Posts Tagged ‘Doctor’

On the treadmill.

November 15, 2018

photoCupboard after French Polishing

‘Why don’t you see the doctor and get yourself checked out?’ This came to me from Helvi, one morning sipping her first coffee and my first and last tea for the day. I don’t generally see doctors unless feeling crook which is rarely. My dad was the same. He was right to avoid them. Last time he saw a doctor he was dead the next day. He died at 78 which I am now. It was on the 7th of January that he died suddenly.  We all went and flew to Holland for his funeral. I remember cleaning out his ashtrays and getting rid of his tobacco, cigarette papers and other bits and pieces. I am somewhat nervous seeing the 7th of January. It won’t be long!

I went to see the doctor because I ran out of puff just sitting on the lounge. It did not seem right. During our walks I  noticed a quickening of breathing and taking rests. No harm done seeing the quack, I thought. Her advice was to get lung X-ray taken. It showed good lungs but my heart was a bit enlarged and indicative of having suffered a heart attack. You could have fooled me. I hadn’t noticed any heart attacks. Apparently that happens often. She wrote out a referral to the same cardiologist that Helvi is seeing. The secretary advised me to take a ‘stress test’ first. She explained this involved a treadmill exercise to measure how the heart performs when under stress due to the expelled energy on the treadmill. I was more than curious how this would work out.

At the appointed day, both Helvi and I fronted up at the cardiologist. We always see together all doctors at medical appointments of which there have been a fair number. Our fridge is plastered with appointments. It is becoming almost part of our social life. We know the doctors and staff and greet each other when crossing the street on our walks. In the evenings, after the news and quaffing a fine Pinot Gris, we ask each other if an appointment is getting close. Memories are getting sloppy and we keep each other on our toes as much as possible. The toes are getting a bit arched as well. Every now and then, on the television, footage is shown whereby some poor mum, dad, or old soul gets beaten up in an aged care facility. It really helps us to stay firm and lithe enough to avoid that kind of ‘tough love.’

I was asked to take my shirt off. A series of tapes and wires were attached to my chest both front and back.  This was connected to a machine just next to the treadmill. I mounted the treadmill which was then switched on. I have never experienced such a machine but soon got the hang of it. The speed and incline were increased and within minutes I was running flat tack. My boots were clattering on the rubber treadmill floor till I became totally exhausted. This happened fairly quickly. The machine stopped and I was led back to the chair. I was knackered. As a result I was giving lots of medications. The outcome was an irregular heartbeat and my heart wasn’t doing a good job. It is not pumping as it should.

A further appointment was made to get a ‘Myocardial Perfusion Scan’ done at the Nuclear Medicine facility not far from us on the main street. I had this done as well, but that’s for another article.

Be grateful for all you have, even if it is not enough.


Doctor’s visit.

August 7, 2018

IMG_0039a place to repose.JPG

Years ago  doctors knew their patients. They were called the house doctor. Often they were familiar with the history of ailments or afflictions of the whole family, even to the point of signing off the patient’s death certificate when good health expired and finality had sunk in.

It seems that conversations of people over sixty concentrate on ailments. And as the years go by, increases in volume and intensity. “How is your knee”, I asked a fellow bowler who told me last week he is trying to lose weight. “The less weight above my knees, the better”, he answered. “I ease up on sugar too”, he added. I mumbled something encouraging. Losing weight is what I fought all my life. Even now, I’m still trying to gain weight.

I had to see the doctor last week. A yearly driver’s license physical test is compulsory over 75 years of age. I made an appointment. The secretary told me it would be with Dr Cao. I never heard of him. I never see the same doctor twice. Some new rotating musical chairs is now being played in most Medical Centres. The same experience with my wife. A different doctor each time. House doctors change and go elsewhere, or travel to Italy.

Dr Cao, asked me when I last had a colonoscopy. I did not think renewing a driver’s license would involve bowel searching. He was peering at the computer screen. Most doctors do that. Government health funding allows just a few minutes turn-over per patient. There are no exchanges of pleasantries. The patients’ health records are now downloaded on the computer.  Dr Cao had a nurse checking my vision. One of my eyes is dodgy. I make a point of checking the bottom row of letters after walking in the nurse’s eye chart room. This year she caught me out. “You are not checking the letters, are you”? She said somewhat crabby. I mumbled something incoherent. The prior reference to a colonoscopy  did not boost my confidence. The last colonoscopy At Concord Hospital, NSW nearly ended up in me having an hysterectomy. The name-tag on my wrist had Mrs Mary Overton on it.

