Living in Society Social Commentary Writing

Unexpected Monday

Maple Tree – Before

Monday didn’t happen as expected. There were three things involving arborists, health care and farming.

Without announcement, the arborist arrived to take down a maple tree I planted on the northwest corner of the house. Turns out I didn’t know what I was doing when planting the 12-inch, stick-sized sapling so close to the house in 1994.

Now fully grown, unusually strong winds already took out one of the main branches. We determined it would be less expensive to remove the tree than pay for a roof repair when limbs inevitably blew down on it.

It was a small way of mitigating the damage of the climate crisis.

The crew was four men with two pickup trucks to haul away brush and wood. The benefit of using an arborist instead of a tree service is the equipment is pickup trucks, ladders, and an array of Stihl brand chainsaws and old fashioned loppers. There is minimal soil compaction around the work site without heavy equipment and that’s important to a home owner.

Arborists at Work

The arborists took out the maple and trimmed the pin oak, finishing well before noon. Our next door neighbor engaged them for tree trimming and by the end of the day our corner of the neighborhood was looking good.

Monday’s main event was a trip to the local clinic to get checked out.

Last Friday someone called, saying I was overdue for a physical exam. They had an appointment the following business day, which in a small city is disconcerting. The hospital managing the clinic is already having financial difficulties. The fear is the clinic will close, making it neccessary to drive to the county seat for health care. I took the appointment.

We no longer have two physicians at our clinic as one was replaced with an ARNP or Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner. I get that the United States is facing a physician shortage, and our ARNP fills a coverage gap. It makes sense to differentiate the skills being performed in a local clinic and find practitioners that closely match them.

I miss what I had for a very long time, a doctor with whom I established a relationship and could get to know in our community. I’m not saying it was great, or that we should go back. I miss it but am ready to move on, seeking an answer to the question how do people get treatment in a scenario in which part of every office visit is talking about how to pay for services?

Arborist at Work

I liked my ARNP. He explained something I hadn’t considered. He said I was scheduled for a physical exam and there would be a significant cost. I explained that’s what the Friday caller said I needed so I went with it. He changed the billing code and said, once a person reaches a certain age, the better course of action when seeking treatment is to come into the clinic for specific maladies, without getting a traditional physical exam. I have a history already, which when combined with age and lifestyle risks, along with my complaints, can determine a course of care without physical examinations as I’ve had previously. What their team did today was little different from what the last physician did, with the exception the prostate examination was delayed until the results of a panel of lab tests he ordered were known.

At 3:40 p.m. I drove to the farm to pick up our vegetable share of Bok Choy and Koji, Leaf Broccoli, Mixed Greens, Lettuce, Spring Garlic, and Garlic Chives. Each year I secure onion starts for our garden leftover once the farm has planted theirs. It was time. Usually I get a bundle or two of starts produced in Texas, but Monday was different. The farmers gave me two trays of locally grown starts still in soil blocks. It seemed a generous gift considering the work that produced them. I was thankful to have them.

A day that started with a headache from a 12-hour fast before my clinic appointment turned out for the better. I had a cup of coffee after the clinic and the day got progressively better. It was one more day of sustaining a life in a turbulent world.