Monday, March 26, 2018


Shepard Was Shapiro
Until He Needed a Job
 Bernard Shepard was a nice Jewish boy from New York, but after graduating from Syracuse University with a degree in journalism and serving in WW2 as reporter for a military newspaper, he began looking for a full-time job.

Unfortunately, not too many media outlets were looking to hire a ”Shapiro,” so he changed his name to Shepard, and he did get job offers. Bernie eventually went back to college to get advanced degrees, and ended up teaching at Fresno State University, where I ended up from 1971 to 1973.

Bernie retired to Santa Cruz, and I would visit him and his wife June, who lived only five minutes away. Each time I stopped by, he was at his dining room table, which was filled with too many bottles of meds, accompanied by a plethora of medical bills.

When I commented on that as a fifty-four year old “youngster,” he would reply, “Your turn will come all too soon.”

It did, and Bernie died within a year or two.

The Medical Muddle
Has Become All Mine
 I am eighty-two, and although I don’t have as large accumulation of meds and bills as Bernie did, I continually have a load of medical problems, caused mainly by aging and dealing with doctors and insurance companies.

Let’s start at the top with the pre-cancerous and cancerous growths I need removed from my head, on a regular basis.

Twice a year, my regular doctor will spray the early growths with liquid nitrogen to kill them, and if the growths have found a dwelling on my head, he will either take to carving them out himself, or send me to a dermatologist trained in the MOHS method. The latter is more efficient, since the doctor keeps me in his office until all of the cancer is removed.

I go in, he does some carving, and then sends me to the waiting room while he can quickly measure whether or not his work has been successful. If not, I am brought back in for another slicing. He will continue to do this until I am cancer free.

My regular doctor, estimates where the growth is, slices that area, and I am sent home while the specimen is sent to the lab for an analysis. When I come back in a week, I get the verdict as to whether or not he caught the cancer.

After my March 12th operation, when I came back on March 19th to have the stitches removed, he told me that the lab’s biopsy revealed that there were still some areas to be worked on. That’s when he suggested that I go to the MOHS man.

My First Medical Concierge
 When I called the MOHS man’s main office, I was told that the earliest I could be seen would be on April 17th, which was too far in the future for me. I called again, asked specifically for the MOHS man, and left a message with Kathy, who was his “concierge.” I persuaded her to move the date up, and it’s now scheduled for tomorrow, March 27.

I called this morning asking what meds I should stop taking before the procedure,
and the receptionist called back immediately. Tomorrow is not a procedure day, the appointment is for the MOH’s man to look at you, evaluate you, and then schedule a date in the future for the procedure.

I carefully explained that my primary doctor had sent the MOH’s man the complete lab results of the first procedure, but the concierge said that I have to be examined in person before he would even think about cutting into me.

So tomorrow, I will go in for an hour, be examined, and that appointment is to determine what is to be eventually done and when.

An appointment for an appointment sounds like a way to add to the Medicare billing,
and cost me some more time in a waiting room.

My only hope for satisfaction tomorrow is if I get to meet a medical concierge for the first time ever.

No comments: