Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Needles and Death

I have been victimized by Vasomotor Rhinitis after my first few years of living in California, though it took years to diagnose, partly due to my aversion to doctors. By the sixth year of suffering, it behooved me to make use of the medical insurance for which I was paying dearly. As with any HMO, you see the the doctor for such a brief moment, heaven help you if you ever had to identify him in a line up, you would be hard pressed to do so. Therefore, I have been prescribed every sinus medication known to modern pharmaceuticals.

After a few years, I noticed a correlation. The almond trees bloomed, I became as stuffed up as a toilet in a college fraternity hazing scheme. Come February, I did not even need visuals; the nose knew. Finally, my primary M.D. was shamed into losing some of his residual profits by succumbing to a referral to an allergist. After the most basic allergy test, it was determined I did not suffer from allergies, but they did not test for flower blossoms, let alone for almond flower. That would have required prior approval from the insurance company and no one aside from me thought it was necessary.

With yet a new prescription in hand, I was sent off, screaming that I was leaving the country and could not get it refilled once it was gone. As the allergist strolled off into the sunset of his hallway, he shouted back without turning his head "Use any over the counter med you can find."

Do you know that Sudafed, one of the only meds that works for me is now controlled? In Australia, I had to convince a pharmacist why I needed it. Here I need a Rx from the doctor. Do I look like I need money by making illegal drugs with it? Isn't my lack of a voice enough to convince you?

Plan B: Go to an Acupuncturist. I had been to one in CA for a hiatal hernia and it worked before I opted for the surgery the medical doctor offered instead. Through my massage therapist, I found a Chinese doctor who makes a habit of needling people. Yesterday, was my second appointment.

The day was lovely and rather than take the tram to the metro for two stops, I decided to walk along the narrow sidewalk along the tracks. From one tram stop to the other was a reasonably short distance so I continued onward. As I was walking, I noticed a number of police to the right of the sidewalk up ahead. There was a man with a camera snapping pictures like some tourist, but there was nothing of eye appeal apparent. As I edged closer, the word 'police' was visible on the photographers T-shirt. Then I looked down at the object of his attention. There was a corpse there. After sixteen years as a medical social worker, who spent much of it in the trauma unit, scenes like do not affect me. It was obvious that it was a dead person as they draped the body with a black plastic bag, with the feet sticking out. Newish, clean white sneakers, white gym type socks pulled up to mid-calf with those long shorts everyone wears now. When I was a kid, we called them 'clam diggers'. Anyway, the impression was that this was a male, most likely not a homeless person or if so, one who had access to a laundry. The rest is a mystery for now.

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