Friday, November 22, 2019


So on Wednesday I went to see my PCP, ya know my Primary Care Physician, what in olden days was known as "my doctor." Okay, I don't actually refer to her as my "PCP." I see that in health insurance paperwork a lot. I've also been asked, "Who is your Primary Care Physician?"


"Who is your PCP?"


"Who do you see when you're sick?"

"Usually I just stay in bed until I feel better, maybe take a couple of Advil."

At this point the questioner develops a tick under one eye and begins to tap their foot.

"Who. Is. Your. Doctor?"

"Ah, why didn't you just say 'doctor'? I thought PCP was a type of drug..."

"It is."

"So, no I don't take PCP. Do I look like a druggie?"

At this point the questioner has to be sedated and the supervisor takes over.

"So, who is your doctor?"

"Dr. Soandso."

Anyhoo, I digress.

On Wednesday last, I went to my doc for an annual physical, with all the wonders which that entails. (Hhmm, I should have picked a different word. But in the end does it really matter? Uh, again, bad choice of words.)

Now I get again along great with my doctor, she's a good sort who has a great rapport with her patients. Even me. But as we were chatting she asked me if I was still working.

"I keep showing up, they keep paying me."

"When do you plan to retire?"

"Whenever the job is no longer fun."

She chuckled and then related the story of her friend who is also close to retirement.

"He says his retirement is TBD."

"To Be Determined?"

"Nope, Three Bad Days. If he has three bad days in a row, he's putting in his paperwork."

Three Bad Days. I like it, like it a lot, really. So that's my new plan.

It's TBD.

In other news, after the (ahem) probing, and my doc's pronouncement of my health as "stable," which I felt was rather non-committal but probably accurate enough (and yes, I'll take it), I was sent down to the lab for the usual suite of blood tests.

When I arrived at the lab, I found this...

While the decor wasn't quite as shabby as in the picture, no one in the room was smiling. Well, who likes getting poked and prodded by medical technicians? Not I, nor most folks I'll wager.

After about a ten minute wait I'm thinking seriously of bailing and coming back another day. Just then I hear, "Whoever is next..." As there was no one standing in front of me, I bellied up to the bar, so to speak.

Beginning with the usual pleasantries, "Hi, my doctor sent me down for some lab work..."

Did someone say lab?
Cute, but no.
"You folks look pretty jammed up."

Bless the young lady for not saying aloud what her face communicated. (Which I read as "No shit, Sherlock.") But she did admit that the wait was about an hour. As I heard a number of folks coughing and hacking behind me, and I had to return to work rather quickly, I decided that coming back another day was an excellent idea. Which the young lady agreed would probably be way less stressful.

So Friday it is, I'm off that day (well, this day if you're reading this on the date of publication) so I can waltz on in at any old time and linger for as long as they wish. Not to mention which, I have all of next week off. So I've got that going for me.

You may be wondering what's in those boxes at the top of the post. So did I when I saw them sitting on my desk.

"So Muse, what's in the boxes?"

"Ideas, boss, lots of ideas."

"For posts?" (At which point The Muse had this "No shit, Sherlock" look on her face.)

"Uh yes, for posts, for the blog. You know, that thing you obsess over."

"Oh! The blog! Awesome! Why two boxes?"

"One is full of good ideas, one is full of bad ideas."

"Why the bad ideas? Why would I use those?"

"Well, you've done so before without my help."

"Ah, I see. How will I know then, which are the good ideas and which are the bad?"

Now she's looking at me like I just fell off the back of a turnip truck*.

"Don't worry boss, your readers will let you know. Trust me."

Sometimes I think she just doesn't like me...

* Falling off a turnip truck means that one is either dumb, or naive. Read more here. (So does this second reference to turnips in one week make this "Turnip Week"? I dunno...)