I passed my eye test and Dr Cao filled in the form including details of any fainting spells, heart problem, alcoholism, fits of depression or excessive feelings of joy/ exuberance. Dr Cao signed it but did it with a barely repressed sigh. The signed form I took to the NSW Road and Motor transport who renewed my license for another year.  It can’t be easy to be a Doctor. There is little connection now. The patient just sits there. With luck they have showered and the b o hopefully absent. The computer asks for attention and details have to be entered. Not very personal. And then the patients waft their germs and bacteria all over you. I think a bus driver would be nice. Buses often are places of laughter. People also laugh more in supermarkets and at marriage ceremonies.

Doctors’ waiting rooms too need cheering up.

A strange patient.

November 23, 2017

My paternal grandparents


There can’t be anything more telling of old age when conversations focus on ‘sicknesses’ ‘food’ and the ‘cost of electricity.’ I plead guilty to all three of them so my age is showing. But I had a rather unusual experience yesterday in a Doctor’s waiting room. Actually, the term ‘Doctor’s waiting room’ is dated. We now go to ‘Medical Centres’. They are mainly owned by large corporations who employ PhD trained business experts  in maximising returns on investments. The sick and frail now have to travel to those centres. It is rare for the doctor to visit the patient at home.

I had an appointment at 7.45 am to a medical centre’s pathology facility for a thyroid blood test which I haven’t had for a long time. I was amazed how many were already at this centre. There is a waiting room with 27 chairs, all padded and soft-backed with arm-rests. On the floor in one corner it even had a small play- centre for kids. It had a doll’s house and a mini slippery-dip.

During my waiting, several mainly elderly patients shuffled inside, some struggling with walking frames or other mobility aids. One mother with a pram like a WW1 tank manoeuvred around a man who had to keep one leg straight out because it was all plastered up to his thigh.

When my number came up for the blood test, I got up but stopped at the desk as a man had just walked in to tell the receptionist his wife had sent him to see a doctor.

My wife wants me to see a doctor but I also need 10 Dollars. Can you give me 10 dollars, please, he said politely. The man was neatly dressed and possibly in his late sixties or even seventies. He wore black knee socks , shorts and gym shoes. I would never wear knee-socks let alone black ones, but this is a very English type village. A foreign language is hardly ever heard except in week-ends when we receive many tourists.

The receptionists, a youngish woman, told the man she would consult her superior. Yes, but could you please give me 10 dollars now, he said again. The receptionist now somewhat alarmed asked the man if he wanted to see a doctor. Yes, I do, he said, but could you please give me 10 dollar, I am so hungry! Well, just sit down and doctor will see you. At this stage the man walked to a chair and sat down.

I had my blood test done and as I walked out I saw the black knee-socked man still waiting. I don’t know what happened or if he got the 10 dollars. Maybe one of the patients or even the staff had given him some food. It was all rather strange. If his wife sent him to the doctor, could she not have given him breakfast? Why would a neatly dressed man go without food and go to a medical centre to beg for money?

I went bowling afterwards and told the story to the wife of one bowler. She said that many people do go hungry and that poverty in Australia is now widespread. She had a friend who volunteers and drives a van picking up bread and food from the local supermarkets to be distributed to the different agencies that feed the poor and hungry.

A recent ABC TV segment was about the abuse that many elderly suffer in old age care homes. Apparently between 4000 and 6000 elderly die well before their time each year in Australia through neglect in those Aged Care facilities. Many are owned and run by churches. Astonishingly, we were told that there are no qualification required to work in aged care. Most that died pre-maturely were murdered, suicided or just through lack of basic care while in expensive ‘Aged Care’.

What awaits us while shuffling forever onwards towards the promised Pearly Gates?

A curious case of referral to Neurologist

August 3, 2017


When the opportunity arose of getting a brain scan done, I jumped to this with wild abandonment. Who would not like to experience to be pushed into a giant space-age looking bit of equipment resembling a meat slicer. I had the scan done on the same day I received the doctor’s referral. It was awesome. They strapped my head in and a giant wheel was whirring around my head. I felt like something out of  the TV series of Dr Who.

