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Under the Weather with My Umbrella

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I haven’t felt one hundred percent lately. Nothing serious, but I thought being a little ill was the same as being under the weather. I remember back when I was a girl and someone asked an adult how they were doing, and if they had a cold, an arthritis flare-up, or something minor, they’d say, “Oh, I’m just a little under the weather.”

Well, maybe some of them were right in a way, according to Pocket English Idioms: “To say that someone is ‘under the weather’ is to say that they are not feeling very well. Example: ‘What’s wrong?’ Answer: ‘I’m a bit under the weather.’ They probably have a simple cold or flu, which will go away quickly. Example: ‘It’s nothing serious; I’m just a bit under the weather.’ Being ‘under the weather,’ reminds us that a quick change in the weather can affect our health and the way we feel.”

I like the idea of “feeling better quickly.”

I’m rethinking the “not serious” part though. Yesterday’s pain had me doubled over, gasping for breath, and avoiding food like a vampire avoids sunlight. (Too many episodes of True Blood? I dunno.)

I’m not sure if the weather has anything to do with how I feel either, and I certainly don’t believe a change in the weather will stop my stomach from hurting. Besides, our weather has been excellent lately.

I have another ulcer.

Last time an ulcer invaded my innards; the doctor took care of it with a prescription for “that little purple pill.” It might be pretty, but it’s powerful; and before the prescribed two-week treatment window was only halfway up, I was drinking orange juice, eating tomatoes, and drinking tea again. All in moderation; of course.

I’ve suffered for about six weeks. I’ve tried to figure out why I waited so long before I sought treatment, and the only answer that might fit is this: I am tired of doctors. Since turning fifty, I seem to spend too much time going from one specialist to another. I call it the HMO effect, and its parts are not pretty.

When I worked for Kaiser Permanente I believed in preventive medicine. It made so much sense. But now, a pall of dread descends over me when time for my annual physical rolls around. I have learned that with it comes a fistful of referrals that morph into a nightmare of appointments, tests, retests, more appointments, more referrals, new meds, more meds …

For instance, I was so caught up in eye testing that I just stopped scheduling appointments. The doctor wanted to see me every three weeks. Every time I saw her, my eyes were tested, dilated, and I went home clutching a new sample of eye drops that did nothing to improve what ever imagined problem the good doctor perceived. I was never given a diagnosis. I don’t remember one anyway.

About six weeks ago I saw a different doctor, and Amazing Grace! He didn’t find anything wrong with my eyes. A simple test proved I did not have glaucoma or cataracts. I was so happy to hear the news that I wasn’t offended when he told me that my right eye is “ugly” but a good eye.

It seems that my right eye is oddly shaped, but its “big-word” nerves were thick and healthy. I wasn’t insulted. Ugly is the new good as far as I’m concerned.

The good doctor who gave me back my “eye sanity” is Dr. Lem. He’s my kind of doctor.

Now. All I need is the new GI doc to be just as amazing. I’m looking forward to this year’s colonoscopy. I’m thankful that I can afford to have both ends scoped. There are some who can’t.

I will take the Prilosec, trying not to dream of that little purple pill I like so much.

While I’m healing … while I’m coming out from under the weather, I will try not to whine too much. I will stand under my umbrella of joy. It’s my Obama Umbrella.

O-ba-ma, O-ba-ma, O-ba-ma!

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