Monday, May 14, 2012

The Dreaded Physical

Submitted to Dude Write.

Health maintenance wasn’t an expression heard much around my house while I was growing up. If you fell and your arm or leg was bent the wrong way, it was okay to go to the doctor. Otherwise, buck up and don’t be a crybaby. Today we’re encouraged to see our doctors often, at my age (fifty-nine) once a year. I’m not fond of the humiliation that goes with a routine physical and don’t get them as regularly as I should. I would probably avoid them completely but doctors get you all hopped up on prescription drugs and then cut you off if you don’t pay them a visit every few months.

Confession: I like my doctor, which helps considering the up close and personal things he does to me, but an appointment with him renders me so uptight that if I had a chunk of carbon up my ass I could squeeze it into a diamond by the time the physical was over.

Last week before my physical, the doctor’s assistant came into the windowless room where I was being held hostage. She asked a bunch of questions and took my blood pressure. She ordered me onto the scale and I climbed onto the platform and closed my eyes.

Mind you, I’ve done everything I can think of to weigh as little as possible, except follow a healthy diet and exercise. I read somewhere that Charles Lindbergh trimmed the edges off his map to cut down on weight for his transatlantic crossing; in this vein, I’m wearing shorts ( even though it’s raining outside) no underwear, no shoes or sox, my pockets have been emptied of my wallet, change, car keys and breath mints, and I’ve slipped off my watch and wedding band. The metal bar on the scale rattles and clinks as she pushes it around, back and forth, until finally she scribbles something onto my chart.

“Remove all of your clothing and put this on. Leave it open in the back,” she said, handing me a paper gown before stepping out of the room. “The doctor will be with you shortly.”

Her instructions about leaving it open in the back proved unnecessary. The gown might have closed around a jockey or one of those female Chinese gymnasts, but the only way it would close around my behemoth backside would be by taping more of them together. My bare feet dangled in the air while I sat on the examining table, dressed in a backless paper dress with tissue paper sticking to my sweaty ass. As I waited, I wondered if doctors hired cute assistants for the sole purpose of making guys like me feel self-conscious.

I’d been ordered not to eat anything because they wanted a sample of fasting blood, even though they couldn’t get me in to see the doctor until just before noon. I was hungry and grumpy enough to bite someone. I was kept waiting so long that I started salivating over the jar of rectal cream on the counter near the sink. Used for prostate exams, it was starting to look like vanilla pudding.

The doctor finally arrived and we shook hands. Lucky for me, his hands were warm. “So what brings you in today?” he asked.

I tried to sound as gruff as I could, sitting on a table in a paper gown with my ass hanging out. “I got a call from you refusing to renew my prescriptions unless I came in.”

He checked his chart. “It’s been three years since you’ve been in to see us. That’s too long between checkups for a man your age.”

I’d prepared a glib comment to explain my weight gain, but he surprised me by saying, “I see you weigh the same as you did at your last physical.”

I was surprised. This wasn’t going to be as bad as I’d thought.

“Before we get to the physical, is anything bothering you that we should talk about?”

“Well, I have this raisin-sized white mark on my forehead.”

He pulled out a magnifying glass and examined it. “Does it hurt?”

“No, but I’m worried it’s that disease that started on Michael Jackson’s penis, spread to his face and turned him white.”

“It’s nothing to worry about. Just a harmless discoloration. But speaking of your penis, lie back and let me take a look at yours.”

Just like that; I’m getting groped like I’m in Cell Block C! Bad enough but he wanted to chat while he fondled my skin pickle and squeezed my man berries. “Are you sexually active?” he asked.

“Not at this moment.”


“Seriously? I like to think the answer is yes, but I guess it depends on who you ask. Mrs. Chatterbox might give you a different answer.”

“I’m putting down a yes,” he said. He tested my reflexes with a rubber hammer and tickled the bottoms of my feet, and just when I was starting to relax, and unclench, he told me to stand up, lean against the examination table and bend over. As I complied, I heard latex gloves being snapped on and the lid being twisted off the vanilla pudding jar.

Before I could think of a quick quip, I felt a finger cruising up the onramp to my prostate. “Are you taking your Glimepiride and Allopurinol?” he asked, perhaps trying to make me forget that his finger was swimming up my butt like a seal looking for a salmon dinner. He was referring to two of the numerous medications I take, but at the moment they sounded like those ill-tempered dinosaurs chasing everyone around Jurassic Park. I managed a nod.

He finished up. “Lose some weight and watch your blood sugar,” he said. “And we’ll see you here next year. I’m sending you to the lab so they can take blood and urine samples.”

My stomach growled. Before he left I had one last question. “Doctor?”


“Does the cream in that jar taste like vanilla pudding?”


  1. I'm glad I haven't had to get the dreaded prostate exam yet. Isn't there a less invasive way to do that than stick a finger up someone's bum?

  2. I'm sorry - it's hard to be sympathetic since I've had an annual exam since I was 22 - that's, what, 26 years of getting felt up? Heh.

