My doctor is one of those incredibly capable health care professionals who is always acquiring information in order to provide the best possible medical advice. He uses the information obtained from a questionnaire as deftly as surgeons use a scalpel or GPs use a rubber tomahawk on your knee to test reflexes.
Recently, though, I’ve noticed a change in the tenor of the questionnaires I’m getting from my doctor. No longer are they just focused on allergies, or muscle strains, or my diet, or how much exercise I’m getting. Now the questions seem a lot more, uh, pointed. In my most recent visit, the very first page of the questionnaire I was given to complete was the “Duke Activity Status Index.”
“Can you take care of yourself (eating, dressing, bathing or using the toilet)?”
“Can you walk indoors such as around your house?”
“Can you walk a block or two on level ground?”
“Can you climb a flight of stairs or walk up a hill?”
Hey, wait a second! Exactly what kind of questionnaire is this, anyway? Why are the busybody nerds at Duke wondering about whether I can walk a single block on level ground, or eat without assistance?
I’m guessing the “Duke Activity Status Index” is not given to 25-year-old patients.
And then the very next page in the questionnaire packet is the “Burns Depression Checklist,” and one of its questions is: “Poor self-image: Do you think you’re looking old or unattractive?”
Well, to be honest with you, I really wasn’t focused on the subject until I started to read this questionnaire!