large friend of mine whose doctor gave her a weight loss diet that consisted entirely of "eliminate one piece of bread from each meal." She told him she didn't eat bread, and he said "Well then, you're halfway there already!"