By Pat Remick
I can come with a host of legitimate excuses to explain why I’m not writing as much as I’d like. But I never thought my annual physical would be one of them.
Nothing major is wrong with me, thank goodness. But all the minor things I recently discussed with my doctor have developed into cure strategies that are now eating up big chunks of my limited writing opportunities. I can’t imagine how time-consuming it is to be really sick.
My primary care physician sent me home from my checkup with directions to take Vitamin D twice a day, instructions to increase my thyroid medicine that requires carefully cutting half of my pills in quarters until my new mail-order prescription arrives, a sheet of daily exercises designed to relieve foot pain, and a recommendation for a skin cream to be applied twice daily. She also handed me referrals to two specialists.
The ear, nose and throat doctor said there was nothing seriously wrong that a nose spray and a saline solution kit, both to be used twice a day, couldn’t fix. The orthopedic guy ordered me to put ice on my impinged shoulder for 20 minutes, three times a day; take a pain reliever twice daily; and to try his list of exercises until the start of my physical therapy appointments, which will take one hour each, two times a week (and lead to more time-consuming exercises, no doubt).
I'm sorry to bore you with my maladies, but don’t you agree this list of minor cures is mind-boggling? It makes me sick just to think about it. All these courses of treatment have gotten so complicated that I need a daily calendar just to keep up.
A doctor friend tells me the compliance rate for physicians’ orders is generally low. I understand why. If you add up all these medical directives, I’d spend the equivalent of one day a week dealing just with them – and there’s hardly anything wrong with me.
But then I thought: maybe it’s about time management. What if I could find a way to put the ice on my shoulder at the same time I take all the pills, use the nose stuff, apply the cream and then twist myself around to do the foot exercises, too? That might get me down to one hour of medical mania a day.
On the other hand, there’s the risk of something going wrong or developing a new injury from trying to do too much at once. Then I’d be sucked further into the medical black hole. So I've decided to pace myself and hope all these cures don’t kill my writing career.
Nonetheless, the next time someone asks me how the novel is going, I’m just going to say, “Ask my doctor.”