On a trivial trial of aging


Age and indignities go together. In the grossly overregulated state of NSW I’m now required to have my doctor sign off on my fitness to drive each year. Hoons on the road requiring institutionalisation are however free of medical or psychological restraints.

Anyway, I learned to my shock that my doctor had retired at Christmas. I asked whether that was allowed, to make light of the situation. The lady receptionist exhibited no hint of humour in her demeanour. Could I see somebody else I asked. One seeming problem, now only women GPs remained in the practice. Look I am not sexist, well I am a little, but in any event I feels more comfortable with a male doctor. I have never had a female doctor. I would accept one in an emergency of course – I think it was a woman who cut open my stomach last year – but otherwise I don’t want to change. OK feminism and all that but there’s wall-to-wall women wherever you look. And white male GPs are getting as rare as hens’ teeth.

A breakthrough. I was informed that a new-to-the-practice male doctor comes in two days week. I’ll book I said. Will you take an eye test before with an optometrist, she said? I’ve never done that I said. My doctor has always done that. Well, she replied, we don’t know whether the new doctor does that and won’t be able to ask him until he comes in – which happened to be the day of my proposed appointment. Catch 22.

Clearly there was no chance of her contacting the doctor beforehand to ask him. I was reminded of the lady in Little Britain: “The computer says no.” I needed time to reflect and left without booking an appointment. I’ll go in again next week, book an appointment and take a chance on the doctor doing or not doing an eye test. At least I’ll find out.

There are usually two people at the reception desk. I’ll make a bee-line for the other one. Eventually there will be no choice – for any of us.

“…No memory of having starred / Atones for later disregard / Or keeps the end from being hard. / Better to go down dignified / with boughten friendship at your side / Than none at all. / Provide, provide!” – Or someone will provide for ya (Robert Frost adds at the end of his reading of his poem Provide, Provide.)


26 responses to “On a trivial trial of aging”

  1. Vicki Avatar
    Vicki

    I have not got to the stage of a medical test and am still at the stage of needing a general OK from my GP. So I was alarmed when she ( of course “she”) observed that my cholesterol was high & I needed further checking. I refused & she became quite uppity, hinting that she may refuse to sign the document in future.

    Goes without saying I won’t be consulting her in future. Checked the government policy & you can’t be refused for high cholesterol.

  2. Mak Siccar Avatar
    Mak Siccar

    Vicki.
    A few points to note:

    Cholesterol is brain food.

    Cholesterol naturally increases as you get older.

    The goal posts have shifted (downwards) as to what constitutes ‘high’ cholesterol.

    You are probably aware of books such as this but just in case….

    https://drmalcolmkendrick.org/books-by-dr-malcolm-kendrick/the-great-cholesterol-con/

    Also on his website is the following:

    https://drmalcolmkendrick.org/2023/12/10/very-high-ldl-no-impact-on-plaque-progression/

    Stick to your guns, as I have with my GP.

  3. Bruce Avatar
    Bruce

    How much “spillage” is there in the handing out of “cholesterol-treatment’ prescriptions?

    Anf others?

  4. shatterzzz Avatar
    shatterzzz

    Last November I went to a quack for the 1st time in 10 years (since cleared of Cancer) .. I’m 76 had an old age problem for the past dozen years more a nuisance than anything else until now when it has escalated slightly .. sooo .. trip to a doc .. explains it all and instead of the tablets I expected off for blood tests & an ultra sound .. FFS! ..
    Anywayz, following week I’m back for the results and he runz thru this list of odds & sods the test(s) are for .. most perfect, couple borderline … then I sez, “This is all wonderful BUT what about the actual problem I came in with?” ..
    “Oh!”, he sez, “I’ll have to send you to a specialist for that” ……
    Sooo, I’ve ended up with all these “results” I never asked for and now have to wait until the end of February to see a specialist …. and I still haven’t got the tablets I expected …!
    no wonder I don’t go to quacks very often ..!

  5. yackman Avatar
    yackman

    I have had a very similar experience re driving sign off.
    An Eye Test done despite having a clearance from the cataract surgeon that I no longer require spectacles for driving and an annual full check by an optometrist with copy to the GP Clinic records.
    I have also noticed that the GP test chart set ups vary in both lighting and distance and are sub-optimal for intra-ocular lens focal length testing.
    The threat of loss of Licence is always in the back of my mind when dealing with GPs.
    The GPs are of course concerned about liability.

  6. Roger Avatar
    Roger

    I can’t recall ever having an eye test in QLD for a driver’s license.

