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rue-madame's Diaryland Diary

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Lost in translation

Did I mention the conversation I had with my rheumatologist? I donít think I did.

I left her a message, and she called me back, stunned to hear that the 50 mg injections were painful. She didnít even let me explain anything. She just said, ďIf it hurts like that to give yourself a shot to the point where youíre icing yourself before and after, itís pointless. Iím writing you a prescription for the 25ís and Iíll put it in the mail today. This is the first time Iíve heard a patient complaint that the 50ís are painful.Ē

My theory is that American patients rarely question their doctors or the treatments theyíre prescribed. I bet most of Dr. Bís patients who have gone from twice weekly 25 mg injections to once weekly 50s have experienced pain and simply accepted it. And they have chosen not to let her know because they A) donít want to seem wimpy, B) they figure doctor knows best, and possibly even C) they donít feel any pain. This I find hard to believe. I mean itís like the difference between cutting into something tough with a razor-sharp hot Japanese Santoku knife or with a dull, non-serrated plastic spork from 7-11.

I havenít received the prescription yet, and Iím anxious because Iím due for my next shot on Monday night, and it takes the pharmacy at least 2 days to get the medicine in stock. I am dreading having to use another one of those 50mg syringes. I will use it if I have to since the temporary pain caused by one shot is easier to bear than the raw pain of rheumatoid arthritis. But I wonít like it one bit.

But enough about how Iím a disease-addled old lady. Letís talk about my dinner with a famous Korean radio producer.

Heís a classmate of TAís and invited us to his pad in Waterside Plaza for a traditional Korean meal cooked up by his wife. Their apartment was spare with all the attention focused on the view out the window: we could see the East River, the Queenboro Bridge, Roosevelt Island, and Brooklyn. The panorama was far nicer from their 12th story perch than from the ground floor (when the cab dropped us off, we were totally freaked out by the hulking building and its gray Soviet hallways.) The sunset was lovely.

We ate all sorts of traditional Korean things: bulgogi, kimchi of course, teokbokgi (which is apparently very popular with teenage girls?), some kind of (pickled maybe?) burdock root, seasoned shredded dried squid (not my favorite, but I ate it anyway,) some kind of spicy, soft tofu soup with an egg cracked into it, and this is weirdóhot dogs wrapped in bacon (!) It was a bit ďone of these things is not like the othersĒ, but TA and I both wrangled the dogs with our chopsticks and ate them.

At the end of the meal, our chopstick technique received high praise from our hosts. I was also ordered to reveal the secret of my youthful appearance. Won marvelled at my lack of eye wrinkles (his eyesight needs to be checked, for real) and asked me if I did anything special.

ďUh, I wash my face every night, and put on cream afterwards because my skin is dry. I bought the cream at the drugstore, itís nothing fancy.Ē

Because of the language barrier, I could not use my canned answer to the ďyou look so young, whatís your secret?Ē question. (My answer is always ďclean livingĒ with as straight a face as I can muster.)

It reminded me that I have a whole set of canned answers to pesky questions. My favorite has to be this one:

Question: When are you going to have kids? (or some variation of that, such as ďwhy donít you have kids?Ē)

Answer: Iím just trying to have a happy childhood.

Tonight, we are off to a wine tasting party where I intend to go off my special diet and ingest many, many cheeses. I have a date with some Reblochon.

5:48 p.m. - 2006-03-25

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