I will admit there are some people who think I blow, but I have news for them. They’re right. I not only blow, I evidently blow like a champ, and have been doing so for over a decade. At least that is what my allergist keeps telling me.

I was diagnosed with Asthma many years ago, but thanks to modern medicine, I live every day with virtually no indication of any problem whatsoever. I use much less medicine than what is prescribed for me, and never use an emergency inhaler. I have responded very, very well to Asmanex, the prescription medicine that my doctor chose for me. In fact, I have called it a miracle drug for the difference it has made in my life the last decade or so.

My doctor, who I now see annually for routine follow ups, is a very pleasant and highly skilled physician. He attended Duke University as well as Johns Hopkins University, and completed his residency at Georgetown Medical Center. The only course he apparently did not take as part of his educational discipline was “Speak for Success: Enunciation Lesson 1”. A very rapid and energetic speaker, it has taken me a better part of a decade to figure out what the hell he has been talking about.

Part of the annual checkup is a test where you try to push as much air as possible through a small tube in one single burst of breath. The device measures your output volume. This will not be a shock to some of you, but I can really move some air. All I know is that every year he tells me that I am “blowin’ like a champ”. That is one of the few phrases I could discern from him in the early years of treatment.

Yesterday was the date for my annual blowing analysis (This doctor used to be right next door to my dentist, and I used to schedule this appointment consecutively to my dental checkup, for a ritual I called my “annual buff and puff”). As I sat in the little examination room awaiting my turn with the good doctor, I could hear him in the room next door, speaking to another patient. I must say, hearing him through a wall was almost the same as listening to him in the room. It was like he was there with me. “Yum habsg sdnk nskl slksjd. I dnskn hmsjk ankds buayd. Agn hdhevyt ksnkd est you are blowing like a champ.” 

This guy will never need to be concerned with violating HIPAA regulations. 

I sometimes wonder if we in workers’ comp sound that way to injured workers. I mean, clear and understandable communication is not really our industry’s strong point. Even when the words are clear, there is a massive distance between recognizing the words and comprehending their meaning. Adjustors, doctors, case managers and lawyers all understand the process, but to injured workers it could just sound like gibberish through a wall. “Yum habsg sdnk nskl slksjd. I dnskn hmsjk ankds buayd. Agn hdhevyt ksnkd est or your claim could be denied.”

Truth be told, over the years I have come to the point where I can fully understand this immunologist. Our conversation yesterday was pleasant and fully comprehendible. Over time, I have apparently adjusted to his speaking style so that I no longer struggle to understand what is being said. That probably happens with injured workers as well. The longer they are in the system, the more they will comprehend the process.

I just worry about the damage done early on from a less than clear understanding of what is happening to and around them.

But that is a topic for another day. For now, my thoughts are on another successful checkup, and knowing that, as many of you have suspected, my reign of champion blowing will continue unabated.



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