compare and contrast

I spent an hour at the doctor today. I go to an “internist,” which first concerns me. I react to this term by thinking about an “intern,” which isn’t what Dr. F. is. Rather, he specializes in the internal part of the body, which I suppose is what I’d want any doctor to do. I’m just glad that he’s good — and experienced — at it.

Today we compared things called LDLs with things called HDLs. I admit that I don’t fully understand any of these DLs, but I picture them dancing around in my blood stream, doing things … I’m not sure exactly what. Maybe it’s something like the old Warner Brother cartoons in which a sheep dog and a coyote both “punch in” to clock their hours on the job and then go about their contrarily aimed goals. Or, maybe it’s something to be placed in the scene of a vague memory of a Disneyland exhibit or a 4th grade movie reel of some miniaturized space craft that is made to travel through the arteries and veins. If the craft and its arsenal knew anything about LDLs, they would shoot them with miniature torpedos, splattering and disintegrating them at every turn. As it is, there is no such craft nor any such torpedos, but I have this image that the HDLs do something similar. Or maybe they just hang out with the LDLs for a while so that the LDLs stay out of trouble. In my case, I have a high count of LDLs, but also a high count of HDLs, and this makes it all better.

In the waiting room, I sat among of the many typical patients for an “internist.” Everyone that was there at the time was about 30 or 40 years my senior. One guy had big windshield like glasses with a tall cap, the kind you wear when you’re driving a tractor. Another carried a device that pumped extra puffs of air into his nose when he inhaled. All remaining hair in the room was white, and all the shirts buttoned up. Next to the lab, where they draw blood, discussion of “PSA” abounded. I visited the restroom just to celebrate still being able to efficiently. In contrast to my brethren, I had shown up with a messenger bag slung over my shoulder and a bike helmet under my arm. Looking around at the time I didn’t feel so much out of place as I felt like I was in the right place: If these guys were still up and about under the care of this physician, then maybe I was in good hands. Only as I was leaving did I realize that there was start contrast between the person who rides his bike to the hospital (no bike racks, only ramps for wheelchairs) and the person who is being consulted for possible heart conditions. The prognosis: I can still ride the bike for now. In fact, I ought to keep at it.


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