Stupid question of the year: "When was it that you didn't feel OK?"
Person who asked: nurse manager at internist's office, after I told her for the second time that I did not need a monthly check-in call because a lot of people were already following me, but she had someone from her office call me anyway.
My answer to when I didn't feel OK, after a Pinteresque pause: "In 2003, when Dr. B diagnosed me with leukemia, and after I had four bone marrow transplants."
(He didn't diagnose me personally, but rather sent me to the hematologist who performed the definitive bone marrow biopsy.)
To back up, at my last checkup, the nurse manager (or maybe practice manager) said she wanted to talk to me afterwards. My doctor said it had to do with Medicare rules for following high-risk patients. He said it would have made more sense when I was sick, as opposed to now, when I am (mostly) well.
When we met, she asked if I needed anything, and would it be helpful for her to call me once a month. I said I had so many people following me, and so many appointments to juggle, that it would be detrimental to add one more thing.
She said she understood.
Then I got the call anyway. I don't know why I find this so annoying, except that the tone and approach was patronizing, as though I don't know what's good for me.
It occurred to me that I could join the ranks of People Who Do Not Call Back. But I called back in case there was a problem with my insurance or something like that.
No, it was just that check-in call. I said it was odd that nobody called the whole time I was sick, hence her question about when it was that I didn't feel well.
READ THE CHART!
No, I didn't really say that.
What I DO have to do is get my ECP,
the light therapy, changed. It is scheduled for Wednesday, July 4th, when the only sunburning will be to the outside of peoples' skin (not mine) as opposed to internally, which is what happens in ECP.
I said I would go in Tuesday, tomorrow, then realized it was crazy and called to change it but didn't get a response so I'll have to email. I'll either add an extra week to keep on the same schedule without missing too much, or just skip to my next appointment.
I've been finding a little joy in pinching my thigh and feeling a little loose skin. This could be a sign of progress, a further loosening of my skin, which for a while, hasn't had any "give."
Like many who started their journalism careers at small papers, I have been thinking a lot about the
shooting at the Capital Gazette
. Memorial services began today for the five victims, who were hardworking journalists, like many I have known, just doing their job.
I was driving when I heard the news. It took a minute for Baltimore to register. Then I thought, that's where my friend Greg is a copy editor now. I pulled over and made a call and found out that he is at the sister paper, the Baltimore Sun. He worked with those who were killed. He wrote eloquently on Facebook about the loss.
I came out of a similar place – The Transcript-Telegram, or T-T – where dedicated reporters and editors put out a good little paper, and, as far as I know, would never have expected a gunman to burst in and commit a horrific crime. I can still picture the newsroom layout – open and accessible to anyone who walked in – and can still hear the clack clack clack of actual typewriters, the ringing of the alarm on the wire machine when an important story came over, the crumpling of paper when a reporter was unhappy with a story and ripped the typewriter paper out. And of course I'll never forget the trip down to the K-Mart Plaza after work to a hole-in-the-wall bar where we had a few (or more than a few) beers and talked into all hours of the night about the old-time newspaper characters.
Not too long ago, when I ran into a public official who I hadn't seen for a while, and he asked, "Are you still an enemy of the people?"
It was a joke, of course, but Donald Trump's "enemy of the people" description of the press has led to such a toxic atmosphere
for journalists that, although you can't prove it, you could imagine being fuel to the fire of the Gazette shooter's rage over some stories that it ran about him.
has led to journalists being shoved, mocked, and threatened. Jeremy Peters, the New York Times Washington correspondent, said on Morning Joe today that some Trump supporters walk up to him and say that his stories are "fake news." Not as shocking as a shooting but it is seriously dismaying.
It's important to step back, with memorial services having started today, and honor those who died and those determined, heroically, to put out the paper.
Greg and I had such a serious conversation about all this that I felt like ending with a funny remembrance on the theme of getting the paper out.
I was a an arts and lifestyle reporter at The Republican at the time of a huge snowstorm. The plow was taking forever to come. The managing editor wanted me to get into work. I said I couldn't get out. (As I told Greg the story, I said Matt instead of Wayne, transposing T-T and Republican editors, then corrected myself.) Mimi passed along the message that Wayne was serious about me getting into work. I got in the car, put it in gear, and tried to plow through the snow. The car got stuck. I tried unsuccessfully to dig out. Wayne thought maybe I could take a cab. There were no cabs.
Finally, late in the afternoon, the plow came. I went into work, got there around 5, touched base, and went back home a couple of hours later. I didn't accomplish anything, but I did show up.