Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Fish Doctor

I took my husband to our doctor today.  Nursing school does things to a person (me) other than educate.  Suddenly it becomes necessary to drag unwilling family members to the doctor for regular visits.  This is the price family pays for the student's future good job and decent income.

I chose this doctor for us a couple of years ago for two reasons: he is the husband of a woman I met at college, and he is a Doctor of Osteopathy (DO).  I've always been partial to DOs.  They've always seemed more approachable, more reasonable, and more concerned with the whole person versus any disease process or condition.

Dr. Rullman was a commercial fisherman here in Alaska until the age of 35 or so.  He and his wife were talking about what they wanted to do with their future around that time, and he told her that he'd always wanted to be a doctor.  She told me that she was completely shocked when he said it.  Being industrious Alaskans, off they went in pursuit of his medical degree.  It took a few years (it always does), but he got into medical school and graduated and there you go.  He's a doctor.  He takes July and August off every year to fish commercially, otherwise he's at the small, comfortable medical office he shares with a couple other providers and the friendliest, most capable staff I've ever encountered.

I accompanied my husband into the exam room today (of course I did).  When Dr. Rullman asked why we were there, I ran down the list of concerns I had written in a memo on my android phone.  My husband sat quietly and took it like a man.  His blood pressure was excellent (former concern).  He was down 15 pounds from his previous visit (good news).  I told Dr. Rullman that I have been afraid to listen to my husband's lungs with my stethoscope (he smoked for many years and my father died of emphysema at the age of 57).  He listened to my husband's lungs, then handed me his stethoscope.  I listened.  Husband needs a chest x-ray because he has what are considered "diminished breath sounds" low in his lungs, but Dr. Rullman isn't worried about it (he probably ordered the x-ray out of caution and because he doesn't want to have to increase MY xanax dose).  I requested blood work as my husband has a history of high cholesterol (the bad kind).  Dr. Rullman described the niacin and fish oil dosages he would recommend if in fact my husband's cholesterol levels are out of kilter.  Then we talked about the test to check for prostate problems.  My husband looked at me like I was crazy when I brought that up.  He has no symptoms whatsoever of any prostate problem, but I am a nursing student and he's getting the damn blood test.

I love our doctor.  I love that he treats us like intelligent human beings and suggests exercise, weight loss, a good diet, fish oil and niacin to maintain our health.  I love that he'll hand me his stethoscope.  I love that the absolutely gorgeous medical assistant who drew my husband's blood today is so skilled that he didn't feel the needle enter his arm.

I also love that nursing school has taught me what to watch for, what to test for at what age, and when to stop worrying.  Not that I actually stop worrying.

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