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Published February 20 2011

Swift: As I get older, dueling with the doctor more common

At some point, my doctor-side manner changed.

I don’t know what happened, but I morphed from being an obedient, timid patient to a mouthy and overbearing one.

I ask tons of questions. Some of them are important, but most of them are inane, like: “What’s with the giant Q-tips?”

I monopolize the doctor’s time. I argue with him about medications, as if the fact that I just read that article in Redbook is the same as a degree from medical school.

Some might call this becoming more proactive. I call it becoming more pro-wrestler.

Maybe this is yet another side effect of aging, along with the realization that I don’t recognize 80 percent of the Grammy winners and that I’m carrying my purse like my mother.

Not convinced? A recent visit to my doctor went something like this:

Tam: “I’m feeling sort of tired.”

Doc: “Are you sleeping OK? Can you get up in the morning?”

Tam: “I sleep pretty well, except when the dogs bark. Or the cat knocks something off the bedside table. Or my husband is snoring. Or I realize I’m lying in crushed-up tortilla chips …”

Doc: “Do you feel dizzy when you climb two flights of stairs?”

Tam: “I don’t know. I’ll let you know if I ever do that. (Laughing wildly at my own joke.)”

Doc: (Typing furiously) “It might be time to do some tests.”

Tam: “Are you writing ‘fat and cranky’ on my chart?”

Doc: (Wisely ignoring me.) “I’ve also noticed your weight is up. Are you concerned about that?”

Tam: “Not really. I had $3 in quarters in my pocket and hadn’t even flossed …”

Doc: “You used to walk outdoors three times a week. Are you still doing that?”

Tam: “Are you kidding? The outdoors are outside in the wintertime. I have started a new program where I do laps around the bathroom while brushing my teeth …”

Doc: “That just isn’t enough. How are you eating?”

Tam: “Really well. I eat all the time. I had a whole pizza last night. Even the dogs were impressed.”

Doc: “You worked hard to lose weight in the past, so I don’t want you to feel defeated by this. Maybe if I could recommend a program …”

Tam: “A program?

That sounds extremely complicated. My life is very busy, and I have a lot of ‘Top Chef’ to catch up on. Don’t you have one of those pills that might cause me to grow a nose in the middle of my back but will completely kill my appetite?”

Hey, I wouldn’t mind an extra nose. It could help alert me when the pizza is done.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Tammy Swift at (701) 241-5525