Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Good Morning, Doctor!

It’s been a long time since my last physical. With Kate and I (OK, mostly I) trying to keep steady jobs and random insurance, I’d say it’s been about 7 years. However, with some of my dad’s recent medical issues, he hounded me until I made an appointment. He also gave both of us a long list of things to have tested. Blood, urine, triglycerides, PSA… The doctor we selected is my father’s doctor as well, and my dad is a well-known retired physician in this city. You say my last name in the medical arena, chances are someone knows him. In fact, one of his old patients is buying our house, but I digress.

This is my first visit to this doctor, so there are about 6 pages of paperwork. Insurance cards are copied and co-pays are paid. I’m on about page 3 and filling out the “For Women Only” section – it was early and I hadn’t had any coffee yet so cut me some slack. I try to copy the list my father gave me in the “List Specifics You’d like to Cover” section, but he’s a retired doctor and “triglycerides” looks more like “Tyrannosaurus” but I can make out most of the other words. I’m not done, but my name is called so I follow the nurse back.

The nurse brings me back to the scale. I ask if I can take my cell phone off so it looks better, but it still didn’t look good. Apparently pants, shirt and shoes weigh roughly 6 pounds! She brings me into an examining room, and then realizes I’m a new patient and she needs to measure me. I’m guessing my weight drops the little scale/measuring thingy down an inch. Suddenly I’m shorter and fatter than I thought! We go back into the examining room and she takes my blood pressure. She says its borderline high. She leaves and I finish the paperwork.

The doctor comes in and asks me the same questions I just answered in the 6 pages I filled out earlier. Can he not read my writing? We talk about exercise, which I do 4-5 times per week for about 45 minutes. He says that’s good. I bring up my weight, and he spits out the left-handed compliment of the year, “well you’re not obese!” I asked him to repeat that into my memo function on my phone for motivation. Instead, he asks me to strip down to the undies and he leaves the room.

When he comes back, he says he was not happy with the blood pressure results and takes it again with a smaller cuff. Now I’m normal, and I feel a little better about how things are going. Stinkin’ nurse! We start discussing the list from my father. The doctor says that most things on there are typical of what he covers, but mentions the PSA is a bit out of bounds for someone my age. The PSA is a prostate analysis that is a relatively expensive test and usually isn’t done until men reach their mid-forties. He says insurance will not cover it, so we decide not to do it.

After some deep breaths and a wandering stethoscope, he asks me to drop the undies for the hernia exam – the glove is on! FYI, they no longer grab you by the peach pit twins. He basically puts a flat hand inside your pelvic bone and asks for a fake cough. Hey, no big deal! Until… “Why don’t you turn around and bend over and we’ll give your prostate a quick swipe.” There’s a tube of gel, a glove, and I am at his mercy. This had to be the longest 2.5 seconds in the history of mankind! With a, “seems like everything is nice and smooth,” our Moon River moment is over. I am handed a box of tissues and told I can put my clothes back on as he exits. I told him I loved him too and wondered what ever happened to dinner and foreplay.

After he leaves, I start to giggle as I think of how I can share this moment with my faithful fan club!

He returns, shakes my hand, and leads me back to the phlebotomists. I wait my turn until a thorny-haired woman tells me they have an open chair. She approaches me and asks if I ever feel faint or lightheaded when having blood drawn. I respond, “I don’t know – it’s been a long time since I’ve had blood drawn. Why don’t I just look away…” She looks at my chart and says she knows my father. If I had a nickel for everyone that says they know my father, I wouldn’t be working.

After she is finished drawing the blood and sticking the giant cotton ball on my arm with enough tape to reattach a side view mirror, she hands me the urine cup. “Just go into the bathroom, fill it up, and place it in the two-way metal door.” That sounds simple enough. I do my thing, open the door, and there are 3 other cups in there. Good thing she labeled it! Is it just me, or does that sound a little unsanitary? I wash up, I leave, and I walk funny down the stairs.

Leather seats GOOD!

Coffee from Einstein’s was a God send! By the time I get to work, I have removed the cotton ball from my arm and get extended mileage from the, “my boss has driven me to heroin” joke all day long at the office. It’s old now, and so am I. Just think, 3 years and I get to do it all again!


Bill Purdy said...

It has been a long, long time since I've had the pleasure of such an intimate moment with my doctor. I am probably due soon. Now that I've read this, I'm ready to put it off maybe another couple years. What can go wrong? I feel great!

All I can think about now, Patrick, is a certain boss we shared a long time ago, who expressed his satisfation with his girlfriend-du-jour thusly: "I think I love her. She checks my prostate for me. Yes, I think I might love her." Inevitably followed by: "That Kate McGarrigle, she could sing the phone book and I'd listen."

Pat Angello said...

Yeah, I miss 'Chard like herpes in remission!

Collin said...

It's been at least 7 years (or possibly 12 years) since I last had a physical and I feel like crap but I'm still going to put it off! Glad yours has turned out well so far.

Everything you ever wanted to know about Pat Angello - sorry!