  3. Bug:

    Mrs. C. warned me that I shouldn't expect too much sympathy from women. Something about stirrups?

  4. I must be about due to have an examination again - as looking at my past blogs its been longer than i thought.

    I think doctors must naturally want to poke and probe things - but the question that bugs me the most is what series of events have to occur in someones life for them to wake up one day and think "I know! I want to spend the rest of my life looking at XYZ"

  5. Mrs. C. is right- but it's good to know men get this anxiety, too~

  6. I could hardly read your post as I was busy hyperventilating. I dread the annual physical with all my being. I don't think either gender is immune to the dread and uncomfortable nature of exams, but women do have the edge of invasive procedures.

  7. Something about stirrups? Something about STIRRUPS? And what about the lamp. The roving lamp that they move this way and that way til it shines its spot light right... THERE.

    Spelunker much?


    However, I do feel your pain. It's just that MY pain is greater. heh heh heh

  8. Ouch! It hurts just thinking about it. You couldn't drive a straight pin up my ass with a sledgehammer right now.

    On my last visit it seemed more uncomfortable than usual, so I said, "Doc, did you use TWO fingers?" He said, "Yes I did." I asked, "Why?" He said, "I wanted a second opinion."

  9. I'm overworked, sleep deprived and I have no buisness being on the net. I need to get on the road,I need to get to Miami, I need ...

    Turns out I needed a dose of Chatterbox. I just spent the best five minutes I didn't have.

  10. LOL Just as well the Docs finger isn't carbon. It can sure make your eyes water :)

  11. PS I've got a new link on my blog and your post is my first that I've added. Feel free to add some of your own or of your choice.

  12. Oh dear, this is too funny. I just had a physical myself. The doctor really seemed kind of peeved that I am so healthy. Can't make the medical folks any money, by staying healthy, I don't know what is wrong with me.
    (Shame on you, I will always think of you when I see Jurassic Park now!)

  13. That was wonderfully written, wonderfully funny! I read it to Mr. Eva....he sympathizes having been on the receiving end of that insulting invasion himself!

  14. Once you've had a baby (or five), the embarrassment fades some.

    The stirrups are still no fun for us, though.

    Glad you went, hope all is well, because i need funny like this in my life.

  15. I haven't been to a doctor, outside of any visits for softball-related injuries (and I am NOT talking about those balls) in about 45 years. I will no doubt drop dead any day, proving MY WIFE correct in her hectoring of me to go. What can I say? I know that when I go, no matter what the reason is for my going, I'll get a temperance lecture about smoking (and, yes, I understand that I'm headed for hideousness as I continue to do so) and it just really, truly bugs the hell out of me when they do that, so I don't go.

    Yes, I am an idiot. That's news?

  16. You're the only person I know who can make a visit to the Doctor hilarious. But how come you still have a Doctor who actually examines you? Mine checks the blood work results, listens to my chest, smiles and tells me I'm very healthy and mutters something about 'don't forget to pay the co-pay on your way out.' and I'm done for another six months.

  17. Ah, yes. . . the wonderful prostate exam/colonoscopy post. (Just for fun, here's one I wrote nearly six years ago. Since my first prostate exam, at age 40, I've said that, if I was ever 'bi-curious', I'm not anymore. . .

  18. They always say "lose some weight". I've been hearing that one for years. I guess I'm fat.

  19. Hilarious stuff Stephen.

    Reminded me of my "pain in the testicle" hospital visit four years ago. (I've just made up my mind about the topic for my next blog post!)

  20. Just finished a book written by a GP about his patients. This post offered the view from the other side of the jar of vanilla pudding.

  21. Great recounting of that difficult pose. Though the "vanilla pudding" jar has never looked anything but torturous.

  22. You made me laugh. It's a miracle. Have you had a colonoscopy yet? I refuse. I've seen someone go through the preparation, vomiting, diarrheaing. Vomit and diarrhea at the same time. Plus, you can't drive yourself home or out to lunch afterwards, and I have no one to drive me. I'll find excuses not to have one of those bitches until I die of colon cancer.


    1. Believe it or not, I'd rather someone use my colon for a Roto-Rooter experiment than play "Find the Prostate." With a colonoscopy, I get to take a nap.
      But, I do feel cheap.

  23. I'm with Kay G. -- my doctor always seems so disappointed when he can't find anything wrong with me. I feel like I've let him down.

    All good strategies to try to keep your weight down (and all much better than actually foregoing dessert) except ... I'd leave the underwear on, they don't weigh that much anyway.

  24. I made an appointment for my yearly (which averages about 18 months or so) physical for my birthday. Yeah, I have a twisted sense of humor that way.
    1. It ain't the humiliation which dissuades me. He could make me dance around in a prom dress at a construction site for all I care. It's the profound discomfort which stems from having a hand scratching around my colon.
    2. If you had a chunk of carbon up your ass, he'd find it.
    3. He asked if you were sexually active when he was adding a little meat rub? Sure he wasn't coming on to you? Or, if he wasn't, imagine if it started to grow like Pinocchio's nose, causing you to remark, "I'm not cheap, but I can be had." Like I said, I have a twisted sense of humor.
    Okay, gotta go. I need to renew my prescription.

