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Saturday, January 17, 2015

Bend Over and Cough (#19)

     Is there anything in the world worse than getting a complete physical? When I say complete, I mean one in which the doctor looks at parts of your body, even you, haven’t seen in at least twenty years! I think the worst part of a physical is the waiting. You not only have to sit in the waiting room for an eternity, but they make you wait in a tiny examination room. You may have also noticed, the walls of this room are plastered with pictures of hideous and debilitating diseases, disfiguring skin conditions, and skinless people with exposed red muscles. Kind of puts your mind at ease, doesn’t it?

     I have a few questions about visits to the doctor. How come scales at doctor’s offices always weigh you at least ten pounds heavier than your scales at home? Are they calibrated by Weight Watcher’s? Is it a simple, yet diabolical way to motivate you to lose weight? 

     Did any of you arrive for a physical, and when told to undress, realized you forgot to put on underwear? What’s with the table covered in a giant roll of toilet paper? When you undressed, did your butt stick to it? Is there anything more pitiful than a slightly overweight, middle-aged man, sitting alone in nothing but a tight pair of fruit of the loom underwear, on an examination table? No? I didn’t think so.

      Before the doctor arrived, a physician’s assistant came into the room, took my blood pressure, withdrew about a pint of blood from my arm, handed me a cup with a lid, and directed me to a small bathroom. Is it just me, or under extreme duress, do any of you have trouble with this. Does the physician’s assistant stand right outside the door? Is it so quiet, you can hear her breathing on the other side of the door as you strain to fill the cup?

    Before leaving, she handed me a piece of folded paper. Thinking it was more paperwork to fill out, I asked for a pen. For the first time I witnessed a slight grin on her face as she informed me the item was a gown, and I needed to remove my clothes and put it on. My only thought was,

“Thank the Heaven’s above.” In my haste to make my appointment, I had grabbed a pair of underwear with a big hole in the back.

     As I unfolded the thin, paper-like attire, I noticed two things. The first was that the gown was made in China. It figures. The second was that the tag said, one-size-fits all. Fits all what? Chinese people? Children under ten? Babies? Being 6-1, and close to 235 pounds I knew as I put on the gown, it would not be a pretty sight. Did you ever go to the grocery store and have an inexperienced bagger jam twenty food items into one flimsy plastic bag? I looked like they had gone for a world record, and stuffed in five more items!

      After at least a half-hour wait, the physician arrived. Have any of you ever heard of “Dykie’s Law of Doctors?” It's very simple. When you’re a man, and you’re getting a physical; the age and attractiveness of your doctor is in direct proportion to, and  exactly opposite from your own age and attractiveness. In my teens and twenties, all my doctors were as old as Methuselah, who the Bible says lived to be 969 years old. Not only were they old, but they were thin and bony with hands which were so cold that icicles hung from them.

     Now that I’m older, slightly overweight, beginning to go gray, and sprouting hair on every part of my body except my head, I get the complete opposite of my former doctors. She looked to be in her early 30's, and I swear, I had seen her face on some magazine covers, or possibly walking down a fashion runway in Paris, France. She was obviously a former model or a Miss America contestant who had traded in fame for a fulfilling medical career. How she had ever ended up as my doctor in nowhere, U.S.A., I'll never know. All I can say is…… “Welcome to my world!”

     I did learn one important thing during my physical. If a doctor ever puts on plastic gloves, then trouble isn’t far behind. After a series of embarrassing and meticulous examinations of every inch of my body, a couple coughs, icy cold instruments placed on my chest and back, and a hammer to my knee, the physical was complete. 

     The next few minutes were spent with her swiftly and efficiently writing unintelligible information on a clipboard, while I sat quietly, huddled in my gown trying to regain some of my lost dignity.  Before leaving the room, the doctor informed me that my overall health was pretty good, but my blood pressure was slightly elevated. She recommended I exercise more, lose some weight, and watch my sodium intake.

    It should be noted that any middle-aged man, wearing nothing but two square feet of thin paper, while being examined by a highly attractive woman, may have slightly elevated blood pressure. It was a minor miracle, I hadn’t suffered a massive heart attack!

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