Don’t get me wrong. I really like my doctor.
Although I only get 15 minutes in his presence per appointment, I understand that’s not his fault. More importantly, during that quarter of an hour, he really has a great bedside manner, remaining attentive and focused; he even laughs at my jokes. Yet, it’s still a very short amount of time for me to catalog every concerning twitch, itch, or anomaly I discover on this aging body. Nonetheless, he listens patiently and responds to every apprehension and I have yet to catch him sighing nor checking his watch.
Like I said, I like my doctor.
So at first blush, it might seem contradictory when I state that I did everything I knew how to do to avoid my most recent appointment. No invasive tests were on the agenda. I did not even have to fast the night before; I had done that the previous week. This visit’s express purpose was merely getting the results of my standard blood tests I took the week previously.
I arrived for my appointment a little early; hoping to get it over with. I purposely did not wear blue jeans because I knew they weigh more than my black cotton pants and also knew that — per standard protocol — the first place to which I would be escorted was the scale. I’ve commented before that I would prefer they placed it somewhere more discreet as it feels like it’s in the lobby with a lighted placard announcing, “Now weighing in…” and then proclaims my weight to everyone in the entire building. It’s not doing that of course, or so I’m told. But, as they say, “just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.” It still does appear that way to me.
“Please step on to the scale,” said the nurse.
“One moment,” I replied, “I don’t want to weigh while wearing this jacket.”
She smiled patiently while I placed my coat on the provided rack.
“Excellent; now you can hop on board.”
“I’m not done yet,” said I, whilst removing my shoes and unbuckling my belt.
“You know, you don’t really need to take those off,” she commented.
“Maybe others don’t, but I do. I’m a professional at this.”
I accented the action by emptying my pockets of my keys, spare change, phone, and even my pen. (I would have discarded the used napkin buried in the bottom of my pocket but I was starting to feel a bit too anal-retentive.)
After weighing-in and getting myself together, I was escorted to the exam room where I was told the doctor would be in shortly. He arrived, young medical student in tow, and — friendly as always — placed his open laptop on the table, pulled up a stool, introduced me to the young woman who was learning the trade, shook my hand, and said in a genuinely jovial manner, “So, how are you?”
That — to me — seemed like an odd question. After all, that’s why I was there. Nervously chuckling, I responded, “Um, big picture, I think I’m okay. I mean I don’t think there’s anything wrong. Besides, you’re more the expert on how I am than I am, aren’t’ you?”
He laughed. “Yes, I guess I am. Well, then, let me tell you that you’re great. All your blood work comes back well within the norms. Your sugar levels and triglycerides are fine. Your cholesterol is great. Your kidneys and your liver are all functioning exactly as they are supposed to.”
My sigh of relief was audible.
“I was really freaking out,” I said. “I was looking for all sorts of excuses to get out of this appointment.”
Looking puzzled, he asked, “Why? You’ve had countless blood tests before, there’s never been a major problem.”
“Yes, I know,” sheepishly looking at the floor, “But I’ve never had a blood test when I’m 60. I was afraid there would be all sorts of weirdness floating around in my insides.”
Reassuringly he replied, “I understand. Well, you can be happy. You passed your blood test with flying colors. And, by the way, if it helps any, you have blood of a 58-year-old.”
I laughed and thanked him.
Picking up my jacket my youngish blood and I exited the practice.