I recently went to my dermatologist to have a suspicious red spot on my stomach checked out. Of course, to see my dermatologist I had to have called for an appointment about twenty-five years ago, so I ended up seeing the Physician Assistant. Whenever I see a Physician Assistant it’s always a young woman, which you would think would be alright, except I’m the one that ends up standing there dressed in my socks and a nightgown. They call it a nightgown, but only in the sense that a paper towel is a nightgown.
I could see it in my P.A.’s eyes as she walked in the door; Oh great, another old, fat, hairy guy! She gave me the obligatory once over, with all the care and concern you see from people at the livestock exhibit at the State Fair. Undaunted, I showed her the spot on my side. “Doesn’t look like cancer to me” she quickly huffed. Apparently she hadn’t seen the pictures I’d seen on on Dr. Dave’s Diagnose Your Own Disease website. “How can you tell?” I somewhat cynically asked, wondering if she got a decoder ring in the same box of Cracker Jacks that she got her medical degree from. “We’ll take a biopsy, just in case, she said, and proceeded to pull out a knife that that was bigger than what they used to amputate legs during the Civil War. Another cute assistant came in and gave me Novocaine to dull the pain. After seeing me in my socks and paper towel nightgown she gave herself a shot too.
My family doctor’s PA is also a fairly young woman, and she always gives me the FINGER test. Having a female intern go poking me with her finger is not the highlight of my day, to say the least. I’m pretty sure it isn’t the highlight of hers either. She seems to poke around for quite a while, until I begin to wonder if her finger is stuck, when she whispers the words any man loves to hear from a younger woman;
“Well, there’s no blood in your stool.”
I just don’t think she has to add; “Now do us all a favor and get dressed.” Of course, even though her examination didn’t reveal much except low self-esteem, I still had to go get a colonoscopy, the Roto-Rooter of all medical procedures.
A colonoscopy is a root canal of the nether regions. I was told “Oh they put you out, you won’t feel a thing.” Actually, I felt a “thing.” I got to watch the whole “thing” on TV. “Must See TV” if ever there was. The doctor kept putting more and more of that hose up into me, I thought he was just taking the scenic route to examine my nasal cavity. And it hurt. Of course, there was another nice young girl there holding my hand and giving me a little pat every time I winced. I tried to act the part of the big stoic hero, but it’s kind of hard to feel like a hero lying there wrapped in paper towel with a cattle prod up your butt. My doctor said it took so long because I had a really large colon. Figures, in a society where size matters my trophies are internal.
Contrast all this with the eye exam I took. Now that was almost fun compared with those other tortures. First of all, I got to keep my clothes on. My head rested comfortably as my MALE doctor moved those big funny-looking machines in front of my eyes. I had known that I needed reading glasses, but long distance had never been a problem. He had me cover my left eye and asked me to the read the bottom line of the chart. No problem. He asked me to cover the right eye and read the same line of the chart. My response was; “What chart?” Turns out my right eye is great, my left eye sucks, and the only reason I never knew it before was because the right eye has been carrying the left eye for fifty-some years. Sort of like in politics.
Now, if only we could give Congress a colonoscopy.