Thursday, July 23, 2009

Modern Medicine

My internist Dr. Anjaria, is very unusual for a doctor today. He is the only physician I have known who truly wants to talk about and learn everything about his patients, and tell them as much about himself and his life (except for psychiatrists of course!). I had an appointment at 11 AM today, and I had waited four months for the appointment, but today's visit was necessary for the Visa to Ecuador. I want to tell Dr. Anjaria to hurry up and finish, but he is not one to be rushed; everything in its own time. He struggles with entering everything on the computer for the electronic medical record and complains that it is a pain and requires an inordinate amount of time. Except that prescriptions are easily documented and ordered. I watched him carefully enter into the computer with one index finger all my answers to his questions. I wanted to stop saying anything so he would just get on with it. And this went on for an hour, despite there being very little that was of concern. I needed a letter from him saying I was in good health so I could get the visa, but he wanted me to do bloodwork before he wrote the letter. I wanted to go on a statin but he did not agree with my reasoning. I appreciated his time and his efforts, but he was too thorough and too considerate; of course most patients would feel so well taken care of and indulged. I tried not to show my impatience with such rare attention and focus from a physician. Usually they want to get through the visit as quickly as possible and do not listen. Dr. Anjaria listens closely and asks for more information, and them goes further.

So I did not get my letter. I have to go early in the morning tomorrow for an HIV test and other bloodwork, then talk to him next week and make sure he will write the letter. And perhaps prescribe the statin I feel that I need. I could prescribe it for myself, but that does not seem right. I ordered and picked up Tamiflu for Eric and Maya, along with several prescriptions of antibiotics just in case, and flouride, since the water is not flouridated. I made an appointment with my OBGYN August 3 ( I cannot do it before July 30 because the insurance won't pay for it until after then) and then went ahead and booked the colonoscopy on August 4, the day before I leave for Ecuador. These are all things I ought to have arranged some time ago, but doctor's appts and procedures are never a priority for me. I ought to see the eye doctor and the dermatologist, but there is inadequate time, and perhaps while in Ecuador I will check out the medical system. Better yet, I can try to participate in the medical system.

I am confused as to what to bring with me. I know that anything that I need can be purchased in Ecuador, so if I forget anything, I can simply get it there. It is entirely modern in so many ways. I have packed and piled up everything I thought I wanted to bring in a corner of this room I am in, but I am already revising; I truly believe we can manage with less. I realize that I have been preparing for months to live and function with less. I am amazed at how little I need, how simple my life can be, but I have chosen to make it exactly the way it is, and I have been entirely satisfied with the choices I have made. I am neither enamored of nor horrified by this spare life. So I will go through what I have chosen to bring and reduce by a significant amount and plan to live our lives even more simply.

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