The Doctor is In

Yes, I’m writing about my annual physical - again. They don’t call it an annual physical for nothing, you know.

It all went fine and I won’t creep you out with details because I’m not that old and quirky - yet. There’s always next year.

I can’t say anything bad about my doctor, because I gave her a link to this blog and she might be reading this, but I wouldn’t anyway. She’s great. She’ll be greater if she doesn’t go back and read what I wrote about her in last year’s blog about my physical. That was back when I had three readers and I didn’t know that everyone from your past, present and future will come out of the woodwork to read what you wrote, but only if you’ve had one glass of wine too many and are griping about the five invasive and degrading procedures you have to have done just to celebrate the fact that you made it to 50 years. Woo. hoo.

Being 51 is way easier. You can get by with only two invasive and degrading procedures and one of them involves staying mostly clothed. Let’s give it up for 51.

I gave her the link to my blog as proof that I am doing something other than sitting on my ass eating junk food, drinking, going out into the sun without sunscreen, picking at scabs, sharing needles, and wearing my contact lenses too long.

We had gone over exercise and other stuff I do for my body. Then she said, “And what are you doing for your mind?”  I thought it was really nice of her to ask. I like when doctors take an interest in you as a person, not just as a circulatory-gastrointestinal object.

(I did have one doctor, though, who took way too much of an interest in my soul, which was just wrong in so many ways. She was an extremely short, roundish woman who did everything so fast that she was like a little dark beige blur. She used to ask me about my “spirituality,” explaining that as my doctor, she was responsible for my physical health and my spiritual health. Normally with her, if she asked a delicate question that I didn’t want to answer, I would just pause and say “um” a few times and she would buzz right onto the next subject. She really had to have been on some kind of speed, now that I think of it. She had the access. When she asked me if I had talked to my sons about how pornography is degrading to women, I said, “Um . . . um” and she said, “How’s your water intake?” and then she spun like a Tasmanian Devil out of the room to get me a pamphlet on calf muscle cramps. When she asked about my spirituality, I didn’t even have to use the um. I said, “I’m Catholic” and she was amazingly speechless. I’ve used those two words in other tough situations with great success.)

Of all the different kinds of doctors I’ve had (and for a healthy person who can honestly check “no” to almost every single question on those questionnaires, I’ve had an amazingly large number of them, because of all of our moves), some things about doctor visits never change.

When the nurse gives you that gown and the paper lap blanket and tells you to put them on (“The gown opens in front!” Oh good!) and you undress and you’re folding up your clothes and setting them on the visitor’s chair, what woman doesn’t put her underwear underneath the other clothes? You’re about to be examined in the most private places you own by another human being, yet you don’t want that person to see your underpants?

You put on that gown and lap blanket and you’re 6, maybe 7 tops. Sitting there on the table all bad posture, wide eyes and folded hands. You can try to step it up, keep a copy of Field and Stream rolled up in one hand, cross your legs, crack your knuckles, but you’re still a 6-year-old girl, blurting out things that you never intended to admit.

My doctor is cool, though, and she’s younger than me, which helps. Next year, I might take the time to ask her about her mind, just to make sure she’s taking care of herself. She’s already seen me naked, so I’m going to try to keep her for the duration.

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