Monthly Archives: September 2015

What Kind of Infection?

Hey, long time no see, but I, Dr. Reinhold, am back!  Bruce gave me a call, because he’s had kind of a tough week.  But then what does a person expect when after waiting three weeks for a miracle, it does not occur.  Dr. Reinhold’s rule of thumb is, and in fact it is another “invention” of his (The Three-Week Rule) that if you’ve got something physical going wrong with you, 9 times out of 10 it will go away in three weeks, so don’t waste your time and money running around to doctors/dentists in the meantime; just wait it out.  Now regrettably, that leaves 10% of the cases that by the time you get to dealing with them, they’re going to be pretty nasty.(1)  So it was, that when Bruce finally went to the dentist after hoping against hope that the sore area in his mouth would magically get better, he got some pretty bad news.

The news was so bad that the dentist had to refer Bruce to a “fancy”(2) periodontist.  This was the point at which Bruce called me in for a second opinion.  He was concerned about the written diagnosis on the referral form.  Now Dr. Reinhold has seen just about everything in his long and storied career, but I was not prepared for this.  Take a look at the section I have highlighted.

Acute Bum Infection Ooooeeeee, this guy is really sick!  His mouth is so bad that the infection has reached his arsch.(3)  Then, I thought, no, perhaps this dentist was just indicating that Bruce is a cute bum with an infection.   Or, was she saying his bum is cute and infected?

Aw, doc, go crawl under a rock or something.  Just so you know, in your case, the MD stands damn meddler, and I don’t need you.  I did have some fun with this form at the periodontists office.  After we’d been talking for a while and he decided on a game plan, his assistant set out a set of instruments.  It was then I pointed out to both of them that they were probably going to need some more tools in light of the diagnosis provided by my dentist.  When the two of them read what was actually there, it cracked them up.  When the laughter quieted, the perio guy did his exam and said that at the next appointment (end of the month) he’s going to do gum surgery, but that there was an 85% chance that the surgery would lead to extraction of the tooth.  Needless to say, there was no more laughing, especially from me.  I just hope he doesn’t pull the thing out through my bum!

This next part isn’t funny, but Dr. Reinhold insisted that I pass along this PSA, because of the lesson to be learned.  About a month ago a real doctor suggested that due to my osteoporosis I start taking Fosamax (actually a generic form, but same thing).  You might not believe it, but due to bone loss, the idiotic author is actually shrinking, now standing 1.5 inches shorter than just a year ago.

This drug has been around for years and used by millions of people before me.  I’m guessing some of you take it.  I love a drug like that.  I don’t have to worry that I’m a guinea pig, and the generic form of anything is “cheap.”  I actually gave the the pharmacist some guff about the price, because at just 84 cents for a month’s supply, I didn’t feel justified in using my credit card.

My doctor cautioned that the big thing to watch for with the Fosamax is it’s propensity to give one trouble in the esophagus, kind of an acid reflux sort of thing.  The pharmacist warned me of the same thing.  So after all the warnings, I was careful to follow directions and drink a big glass of water, remain upright, and not eat for an hour.  Everything went fine.  Week one, no problem; week two, no problem; week three…hmmm.  I woke up on Thursday morning with pain in one of my hips.  I didn’t think anything of it, threw down 3 ibuprofen, and did the “morning 40” on the bike.  Usually after I’m on the bike, and especially after the ibuprofen, everything resolves itself and I’m fine.  This day though, the pain in the hip kept bugging me through the entire ride.

I’m not going to drag this out, but just say the pain gradually spread from one hip across my pelvis to the the other hip and got worse and worse as I went into the weekend.  I had two pretty miserable days where I could just barely walk, just shuffled along.  You know, they don’t call me the idiotic author for no reason, hmmm, double negative there, but you know what I’m saying.  On Friday night though, I finally put two and two together and looked at the Fosamax medication guide that came with the drug from the pharmacy.  It was in there that I read that the drug could cause severe bone, joint and muscle pain and in particular to the hip, groin and thigh.  Of course, this didn’t mean that what was going on was related to the drug, but I sure suspected it.