    Have I slipped through the cracks of bureaucracy? Wouldn’t be the first time!

    I will also add that I’ve had a female GP for 10 years and she is excellent, although the practice discriminated against me during covid. I stayed with them because of continuity of care with my GP and the fact that getting in as a new patient anywhere else is fraught with difficulties. The only white male GPs in the practice are past retirement.

  7. Bill P Avatar
    Bill P

    I’m surprised this hasn’t happened in Allantown.
    My renewal was cut back to 3 years but.

  8. Damon Avatar
    Damon

    “I can’t recall ever having an eye test in QLD for a driver’s license”

    Then I don’t know how you’re still driving. I thought they were mandatory for anyone over 70. It might be over 75 – I can”t remember, but I’ve been having them for many years.

  9. Bruce in WA Avatar
    Bruce in WA

    The practice I attend has about 12 doctors; only two of whom are European, and one of those is a female. But that’s by-the-by. My GP called me back in after my last visit to breathlessly tell me I’m diabetic having “failed” two fasting glucose tests in a row. I was gobsmacked; I have NO other symptoms whatsoever … zero, zilch, nada. He wanted me on metformin pronto.

    Now, I don’t want to take that shite. Nor do I want to have to declare myself diabetic whenever I travel (insurance). So I have not filled the prescription but bought a BGL meter. My fasting levels are consistently low to mid 6s and they want me at 5.9 or below. I’m determined to see what effect lifestyle changes to diet and exercise (and restricting alcohol intake) will have on that. If I can get it below 6.0, I’m going to be back there whinging to my GP.

    And just to top it all off, it appears that the nice Minister for Police (WA) is going to force me to have a medical (because I’m over 70) and a psychiatric evaluation every time I renew my firearms licence — if I’m even “allowed” to keep my rifles at all! He’s already said that “old people” shouldn’t be allowed to own firearms. Nice bloke.

    As a philosopher once said: “Getting old sucks the big one”.

  10. Louis Litt Avatar
    Louis Litt

    Interesting the lack of white male gps, would this happen at the umat test.
    Empathy is highly regarded.
    BTW – at school the running joke was I went to the doctors, he grabbed my balls and said cough – but I’m here for my eye- boom boom.
    Does this still happen?

  11. Vicki Avatar
    Vicki

    https://drmalcolmkendrick.org/books-by-dr-malcolm-kendrick/the-great-cholesterol-con/

    Yes – love Dr Kendrick – & also followed his good advice during Covid. His latest book – “The Clot thickens “. Also follow cardiologist Dr. Aseem Malhotra who was recent in Oz re the vaccine controversy. Bot, of course, rubbles the cholesterol mythology.

  12. Vicki Avatar
    Vicki

    https://drmalcolmkendrick.org/books-by-dr-malcolm-kendrick/the-great-cholesterol-con/

    Yes – love Dr Kendrick – & also followed his good advice during Covid. His latest book – “The Clot thickens “. Also follow cardiologist Dr. Aseem Malhotra who was recent in Oz re the vaccine controversy. Both, of course, rubbish the cholesterol mythology.

  13. Damon Avatar
    Damon

    “Interesting the lack of white male gps”

    Curiously, this also appears to be true of veterinarians. When I was in Uni, most of the vet students were male.

  14. Mark from Melbourne Avatar
    Mark from Melbourne

    My fasting levels are consistently low to mid 6s and they want me at 5.9 or below.

    They are by the book idiots.

  15. Duc de Normandie Avatar
    Duc de Normandie

    Yes, my ‘type two diabetes’ is defined by 6.3 on the Richter Scale. Previously this was ok, and I was able to lower it by cutting out sugar….

    My cholesterol is borderline too, which one reckons could be cut by giving up butter and cheese.

    On the driving, I rather believe they want to stop retired people driving at all. They’ll bring the age eye test down to 69 just as the pension age rises to 69.

    I figure I’ll go on my last road trip in a couple of years.

    They’ll stop you flying too.

  16. Diogenes Avatar
    Diogenes

    He wanted me on metformin pronto.

    My brother’s GF is a Dr. She and a lot of her colleagues are taking a half Metformin a day prophylacticly as there are some papers which show it slows down other ageing symptoms.

  17. OldOzzie Avatar
    OldOzzie

    One seeming problem, now only women GPs remained in the practice. Look I am not sexist, well I am a little, but in any event I feels more comfortable with a male doctor. I have never had a female doctor.

