“What is your name? Your date of birth?” The doctor on the zoom call asked. He appeared to be around my age.
I gave the information to an unsmiling man who was located somewhere in the States.
I wanted to ask him for his credentials, how am I supposed to know that he is really a doctor?
I picked a random website that promised medical advice from an MD for $48.95.
Yes, they take my insurance. No, I didn’t want to deal with that right now.
My sister called one of these doctors when she got a nasty case of Covid a few months ago and her doctor had no appointments for the next week. The nurse practitioner she talked to gave her solid medical advice.
I was willing to give it a try from my hotel room in Krakow, Poland where I had been volunteering for Ukrainian refugees for the past month. I just slept away most of another day, not normal for me.
Why was I so tired?
The doctor asked for a basic medical history.
I told him zero surgeries. No allergies. No medical situations, ever.
(Lightening didn’t strike.)
With a flat voice that oozed a lack of interest, he asked for my current symptoms.
I told him that I’ve been exhausted since Covid and fall asleep standing up or sitting on the tram and that it’s hard to wake in the morning.
He asked more questions and had me place my finger on the pulse on my wrist and count of my pulse beats.
He asked if I had any previous history with my heart.
And I hesitated. Half a beat. What should I tell him?
He asked if I ever wore a heart monitor.
I countered: “Do you think there is something wrong with my heart?”
He asked if I ever took medication for low blood pressure.
My eyes widened. My blood pressure does run low. How did he know? I gave him nothing to go on.
He laughed at my surprise and said he’s been doing this a long time and added that some people have problems with their adrenal system after Covid and that if the adrenals not balanced, blood pressure could go lower than normal. He asked if I crave salt or sugar.
Normally salt, but right now I crave both.
(I found a new gluten-free bakery near the Jewish Quarter today. Zakrecona Kawiarenka: Trynitarska 6/LU2, 31-061 Krakow, Poland. Their blueberry carrot cake is a marvel. I ate it fast, then sipped my water.)
He nodded and asked how many times a day I ate.
Yeah. I don’t usually eat until the end of the day. Just not hungry.
He told me I was going to feel better, fast. There were some simple things I could do.
That’s an attitude I can live with.
I had a call with a doctor before this call. It was a sixty dollar call. I was more honest with my medical history and the doctor said that I needed to fly home, immediately and receive treatment.
“For whatever’s affecting you. It must be addressed right away.”
I asked her how it would be addressed.
She said I had to talk to my doctor for a treatment plan.
Treatment plan? What exactly are we treating?
She told me that my doctor would write that up for me.
I told her that I was having trouble with my connection.
“No, you’re not.”
I hung up.
I gave myself permission years ago to back away from “Doctors of Dred” that fill me with monster stories when there is no basis for fear.
I don’t do medical fear.
I’d never hung up on anyone before. That was worth the $60.
That was satisfying.
I decided to try again. (The call, not the hang up.) I ought to talk to someone about falling asleep on my feet.
I told the doctor with a flat voice that I was vacationing and volunteering away from home right now.
He suggested I drink more water, up my magnesium—or foods that have it—I might not be able to find the supplements here, take vitamin C and eat more fruit, eat fish, eat meals every two hours (blueberry carrot cake as medicine!!!), eat more salt and take time for napping and walking.
I nodded. I’ve never had a doctor suggest I eat certain foods.
He added that I should nap, then take a brisk walk to get my heart rate up.
I was relieved that there was a light at the end of my exhaustion.
After we hung up, I researched Adrenal Fatigue: Craving salt and sugar. (!) Hard to wake in the morning. (!) Sleep doesn’t relieve symptoms. (!) Lower blood pressure. (!)
I asked him if I should go home early, return to New York.
“Why would you do that?”
I liked that answer.
Thanks for reading.
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