Saturday and Sunday were bad, but Monday things started to improve.  It was Monday too that I finally connected with my doctor on the phone, and he confirmed that my symptoms were classic of the 2% of the population that cannot take Fosamax.  While he goes “back to the drawing board” on what I can take, I continue to improve, and after missing a full week of biking, will get back on the road tomorrow, I think.  My hips still get a bit sore as each day goes along.

So the big lesson is, don’t be like the idiotic author; read the stuff that comes with any new drug you take, so that you know what to be on the look-out for.  Your doctor can’t warn you about everything.(4)

Finally, in Pony News, I’ve made the plunge and ordered the missing side panels that the Pony did not have as I found him in the woods.  If you wonder what a Pony looks like with side panels versus my Pony here are a couple of photos.

I found new, aftermarket panels for just a smidge over $100 through Kuhn’s (see my “Links” page).  Always ask Maggie for the “That Idiotic Tractor Discount,” and after she stops laughing she might knock a few bucks off.  The panels come primed, so I’ll still have to paint them red.

Hey, thanks for reading and for ALWAYS READING YOUR MEDICATION GUIDES.

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(1)  “Nasty” in this case could include prognoses up to and including death…just sayin’.
(2)  “Fancy” is a dental term meaning ludicrously expensive.
(3)  Sometimes Dr. Reinhold slips into German, but “arsch” translated, means bum in The Queen’s English.  In The Princess’s English it would simply mean “ass.”
(4)  Dr. Reinhold is saying, of course, that he would have warned me, but I think truly that’s just hinder sight.

It Must Have Been the Loons

Saturday night Garrison Keillor was back on “live” from the Minnesota State Fair in St. Paul.  There was a point in the show where he described annual trips to Brainerd in northern Minnesota, for summer vacations.  He cued-up the sound effects guy who did the sound of a loon a couple times during the sequence.  I don’t know, I’m telling you, I’m admitting something, maybe some weakness, but his reference to those trips combined with the very realistic sound of the loon, well, my eyes started to well up.  I was so surprised by the feeling that came over me, that I wondered, what’s the matter with me?

Like the family in his story, mine too had taken those annual summer trips, staying at various resorts on lakes scattered around northern Wisconsin and Minnesota.  And those places, as I think back, jeez for a youngster, they became the entire “world”  for a week or two.  Things that happened on those trips, even though I was just a kid at the time, stick with me to this day.  I know this; I’ve had a distrust of horses, maybe all large animals, ever since that year when I was about 9 when all of us climbed on horses for a little ride on the back roads.  Toward the end of the ride, when my horse sensed it was near the barn and the end of the ride, it took off like a “horse from hell,” me bouncing up and down, hanging on for dear life, nobody able to catch the damn thing and rein him in until he slowed on reaching the barn.  Crying, and sore where it matters most for a little kid, I was so mad and full of distrust after that, well like I said, a lifetime of horse-hate, and a good long time of distrust of my dad for getting me into that fix.  Of course, any dreams of being a cowboy, forget about them.

Naturally, fishing was a big part of these trips.  There was one year when it seemed all the fish in the lake had themselves gone on vacation, the infamous Year of no Fish.  Men sat around in the evening mumbling and disgusted, drank beer and tried to come up with better battle plans for the next day.  Would it be surface bait, or big heavy lures that would hopefully find the fish lounging down in the depths?  Or perhaps it should be those big “chub” minnows, heavy sinkers and a bobber as big as a tennis ball.  Would trolling be better than sitting still?  Sitting still, ha, it was fishing with my dad when I first became aware of one of his abiding personal traits.  That man had no patience.  If he didn’t catch a fish in five minutes, he’d be yanking on that motor’s starter and it was off to the next spot.  That trait is what made him an excellent Manager of Short-term Investments for 3M, but lousy at buying stocks for the long-term in his own portfolio.  But I digress.

