Banks County Opinions...

AUGUST 6, 2003


Column

By: Shar Porier
The Banks County News
August 6, 2003

Time off isn’t what was planned
It has been so strange this past week, not being under a deadline, not worrying about getting pages done, not harassing Mark for pages.… I forgot what it was like before BCN, but I missed the pace and missed everyone.
It sure was a good thing I arranged for those days off, though they didn’t go as I’d planned, nor were they been particularly enjoyable.
I was supposed to be in Forsyth at the fire academy in the Mod 1 firefighter course. For months, I’d planned to take the course, like 100 others in the state. Finally, the Gods looked down and smiled, or so I thought, and I was going to training. I was so excited. I had my week off from work and I was ready.
But, then the Gods looked down and laughed and I was caught in the whirlwind of cosmic humor. Five days before I was to leave, I stood up from my desk and had an unexpected visit from the “red-hot pokers.” My back! No, not my back!
Now, these little tricksters tend to pop up when least expected. It’s always when I’m doing something simple — an everyday task, a simple movement, like standing up.
The pain was intense and I knew a visit to my Doc was essential if I wanted to go to that class. A couple of shots of Novocain and cortisone, good as new.
So, into Atlanta I went, got my shots and the pain was gone. I no longer would have to eye Mom’s old walker in my car and think, “Darn. Am I going to need that?”
With my gas gauge hovering on “E,” I stopped to fill up and ran into a dear old friend I haven’t seen in two years.
It was dinnertime, so she took me to this Middle Eastern restaurant. She’s been there before; said it was good food. The chef, who’s name had more syllables than my mind could absorb, came out to greet her. He sat us down and said he was going to fix us something special. I heard “saffron” and “curry” but that was all I could understand.
He brought out two beautiful dishes piled with rice and lentils and specialties I had never seen. After the first few bites, my stomach notified me that it wasn’t happy with what was being sent down the chute. It did taste a bit weird, off, but I thought it was just the spices. She was eating hers with no evident problem. The chef was standing there waiting for approval. I looked at him and smiled as best I could. “Good, it’s very good.”
After a few more bites, my stomach was in rebellion. Best not to take another bite. I drank some tea and things calmed down. For a while…until I got home.
My head was spinning and my stomach was doing a strange dance. I drank some chamomile tea with honey and laid down. By 11 p.m., when I was supposed to be watching my favorite news show (The Daily Show, with Jon Stewart on Comedy Central), I was hugging a certain porcelain appliance in the bathroom. (Thank goodness, I had just cleaned the thing.)
I began thinking very unkind thoughts about my friend, and that chef in particular. And though it felt like my stomach was going to throw that spicy cuisine back at me, it wouldn’t. No, it planned to make me suffer.
“Ok, Shar. Here it comes! Ha-ha! Got ya! Not yet. Let me show ya how bad I can make you feel for not listening to me. Ah, ha,ha,ha,ha! What ‘till you feel this one!”
I had to pay for my sin and pay I did. After repenting and pledging several times that I would submit total control to this organ that was hell-bent on making an indelible impression of its power over me, at 3 a.m. mercy was granted. But relief — that would not come for another three hours.
To while away the time, I pondered over the invention I was embracing. Did the inventor think about this “other” use for it? Or did that use actually come first? After all, who wants to be sick in an outhouse? And a bucket, well, then you got the smell to deal with and disposal. Gross!
As the sun rose, so did I, though a bit wobbly and stiff. I was miserable and still nauseous. It was awful. Every now and then, the urge would hit and I’d head back into the bathroom.
Around 11 am, I began to feel better. My punishment was complete. I slept through the day, woke up, felt fine, sipped a little broth and had some tea.
Saturday morning, I felt great, went to my two assignments. No problems with my new dictator or my back. All right! I was going to make it down to school in spite of it all.
Thinking all was well in Shar-land, I took a much-needed trip to the grocery store for critter food Sunday. Without thinking, I grabbed a 40-pound bag of dog food and the two hot pokers checked back in. I was so disappointed. I couldn’t hide it when I called to cancel.
So, I’ve been forced to take easy over the past week — whirling in the Jacuzzi, using the hot pad, ice packs, and Tiger Balm. It has been rather enjoyable, much to my surprise, just lying around in bed watching old movies on TV. My back still bothers me, but the pokers are gone. I think it’ll be all right. At least I can walk upright like a normal human now.
However, I am considering painting Mom’s walker, just in case. Maybe a bright, race car red?
Shar is a reporter for The Banks County News.
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Column

By: Adam Fouche
The Banks County News
August 6, 2003

No wonder we don’t like the doctor
Most of the guys that I know don’t like going to the doctor. I’m no different. Really and truly though, who can blame us?
First of all, going to the doctor requires dealing with insurance companies.
And dealing with insurance companies requires more patience than found in a room full of pre-K teachers.
Insurance companies will throw words at you like HMO and PPO. They’ll tell you that your preferred provider does not meet HIPPA requirements resulting in a termination of benefits and COBRA coverage during the grace period.
Then you’ll get a bill from the doctor where the insurance didn’t pay, at which point you’ll spend two and a half days listening to some stupid lizard or whatever he is do commercials over the phone.
Even on a good day, only about three things can result from going to the doctor. One, he could diagnose you with some strange disease or mono. Two, the doctor might actually help your ailment. Or three, he could tell you to “drop ‘em.”
Once you learn to look past the insurance companies, there’s a high likelihood that the doctor might diagnose you with a strange disease.
We can say that if there were something wrong with us we’d like to know. But deep down, knowing that your body doesn’t work right would suck pretty badly.
And the doctor could easily diagnose you with one of those strange illnesses like monkey pox or politician.
The possibility does exist that the doctor could come up with the correct diagnosis and course of recovery after shaking his magic medical eight ball.
(Last time my doctor shook the eight ball and got, “Ask again later.” He sent me back into the waiting room for a while.)
And so he’ll scribble some hieroglyphics on a piece of paper that tell the pharmacist you have a strange birthmark on the back of your left thigh that resembles the caricature of a boy band.
You see, the “prescription” that you take to the pharmacist doesn’t actually have any medicine orders on it. Actually, the pharmacist will shake his magic prescription eight ball to find out what to put in your bottle. Most of the time it’s sugar pills about the size of a large almond.
But none of that, not the diagnosis or the insurance companies or the prescriptions keep guys from going to the doctor. It’s something worse.
Sometimes, the doctor will sit on his little stool and begin putting on rubber gloves midway through an exam. This is a sure sign that bad things will happen soon.
He might then say something like, “Let me get you to go ahead and drop ‘em.”
Doctors never tell you to take off your pants. They tell you to “drop ‘em.” The “drop ‘em” scenario itself can only result in the doctor doing one of two things to you, neither of which is good, though one is better than the other.
Of course, the “big” thing here is modesty. I’ve had some old people I know tell me that you lose that modesty when you get old. But you have to.
Things start breaking a lot, everywhere. And to get them fixed, doctors have to mess around in all kinds of places. Then nurses come in and mess around there too. And pretty soon, you get tired of feeling modest and you turn into one of those old guys who takes a little too much time putting clothes back on after taking a shower at the gym.
No sir. I don’t like doctors. And as long as I’m young and get by with it, I’ll stay as far away from them as I can.
Because I know what happens when I turn my head and cough.
Adam Fouche is a reporter for MainStreet Newspapers. His email address is fouche@nbank.net.


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