  1. Oh man.... I've gone under the finger a couple times. The last time the doc had tiny fingers... yay.

    I had a lady take my blood in college. She was ham-fisted. Got half a vial and blew thru the vein, so she swipped the alcohol on the other arm, and proceeded to do it again. I told her I had a big one in my neck and if she did the same thing there, she could mop up as much as she wanted... She was as shocked by the comment, as I was by her "technique". I couldn't straighten out my arms for a week or so. I don't remember how long the blood puddles took to go away...

    TBD.... if I had that as a timer, I'd be looong gone. I'm not sure how much of that is my growing inability to put up with stuff tho....

    1. Using TBD as a rule, I would have retired about ten years ago, but couldn't financially. Now I've got a great job working with awesome people. So TBD is a rarity.

  2. TBD, I like it, never had that at work though, was always one day at most. Enjoy your time off Sarge. Those days will fly by, especially T-Day.

    1. I know they'll fly by, I intend to savor each day as it comes. But like I said, the job right now is awesome, it's the getting up early part that's a drag. (I tend to stay up later than I should.)

  3. We've started using the appointment option for our lab work.
    On the last visit I got there a few minutes early, was called back, and the whole process was finished by the time my appointment was scheduled to start. Don't know if that's an option for your place.

    I've not had any problems with getting stuck, the vampires say I have good veins, but my wife has had a number of negative experiences with blood draws.

    When asked why I decided to retire, the truthful answer was, and is, it's complicated.

    Remember our deal, you write the posts, I will read them.

    Keep up the good work.

    1. As the lab orders are computerize I can show up whenever I like. Which has always been my preferred mode of operation.

  4. The last place I worked at, every day was a bad day - micro_manager boss who could never make up her mind what our priorities were, but yelled at us for not getting the priorities right. Working at a prison for a number of years turned out to be good preparation for this one.
    As for poking and prodding - xray of a broken arm showed a suspicious spot on one bone, and I've spent the entire month having all sorts of tests, proddings, samples, and blood draws taken. It all turned out to be a false alarm - tiny patch of dead bone, which happens sometimes. Did you know that bone samples are taken with a medical version of a power drill?

    1. I had to have a bone marrow biopsy once upon a time (turned out to be a false alarm) but I learned then that there's only so much numbing that can be done. Bone doesn't really numb, so yeah, I felt that. Wife was ordered from the room as she was turning rather pale. I would have liked to gone with her, but that would have ruined the point of being there.

      I knew about the power drill thingy. Ow, ow, ow.

    2. Yes, concur as to only so much numbing. Like when working on teeth or when shoving a camera up a male reproductive fluid delivery tube and enclosure who happens to be named a shortened version of Richard, if you know what I mean.

      Being awake for some things just isn't fun.

      But then again, dying from bad anesthesia is probably not fun either.

      Some days there are no good options.

    3. Oh yeah, you just have to embrace the suck. So to speak.

  5. So which box did the idea for this post come out of? :-)

    In the same spirit as TBD, I had always said that I'd retire when I stopped having fun, when the admin types got too heavy handed. Somthat's what I did and why I retired last January... been happy I did.

    As for getting stuck and poked, I'm not easily embarrassed. But I had to admit having a pretty female Med student 'observe' my prostate exam was a bit unsettling both times that happened. My doc, who does a good job, was participating in a program with UNC Med school that gave docs-to-be clinical experience starting pretty early in their curriculum. As far as vampires, it only gets worse if you are on blood thinners, when the tiniest mistake that would otherwise. Be a minor bruise turns into a large hematoma. DAMHIK.

    1. Ah, that's for you to decide.

      I won't ask, I've had a rookie or two leave large hematomas without being on blood thinners, they were just that bad at it.

  6. My plan, before it was suggested that I take a lump of money to not complain and just stop showing up, was to retire, but not tell anyone while still showing up and collecting my pay.

    If you are still working and you do to HAVE to work, I call that being retired.

    1. I'm enjoying the job so much right now that I'm almost guilty about taking pay.

      Note that I said, "almost."

