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Unclassified Info: Modern medicine and pains in the neck

July 11, 2011|By Gary Huerta

For some reason, I have become a bit of a medical connoisseur.

For most of my life (knock on wood), I have managed to avoid the need for doctors, aside from a chronic pain in my neck exacerbated by prolonged exposure to my ex-wife. Sadly, there does not seem to be a remedy for this particular ailment, although I remain optimistic a cure will be found one day.

Half of this particular odyssey began about 22 years ago when I entered the world of advertising. Glamorous though it may appear from TV shows like Bewitched and Mad Men, it can be a stressful occupation. I have found that survival depends on keeping a roll of Tums in my left-front pocket. By modest estimates, I have ingested approximately 6,200 Tums over the last two decades.


About six months ago, while my ex-wife was dragging me back into court for the sixth time, my family was ostracizing me for publicly admitting I had been sexually abused as a child, and my job in Corporate America was becoming unbearably demanding, I began to increase my usual dosage of antacids. Evidently the dogpile of stresses made it imperative for me to seek the expert opinion of a gastroenterologist.

Enter Doctor Mehdi Khorsandi. This is a man so utterly pleasant he can make an endoscopy sound like a ride at Disneyland. In truth, he explained the outpatient procedure was necessary to examine my esophagus for potential damage as a result of the insane amount of Tums I have consumed. Who knew?

But before I could get to my endoscopy, I injured my ankle in a childish poolside accident. Note to readers: Listen to your mom when she says no horseplay around the pool. A couple of excruciating days after my now-infamous “Cannon Ball Fail,” I hobbled into Verdugo Hills Urgent Care.

With no real expectations of speedy service, I sat. I was pleased to find that after a short wait, I was whisked into an examining room and promptly X-rayed. Fortunately, the attending physician found no breaks or fractures, just a bunch of soft-tissue damage courtesy of my own stupidity. The attending physician recommended an orthopedist, so off I went, my ankle in a fiberglass splint and X-rays in hand to seek a higher authority.

Enter Dr. Loren Geller — my new orthopedist. After a couple more X-rays, he was confident my ankle would be ready for more diving board hilarity in about six weeks. But seeing as I’m an impatient fellow and had not yet reached double digits on my medical appointments for the week, I sought the help of a healer.

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