Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The White Coat Syndrome

With the exception of twelve days without Internet connection, Scriblets has been a daily project since November 21, 2009. A total of 900 blog posts have been put up under the Scriblets banner as of May 22, 2012. It started out as a blog about fountain pens, ink and paper, but over time expanded to include topics ranging across a dozen or more different categories. The whole experience has been a consistently interesting and challenging project, while providing a valuable daily writing discipline.
I have been fortunate in enjoying a blessing of free time to devote to this project, and I continue to be stimulated by the various avenues that have provided fodder for the writing, but more and more over the past few months I have yearned to do another kind of writing, one that also requires time and discipline. And now it’s time to turn that corner and give my time to other writing projects.
Beginning today I am revising my schedule of Scriblets posts, cutting back to one a week. It’s doubtful that the weekly post will always fall on Wednesday, as schedule and topics will play a part in what day of the week a new post appears. The previous 900 posts will soon be archived in categories, making it easier for readers to pinpoint a desired topic or specific post. 
It is my hope that regular readers of the blog will continue to find a little that stimulates, informs and entertains. Thanks to all for continuing to come back.


Tuesday was the day long set aside for a check up at the doctor’s, and there I was waiting in the parking lot at 7:30 a.m. When she called to remind me of the appointment, the nurse asked that I try and get there early to take care any beforehand-paperwork and to give me time to change into a paper dress. Mmm…something else to not look forward to. I’m no different from the average guy in feeling a wee bit anxious about a lengthy physical examination, especially one where all my clothes are piled in a basket and I’m standing there wearing a large paper towel while a nurse takes my blood pressure and lines up an array of ominous looking instruments. As my eyes strayed across the hammers, tongs and curious flashlights I wasn’t at all comforted by the sight of a large tube of medical lubricant there beside the rubber gloves.

The doctor came in and right off began chatting about this and that, a technique I assumed designed to relax the patient. Eventually the ‘general’ became more focused as he began prodding, poking and palpating various places between head and toe. Take a deep breath…hold your breath…breathe out…does that hurt? Then it was time for an EKG and the attachment of wires, me waiting for the application of cold gel to lubricate the rubber nodes on wrists, ankles and chest. It was a surprise to learn that they don’t do that anymore, that the newer technology requires no suction cups or lubrication. 

With that done, the doctor told me that my blood pressure was high, but that he wasn’t concerned because it was no doubt the result of the white coat syndrome. “What kind of syndrome?” I asked. Apparently it is common for patients to have elevated blood pressure readings in the presence of the doctor, a reading influenced by anxiety or perhaps intimidation. It made perfect sense to me, though I had never heard another doctor explain it that way. I wondered if the same was also true of an accelerated heart rate during a physical.

The time came to shed my oversized sheet of Bounty and laying it aside I threw one more glance at the yet unused instruments on the side table. Nothing there looked too threatening, but that didn’t encourage much relaxation on my part. “Step up on the scale here…Mmm, a little overweight, I believe. “Are you exercising regularly?” Grabbing hold of me and telling me to turn my head to the side and cough, I knew things were moving in a direction I dreaded. Snapping on the rubber gloves, I heard him say, “Now lean over the table…” Who in their right mind wouldn’t feel violated?

Buttoned up and tucked in, I sat waiting for the doctor to return with his diagnosis. Ten minutes later I left his office with another appointment in one year, happy words ringing in my ears. “Looks like you’re going to make it to the age of ninety.”


  1. As for your plan on posts only once a week......I will miss reading them as I really enjoy your writing. As for your post today......happy you had a good report!

  2. 90 - at least! Glad you're taking the time to pursue other dreams, but I'll miss your daily posts. However, your weekly ones will be very much anticipated! Good luck with your other endeavors. You deserve the very best!

  3. You regular readers will be glad to know that your insightful, informative, and often humorous posts will still be in cyberspace but just not as often. I, too, look forward to reading anything you write whenever it is made available. And I know at this very moment your thoughts have turned to other creative writing endeavors and I look forward to those as well.

  4. Gee, maybe you could write medical thrillers; you had me shaking in my slippers!
    I hope you'll keep us informed about the latest Japanese creations . . . the fancy glass outhouse - I mean bathroom - was a lulu.
    We will miss the everyday Scriblets, though.

  5. Boo I will miss my daily visit with you. Glad you had a good health report. Karen

  6. P.S. I hope you weren't planning to work for the Times-Picayune. So sad . . .


About Me

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Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America