Well, the other day I went into the clinic for my annual physical exam. Unfortunately, on that particular afternoon my lower back was acting up. It’s been doing this every once in a while for the last 40 years, ever since I permanently damaged this or that while roofing. It’s an infrequent problem, maybe once every couple years or so. When it happens I have a great deal of difficulty getting around for five or 10 minutes, then it passes.
Anyway, one thing led to another and one complaint led to another, and my doctor decided I needed a bone scan.
A few days later, about 8 in the morning, I sat across a desk from Amber Valentine, that delightfully perky receptionist who checks all nonemergency patients into the local hospital. She updated my personal info, squared away the Obama Care paperwork and sent me down the hall to Diagnostic Imaging. There, I was introduced to John Fischer, a large, solidly-built, personable technician who would conduct the test. He injected some kind of high-powered, radioactive concoction into a vein in my right arm – an isotope that wouldn’t make me glow in the dark, but apparently would make my bones do that. Then he told me to come back in four hours.
So, I walked around the immediate downtown area and visited business people like Bridget in her boutique, Tina in the Parlor Room and Jeff Schweter in his new pizza operation, Jackson’s. There were several cups of coffee in the Lee coffee shop, where I teased Jeanny and shared quips with Al Madden. All in all, I ingested enough caffeine to keep me hot wired for the next 18 hours.
Then I was back to the Diagnostic Ward, where I shed my clothing and donned the latest style in butt-naked, hospital attire and stretched out beneath some gigantic, state-of-the-art, medical paraphernalia. For the next 15 or 20 minutes I was instructed to be still while the machine slowly – ever so slowly – crept over the entire length of my body.
I must confess I was completely blown away by the skeletal image it obtained. Every single bone in lovely, glowing detail. Some of the research and tests in modern medicine might be open for criticism but, at least in the area of bone scans and CAT scans, the progress has been quite amazing and beyond reproach.
Then a specialized doctor sat down with me and began pondering the image. He pointed at my left shin bone.
“Apparently, you suffered a hairline crack there several years ago, but it’s all healed now.” Yep, that’s exactly what happened in 2007.
He noted some disk degeneration low on my spinal column. There were also a few lesions on my hip bones. It was nothing to be concerned about and, though the injuries might occasionally cause problems, he certainly didn’t recommend any surgery. He did, however, promise me one thing: in future years, it won’t get any better. So, I have that to look forward to.
He also pointed at a couple “light spots” in my right wrist and left cervical spine and said they were arthritic. Can you imagine that? A young fellow like me suffering from arthritis.
All in all, given my age, I’m a pretty healthy specimen. That being the case, you’ll have to deal with these goofy columns – welcomed or not – for another few years.