Friday, January 18, 2008

Report of My Annual Physical

This physical was different. First of all, the waiting was minimal. For my previous visits to the doctor, I had to hang out in the waiting room for at least fifteen minutes. You know the drill. A nurse calls your name and hurries you back to a room with strange urgency, weighs you, checks your blood pressure, and abandons you to sit alone away from any magazine you may have taken an interest in -- even if you're the only patient. I had a theory that doctors did this for three reasons. First, they want you to think they're really busy. Second, they want to emphasize their authority. Third, they want to break you down. By the time the doctor finally comes in, you've moved passed the anger stage and you're as grateful as a labrador retriever that no one forgot about you. You're so happy to have company that you'll go along with all the prodding and poking. Yesterday, I waited in both places for a total of five minutes. I didn't even have time to turn on my iPod.

And here's another thing different about yesterday's visit. You know how the doctor has you drop your drawers so they he can cup your balls and turn your head and cough? And then he turns you around, bends you over, and plumbs your ass? Since doctors never find anything, I thought they did this just so they could brag about it in the locker room at the end of the day. But my doctor found two things. I have a hernia, and I have an enlarged prostate gland, which is a clear sign that I'm not a spring chicken. As a bonus, the doctor actually noticed the scar tissue where the surgeon who performed my vasectomy messed up.

When I told him the surgeon has messed up, he asked who he was. "Someone in Indiana," I said. When he asked how he messed up, I couldn't remember the details since it wasn't terribly pleasant. Now I remember.

For one thing, Dr. Hoosier didn't anesthetize my personal area well enough, so I could feel the incision as he cut open my scrotum. "Ouch!" I exclaimed. He never did get my junk fully anesthetized, so I clenched and grimaced during the whole surgery. Thanks a lot, Dr. Hackasack. But that wasn't all. He let both of his female nurses hang out and watch me hang out. This gave me the feeling that I was the only patient they had that day, and maybe there was a good reason this doctor didn't have many customers. Plus, they kept looking at each other knowingly. I wanted to ask them to mind their own business and stop looking at each other knowingly, but Dr. Dimwit kept asking me technical questions about Adobe Acrobat. And these were stupid questions like, "All I want to do is delete a paragraph and replace it with a different one. How do you do that in the Adobe?"

The real problem was that Dr. Less-Than-Competent cut too much tube, which meant he had to yank on it in order to tie it off. It felt like he was pulling on my small intestine. When he was finished with his handy work, he left a huge knot next to one of my testicles. And to put a final touch on that most awful day, he didn't laugh at my pun. When he was telling me when I would be able to have sex again, I replied, "Let's hope there's not a vast difference." (I pronounced it vas deferens. Get it?)

I vowed that I would never get another vasectomy as long as I live. Let's hope the hernia surgery goes better. And maybe the prostate surgery . . .