It was curious and somewhat odd that this doctor felt I should get a brain scan done. For years I had the occasional Cholesterol test done showing slightly elevated levels that kept creeping lower as the years passed. I think the benefits of Helvi insisting on nurturing better dietary habits started to pay off. She kept chucking the packets of Hungarian salami or pork ribs back onto the shelf at Aldi’s when I wasn’t looking. You can imagine my chagrin going past the cashier finding out she once again foiled my attempt at enjoying a nice salami sandwich after getting home, never mind the late afternoon barbequed pork ribs with the friendly Mr Shiraz.

My previous doctor thought that the taking of Cholesterol blockers in my case wasn’t warranted. ‘You aren’t obese, and don’t suffer diabetes nor suffer from heart disease, I would not take statins if I were you,’  Encouragingly enough, this doctor who was very jolly, also showed a rather rotund figure. He also collected military toy aeroplanes of which he had a cupboard full in his surgery. But, he moved away and I could not see him anymore.

The reason for visiting the new doctor was to get my prescription for hypothyroiditism renewed. (Sorry for this medical post, dear readers) I am normally not at all interested in exposing the tediousness of medical details. It’s really off-putting, but just stick to this a little longer. Your plight will soon be over.

The new doctor was far more serious but also very old, well into the early eighties. He kept poring over my medical record including the yearly Cholesterol charts. He questioned why I wasn’t on statins and suggested I take a brain scan. Little did I know what was in store. But, the lure of a brain scan overtook me and without questioning this curious referral, soon had me in this giant scanning machine.

I did not hear anything for weeks after the scan, but decided to visit this old doctor in case the brain scan had showed up anything exciting. After entering his surgery, he explained that there were a few problems shown in the brain scan. A mild ‘polypoidal mucoperiosteal thickening is noted within the visualised paranasal sinuses. This was followed by; no focal abnormality is seen in relation to the brain substance. There are  some effects of chronic microvascular ischaemia.

The doctor warmed up and advised me he would write a referral to a neurologist to get into the nitty gritty of the problems as shown in the scan. However, here it comes! In this referral he wrote, including the following; Mr Oosterman is 76 yrs 11 months and presents some memory loss and nominal aphasia.  On reviewing his biochemistry he showed hyperlipidaemia ( elevated Cholesterol) of long standing for which he seems to had no therapy .

Now the tricky bit of his referral is that memory loss and aphasia are measurable items and, according to my limited medical knowledge, can’t just be guessed at. On what basis did this doctor form this diagnosis? I did no tests of any kind.

Tell me dear readers; have you noticed any diminutive slackening of Mr Oosterman’s memory or any incoherence in my word-order? I am not going to this Neurologist now. Heaven knows what might come next, a lobotomy? It seems health at times can be a perilous area to be just left into the hands of the medical profession.

All this of course, a result of the exposure of the scandalous state in our aged care facilities, as shown in a special rapport on ABC news. ‘Profits before care’ was the summation at the end of the program.

We will be so lucky to escape old age.

Flotsam on life’s shores.

October 29, 2015
Milo at peace with the world

Milo at peace with the world

As the years roll by, does life get even better?  Notice how the word ‘even’ got inserted? Is positiveness  finally getting its way? There are two ways to look at life. One is to find the good, the other is to find the ‘even’ better. That is at least what the happiness gurus try and tell us. It is amazing how many books are written about ‘happiness’. It is even more amazing that they sell. I would be utterly ashamed or at least embarrassed to line up at the book counter, handing over my chosen book on ‘ How to find serious happiness’ at $32,95  written by a Dr,  Kleinkind. I mean at nineteen years of age, it might be possible but at seventy- five, it seems ridiculously belated.

Objectively looking at the psychology of happiness, older people are often happier than the young, even though  life of the old is inexorably getting towards the end. It is puzzling and it seems to contradict the idea that life is better and preferably when being young.   After all,  the world’s population is forever aiming to remain young. It might also be that the old are happy BECAUSE it is getting towards the end, having survived all the good and the bad and somehow made the best of it. Almost like the satisfaction of a bricklayer or a midwife having done their jobs well. We sit back and survey life’s foibles and triumphs. It might not have been perfect but it was Ok and at times even pretty good. In any case, it is not as if dying is so unusual. One might as well make the best of it. There are not many books about on how to avoid that last bit of life.