  7. Like the lads and lasses in the above photo (London Tube circa 1940-43 I believe) I sit around and wait for the bombs to drop. And they inevitably do: Honey, the computer won't start. I can't make th oven work, How do I get to the dentist office? Oh well, I'm still good for a few things.

    1. Nailed the photo Dave.

      It's good to be useful, especially in retirement!

    2. I take it the answer to "How do I get to the dentist office?" was, "I'll drive you" rather than "Put your clothes on, step out the door, keep walking."

      My misplaced sense of bad humor would, and has, said something like Option B above, way too many times. Unfortunately, the guardian angel who is supposed to be monitoring what is on the pipeline for my mouth is usually in the can, or on break, or asleep at the switch.

      Good thing I like pain...

    3. My filter often malfunctions. Can be funny, sometimes not.


  8. Ah - retirement. We are in the plotting & planning phase...if I went by the TBD as described I'd have been long gone. But needs must and the paycheck is good. Glad to hear your health is good; best place to be going into the TBD phase.

    1. Knowing how things have gone for you over the past cuppla years, I'm thinking TBY might be for you, Three Bad Years. Or have you done that already? 😉

  9. Hahaha! I should have retired years ago. Butcept all the bad days come with a pesky silver lining. And my Muse is over here ROFLHAO. So thanks for that, Sarge. ;-)

    1. Do Naval Air Cowmen ever really retire?

      Yup, being out there on the Plains I'm betting that there are a lot of hard days with a lot of "This sucks so bad that... Oh, wow, look at that hawk sitting on the post, and gee what a lovely sight over there in that gully and ..." Yes, I read your blog and have seen a lot of your "pesky silver linings," it's why we go back again and again.

      (Tell your Muse that I have a box of bad ideas, cheap, if she's interested. 😉)

  10. The best phlebotomist I dealt with was a young HN three months out of school, the worst was an HM1 checking the box to keep his quals current. Both at the same facility. Ancient Gunner's Mate ("Ancient" because my first enlistment was on 25 Mar. 1959 on the 66th anniversary of my Grandfather' discharge from Lt. Robinson's Motor Torpedo Boat Company of the Naval Battalion of the Rhode Island Militia.

    1. Well, ancient is such a, I dunno, "harsh" term. I prefer to think of you as a "seasoned veteran." But yes, your first enlistment was a couple of months shy of my 6th birthday, so perhaps ancient does apply. 😉

  11. Man AFSarge;

    When you said "TBD" I immediately thought of the TBD or the Devastator from early WWII fame, you know the old, slow torpedo plane the Navy had. Thought it was a "plane" post, LOL. I like the "three bad days " definition. When I get to retirement age and I get that to happen, then I will drop my papers. But right now I have 13 years left to go.

    1. Ain't the first time I tricked you, is it? Sorry about that.

      Wasn't a plane post, 'twas a plain post. (And yup, awfully bad pun right there. I guess I reached into the wrong box for that one.)

      Thirteen years? Ouch! All kidding aside, it will go by faster than you think. Or want.

  12. Maybe TBD(c). Three Bad Days consecutive. I could always blow off one or two bad days, but three days in a row just took the fun out of life and I usually spent more time seething and dreaming up work-place violence schemes than actually working.

    As to labs, the vaunted LabCorps has installed mini LCs in our local Walgreens, where the store keeps things cleaner, neater, and you can peruse the aisles while waiting for your appointment (which must be made at least 2 hours before the appointment time, OMG, big lead time...) Things have gone so swimmingly well at the Walgreen locations that they closed the main LabCorps office, so I guess the main office is now a LabCorpse...

    Which is good, because last time we went to the main LC office they were screaming the View (which I totally agree with juvat's opinion on those cackling hens) and were backed up an hour past the appointment time and the lady-like troll screamed when she saw the service dog, and wouldn't see the wife until I took the dog, and then while Mrs. Andrew was being phlobotemized the lady-shaped troll who was afraid of dogs called me back and then screamed when I showed up, yes, with the dog. So a strange, chinese firedrill maneuver of switching out dog from one handler to another while twit-for-brains was faking a panic attack occurred.

