Friday, January 12, 2007

Wristy business

The relatively sudden onslaught of medical care I've been dealing with for the past six weeks has had some interesting side effects. (Figuratively, anyway. The actual medical side effects have been thankfully few.) That I've had more doctor's appointments in the past month-and-a-half than I'd had in the 10 years prior has enabled me to learn some noteworthy things about my body.

For example, I know that my blood pressure is generally some three-digit number followed by some two-digit number. For years, whenever people would recount their blood pressure scores as evidence of something (growing old? eating too many Doritos?), I'd nod knowingly, as though I actually could tell the difference between the numbers in a blood pressure reading and the numbers in a tire size.

And I've had a variety of entertaining tests that have all, for some reason, involved the consumption of unpleasant liquids followed by attempts to make humorous banter with the medical staff in various departments at Froedtert Memorial Lutheran Hospital (Jamie the CT Scan Technologist was much more receptive than the folks doing the colonoscopy, though in fairness, I may have been less funny under sedation. Or perhaps I was more funny, but the medication wiped out my memory of the witty reparteé.)

But the most remarkable finding to come out of six weeks of medical care is the discovery that I have uncommonly small wrists.

You see, Sue, my P.A. (who's essentially managing my life at this point), thought that between the condition I'm dealing with, the various medications I'm on, and the fact that I'm allergic to X-ray contrast solution (the major discovery from my CT scan), I really ought to have some kind of ID tag, in case a piano falls on me as I get off the bus in the morning ("Caution: Allergic to falling pianos").

She suggested a dog tag - not a GI-style dog tag, but a real, live brass tag you'd buy for Fido, provided you use the 1940s as your guide for naming pets.

"They're, like, 5 dollars," she said, "and you can get them in the shape of a fire hydrant, which would be a real conversation starter." I like Sue.

But I had the feeling the fire hydrant tag wouldn't be too much use, because alll the lettering would have been worn off within about four days, since I would have played with it incessantly. (Plus, my coworkers would have killed me after about 20 minutes of constant clanking, which would have negated the need for the tag.) Plus, I hate wearing necklaces.

The other option was a bracelet. I like wearing bracelets even less than I like wearing necklaces, inasmuch guys wearing them tend to look like minor characters named "Louie" in mobster movies.

But I found a place that carried a medical tag that looks like, basically, a velcro watch band. Hopefully, if an ambulance crew ever has to deal with me, someone will be curious what time it is. When it came time to order it, I looked at my wrist and decided it probably fit in the "small" category. My watch bands have always been cinched up to the last hole, or stretched to the end of the velcro strip, but it never dawned on me that my wrists were that small.

The band came in the mail the other day. It was just as advertised, so no one's going to cast me in "Godfather IV". It came in a small, Ziploc-style bag. On it, a sticker:

Small: Ages 3-9

I'm looking forward to wearing my daughter's hand-me-downs in a few months.

No comments: