Saturday, February 9, 2008

An Apple a Day...

Different people have different sensitivies, differing triggers. I can lay claim to a lot of them, from social anxiety to issues of finance, but probably my worst one is invasive medical procedures. Unfortunately, with my impending surgeries, I'm left here to cope with the stress.

Yesterday was my pre-op appointment. I'm very lucky to have been referred to a wonderful Internist who I believe understands the difference between "panic attack me" - the one who gets so crazed that I've actually ripped IVs out of my arm and bolted from medical facilities - and the "other" me. Quirky, but farily sane. Certainly he is not at least outwardly judgemental. And I appreciate that.

Dr. Rudin and I met shortly after my fathers death. Dad was a physician too, and rather than have me forced to go see an Internist along with the myriad of other doctors that I require just to stay alive, Dad was quite willing to manage my anxiety medication for me. Yes. The one I joke about although lack of access is not a joking matter at all. Xanax. So imagine me, still in the throes of shock and grief at the loss of my father, having to go into a strange doctor's office with the specific mission of asking for a substance that is well known to be abused. Uncomfortable, at best.

I remember being ushered into his office at the first meeting. Telling him about my situation. Explaining about my many sometimes life-threatening conditions. My medications, especially the prednisone which is a mind-altering substance in and of itself. My family situation. And he was very astute. Understood where I was coming from. Either knew or knew of my specialists. Seemed to know on an intuitive level - correctly I might add - that I would never abuse the privledge of being provided anxiety medication. And took care of me.

Later, I was on Remicade and suffering from what was at that time, one of the first and only cases of Remicade-induced Lupus. I didn't recognize what was happening to my body at the time, and if my specialists did, they didn't believe it because while Lupus antibodies from Remicade were farily common, full blown cases of Lupus were not heard of yet.

Anyway, I was suffering from a cornicopia of symptoms that made no sense. Dr. Rudin immediately figured it out, did a blood test, and confirmed the diagnosis. Had me see a Rheumotologist. Who, along with my GI doctor, dismissed the idea that I could actually have Lupus. It took another nine months for them to figure out what Dr. Rudin had determined the March before. And get me off of the offending drug.

I don't see Dr. Rudin that often. My specialists see me quite frequently, and Dr. R- sees me when I am in the hospital... when I need more care than can be handled on the phone... when I need a pre-operative exam. Which brings me to yesterday.

My appointment was fairly early thank goodness, as I decided to fast before the blood test to get readings for a generalized Health Inventory being done by HMR. I will post about that at another time. I was only in the waiting room for a couple of minutes before being ushered back to the exam area. And barely had time to take these shots of the view out his 16th floor Century City Office examining room before he turned up.

Century City to the left. Double click on this - or any - picture to get a better view.

That is Beverly Hills High School below us - yes, of Beverly Hills 90210 fame - and the Hollywood Hills in the background.

Dr. Rudin had already received information of my impending surgeries from the surgeons, so we were able to expedite the process by me explaining how my knee injury occored. Discussed my ongoing fainting spells for a few minutes, then got on with the exam. He humored me by allowing my blood work to be done first so I could eat the apple that I had brought along. Yes, before the exam was completed. I was starving and made no bones about it.

I was still downing the fruit when I was brought into the X-ray room. (Over age 50 requires a chest Xray before surgery. I must be getting old!) I wonder if pieces of apple show up on the film? They laughed but didn't answer me when I posed the question. They also ignored me when I suggested that "an apple a day" doesn't work.

Did the other tests and exams, and was dismissed by Dr. Rudin a little over an hour later. But before I left, I asked if I could take his picture and then blog about him. He agreed. (I don't know how many people make this request, but I suspect not that many.)

Here is Dr. Rudin. It took three shots to get this picture. Shot # 1 was dismissed because he was
not sitting up straight enough and his mother might not approve. Shot # 2 was a great picture except that I didn't hold the camera steady and it was blurred. But as usual, third time was the charm. He's not only a nice doctor, but kind of easy on the eyes too. Wouldn't you agree? Although nobody can compare to Eric...

After we were done taking his picture, I had one more request. I wanted to know if I had permission to take a picture of the sculpture that he has in his waiting room. And make fun of it. On my blog. Permission granted. So I present to you "The Geisha."

Whenever I see this statue, I always think of the "Everybody Loves Raymond" episode where Doris Roberts makes a giant sculpture of a hoo haa. She's the only one who doesn't realize it, though.

When somebody finally pointed it out to her, she exclaims "Oh my God! I'm a Lesbian!"

This sculpture is just like that except smaller. If I get at the right angle, I can sort of see a Geisha. But that is not what I see unless I am trying very hard.

So I'm home now, and 24 hours past the appointment. Pre-op stress set in yesterday afternoon and everything suddenly seems very real. I am very lucky to have a doctor who is smart enough to understand that I am never going to be a drug addit and abuse the privledge of trust that he invests in me. Yes, my trigger has been pulled and I'm starting to need help with the anxiety, but I will never let him down.


Anonymous said...

My thoughts and love are with you.

hot tamale said...

((((Laura)))) My thoughts and prayers are with you. I understand the anxiety you're feeling before an upcoming surgery, thats normal and something I do too so I wont tell you NOT to worry. Im positive your surgery will go fine and after you've healed, life will get so much better and all this will just be a memory. Life is going to get so much easier on your mobility and stamina. Be positive, you have a big circle of friends who love you and will be praying for you and wishing you the best. You are loved Laura and you cracked me up with that statue. I loved Doris and loved that episode too. As soon as I read that I knew what you meant! LOL Now what did you think this statue looked like? LOL
love you

Mrs. G. said...

Wish you much luck and rapid healing.


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