Friday, October 17, 2008


I have only positives when discussing my medical care provider. It's the Northwest division of a well known HMO. I'd rather not reveal the name, but suffice it to say it starts with a K and my benefits are permanente.
My doc isn't medication crazy and that's fine with me. She suggested I get my blood pressure checked every few weeks for the next few months because that way we'll know that I've got it under control. I'm one of those people whose BP goes up in the doctor's office. It's called the "white coat effect." If I check it on the spur of the moment from time to time, the readings are far more accurate. Today when we stopped by to pick up a prescription, I found a nearby nurse's station and checked in for a quick blood pressure reading.
A male nurse with a shiny diamond earring led me to a small booth and said, "Think of beautiful things and I'll be back in a few minutes to squeeze your arm...err rather to take your blood pressure." That was his schtick. I'm sure he says it 25 times a day. While waiting I heard another nurse talking to a very old man about how to remove ear wax. She told the man and his wife, easily in their mid 80s that some "warm cooking oil left in there over night with cotton stuffed in to keep it in would do the trick. They talked a few more minutes with increasing volume. He could hear only out of one ear and it was the clogged one. Just before the elderly couple left the nurse said, "now you got it, right?" To which the man replied, "yeah, fish oil."
"COOKING OIL," she screamed laughing.
My little BP meditation was over; I was chuckling too. In came another nurse and cuffed me in an instant. My smile was really beaming when she announced, "122/70, wow that's great."
This nurse, like all the others at that station was wearing what appeared to be a smock made from children's pajama material. Lots of pastel colored flannel covered with animated Disney characters, or Sponge Bob, or some other child-friendly face. Reminds me of the stuff sold in Target.
I can hang with their "uniforms." What amazes me is that all these nurses are obese. Yup, really overweight and unhealthy looking. I've actually seen one or two drinking huge whipped cream covered latte drinks.
I know something about stressful jobs. But role models are important, especially in health care.

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