Last Friday I spent 3+ rather miserable hours at a consult with an interventional radiologist about my back. How miserable? Oh have mercy. Let me count the ways (no, on second thought, I won’t).
I realize that the competence of a physician and his or her skill at diagnosing and treating disease has nothing to do with the person’s personality. But it is a bit easier to warm to a physician—or a Physicians Assistant, such as Not a Doctor Bob, who takes care of my basic medical needs, who is loving and pleasant and kind, even when I am a “bad patient”—than it is to one who is the archetype of “I am the physician, I am God. You are the patient, and this is what you will do.”
Unfortunately, the physician who I was consulting about my back was something of an arrogant bully.
However, as much as I did not like him very much, I acknowledge that he does seem to know his business. Because the level of pain in my back has subsided a great deal—I have not had to take a heavy-duty pain pill for almost 2 weeks—he believes that I do not need the vertebroplasty that was being proposed, at least not for the time being.
Vertebroplasty is a procedure in which the interventional radiologist sticks a needle into the bone and injects a plastic cement to shore up the bone.
Instead, he is more concerned about stopping the progression of the osteoporosis in my spine, which is fairly advanced, and maybe even rebuilding the bone.
Now a few days before this appointment, Not a Doctor Bob gave me a list of all the available treatments for osteoporosis so I could research it out and decide which one I wanted to do. The very last one he listed was a particular drug that must be injected every day. I immediately decided I did not want to use that medication.
Dr Bully happens to believe that that very drug is the best one to stop the process, and so he sent me home with a 28-day supply of it and I received instructions on how to do the injection.
"Now don't press the needle in too hard," the nurse says, "you don't want to cause a bruise."
I have been injecting myself for a week, and it is not a big deal after all. The needle is tiny—about as thick as a sewing thread and maybe a quarter-inch long—but nevertheless, I have a some spectacular bruises decorating my belly. I can barely feel the needle going in and I guess I am pressing too hard.
Good thing my belly is not on public display.