    Plus the LabCorpse office smelled like death, and urine. Bleh. Good riddance.

    As to Good Ideas/Bad Ideas, both are acceptable. So far your Bad Ideas or even No Ideas tend to be more entertaining than some blogs. And Bad Ideas about other things, like depth-charging the koi pond or something like that, would make an excellent Good Idea. Bad Idea IRL would be taking Murphy to a Museum where he could touch all the exhibits, which would make a Good Idea for a blogpost.

    Bad Idea IRL would be actually saying the smart-aleck thing that you just thought of to your significant other, or boss, or both. Good Idea would be relating that Bad Idea...

    See? As long as your Bad Idea doesn't sink to the level of 'We'll start impeachment proceeds 20 minutes after he gets sworn in' you'll be okay. Well, for levels of okay.

    1. Sometimes I think I throw stuff out here just for the readers' reactions, I'm never disappointed. Heck, many of your comments are better than some people's posts! And that, sir, is a fact.

  13. At least your Muse communicates. Mine has been AWOL for so long it is now desertion.

  14. TBD would be a pretty good description of why I retired.
    They weren't consecutive, but then they were such that I'd have left before the third day had they been consecutive.

    I've been fortunate in the blood draw department.
    The only unpleasant experience was at MEPS in 1961.
    That was when they still used a syringe.

    1. As to blood draws, well, let's just say, I have stories. Not pleasant ones.

  15. Be careful Sarge. If you keep up those waiting room antics with the nice people at the front desk, they might not just develop a tick and a tapping foot, but they may become allergic to Tricare patients in general. I've been in my command as a civilian for almost 10 years now and the original cadre of civilians are starting to retire, think about retiring, or tracking their three bad days. We had a farewell lunch for one of them today. Great mentor, with as many sea stories as he has helpful advice. He even gave me an S-3B model that Lockheed gave him when he got a flight in one back when they were schmoozing a soon-to-be retired Naval SWO Captain. Fortunately he didn't join that industrial complex you mentioned in response to my comment on yesterday's post. By the way, Ike's replacement was killed on this day back in 63.

    1. I do remember the date. It's burned into the memory, just like 9/11.

      Defense contractors schmoozing soon-to-be retired captains? No, you must be confused. 🤣🤣🤣

  16. I was going to say that blogging isn't done like that, but actually it hits a little close to home ...


  17. A good doc (or PCP) is hard to find. If you have one who is nice, listens to you, and has a nurse/medical assistant/helper/gatekeeper who is reasonable, listens what you are saying/asking for, and the insurance company is willing to pay most of the bill---HANG ON TO THAT MEDICAL PROVIDER!!! They are rare. And I say that as someone who worked for 10 years in that setting. Patients such as yourself were always remembered, and enjoyed.

    Blood draws...yuck!! Been on both sides of the not someone the lab folks like to see coming, so I always make sure I have had water to drink, and keep my sweater on until they are ready to do the evil deed as my blood vessels are not excited to be stuck and go hide.
    f how many
    Having just moved back to Upstate New York, I have a date with my former doctor to "get re-established" on Monday. He is a good sort, so I am glad he is still showing up to work, although he is of an age to probably be keeping track of how many bad days in a row are occurring. I hate when ya get a doc broke in and then they go and retire! The nerve, thinking they can have a real life too!!! Some folks!!!

    Glad you got a clean bill of health. I too want to know what are in those boxes!! Although I been reminded that (clearly) labeling the box when packing it is helpful to determine if you need to unpack it now, or if it should stay in the storage spot for the time being.

    I would have paid good money to have seen the Beans/Mrs. Andrew/Dog/Lab tech on video!!! I was giggling away just reading it!!

    1. I love my doc, she's in an organization which is run by the docs themselves and it runs pretty smoothly. At least from a patient standpoint it looks smooth.

      You will discover the content of the boxes with each new post. (Hopefully I never get to the bad idea box.)


Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)
Can't be nice, go somewhere else...

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