Saturday, May 28, 2011

Turn Your Head to the Left and Cough

DISCLAIMER:  The following is a repost of one of my earliest entries on Blogger.  I feel comfortable that most of you have not read it (except SherilinR, one of my longest standing followers.  She's a real peach.  Sherilin?  You may as well go get a cup of coffee.  Or schnapps.  I won't judge).  The reason I decided to snivel a rerun on you is that I have family coming to visit over the holiday.  I'm actually looking forward to it.  It will give me an excuse to drink beer without Mrs. Penwasser giving me the stink eye.  That being the case, I won't have a lot of extra time over the next few days to write anything like my normal hideous hysterical observations.  I'll drop in as often as I can and actually will read YOUR posts before I write one of my own.  I'll do this even if I drink a LOT of beer.    So, if you haven't read it, enjoy.  If so, my apologies.

    Time marches on and the calendar is a mocking reminder that I  once again must be poked, prodded, and probed. Yes, my annual appointment with mortality is drawing near.  Add that to my fear the doctor may find something wrong with me and I get as nervous as Osama Bin Laden at the VFW.
  (NOTE:  this was written a couple years before OBL had air conditioning installed in his skull)
  “C’mon, ya big baby!”, my wife smugly scolded, “what’s so bad about a physical? After all, it’s not like having a baby!”
    Why is it that women always feel compelled to trot out the old labor pain nugget?  I’ll grant you that being violated by a man in rubber gloves is tame compared to forcing what feels like an ten-pound bowling ball through a keyhole.
    But, hey, a physical is no Swedish massage, either. I’d rather mud-wrestle Chaz Bono.
    You know the drill. Fasting (“Not even coffee!?”) the night before gets the ball rolling. Ostensibly for counting cholesterol, lipids, or demonic humours, I think it’s to keep us just cranky enough so that any chance of a pleasant morning is torpedoed from the get go.
    After picking up a wheelbarrow of paperwork, I first shuffle to the lab to pick up two test tubes for the “Ritual Gathering of Bodily Fluids.”  One for cholesterol, HIV, Mad Cow Disease, and for that creepy new intern from Eastern Europe, Vlad.  As for what that other little vial is for, well, let’s just say it’s not just for “target practice.”
    After ridding myself of what was, only minutes before, happily minding its business inside my body, I’m off to any one of several examinations.  The hearing test is one of my favorites.  At least in the hearing booth, I can take a nap.  It’s quiet, cool, and dark in there.  Get that rhythm thing going-beep, beep, beep, snnzzzzzzzz.....
    Next, time to fill out my paperwork while the roadies set up the next battery of tests.  Hmm, let’s see, any scars? Trick knees?  Mildew?  Rickets?  The whole gamut of maladies from asthma to zebraphilia is covered, but it’s real tough to remember if I touched anything during last year’s vacation at Disney’s Leper Village and Colonic Farm.
    After that, off for chest X-Rays, eye test (two, blue, near-sighted, thanks for asking), and another hearing test to double-check the results of my narcoleptic button-mashing.
    Since I am chronologically challenged, I need an EKG and treadmill stress test.  But, even though I do my best “Six Million Dollar Man” impression, I suspect I more closely resemble George Jetson (“Jane, stop this crazy thing!”).
    Besides being terrified of what all those squiggly lines mean, I’m deathly afraid of later discovering one of those sticky EKG thingies in my armpit when I take a shower-youch!
    Finally, it’s the doctor’s turn to decide whether my body should be condemned, spackled, or given a pass for another year. Ushered into an antiseptic examining room by a refugee from the East German Womens Weightlifting team, I strip down to my underwear (clean, ‘natch) and try not to slip off that crinkly paper found only in doctors’ offices.
    After what seems like hours of staring at the walls and reading all the literature warning of diseases which are in my house right now, the doctor finally swoops in.  He scans my paperwork, nods his head, grunts a couple “Hmm hmms”, and reaches into his cabinet for rubber gloves and a tube of KY Jelly.
    Oh, not a good sign.
    Before the finale, though, I’m asked to perform a series of little tasks like a circus seal.  I do everything except a puppet show: bend over, walk on my heels like frikkin' Frankenstein, walk on my toes, put my left foot in, take my left foot out, put my left foot in, and shake it all about.
    He shoves a flashlight up my nose, rams a popsicle stick down my throat, thumps my chest with a stethoscope, and jiggles “the boys” like castanets.  He jabs me in my side and stomach just to get a good idea of where my organs are (good news: all present and accounted for).
    Just when I began to think I was home-free (hoping, illogically, that he just “forgot”), the doctor asks me to lie on my side and bring my knees up to my chest.  Advising me that I’ll feel a “slight pressure” (why do they always say that?) and to "relax" (yeah, THAT’S gonna happen).
    Without so much as a courteous “how do ya do?”, he’s in up to his elbows and...well, it’s just too terrible to describe. Let’s just say I’m clean as a whistle inside and out.
    And, they’ll have to kill me before I go to prison.
    Eventually, after twenty minutes of gasping like a hooked mackerel on his examining table, I redress and limp from his office, bruised yet buoyed by another clean bill of health.
    Before I could make my escape to the safety of my car, though, I’m ambushed by his assistant, Nurse Mengele.       
    Seems I need more tests.
    Apparently, any beeping in my ears makes me fall asleep.