The sun is out.

The sun is out.

It seems a paradox that old people whose lifespan is always shorter, who often have medical problems, whose sexual life is diminishing, suffer memory loss, lose their driving ability, are often happier than the younger generation at the beginning of life.

The young are in robust health, have sex 7/24  like berserk rabbits, drive like maniacs, chop and change partners, can eat huge rump-steaks or gorge on mayonnaise laden bratwursts ad infinitum, yet are often queuing up on the Quack’s couch; “I am not happy, Doc, I am not happy.”   “Yes, I understand, it is difficult. Have you tried getting away from yourself a bit more as I suggested, last time?”  “That will be all for today. That will be $ 450.-. Thank you.”  “Thank you.”

Perhaps the old can indulge their free time in hobbies, friendships, cook lovely meals while sipping a wine, travel around and watch people rushing by from a park bench. They can sit in the garden and watch the salvia grow. They might be free of  the upbringing of children, do not have to nurture ambitions or having to achieve anything….. and find it a great relief!

A heaven of garden

A heaven of garden

A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down.

October 27, 2015


Did you all watch the ABC’s ‘Catalyst’ last night? We thought it was riveting viewing. The program questioned the wisdom of modern healthcare and its reliance on preventative  medicine and put the question to a few experts; are we overdoing it?

At the end of the program it stated that next year, the worlds expenditure on pills would come to a staggering trillion times a trillion dollars. A trillion is a thousand times a billion. A trillion times a trillion is so much that I don’t have enough noughts in my possession to express it here on the limited space of my computer.

One expert came to the conclusion that the cost of breast X-rays to try and prevent breast cancer did not actually do anything to reduce the incidence of breast cancer which she proved by producing graphs of studies done on those women who had the tests done and those who had not. The incidence of breast cancer was exactly the same. She stated that the money used for breast X-rays could be put to better use. At least, that’s how we understood it. Of course anything can be proven by using graphs!

“Could our relentless pursuit of good health be making us sick? Advances in medicine have propelled health care to new heights and a vast array of diagnostic tests and drug therapies is now available. But are we getting too much of a good thing? An increasing number of doctors now say that sometimes, “less is more” when it comes to medical interventions. Some doctors are concerned that resources are being wasted on the “worried well” and that the ever-expanding definition of how we define “disease” has been influenced by vested interests. Could excessive medical interventions be causing more harm than good? Dr Maryanne Demasi examines how our relentless pursuit for good health might be making us sick.”

An interesting analogy was made by even more experts in the extraordinary increase in diagnosing depression. This is a subject close to my heart. I have a natural capacity and have always been drawn to feeling  somewhat ‘down’. I have had this from birth and would not want it any other way. Sure, it does not enhance my attraction to others but I am often delighted with making friends with those owning similar attributes of the feeling somewhat ‘down’ syndrome.

Of course in Australia with its fondness of sport and endless sun with world’s largest T-bone steaks, acceptance of those with ‘down feelings’ is not exactly promoted. I suspect (but am not totally sure) that the Northern European countries would be more inclined to take to its misty bosoms  and accept those that are inclined towards seriousness or even sadness. Whenever my seriousness is at risk of waning, a quick  Northern Sibelius symphony will quickly restore any feelings of excessive joy or  wanton pleasure.

In any case, with generously broadening the scope and breadth of clinical depression, hundreds of thousands are now on anti depressants like never before. Australia has now got the second highest rate of ingesting the ‘happy pill’. I find that a serious incursion on those that love being the way they feel.

Sad, isn’t it?

Doctor will see you now.

September 25, 2015
Table setting. Hand coloured etching.

Table setting. Hand coloured etching.

It used to be simple matter to see the doctor. As a child you stuck your tongue out, said aahh, and that was it. All doctors looked senile and had a foul breath. Now it has become far more complex and doctors look like teenagers. You more likely to have your bum looked and poked at than your tongue.

I received a serious letter, that, since I had turned seventy-five the Government would like to make sure I would still have some years left without needing to be looked after. Could I make an appointment for a thorough investigation of my levels of health. It would take about one- and- a- half hour. I like their optimism and clear despair of having to look after another grand-pa. It hints at a chair in ‘blue Haven retirement village’ with a bus trip to the Tulip Festival, nurse wiping my chin if not something else as well.

