my jaundiced eye

the absurdities of life

Category: medical exainations

medicare ma


MJE just “enjoyed” another birthday. It was actually pretty great, my sistahood feted me with a wonderful surprise party. I ended the evening wearing a napkin wimple, a palm frond crown like the lemur king in madagascar and a pink sequined bra. I will leave the rest of it up to your depraved imaginations you sickos.

The next day, after a somewhat ragged morning I received an email from medicare ma letting me know what wonderful things she was bestowing upon me to keep me hale and hearty:

Name Eligibility Date
PAP TEST DR 02/01/2018
PELVIC 02/01/2018
MAMMOGRAPHY 01/01/2016
COLORECTAL 01/01/2016
PAP TEST 01/01/2016
DIABETES 01/01/2016

Well if that didn’t let the air out of my balloon I don’t know what would. It started out happy enough…annual wellness visit. Great! But it turns out that ma suspects that I am actually far from 100% given the rest of the recommended tests and screenings. I had no idea I was at such high risk for so many afflictions. Plus I am a year late on most of them which does explain a thing or two.

Alcohol misuse screening: MJE uses ethyl alcohol exactly as it was intended.

Depression screening: Not until I saw the above list.

High intensity behavioral counseling: I have no idea what that even means. Am I low intensity (or in PET’s words “low energy”)? It is true that I haven’t been exercising as much as I should which is probably why ma feels I might be in need of the obesity counseling.

Cardiovascular disease behavioral therapy: I hope that doesn’t mean I have to lay off the triple cream brie, butter and foie gras. If so I really don’t see the point in going on.

Mammography: Ma’s a day late and a dollar short on that one as you know if you’ve been a loyal MJE follower. And if she truly cared she’d know that too.

Colorectal: Ha ha, already did the crap in a box thing (ask your doc, it’s so much better than a colonoscopy, and I might add a real testament to american ingenuity) and I’m clean as a whistle.

Pap test (twice!) AND pelvic: Seriously? a speculum is the only thing that’s been in that neck of the woods for ages.

Abdominal aortic aneurysm: Does that mean that ma suspects that my stomach is about to blow? Yikes, better haul out the spanxs.

Diabetes: The only sugar I ingest can be attributed to the above proper use of alcohol.

Then one more cardiovascular something or other which I thought we took care of with the aforementioned behavioral therapy.

What about the fact that I am blind as a bat, deaf as a post and walk like chester in gunsmoke because of the arthritis in my hip. Or that my skin is thinner than japanese mulberry paper and I bruise like a week old banana. Or that my brain is like a magic 8 ball and every effort to remember anything results in “perhaps but ask again” or “signs point to yes” or “very doubtful” which is decidedly unhelpful when trying to find my glasses or think of my grandchildren’s names. What about those things ma? What about quality of life, huh? Why are you so focused on stuff like exploding abs and behavioral therapy for my heart, which frankly could use it as it has been in intensive care since nov. 8.

I appreciate your concern, but MJE’s got it all covered. Don’t need you to tell me how to behave, or what to eat or drink. I’ve made it so far without your “support” and suspect that I’ll manage to hang on for a few more years. Now if you would care to cover important things like botox, liposuction or facial peels then I am all ears.


game of gowns


MJE is between doc gigs at the moment but wants to keep in touch so as not to lose your interest and have you defect to some other (inferior) blog on which to waste your time. So today’s topic is examination room “gowns.” First off whoever gave them that euphemistic moniker has obviously never seen any of the Disney princess movies. But by now, having spent a fair amount of time of late wearing said “gowns” I’ve developed a keen eye for quality. I can look at the gown laying on the examination table, and like Martha Stewart nailing a sheet’s thread count across a basketball court, gauge the quality before my six shooters get through the door.

The Cadillac of gowns are old school, 100% cotton, and washed to the softness of a baby blanket. They’re festooned with bunny rabbits, kittens or some other imagery completely at odds with its function as a patient’s fig leaf. From there it’s a brisk plunge into the Filene’s basement of gowns: paper ware (or paper wear). But even in this decidedly down market area there are distinct differences in type and quality. Obviously, the heavier the paper the better, but size and fit are also important. And the range of both, as I have found, is vast. I am sure there is some medical office bean counter somewhere telling doctors that if they just reduce the dimensions and heft of their exam gowns their profit margins will explode, perhaps even offsetting the bank breaking burdens of Obamacare.

The top tier of this genre are akin to paper towels, soft, pliable and provide the illusion of comfort. They are long enough to cover even the areas of the body that the doctor doesn’t need to examine. They afford the patient a certain false sense of modesty from the prying eyes and probing digits of whoever happens to be walking by at the moment. From there it is a downward spiral to ever lighter weight paper and shorter hemlines. The absolute bottom of the barrel is what I call the Bolero, thin as toilet paper and so small that it wouldn’t cover an anorexic. It has the added disadvantage of a certain self-cling factor which requires incredible dexterity on the part of the patient to pry it apart without tearing it to shreds.

To date, Dr. Cha Cha Chahin’s gown is the absolute worst. Not only did it offer the smallest square footage but was so thin it made Charmin look like cashmere. When I did manage to disentangle it (which is always a frantic race against the clock from the moment you are left to disrobe to when the door flies open again) and figured out top from bottom, front from back and where my arms were to go I was so frazzled that I yanked it on a bit too vigorously and it split in half right down the back. Dr. Cha Cha returned to find MJE slumped on the table covered by nothing but two disconnected pink paper sleeves.