  25. Oh, yeah, just for fun......
    Eat a can of cocktail peanuts just before your prostate exam.
    Then hit him with a rectal gatling gun.

  26. I'm glad I never developed a taste for vanilla pudding. I'll never look at it the same way again.

  27. men and women both have to suffer through our share of indignities, don't we?

  28. Stephen, you had me laughing so hard I actually SNORTED!

    I can relate to the procedure before stepping on the scale. I've been know to get a hair cut the day before, and to deeply exhale just as I step on.

  29. The indignity of it all. But at least he added sex to your repetoire. I've never had a doctor do that.


  30. Hilarious! I'm still chuckling about you annual physical! But why am I chuckling? I'm next.
    I have written about these examinations in a dull fashion. I prefer your humorous approach. Like your comparisons.

  31. I've met a lot of funny people but you are FUNNY himself! This was hilarious and couldn't think how a physical could go so terribly amusing.

  32. I asked my doc about the exam you mentioned, if it was the male version of a pap test... He said "Doctors have ways of making everyone uncomfortable..." So, at least you survived. But I think I would shy away from the vanilla pudding. Just sayin'.


  33. It's good to have a sense of humor with such visits. If it helps, just think of a famous person you admire and remember...they get physicals too! All Best :)

  34. Haha... man I hate the doctor too..... And I feel I must say (a friend) told me rectal cream tastes NOTHING like vanilla pudding... just sayin!

  35. Your candid description of your experience brought back memories of the 'office exam'.

    That special age where men can look forward to their first and memorable colonoscopy. It quickly becomes etched permanently to the cerebral cortex.

    Having ones package squeezed or manipulated in a foreign manner is another life altering event.

    Hope your recovery is quick! ;-)

  36. You're a hoot. I hope all was well... in the end. ;)

  37. well BON VOYAGE! have a great trip! See yaou and I'll read all about it in 3 weeks!

  38. This is one of the most fun reads all year. I enjoyed your agony. It was great to hear the view from a man's experience. That is the most graphic I have read so far. Sorry to say I enjoyed this so much, but I did!

  39. Wow!! What an innovative way to loose weight :D

  40. Haha, that's what I have to look forward to? Perfect. Great post, and welcome to Dude Write.

  41. You had me...right up until the pudding.

    I think women get a pretty raw deal. They get childbirth, they get their boobs smashed and squished and again when they get a mammogram, they can pass stones just like us, they get to go through "the change" which is of no monetary gain to them.

    And that isn't anything with stirrups and a speculum. As guys we think of Westerns when we hear stirrups, it say the word speculum to a kid and they may run away. Heck, add culum to any fun word and it immediately becomes the opposite. porsculum? Sexculum? Beerculum?

    Yeah, not much sympathy from the ladies, but you're spot on about the rest. I call it the 40,000 mile checkup with lube job. Hope it all turned out fine. On a good note, all your farts will be juicy (yet still not smell like Vanilla pudding)


  42. Oh... the proverbial "check-up." I'm a typical man and avoid hospitals, doctors, and medicine like the plague. But I was recently diagnosed with high blood-pressure which facilitated me seeing a doctor on a regular bases. I remember my first visit. I hadn't been to the doctor (other than for stitches and ear aches) or had a physical since I played sports in high school, in nearly 30 years. I was worried I was going to get the "finger" treatment, but to my surprise and adulation, my doctor didn't see the need in it. Even though I was 42, he felt it unnecessary since I had no family history of prostrate cancer. Boy was I relieved. Although I'm not looking forward to 50...

    Great post, I enjoyed it.

    Michael A. Walker
    Defying Procrastination

  43. You know, I've had a girl at the bar use that "Speaking of your penis..." line before... I'm sorry your experience wasn't as fun as mine.

    I'm 31. 9 years before my doc finger-bangs me, and I crack the obligatory "yo doc, aren't you gonna buy me a drink first??" joke. I'm not looking forward to it.

  44. I'm dreading the day my anus gets probed and violated. 5 more years till I hit 40. It's like a countdown to the end of the world!

  45. Ugh I feel your pain, well not really, I felt my own pain. I have not had a prostate exam yet but I have has unfortunate infections...nothing is as unnerving as the sound of snapping latex.

    Oh and on the weight thing, I always wear as little as possible and make sure I take a good healthy poop before getting weighed.

  46. This was so good. As uncomfortable as the finger in the backside is, I'd just as soon have them get it over with as quickly as possible. What's with the small talk?

  47. This was as funny as it was well-written. Nice job! Fortunately I haven't had to have anyone put their fingers up my butt yet.

  48. Hilarious Sorry, but that is nothing compared to what women go through from a much earlier age. Try having your feet AND hands tied down before giving birth! This was my first read of yours.