Well, the men should not have fretted and instead just have enjoyed their ice cold Hamm’s beer(1) and relaxed, because my little brother would soon show them the way.  The men, the real fisherman, had always headed out just as the sun was rising, and, yes, the last calls of those loons were fading away for the day.  I don’t know what they thought, perhaps the fish might do something stupid before they had thoroughly awakened?

Anyway, on one of those days when the men had come in for the day, my brother Phil and I took a boat out alone.  He couldn’t have been more than 6 0r 7 and that would have made me 10ish.  It was mid-day, sunny and hot, essentially a lousy time for fishing.  We took cane poles, and fished the only way we knew how, with a worm on a hook and a bobber on the surface.  I don’t recall anymore how long we’d been fishing, but at some point I noticed Phil’s bobber was no where in sight.  Phil pulled up on the pole, it bent practically in two and the line tightened as if a log was at the other end of the line.  Phil kept the line tight, lifted the pole as high as he could and a thrashing Northern Pike broke the surface.  Details fall away with the years, but somehow Phil and I got that fish into the boat.

We weren’t that far out in the lake that our frenzied activity went unnoticed, so when we got back to the dock a hero’s welcome awaited us.  Phil was the man that year, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen on anyone, as big a smile as he had on his face that day as he posed for photos and basked in the glory.

There were many years of me at the end of a tow-rope trying to water ski.  I discovered during that time that the human body has a built in self-protection urge to hang on to whatever it is hanging onto, in any situation where catastrophe appears immanent.  And thus, as I tumbled off the skis and plowed into the lake head-first, self-preservation told me to hang onto the stupid rope for dear life while gallons of disgusting lake water rushed into my mouth and nose.   And I despised the more athletic, idiotic brother because on his first attempt he popped right up like a pro, and before the end of the first summer was slalom-skiing.

Then, as if it wasn’t enough to suffer the shame of my failures, in between those summer vacations everyone delighted in watching my ill-fated attempts on my dad’s 8mm movies.  When I found out that during my folks move to Florida the many boxes of movie reels had somehow been lost, there was some relief in knowing that now finally certain things would be forgotten, almost as if the entire family had submitted to a vacation memory lobotomy.  One thing should not be forgotten, however, I believe it was in my third summer of attempts, I did finally get up on those damn skis…big deal.

And of course, with three boys, three years apart, wrapped up with everything else, someone would be “coming of age.”  So it was that one year the idiotic brother started acting even more idiotic (at least to my mind) than usual.  He wasn’t interested in fishing so much anymore, and he’d disappear for long periods, especially after supper, down at the cabin of a family that had a girl about Jim’s age.  Of course, what girl could resist the handsome, water-skiing star?  It was the summer when the Alfred Hitchcock movie, North by Northwest, was in the theaters, and someone drove Jim and his girl to see it on a date.(2)

Three years apart is a lot at that age, so Jim’s new fascination with girls (yuck!) was a mystery to me.  Why would he want to sit there in the dark with a girl, when he could be hanging out with the guys cracking stupid jokes, throwing Jujubes around the theater, and getting warned about it by pimply, teenage movie wardens.  I could tell that our parents were mildly amused by Jim’s new behavior, but they did not condemn him as a traitor like I did.  Behind their knowing smiles (I understand now), they saw themselves.

I was wrong (naturally); not all memories can be erased, nor of course would we want them to be.  And these stories, well not just the stories themselves, but the sudden realization of how far back, so far far back in the mire of time they are, that’s I think why the eyes welled up.  Then again, it could just have been those damn loon calls.

Happy Labor Day everyone, and thanks for reading.

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(1)  Years later, when I was in college, my dad arranged for me to meet the advertising guy at a twin cities ad agency that came up with the idea for the Hamm’s beer bear that appeared in all the cute TV commercials of the day that were so popular.
(2)  Wikipedia tells me that the year North by Northwest came out was 1959.