October 30, 2007 in Features

Age is not an illness

Peter H. Gott, M.d. United Media
 

Dear Dr. Gott: I wish to present not a medical problem but a doctor problem.

I have been seeing a urologist. At the last visit, I asked him for his diagnosis.

His answer was, “You’re 80.” My next-door neighbor, a little younger than I am, received a similar answer for a different problem.

Are these doctors descendants of those who put the elderly on ice floes with a basket of fish?

Age is not and never has been a diagnosis. The aging process, yes. There have been cases where the aging process began in teenagers and preteenagers.

I belong to an alumni luncheon group that meets monthly, mostly retirees. Four years ago, one at age 89 got married to a 93-year-old lady.

Shortly after, they decided to have a new home built. The home, in the $200,000 to $300,000 range, took about a year to build.

They now host a luncheon in their home once a year.

Unfortunately many doctors will not recognize their stupidity (there is no other word for it) until they become elderly. Can that subject be covered in medical school in Patient Dialogue 101?

Dear Reader: Putting off elderly patients often can be carried to extremes of inconsideration by doctors who should know better and practice more appropriate manners. Your urologist should be made aware of this.

Such valuable feedback from patients should be the standard of good patients-physician relations.

Dear Dr. Gott: I am female, 76 years old, and I have a problem with itching. It’s been quite some time.

It first started around my ankles, and now I seem to be itching all over. I have changed soaps and tried different moisturizers.

I tried dabbing the itchy spots with alcohol, and I use hydrocortisone cream 1 percent.

It seems lately that my fingers itch at times, and also the palms of my hands.

I really hope you can help me. I’ve talked to my doctor, and he said to use Dove or Neutrogena, but neither worked. I showered with the Neutrogena, and the itching was terrible.

I soaked in an oatmeal bath, which seemed to help.

This is unending, and doctors don’t seem to have any answers. Maybe you could tell me what kind of doctor I should go to.

Dear Reader: As I have written before, diffuse, intractable, severe itching without obvious skin irritation may be caused by kidney failure or leukemia. Ask your primary care physician to order further testing.

My statements are not meant to upset you, but I sense that you are reaching the end of your rope. Your desperation needs to be addressed.

If your kidney testing comes back normal, I suggest that you see an allergist. Perhaps you are reacting to something in your environment or perhaps even something you are eating.

Let me know the results of your testing.

To give you related information, I am sending you copies of my health reports “Kidney Disorders” and “Allergies.” Other readers who would like a copy should send a long, self-addressed, stamped envelope and $2 to Newsletter, P.O. Box 167, Wickliffe, OH 44092. Be sure to mention the title.


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