  1. LOL!

    Nice post!

    I always wonder what it feels like to be the doctor doing the examinations. They've probably seen enough butt holes to compile a scrap book.

  2. Yeah - I can relate - had my boobs sqashed in a vise yesterday for their annual bean bag game. Nothing medical gets more fun as you get older!

  3. Aren't those physicals just to much fun? Yuk!

  4. I still love the Nurse Mengele part.

  5. @Lemons: Or a Crap Book. Seriously, they'll never take me alive. At 5'6", even I'm just too cute for prison. If you know what I mean.
    @laughingmom: Oh, yeah, the mammogram. I forgot about that. Plus, my wife says HER doctor can carry her like a six-pack, so I shouldn't whine about being violated. But, I always feel cheap.
    @Eva: Umm....nope. And I'm due for one in July. Yikes!!
    @dbs: Nurse Ratchit had the day off.

  6. Great post.

    And when reading this I am reminded of the scene from Fletch where Chevy Chase asks the doc "are you using the whole fist doc?"

  7. The trouble is when you feel the doctor's hands on BOTH shoulders.

  8. One hopes the results after all of that were anticlimactic.

  9. Poor Baby! You should see what goes on when you're pregnant and in labor. Everybody under the sun walks in a "takes a look".

  10. Women get that fun every year along with the pap and pelvic.

  11. Great... I have THIS to look forward to? Glad I'm still young and strapping. Not ready to be alien-probed just yet.

  12. Had to laugh, just had a test myself recently, one of several I take.
    You have a way with words.

  13. don't mind if i do haul out something to drink. i wonder how long that wine i opened last weekend lasts. shnapps would be better.
    you're funny al, & i like you.

  14. Ah...Al...manhood, what can you say!

    Great post! I felt your "pain", but must confess I'm glad I'm just reading about it!
    There's a reason the birthing task is assigned to women!

    I'm sitting back with a nice red doing some catch-up reading since I've been AWOL these last couple of weeks and your pad is always a fun joint to drop in on.

    Enjoy your weekend.

    Cheers, Jenny

  15. I once asked why I had to turn my head when I coughed. Assuming it put just the right amount of torsion on the boys (cuz they are connected to the brain ya know) and he said "So you don't cough on my head". So much for romance!

  16. You know, giving birth might be easier.
    And might I say, your doc gives you one heck of a thorough exam. I don't think I've ever had one so thorough... and I'm keeping it that way.
    I'm glad you re-posted this Al! It's priceless.
    Have a great Memorial day weekend!