If you’re like me, you get rattled when latex gloves are pulled out of the examination room drawer. It’s when… and I apologize for this… the rubber meets the road during a doctor’s office exam. That’s the point at which the appointment figuratively speaking goes from getting to know one another over lattes at Peet’s, to warily searching for the exit doors in the lobby bar at a Marriott.
One minute you’re answering questions and having a completely calm conversation, and the very next you’re trembling at the sight of those gloves slowly being fitted around a physician’s hands and fingers. Groping of your most private of areas is about to commence. While I am thankful for his office’s acceptance of my modest insurance co-pay, I’m also thinking that this guy could splash on some aftershave and perhaps pipe in a little Bill Evans or Sade for a more soothing atmosphere. You know, give me something other than the inability to sit comfortably for the next hour.
But no, the experience is really nothing more than a temporary and acknowledged invasion of my privacy and pride. The only saving grace is the knowledge that it’s probably the last thing the good doctor also wants to be doing at that moment. All those sailing magazines in the waiting area and examining rooms are proof of that.
Which brings me finally to the point of this post. I recently endured such violations to my body not once but twice in the last couple of weeks. A simple follow-up visit to my general practitioner for a discussion of lab results inspired him to somehow to initiate one of those “turn your head and cough” exams. One minute we’re discussing a slight increase in my cholesterol count and in the next I’m suddenly dropping drawers. Usually these are quick, how-do-you-do incidents which transpire as we discuss the high cost of docking his schooner at a local marina. This time, however, our conversation is cut short by a sudden kick-back from my abdominal area.
“Turn your head and cough again, please.”
“Once more, please.”
This is not the normal drill. Usually after one pass with the crown jewels, I’m zipping up and we’re jointly complaining about the 12b-1 fees of our actively managed funds. This time, though, he’s annoyingly more interested in my jewels instead of Wall Street equities.
He asks me to put my hand where his just was, and again repeat my turning and coughing. This is quickly turning into a re-creation of some of my earliest dating experiences. The memories aren’t cozy.
“Feel that?,” the doctor asks. “That’s a hernia pushing back at you. It might even be two, one on each side.”
Great. Nothing like a medical annoyance to start out the new year. I’m immediately set up for a consultation with a nearby surgeon. An appointment is scheduled for the following Monday.
Except for some painful kidney stone calamities, I’ve been very fortunate in my adult life to have avoided serious visits with surgeons and hospitals. You wanted retirement and all that goes with it, huh? Okay, but it ain’t all just part-time jobs and thrice-weekly visits to the beach, boychik. Welcome to age-based medical issues.
The visit with the surgeon turned out to be uneventful and unremarkable. With more turning and coughing on my part, he quickly determined that I indeed have a hernia that needs to be repaired. It was fortunately caught early, and because I am experiencing no pain, he said it’s completely up to me if I want to repair it now or wait till I begin experiencing discomfort later.
It’s not exactly Sophie’s Choice, but I was conscious of both Gorgeous and the surgeon staring at me to make the decision right then and there. Neither were giving me any hints as to which way to go, but I decided to be proactive and have it taken care of now rather than later. Time is money; just get on with it.
It should also be noted that the surgeon’s primary magazine of choice is Popular Mechanics. I suppose in some measure that’s reassuring, but I have also decided that his waiting room is not one in which I wish to revisit to read it either. I have my limits.
Tomorrow I have to call his office to schedule my surgery. To be continued.
For some related comic relief, check out the always wonderful blogger Trefology, and his take on Superman being under the weather. As Dave Matthews sings, I ain’t no Superman, and heavy lifting is probably out of the question for the next few months. Darn it all.
Until next time…