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Wednesday, 25 July 2012

A Classic Case

By Joanne Zimmermann

A recent visit to my skin doctor became a pretty unusual experience. I had been treating my nail problems as a fungus but after months of carefully using the meds and avoiding the garden, they looked worse than ever.

You ladies know what a bummer that is, going out and all the gals have nails that look like expensive jewelry with pictures and diamonds to boot. The extended perfect nails give even klutzy looking fingers some class so that one can talk with their hands and bedazzle the onlookers.

I had run out of ways to hide my hands under the table, in my pockets, behind my back. Wearing gloves seemed hopelessly old fashioned.

Anyway, Dr. Sermon always pokes his head in the door and says, “Hi, I will be right with you!” That could mean anywhere from a minute to an hour. But at least you know he is in the building, so I found that kind of reassuring.

When he finally came in, reviewing my chart, he said; “Well it has been two years, six months, four days and 25 minutes since I have seen you!”

That remark kind of made me feel important, I took it to mean he had just been waiting all that time, just for little old me. I am needy that way.

He began looking in my ears so I mentioned my ears itched sometimes; big mistake! He looked at me sternly asking if I used Q-tips in them.

I lied, but he peered more intensely at me until I had to admit it. After a lecture about the dangers of that, he told me to go to the health food store, buy some Barlean’s Flax Oil, take it home and open 15, exactly 15 capsules and put the oil in a dropper bottle. Then go to the liquor store (honestly I am not making this up) and get some vodka.

“But I don’t drink,” I protested.

“Neither do I,” he said.

I was thinking maybe I should start at this point.

“Anyway, you put it in the dropper bottle, shake it up and put it in your ears, wipe it out with a tissue and that will take care of the wax in your ears!”

First, did you ever try to find a dropper bottle lately? They are almost extinct. Finally I bought one from the pharmacist for $3.99. My friend supplied the vodka and I tried opening the 15 capsules. They were big, dark brown and very rubbery.

I punctured one with a turkey lacer, squeezed and some oil came out. I squeezed harder and the oil shot out all over the place. Somehow the oil must be in separate compartments.

My hands got oiler and slipperier. But I finally achieved the task after dropping one capsule into the dropper bottle. Being too large to get it back out, I worked with the turkey lacer like a little spoon until I removed it.

Well, back to the office visit. Next I had the full body inspection and he marveled at my half-grown toenails that I had been putting Vicks VapoRub on for nine months (his suggestion).

He began wrapping this up, writing a prescription for scalp oil followed by baby shampoo, when I mentioned that what I had come for in the first place was crummy fingernails.

He somewhat impatiently inspected them, then looked more closely and excitedly shouted to his assistant. “Look at this, a classic case of psoriasis!” He pointed out the various gross features - pitting, deformity, detachment, etc.

“Go to your primary care doctor and he may want to send you to a rheumatologist,” he concluded.

It’s funny but already I feel much better and my nails are looking somewhat improved. It is probably from applying the corticosteroid scalp oil.

Oh, and my hair has stopped falling out. I have to say, while somewhat unconventional, a visit to Dr. Sermon has at least given me something to write about, for sure.

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Please read instructions for submitting.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


Interesting Story. It does make one laugh. You have a unique way of making one feel sorry for your dilemma.
Well done. Looking for more exciting adventures from you.

This is hilarious!! though I emphathize with your problem, the way you tell the tale is giving me a nice belly laugh!I discovered the dreaded toenail fungus at the nail salon when my colored toenails were wiped clean. I started using tea tree oil, applied 2x daily, and after about three months the new growth seems to be free of fungus. Takes a long time, but I'm happy!

Joanne, my advice to you is: At our age, stay away from doctors as much as possible! I have learned they keep finding more little things wrong with us, none of which will kill us or shorten our lives.

Unusual doctor with just the right touch!!!

Linda, Tea tree oil smells so bad it would scare away anything! Actually, people do use it to treat lice. Great story!

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