Resurrection 42Posted: November 22, 2016
This is a chapter of the book I am writing for NaNoWriMo. If you want to read it from the start, click here for the chapter index.
Dr. Geoff Sanderson
Being rich has its perks. Private schools for the kids, a spacious home, club memberships, luxury cars, vacations. Most people aspire to be rich, or at least envy those around them who are, and want to trade places. A few million dollars upgrades a person’s life. But rich people still go to work, wait in lines, buy their own groceries. They live “ordinary” lives for the most part, like upgrading from coach to first class. Same plane, better seats.
Being wealthy is like going from coach to having your personal jet at your disposal.
Dick Langford was wealthy. He didn’t wait in line or buy their own groceries. The only reason Dick still had a driver’s license was because he enjoyed driving his Maserati Quattroporte from time to time. Otherwise, he road in the Escalade with Thomas driving him. His meticulously planned diet was planned and prepared for him and plates brought to him whenever he requested. The custodial staff organized themselves in such a way he never saw them or interacted with them. The bars’ decanters were always refreshed with premium liquor of every stripe. He never experienced the normal fears and routine tasks of life.
One thing wealth can’t escape is the normal decay of the body. But even the wealthy had an advantage there: Dr. Geoff Sanderson.
Dr. Sanderson was an above average MD and catered to the general medical needs of his wealthy patients. He was always available to them and would come to their estates to examine, prescribe, diagnose. In his specially equipped Land Rover SUV, he carried all the basic equipment he might need to take care of the basic medical needs his patients, able to treat anything except those in the most dire circumstance.
Dick had decided it was time to get his back checked out. It was still bothering him and it seemed to be getting no better and might even be worse. He had lost his appetite as well, probably due to the pain. He had Martha, his personal assistant, summon Dr. Sanderson to Langford Farm, telling him to be there at noon today.
Dr. Sanderson and his nurse Michele arrived promptly at noon and were shown to Dick’s bedroom.
“Yes, Geoff, I’ve been having some back pain,” explained Dick. “Doesn’t seem to be getting any better.”
“Sit here on the bed and let me give you a basic examination Mr. Langford.” Dr. Sanderson said, motioning to the bed. After taking his blood pressure, which was slightly elevated, Michele moved to the attached bath to set up the portable scale to weigh him.
Geoff went through the initial exam. Listened to Dick’s heart, breathing, the arteries in his neck. Having him lie down on the bed, he probed Dick’s abdomen. As he did, Dick winced.
“That makes your back hurt?” asked Sanderson.
“Yeah, it’s not quite a sharp pain, but it gets much worse when you press on my stomach.”
Sanderson made some notes on his pad.
“OK, now I’d like to get your weight. Let’s go to the bathroom and Michele will way you.”
“Right this way, Mr. Langford,” said Michele, motioning to the door.
Michele took Langford’s weight and recorded it. At 5′ 10″ he weighed 180 pounds, looking at his chart he had been 201 three months ago. She didn’t say anything. Dr. Sanderson made it clear she was paid to do her job, not make small talk and keep her mouth shut.
She then handed him a urine cup and stepped out of the bath while he gave a sample. He emerged and placed it to her gloved hand.
“Thank you Mr. Langford, you can go back and be seated on the bed.”
Sanderson was looking at his phone, using Epocrates. Michele walked over to him and handed back Langford’s chart, making sure to point out the two weights without actually saying anything. She wanted to be sure he noted the change.
“Mr. Langford,” Sanderson asked, looking up from his phone, “Have you been on a diet?”
“No, I’ve just not felt like eating. I don’t know if it is the pain or what, but I feel a bit full all the time.”
“Have you noticed any change in the color of your urine? Changes in your bowel movements?”
“No, I don’t think so. Geoff, what’s this all about. This seems like a lot of questions for a sore back.”
“Mr. Langford I can’t be sure what’s causing the back pain without an MRI, but it seems you have tenderness in your abdomen. It may be simply a soft muscle injury, but I need to rule out other possibilities. I want you to get an MRI this afternoon. Michele can set you up for one right away.”
Michele stepped out in the hall to make the call.
“Today? How about we do it next week? I’m booked solid this week.” Dick didn’t like to have someone or something dictate his schedule.
“Mr. Langford, I don’t want to alarm you, but this could be serious. If it is, the sooner we find out, the better. As I said, it could be a simple soft tissue injury. It could be you have a vertebra issue. It could also be something more serious like cirrhosis or an advanced kidney infection.” Sanderson intentionally avoided the word “cancer,” no need to worry him until he got back the MRI. “I think it prudent not to wait.”
“OK,” Dick surrendered. The idea of cirrhosis scared him. “How soon can I get into the machine?”
“Michele can call now and find out if it is currently open. If so, you can go now. If not, it will be open within the hour.” Sanderson knew they would push him to the front of any other patients. Dick Langford doesn’t sit in waiting rooms.
“As soon as I get the results later this afternoon, I will call.” Said Sanderson, standing.
Michele re-entered. “Mr. Langston, you can get your MRI right now. They will hold it open until you get there.”