Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Annual Health Checkup

Today I visited the VA Outpatient clinic in Georgetown for the results of my annual blood work. I was also meeting for the first time my new doctor who is actually a nurse practitioner.

The good news:

All signs are good. 

My PSA crept up a little bit as it has done in previous blood tests but it still is under one on a scale of one to four. Four years ago my PSA score spiked up to 8.7. That's when I discovered I had prostate cancer which I had treated. After my treatment my PSA was .1.  Last year it crept up to .23. Now it is .31.  I half expect my prostate cancer will return but I'm at that age (old enough) that I'll probably die of something else besides prostate cancer. Whatever, I'm not getting any more treatments for prostate cancer. If that's the way I go, so be it. After all, something is going to get me.  

The other good news is that I like my new care doctor.  He's a young man, handsome, caring, knowledgeable and he actually listened to me. I was with him for over an hour. I hope I have him as my health care professional until I make my grand exit. I'm very lucky, all my doctors now I like. My urologist I didn't like so I changed a couple of years ago.  That doctor could hardly spend more than two minutes with me and he hurt me often. He also had no respect for my privacy and humiliated me often by his rushing around just to get as many patients in and out as possible. I had enough and I changed. Later I found out at my new urologist's office, who had opened a new offer her in Lower Slower, why did they open an office from far away their main office in Dover. They told me they were getting a lot of patients traveling to their office in Delaware who weren't satisfied with the treatment they were getting from my doctor.  So I wasn't the only one which made me feel good and not just an old man complainer.

I also got my second (and final) shingles shot. My left arm feels like someone gave me a good solid knuckle punch. But at least (hopefully) I won't get shingles, which I've never had but I hear are very painful. I've had enough pain in my life with my multiple kidney stones, I don't need any more pain, thank you.

Another day in the life folks! 


Practical Parsimony said...

Wrong, sadly. There is a 50% chance you will never shingle. But, hey, I will take that.

VRC-Do You! said...

Glad you received a clean bill of health.

Your prostate levels sound great. I may have mentioned before that I worked in a urologist's office for six years-three capable, loving providers. There has been controversies of the recent PSA test but it is still used. When I was in a clinic a 4 was the norm and for older folks with elevated PSAs we would age adjust it. Prostate cancer is slow-growing and if you dig up a bunch of old folks you will see they have prostate cancer. You are right, you will probably die of something else. I have treated patients who were in their 80's who were just plugging along in life with an elevated PSA. One last note, the PSA test, and other advances of medicine as abled health care providers to detect prostate cancer earlier. It does not necessarily mean we have to treat it. It's case-by-case.

Glad you have switched your urologist. His actions are inexcusable. He should take inventory and do an exit interview and ask why his patients are leaving. I know it is all about money these days, that is why many health care providers form groups, but treating your patients with dignity, respect, and a sense of safety is paramount.

Heres to good health. Give Bill a hug for me!!


pat888 said...

Hey Ron - all good news. Always great to have medical professionals you can relate to. And they aren't always easy to find I'm sure. With all the boomers aging the systems are going to be stressed. Having a session for over an hour is unheard of up here as far as I know. My sports/family doctor when I was in Toronto was very good with bedside manners. Always a 15 minute session at best with much of it just chitchatting. So you live to the next appointment LOL!!


Geo. said...

Ron, you're an inspiration to me. I'm only 69, at the start of caducity, and reading of your courage in medical matters has made me feel less lonely. Thank you.

Ron said...

Practical Parsimony,
I've had chicken pox and most of the other childhood diseases (growing up in the Forties). I never had the shingles but I've heard enough about it and how painful it is to not take a chance. My kidney stone experiences were quite enough for me.
Thanks for your comment. Always appreciated.

Ron said...

To me, at my age now, I will not accept poor bedside manner with any doctor I deal with. I'm no longer a young man awed by the authority of doctors. They're people just like me. It doesn't take a great effort to just treat their patients as individuals and to just another cog in their Medicare billing.

Ron said...

Thank you for your compliment about me being an inspiration. I appreciate that. I'll tell you, getting older is a challenge for sure. I consider myself very lucky with my ailments, not being as severe as some of my friends especially my long time friend Larry who has ALS. He was diagnosed three years ago. He's still able to get around but has lost his driving privileges and has to have someone come in twice a week to give him a bath. God, I hope I never get there. But one never knows because these situations creep up on you.
Thank you again for your comment.

Ron said...

VRC-Do You!
I had heard that many old men die with prostate cancer but not from prostate cancer. If my prostate cancer returns I plan no other procedures.
Bedside manner and treating patients as individuals is so easy but it seems some doctors lose their way overburdened as they are with patients and the need to keep that Medicare mill rolling. I don't want to be unfair to those doctors but the urologist I had lost me by his unconcern for my dignity, and pain. He just didn't care, in such a rush to get to the next cubicle. I'm very fortunate to have a urologist that I like and who respects me.
Thanks for your comment.

Ur-spo said...

That is all well.
My experience of VA doctors is they are rather burned out; you are fortunate to get a good one.

Ron said...

My previous doctor, who I liked very much and had abut eight years (a record for my twenty-two years in the VA healthcare system) had over 2300 patients. I don't know how he kept up. I was told he still works for the VA but in an administrative position. I wish him well. I think my present doctor will see me out. For a while, every six months that I went for my lab results I had a different doctor. Not good. I've never had a GP in private practice that I could establish a relationship with. I hope my new "doctor" (actually a nurse practitioner) is the exception.