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April 20, 2014
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Diary of a patient—Part one


I called Dr. Spinard. For those of you who just arrived in the river valley yesterday, Lorraine Spinard is our own medical wizard(ess). If she can’t cure you with something grown in her garden, she can surely diagnose you. In the meantime, I had self-diagnosed a stuck illeocecal valve while studying the reflexology chart at the pedicurist, remembering a similar pain once before when Dr. Spinard poked me so hard I thought I would scream. It turns out I was remembering the pain but not the location. After about two minutes, the good doctor assured me I was pointing to my stomach and was exhibiting symptoms of an ulcer. She then tested and re-tested me with various substances and muscle responses. Because Dr. Spinard is a chiropractor, she cannot prescribe tests that my insurance will cover. That doesn’t keep her from being shocked that the hospital did not perform an endoscopy immediately. I left the office 45 minutes later relieved to have been assessed by someone with an enquiring mind and a scientific method, who was not content to say “I don’t know” and release me into the night. I paid her $35 and left with instructions to see a gastroenterologist, get an H-pylori test and endoscopy and drink aloe vera juice to relieve my distress.

(My next River Muse column will continue this theme by inquiring “Why did a 48-year-old father of two die of a heart attack not long after seeking medical care?”)