Thursday, August 20, 2009

Docs and Socks

I have an appointment with my doctor tomorrow. It’s not something I look forward to, although this particular appointment doesn’t promise to be as harrowing as those wonderful ‘yearly physicals’ always are. Ugh.

This time, with any luck, I’ll be allowed to remain fully clothed. I have nothing against being naked, mind you. As long as I’m naked in a dark, windowless room with a padlock on both sides of the door, and as long there is no one else in there with me.

Am I a prude? No. Certainly not. I’m simply self-conscious. And that’s not something I’m allowed to be at the doctor’s office.

Even if I am permitted to keep my pants zipped and my blouse buttoned, there is still a modicum of humiliation involved when I visit the clinic. Oh, those good folks in the soft-soled shoes don’t waste any time worrying about my dignity. A cool smile greets me, and a finger points the way to the bathroom. They need a ‘sample’, they tell me. Their polite way of telling me to pee in a cup.

It sounds easy, right? I mean, I know whereabouts to hold the opaque white cup. I do! But in my nervousness I can’t seem to hit it dead-on. And worse, I can’t seem to stop. Who knew that one cup of cocoa…those TWO cups of cocoa… would travel so quickly through my system? My cup runneth over!

And onto my hand. Blech.

So, now what? I gingerly set the cup on the floor. I finish up. I walk to the sink and wash. Using a paper towel, I pick up my cup and attempt to wipe down the outside. After all…it’s pee. I can’t hand a nurse a dripping cup of pee, can I? My mother would have a fit at my lack of decorum! No. Dry it must be! It’s bad enough that it’s warm. A warm cup of pee tells an intimate story. It says, well… it says: I JUST PEED AND NOW YOU GET TO HOLD IT!

Good heavens.

We move onwards from ‘The Passing of the Urine Sample’ to one of my most favorite portions of the visit. That segment destined to depress and embarrass me. The scales. That’s right. Even if I was just at the doctor’s office yesterday, still… I must get weighed. Even with yesterday’s history chart in hand, the ‘Recorder of the Poundage’ feels it necessary to ask me what I think I weigh (She’s got that information right there! Does she just like to see me writhe?) so that she can slide those clunky fifty-increment weights back and forth with some semblance of authority.

I mumble an approximate number. I kick off my shoes. I consider peeling off my socks, but I chicken out. After all, she’s sliding weights around, waiting for my bulk to climb aboard, for pity's sake! This is serious business, and I must not dilly-dally. I exhale, assuming I will weigh less without oxygen in my lungs. And I step up onto the blasted things.

Oh, no. I forgot! She wants to see how tall I am, too. Have I grown since my last visit? Since yesterday??? The metal bar flips up from the front of the scales, and she slides it down until it meets the top of my head.

What’s this? I’ve shrunk three inches? No, no, weight! I mean, WAIT! In my attempt to force the air from my thoracic cavity, I’ve humped my shoulders and dropped my head, trying like the dickens to keep the O2 out. Do I straighten up, thereby decreasing with one quick motion my excessive Body Mass Index? If I do that, though, the air will rush back into my lungs (for nature abhors a vacuum almost as much as my teenage daughter does) and those three ounces of air will show up on the scale. Oh, decisions, decisions!

At last, I’m given permission to dismount. Phew. What truly horrid things, scales. I’ll bet a skinny person invented them. A tall, skinny person, with a BMI of three.

And now, it’s off to an examining room. One of those air-conditioned cubicles with white walls, gleaming sink, and a cushioned table covered in crinkly paper and with cold metal stirrups bolted to one end. Yes, stirrups. Good Lord. Hi-ho, Silver!

I’ll just take this wheeled stool, thank you.

The stethoscope and sphygmomanometer come out. (You see, yesterday I waited long enough for the doc to appear that I read up through to the T’s in his medical dictionary. ) The nurse takes my sphygmo. My sphygmoma. My sphymomano! Okay, okay. She takes my blood pressure. Ooh! It’s a bit high, today. Do I have any idea why that is?

Peed in cup! Got weighed! Shrunk three inches! Sheesh. These people are clueless.

Finally, my doctor rolls in. I stand. I extend my hand to shake his. I wonder as I do if he’s been lugging around any opaque cups. But it’s too late, I’m committed. At least his grip is firm and steady. That seems like a good thing, but I’m not sure why. It’s not like he’s going to be performing surgery on me or anything, today. Right? RIGHT?

My physician flips through my chart. He says ‘Hmmmm,’ and my pulse races. It’s a good thing the nurse already took it, I suppose. Doc looks at me and smiles.

'Well,’ says that learned gentleman, ‘it looks like we’re going to need a sample of your blood. Have you eaten anything today?’

I hesitate.

‘No, but I did have a cup of cocoa. Actually, TWO cups of cocoa.’ Dratted chocolate gets me into trouble every time! ‘Why?’

“Well, you need to fast from midnight onwards in order for this blood test to be accurate. I’m afraid you’ll have to come back tomorrow.’

I sigh. I stand and shake his hand. I might as for a penny, in for a pound. I walk solemnly out the door and stop at the office window to pay my ninety dollars. Ninety bucks to get weighed. And measured. And to have the honor of peeing in a special opaque cup. Another sigh.

Well, things are bound to be better tomorrow.

Tomorrow, I am NOT wearing socks!


  1. Karen,
    Have you written anything lately? Last I read was from the beginning of last week...
    Chris,( the woman)

  2. Hey Chris!

    (Hint: If you want to be anonymous, don't sign your comments! Hehe.)

    Stay tuned...should have something up here tonight (Sunday the 30th).

    Your grumbling and grinning blogger,