A beer a day keeps the doctor away

Evans “Buddy” King

I had a visit to “my doctor’s office” today. I put that in quotes, because I really don’t have that many doctors; probably not as many as I should at my age.

In fact, other than this guy, I really only have one other doctor, my general practice guy or my family practitioner or whatever this type is called these days – and he is actually more of a good friend and drinking buddy than a real doctor to me, although he’s a great doc.

When I get together with him, it’s usually is over a “few” beers. I am taking poetic license here, because he is more of a wine drinker or gin or one of those brown liquors, things I don’t touch. It’s beer for me. Long time love affair dating back to college.

Anyway, my GP and I get together occasionally and hoist a few. We sometimes discuss my health during these revelries, and he will mention that my triglycerides are high. I don’t know what these are, but I feel obligated to ask. Makes him feel important. What causes this I ask and he says “probably alcohol consumption.”

So I ask “do you want me to quit,” and he says “nah, who would I drink with.” So I take his advice. I’d have to change doctors if he took an adverse position.

Today’s visit was with my “unmentionable” doctor, the one who does things I can’t write about. The one who should send you flowers after your visit. Or at least give you a call the next day. You get the idea.

He’s a good guy — we always talk after the ordeal is over. He likes me and remembers me, because a few years ago, when one of his sons was interested in law school, I talked to his kid about whether it was a wise decision. He must have thought it was, because he is now in a good practice in Pittsburgh.

So this doc likes me and actually will talk with me about things that don’t confuse or depress me, unlike most doctors, who seem to assume that we all know bizarre medical terms and appreciate the improper use of verbs (“present” should be an active verb, not a passive one).

During the exam, he told he told me he liked my PSA – not sure what he meant, so I told him I liked his too. He laughed. Then he told me the rest of my blood work (except for those darn triglycerides) was good.

I told him I took great pride in my blood work. Always have. The conversation did take a turn for the worse when he remarked that I looked great and that I “probably” had a “few good years left.”

I took some umbrage with the limiting language. I asked him if he had checked the over-and-under in Vegas. Was he going over? Where was the smart money? I was reminded that in college the number was set at 40 and most of my frat brothers took the under. So in one sense, I have been playing with house money for years.

I thankfully have had limited need for doctors so far. I have only missed four days of school or work since I entered the eighth grade and two of those were a mistake by a nurse who misread a report a few years ago.

This started a chain reaction of two days of hospital stay, IV’s and shots, interrupted finally by a doctor who read the report accurately and asked me why I was in the hospital. I said, “you’re asking me?” Or something like that. He then said, “you need to be discharged.” I then learned the problem with communication (or the lack thereof) in a hospital, the result of which in this instance was me taking a needle away from a nurse who didn’t believe me when I said I didn’t have what they thought I had and thus didn’t need what she wanted to stick in me. Thankfully I got her to track down my doctor before security arrived.

I obviously am having some fun here. I like to look for the humorous side of life. When it comes to health, I think I have been blessed with good genes.

But I like to caution myself by remembering that my parents took better care of their “genes” than I have mine.

Evans “Buddy” King grew up in Christiansburg and graduated from CHS in 1971. He lives in Clarksburg, West Virginia, where he practices law with the firm of Steptoe and Johnson PLLC.

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