The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

God and Ears, Noses and Throats

I had two, that's right, two doctors' appointments today. This is very unusual for me, one who rarely visits doctors under the wise assumption that such visits lead only to further visits, more discomfiting tests, and worries that something might actually be wrong with me. I often go years without seeing a doctor, feeling wonderful the entire time. But not long ago I made the mistake of mentioning a few minor afflictions in the presence of Dear Diane. This proved to be the catalyst that began the current reaction, a seemingly never-ending series of consults and referrals that will undoubtedly lead to absolutely nothing. So, when your health insurance costs soar through the roof next year, you'll know who to blame (other than the president).

Today's first appointment was with my internist, a pleasant man near my age, who discussed the results of a recent MRI of my gimpy shoulder. I especially like him because he didn't simply refer me to a orthopedic surgeon who would no doubt meet me at the door of his practice with a scalpel or laser in his hand, a wild look in his eyes, and singing ala Monday Night Football, "Are you ready for some surgery?" No, my good doctor suggested that before agreeing to anything drastic, I might want to spend a few months doing some daily therapeutic exercises which he demonstrated for me in his office. I promised I would and will begin in the morning...too tired tonight.

He also informed me, very gently, that my bad cholesterol is too high and my good cholesterol too low. He then handed me a sheet listing all the foods I should eat and those I should avoid. For some reason bananas are okay but banana cream pie isn't. Go figure. And then he set up another appointment as well as another visit to the lab. Do you see what I mean? It never stops. And yet, he seems reasonably sensible and so I like him.

Unfortunately for me, this doctor has decided to take a new position in a nearby clinic that serves only the uninsured. That's the sort of man he is. I will miss hm and do not relish the idea of trying to find another primary care physician.

Today's second appointment was with a young ear, nose and throat specialist who examined me with the kind of strange instruments ENT doctors use. Finally, after speaking to his nurse in a technical language I could not understand, he informed me that I seemed to be fine, and then promptly declared I needed more tests to be sure. So now I must have a special X-ray of my throat next week, followed by, you guessed it, a follow-up appointment with the ENT doctor.

One appointment with my internist a month ago has now resulted in two lab visits, an MRI, a "special" X-ray, and four additional doctor visits. And I'm actually pretty healthy. Makes you wonder how the really sick people manage to squeeze in a normal life amidst all the medical stuff.

Enough! The really interesting experience occurred while I spent about thirty minutes sitting in the ENT examining room waiting for the doctor to arrive. Waiting patiently as one must, my attention was drawn to a poster taped to the wall next to my chair. It was really quite elaborate, a pictorial poster showing all the major and minor parts of the human ear, nose and throat. It was one of those Superman-like, X-ray vision posters in which you can see beneath the skin's surface and view all the little parts and pieces that you and I really don't want to see.

But it was fascinating, and I spent most of the half-hour looking at the human ear, nose and throat, examining each system, and captivated by the wonder of it all. I came away convinced that such complicated perfection could not come about by chance. These few micro-systems join hundreds of others and form a miraculous interconnected whole that we call the human body. And as I tossed these thoughts about in my even more miraculous brain, I overheard a doctor and nurse speaking in the hallway, discussing the kind of treatment a patient should receive. It was then I realized no chance collection of atoms could ever form out of the chaos of the universe and eventually think such thoughts and communicate them with another chance collection of atoms in a hallway of a building designed and built by yet another chance collection. For me, just that few minutes sitting in a chair in a young doctor's office was enough to convince me that we have a God who has done miraculous things to show us how great is His Love.

Toss that thought around in your miraculous mind the next time you visit the doctor.

God's peace...

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