From Valier to Shelby for a doctor’s appointment because of a particular doc who had been patient and listened. That’s all changed now. The hospital is operating on the Jiffy Lube principle of management, fast and standardized. Overrun with people, everyone in masks, but no mention of Covid anywhere, not even on the intake form which was all about race. The doc said it was a government questionnaire. There were repeated questions about depression, so I suspect the pharma people were looking for more candidates to zombify and the government is cooperating.

They wanted me to sign up for the electronic portal that would let me get into my file through the computer, but I refused. I was a ward clerk at this hospital briefly and know how error prone and easily hacked their systems are. Anyway, the doc wants nothing to do with the computer. The nurse, “Tammy”, (move star beautiful — at least the top half of her face), took THREE blood pressures — prone, sitting up, and standing — and wrote the results on the paper covering the exam table! I presume she copied them into a file somewhere.

I’m smaller now, 3 inches shorter and 3 pounds lighter. Tammy used her best kindergarten encouragement to get me measured. Instead of an old-fashioned balance-beam scale, there was a platform that a wheelchair could roll onto and the read-out was electronic. It had to think a little while before it presented the numbers. She called me “Sweetie” until I said was going to change my name to “Sweetie Scriver” because I liked the sound of it. Then she wouldn’t speak to me. I guess she thought that was a negative idea.

No one asked whether the world tragedy is affecting my blood pressure. It was as if nothing existed beyond the hospital doors, though they now being managed by an outfit called “Logan”, located in Kalispell, the center of high population and grift. The transition will not be easy but it was probably inevitable.

When I asked the doc whether he had email, he said he never touched them and had a backlog of 2300. I joked to the phlebotomist that someone should at least show him where the delete key was. She came up from Prescott a year ago and thought she would be in the mountains rather than the Port of Entry armpit for truckers that it is. Toole County: 18 active cases, 11 deaths. 783 cumulative cases. Where I am in Pondera Co. we went up from 6 to 7 cases overnight. 525 cumulative.

The doc is quite different from the way he was last time, though that earlier version of him was the reason I switched docs. He’s tired, older, and hard-pressed. I took with me a long analysis of what meds I was taking and why I wanted to change, but he pushed it aside. If I had understood the situation properly, I wouldn’t have written it. Now I’ll write a new short version with the info he wanted which were things like date of diagnosis, how long I’d been taking metformin, and so on. In the end he boiled the visit down to two metrics: my BP’s and my A1C. He’ll change my meds according to results. That’s fine with me. But I’m sad that there wasn’t time for his real skills.

He had not heard of benfotiamine or mega treatments for diabetes. I assured him that the stuff (thiamine) was saving my feet. He had never heard of Berberine, which is an OTC alternative med that acts like metformin, or so they say. No prescription needed. I may order some to see what it does.

The day is cool (70º) with a hard wind abrading the gray overcast and the ochre fields. I saw no yellow mustard or blue flax. The first cut of alfalfa is gone and baled. The second cut is not regrowing quickly. The combines were parked, possibly waiting on the moisture and wind. Many vehicles on the road — today the Canadian border is letting US people pass into their country. I expect some are looking for housing and jobs so they can move, but it’s not that different up there.

I’m passing occasional RV’s, boat on top, towing a car. Old people in the cab. Also, U-Haul trucks with younger people driving. On a day this windy their lives are in danger from the wind rolling them over. This whole point in time is unsettling, drastic, and resistant to planning or even safeguards.




Born in Portland when all was calm just before WWII. Educated formally at NU and U of Chicago Div School. Clergy for ten years. Always happy on high prairie.

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Mary Strachan Scriver

Mary Strachan Scriver

Born in Portland when all was calm just before WWII. Educated formally at NU and U of Chicago Div School. Clergy for ten years. Always happy on high prairie.

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