What Annoys Jeff This Week?

Medical Experts. Watch the news long enough and you’re going to find out a few simple medical truths. Eggs are good for your or possibly bad for you. Coffee is good for your brain, but bad for your heart. Exercise keeps your cardiovascular system in tip top shape, but can damage your heart and skeletal system. Everything from radishes to ordinary tap water apparently causes cancer in mice. I think doctors are pretty good at the micro level of telling us what’s wrong with us individually, but I’m not sure they’ve got the sense God gave the common rooster when it comes to figuring anything out at the macro level. When it comes to what’s good or bad across an entire population, it doesn’t seem like they have a clue.

Jerry Sandusky. Hasn’t the news cycle moved far enough away from this that it’s not really a story anymore? Seriously, can’t a Kardashian get knocked up and spare us all from another three months of Jerry’s kid touching extravaganza?

Hopped-up Meth Heads Eating People. Zombie lore is clear on one point. The only immediately effective method of stopping a impending undead attack on your person is detaching the zombie’s head from its body. This is traditionally accomplished in one of two ways, using a shotgun or a two-handed long sword. In a pinch, a fire axe might also get the job done, but its sweet spot is much smaller than the other methods and is therefore not recommended except when other options are not available. As they did in the Wild West, the answer to the latest rash of face eating is clearly to deputize the citizenry, arm them with shotguns and long swords, and send them out to roam the streets to defend the living. At least this way, stories of the impending zombie apocalypse would reflect both sides of the ongoing battle between good and evil.

WaWa. Usually I can count on WaWa to sell me a pre-packaged salad, a bottle of water, and a bag of chips a couple of times a week. I’ve been in twice this week looking for lunch and both times their “salad chiller” was blowing hot air. Sure, lettuce and assorted other greens might stand up to that for a while, but diced ham and chicken will probably not respond quite as well. I watched a few people pick up a lukewarm salad and walk away happy enough with their decision, but there’s something about trusting glorified gas station attendants to know when a food item has gone off makes me more than a little nervous. I think I’m going to have to pass for a while. Keeping perishable items chilled doesn’t seem like it should be too much to ask.

Be sure to tune in tomorrow for the next installment of “From the Mailbag.”

Can’t stay away…

After what seems like an excessive amount of scanning, poking, prodding, and stressing, my faith in the marvel that is modern medical science, is somewhat less than complete. The good news is that there are no obvious signs of things that could cause me to suddenly drop dead. The bad news is that whatever it is that’s causing my head to occasionally explode remains as a diagnosis of “uhhh… we’re not really sure, but here’s some heavy duty pain meds to take in case it comes back.” Now I’m as big a believer in better living through chemistry as anyone around, I think It’d still rather know what it is than what it isn’t. Since that outcome is apparently a bridge too far, I’ll follow my other tried and true solution and try ignoring the problem until it goes away on its own.

… And now back to your regularly scheduled blogging hiatus.


OK, so it seems that the most likely culprit that sent me to the oral surgeon on Tuesday is some kind of infection. At least that’s the early diagnosis. The authoritative word will come back from the biopsy that he sliced out of the roof of my mouth… Yeah, and incidentally, if anyone every wants to take a hunk out of the roof of your mouth, I highly recommend looking for an alternative course of action.

A funny thing happened on the way to the emergency room…

OK, well maybe it wasn’t so much a funny thing as a ridiculously painful thing. After putzing around the yard most of the afternoon and busying myself shoving furniture around the living room, I noticed a dull ache that seemed to be centered around the bottom of my sternum. No big deal, thought I… I probably just pulled something heaving the couch into its new position. Grabbing a cold beverage and Tylenol, I started making dinner. Well, that lasted about 15 minutes before the pain started moving up and across my chest. Now, I’m not a fancy big city doctor, but I have a sneaking suspicion that this isn’t a good thing. After putting it off another ten or fifteen minutes, I knew it was time to go.

Having a bit of a “typical man” streak, I loaded the address of the local emergency room into my Garmin and set off. I certainly wasn’t in enough pain to justify calling an ambulance… Yet. It’s a quick drive to the ER, especially on a Sunday night, but when the waves of nausea set in, a 5 mile drive seems like it takes hours. Every stop light becomes a personal affront to my sense of order and well being. By this point, I really feel an overwhelming need to toss my cookies. Drawing up a reserve of determination not to spew all over my car’s interior, I drove on. By the time I get to the hospital, I was feeling more or less like someone was busy sticking me in the chest with an ice pick. It’s absolutely as much fun as it sounds.

After five hours of poking, prodding, having blood drawn, getting chest x-rays, EKGs, and meeting with 2 ER doctors, they decided that what I actually had was a bad case of acid reflux. There must be something to their diagnosis, as after giving me some ass-tasting meds and filling a prescription for Nexium, I was feeling much better. Although I’m feeling better and enjoying the unexpected day away from the office, now annoyed at the thought of what’s going to be a ridiculously large bill for a case of heartburn. I’m even more annoyed that I have to take more time off tomorrow to go visit my new “primary care” doc, who I was conveniently referred to by his friend running the ER. He’s supposed to be a specialist in stomach stuff and one of his partners is apparently a hot shot cardiac guy… so two birds with one stone, I suppose.