The letter gave details of what the health assessment would comprise off;

. Measurement of Blood pressure, pulse rate and rhythm.

( I do have good rhythm and keep it up till the end with happy ending.)

. assessment of medication, continence, immunisation status, physical function, activities of daily living, fall status.

Oh no, not continence again? Not another nervously strained stool sample with gloves, wooden stick and screw-top container? Look doc, I hover between deep seated constipation and voluminous bouts of diarrhoea, give me a break. I’ll invite you for a prawn barbeque, mow your lawn, but no more stool samples. Concentrate on my tinnitus and my wobbly feet. I do still remember the good times when I slept all night without leeks and straining the potatoes three times a night. My physical functions do include being able to still take  two steps on the stairs at the time and to run to Aldi’s when the Shiraz is on special. My fall rate is perfect and I generally put my hands out to brake the fall. I remember my pin numbers and have a fairly good idea of passwords and know how to put photos on the internet.

. assessment of mood and memory.



It’s been no picnic. I do enjoy the good times and relish the friends I still have. I do get down but know that it passes almost unnoticed.  I know you mean well, doc, but no anti-depressants. I love my depression. Look where it go me? I am on my 757th article of folly and nonsense and still able to put down words in certain order with the help of a keen despair, but also with some sun and hope for a still liveable world for all Grand-kids.

. social setting and whether you are caring for another person.

I care for my partner of many years and she does for me. We still do a little dance.   I don’t have many ailments or suffer from gout, insomnia, or nervous ticks, nor sit in the park forgotten how to get home. Sure, moments of finding the impetus to keep going are joined with acute feelings of having done it already. Putting socks on is a drag on the day, but relish the first coffee. At times I feel even food resisting and I have to fight the urge to a regurgitation in having tasted it all too often before. But, what can one do?  A fresh herring or smoked eel is still the answer.

A walk along the creek helps.

This blight of being normal.

March 17, 2015


The grandsons Jan, 2013

The grandsons Jan, 2013

If you are ever told that you are mad, rest assured you’re on the right track. No greater praise can ever be given. I generally try and avoid normal people. They often listen to  radio’s shock jocks, look at commercial TV and put on re-runs of ‘I love Lucy’. The jury is still out on those wearing knee socks, especially when combined with sandals but  is ok with raglan sleeved jumper. Only this morning I noticed a man sitting on a park bench reading The Daily Telegraph. Now, there was a normal man if ever there was. Milo sorted him out though, walked up to the bench and cocked his leg resolutely while trying to catch the man’s eye. I felt that my contempt for that newspaper was well warranted when I noticed car stickers with ‘ Do you think that is true or did you read it in the Daily Telegraph?


The country is getting excited again. The normal state of torpor is rapidly vanishing. Neighbours are smiling to each other and saying ‘gooddayehowsitgoing?’ again. In another eleven days the NSW state is having an election. The greens have just announced preferences ,bar a few seats they could win on their own, will be given to the Labor

More Salvia

More Salvia

Party above that of the conservatives. Both the Greens and the Labor party are opposed (vehemently) to selling off the Poles and Wires. Things are looking up and H and I will be glued to the screen watching how the previously safe seats of the liberal- national party will fall into the warm, soft and welcoming bosom of Labor.

You can tell that the Liberal-National party are run by very, very normal people. They had hoped that passing legislation with a matching budget that lowered prosperity, especially for the impoverished end of town, would be received with great enthusiasm and  given standing ovations by all. The pension would be lowered from 25% of average wage to 17%. They would introduce a lovely co-payment for each visit to the doctor of $ 7.-, each time. As icing on the cake, deregulating and making university independent from government funding would also be introduced. Universities would be allowed to compete and charge according to what they see fit. Students would be paying off the fees for many, many years, but only if they got a job. All very normal.

It is almost time for the next budget and last year’s budget is still hanging in there. They blame an obstinate senate not passing those lovely bills. And, even now at this late stage, no one of the normal LNP club dares to look in the mirror of reality. They should know that selling public assets is now truly on the nose but with their persistence in trying flogging off the power grid, they seem to have exceeded all forms of normality.

Thank goodness for all those ‘normal people’ who will put Labor back in the seat again. ( We hope)