    I would accept one in an emergency of course – I think it was a woman who cut open my stomach last year – but otherwise I don’t want to change. OK feminism and all that but there’s wall-to-wall women wherever you look. And white male GPs are getting as rare as hens’ teeth.

    Peter,

    you need to give up your prejudices on Female GPs

    I have been going to a Female GP for over 20 years – I changed because I was impressed by the excellence of my younger daughter’s Female GP at the same practice and who is my back up GP – Like my Wife & Daughters, My Female GP extremely down to to earth and efficient

    My Plastic Surgeon for usual skin cancers is a Malaysian Chinese Lady, and my Radiotherapy Specialist is Female as is my Muslim Haematologist who took over when my Professor retired – Most of my major surgery Anaesthetists were Female, Neurosurgeons, 1 female in 5, Plastic Surgeons 50/50

    Re Fitness to Drive, as I have a Heavy Vehicle HC R licence, I have to have Cardiologist report as well as GP Report

    I have Cardiology 1st, then a week later GP Report, and at that session get my GP to renew Cardiologist Referral

    Service NSW Dept of Tranport could not handle Cardiology Report before GP and sent me a letter in January saying I need Cardiologist Report – they promised to fix their system for next year

  18. duncanm Avatar
    duncanm

    .. reminds me of my heart – have some weird ST elongation and some inverted T’s.

    Every ECG I’ve been hooked up to goes bananas with loud alarms and says I’m having a heart attack.

    Medical staff rush around ready to do god knows what while I calmly explain to them that its quite normal.

    First time it was picked up a decade or so ago, I went through a barrage of tests and the specialist’s educated and carefully considered conclusion was that I’m perfectly healthy, just odd.

  19. Drax Avatar
    Drax

    Eye tests for driving start at age 75 in Queensland. I’ve had a few. I always visit my local SpecSavers prior to seeing the GP for his medical report. It’s a free service and it gives me a complete review of my vision. The other reason I go is that there are two delightful young female optometrists, and every time I go, I wish I was 50 years younger.

  20. duncanm Avatar
    duncanm

    nothing like a sweet young thing staring into your eyes..

  21. Bruce in WA Avatar
    Bruce in WA

    nothing like a sweet young thing staring into your eyes..

    Oh … eyes … not your proctologist then.

  22. Winston Smith Avatar

    Bruce in WA
    Feb 11, 2024 1:32 PM

    Now, I don’t want to take that shite. Nor do I want to have to declare myself diabetic whenever I travel (insurance). So I have not filled the prescription but bought a BGL meter. My fasting levels are consistently low to mid 6s and they want me at 5.9 or below.

    A little hint from an old frustrated nurse who got sick of insulin regimes from inexperienced doctors who used sliding scale insulin regimes and argued about the 0.1 mmol/l differences and ended up the patient having hypos during the night, requiring bikkies and glucose.
    Go for a two k walk before you give blood, your BSL at the start may be 6mmol/l and by the time you get back it will be about 5mmol/l. Try it out for yourself and see how long it takes for your BSL to regain the pre exercise level.

  23. Winston Smith Avatar

    Damon
    Feb 11, 2024 11:51 AM

    “I can’t recall ever having an eye test in QLD for a driver’s license”

    Then I don’t know how you’re still driving. I thought they were mandatory for anyone over 70. It might be over 75 – I can”t remember, but I’ve been having them for many years.

    Damon – 75 in Qld.

  24. Winston Smith Avatar

    Old Ozzie:

    Re Fitness to Drive, as I have a Heavy Vehicle HC R licence, I have to have Cardiologist report as well as GP Report

    You must have had to hold your tongue a lot after some of the comments after the train/semi collision a while back.
    Some of them were almost hysterically nasty.

  25. Bruce in WA Avatar
    Bruce in WA

    A little hint from an old frustrated nurse who got sick of insulin regimes from inexperienced doctors who used sliding scale insulin regimes and argued about the 0.1 mmol/l differences and ended up the patient having hypos during the night, requiring bikkies and glucose.
    Go for a two k walk before you give blood, your BSL at the start may be 6mmol/l and by the time you get back it will be about 5mmol/l. Try it out for yourself and see how long it takes for your BSL to regain the pre exercise level.

    Thanks for the tip! I’ll give it a whirl!

  26. Bruce in WA Avatar
    Bruce in WA

    Hey, Winston, if you see this:

    Did a walk this morning, followed by a session with my physio/chiro. Back home about 11.00 am and still fasting, did a BGL.

    5.6!! Outstanding. Thank you.

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