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Ovine, bovine, duck

When my daughter was just a little girl I noticed she had no problem digging into a hamburger or a slice of roast beef, but she tended to dissect and pick at chicken or turkey. Studying its structure more than eating.

That, I think, started a long process of observing what I consider to be some peculiar habits American people have in regards to meat. I concluded to my satisfaction that Trudy's different approach to the two types of meat was because the poultry was essentially in a recognizable shape of what the creature had been. A roast, on the other hand, was just a red block of "meat."

Next I started thinking about our naming convention at the meat counter. We don't have cow, pig and sheep. We have beef, pork and mutton. But when we get to the more diminutive critters we call them what they are: lamb, turkey, chicken and duck. Calves get credit only for their livers, otherwise they're veal or just beef.

We seem to have a problem facing up to eating the larger animals.

In advertising, on the signs and sides of restaurants, if they are touting their meaty offerings, invariably it will be done in a "cute" cartoon manner. Why, I wonder, do we find it less objectionable to eat a loveable looking "Porky Pig" or a neon, bony longhorn cow?

I'm not a vegetarian and I'm not being critical, but I am academically curious how this all came about. I can only assume we have historically had some sort of block against the concept of consuming these larger animals. It carries over, even, into game. Deer is venison, wild pig is wild boar (whether boar or sow, so far as I can tell), but rabbit is rabbit and the game birds retain their generic names.

Only when you get to the exotic meats which are eaten more often for the "adventure" or of dire necessity do they retain the generic name, such as bear or moose. Goodness knows, if you're going to chow down on a hunk of bear you want people to know you have " ... and I've eaten rattlesnake, too. Tastes like chicken."

I think Trudy's chicken must have tasted like rattlesnake.

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A tail of two cities

Or, I'd like to help you, butt

Hippocrates, where are you when you're needed? I think the lust for the dollar has superseded your fine ideals. In an "all or none" decision local physicians take the paradoxical stance of not up yours unless you'll be my patient.

Men, and some women, who are older than 50 and who follow the recommended medical examination procedures are familiar with the disgusting and debasing process known as "flexible sigmoidoscopy."

It's a predominately visual inspection of the sigmoid colon, from anus to transverse colon, which cuts across your body just below the diaphragm. It's accomplished by violating the patient's body with a large diameter hose, aided and abetted by injecting air, and a physician peers though a scope, looking for tumors, polyps or lesions that could indicate cancer or some other problem.

A female friend suggests men can endure such procedures by pretending to be prisoners of war being tortured to provide vital information. That seems a pretty believable scenario.

The procedure, itself, is an ordeal and a forced lesson in humility. I can't imagine anyone maintaining an arrogant, pompous demeanor under these circumstances. They're only required every five years but before someone makes a gender call, it really can't be compared to an ob-gyn exam because it is more intrusive and the preparations are as disgusting as is the procedure.

Which I've discovered can present its own problems when one lives in a rural area.

My internist is with a medical group approximately 90 miles from where I live. Since I had lung cancer about six years ago, I want first rate medical care and it is my opinion I have to drive that far to assure that degree of competence. Though inconvenient, it has generally worked well.

Telling me recently it is time for the dread procedure, he asked his nurse to arrange to have the gastrointestinal folks do the examination. She did and I was informed it would be done at 7 a.m. That means leaving home at 5 a.m. but life does have its bumpy spots as well as smooth.

A couple of days later I got (pardon the pun) a poop sheet telling me how to prepare for the exam. According to it, I need to get two Fleet's enemas. I am to administer the first one an hour and a half before the exam (just before I leave).

Now it gets tricky. I'm to administer the second enema half an hour before the exam.

There is a rest stop that probably is adequately located to allow for the half-hour-before schedule. But the instructions say to "lie on your left side and hold for 15 minutes."

I suppose I could take a plastic sheet so I wouldn't have to lie on a disgusting Interstate Highway rest stop floor but, intuitively, I don't think that action would be well received by my fellow travelers or the personnel assigned to the wayside.

You probably see where I'm going.

Learning that this procedure is administered locally, I called to see if I could get an appointment. The woman who answered the phone said she knows they do the procedures there but she'd have to transfer me. The woman she transferred me to took a lot of information and said she'd call back. When she did she told me they don't do the procedure there. But a similar facility, owned by the same corporation, about 30 miles away does. She even had the name of a doctor.

I called and his nurse assured me they do flexible sigmoidoscopies routinely and told my how much I would like Dr. Losey. She said I would first have to have a "get acquainted" appointment (maybe he wanted to see what the other end of me looks like?) and was checking for a time. I asked if she needed the name and number of my internist?

"Oh, when you come in, you'll have to sign a release to have them send all your medical records here."

I told her she and Dr. Losey need to know I'm quite content with my internist and have no intention of changing. I simply want to have a somewhat embarrassing, inconvenient but routine exam performed a little closer to home.

After what I'll assume was a quick consult with the affable Dr. Losey, she informed me they were no longer interesting in performing the procedure for me.

She was wrong. I don't like Dr. Losey at all. I think he's out for the buck and if he ever knew the Hippocratic oath, he has obviously forgotten it or just doesn't give a ____.

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John Penman Jones
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