Sally Ann Shurmur: Healthcare Isn't What It Was On TV

Columnist Sally Ann Shurmur writes, "Gunsmoke’s Doc Adams fixed up folks on TV from 1955 to 1975. Get shot? No problem. Drink a slug of whiskey, bite down on a stick, and voila! the bullet was gone."

Sally Ann Shurmur

May 02, 20245 min read

Sally ann headshot 12 28 23
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

Gunsmoke’s Doc Adams fixed up folks on TV from 1955 to 1975. Get shot? No problem. Drink a slug of whiskey, bite down on a stick, and voila! the bullet was gone.

Many at my former place of employment thought I had a tendency to overshare, and the young pups didn’t particularly like it. So maybe this column won’t be your favorite.

People have asked, and here we go.

I can’t exactly pinpoint when my extreme medical anxiety (white coat syndrome some call it) began to escalate.

Both of my babies were born by C-section 40 and 33 years ago, and while not pain-free, obviously the outcomes were worth it.

I absolutely loved my OB/GYN, and when he retired about 10ish years after Molly came, I decided I was done.

Normal thinking people would say this is irrational, irresponsible, lazy and wrongheaded and stupid.

I decided that my faith in God would fix anything that needed to be fixed, without turning me into the chemo-riddled beloved dad who went from diagnosis to dying in exactly three months.

He had not one good day during that time. Not one.

I will never believe that the chemo didn’t have something to do with his sad last months.

But it’s me, not you.

So when I got out of bed in January 2022, and had a “catch in my get along,” I just assumed it was some kind of cramp that would go away. It didn’t and it got progressively worse.

In July 2022, I walked into a walk-in Ortho clinic, was seen by a very sweet provider who was very sensitive about my anxiety (not all have been.)We did some X-rays and she asked if I could do physical therapy. I did, twice a week until Medicare said they weren’t paying for any more until I went back to the doctor.

While I don’t think it helped a lot, I was proud I was doing something.

But then more time passed — football, holidays, winter, wanting desperately to see Mom, more football, more holidays, more winter.

On Tuesday of this week, I had the first medical procedure since my last C-section.

The third doctor I have seen since mid-January poked a needle full of magic in each of my hip flexors.

I was wide awake, did not need to fully undress, and it took like 10 minutes.

This doctor has an 8-week-old (first baby) with colic, so the X-ray tech, nurse, he and I talked about that during the procedure.

My daughter is a rad tech, specializing in CT scans. My brother is a cardiologist.

My 92-year-old mom is still in rehab, trying like heck to get stronger after pneumonia in early March. It’s clear that doctors are keeping her alive.

My daughter and or Owen have been with me at every appointment and they are so appreciated. I think they come just so I will stay and they are probably not wrong.

We don’t know if these injections will work. My doc is skeptical because my osteoarthritis is so advanced in both hips.

Each of the three docs I have seen has a very different way. A couple completely and gently agree that this is a buffet and as the patient, I get to decide the order that we work on a couple of other issues. This came as a pleasant surprise to me.

One definitely wants things tackled in a specific order.

Basically I would first like to walk without excruciating pain if it’s possible.

Last night, to celebrate my hips still being completely numb, I walked into a store for the first time in a year. I chose to push a basket instead of using my walker, and after standing still just a few minutes choosing the perfect graduation and Mother’s Day cards, I was done. But I did it.

Next up is an attempt to return  to church. Of all the things I have missed, I have missed it the most.

Before I stopped watching medical shows on TV (too much dying), I was obsessed with ER.

It was a weekly date with my son in the basement from 1994 to 2009.

There will never again be another scene on TV sexier than Juliana Margulies walking around the house to the backyard and finding George Clooney standing there by the lake.

I absolutely don’t like the Eagles (another reason you will stop reading) but Don Henley’s “Taking You Home,” which debuted in that scene, is the perfect love song.

“I had a good life before you came…this love is like nothing I have ever known, take my hand love, I’m taking you home.”

Now that this process has begun, I am doing it for the three people who finally forced the issue — the sweetheart of almost 23 years (second time around— I must write that for you too), and my kids.

Now if George Clooney would just walk into the exam room.

Sally Ann Shurmur can be reached at:

Share this article



Sally Ann Shurmur