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Thursday, 06 September
You Might As Well Live

HEY, I'M NOT DYING! Maybe. Nobody knows.

I went to the doctor today. He actually said to me: "Well, you've got me." Excellent.

I was a little late getting out of the office, so I was busting my ass walking to the office. Also, know that I suffer from white jacket syndrome--I get totally skeezed out going to the doctor. The nurse weighed me, heighted me, and then sphygmanometered me. "Whoa!" she said, and then gave me a look as if I might die on the spot. "170 over 90!" she crowed. "I've always been an overachiever," I said drily. "I think that's swell," she replied. (She really did. She was frankly kind of awesome.)

(When the doc sphygged me ten minutes later, my systolic had already dropped twenty points, which was still horrible, but he was moved to put away the casket brochure.)

The doc was a nice guy; I liked him. Are they required as part of their doctory banter to ask you things like where you went to college? Who gives a fuck? Dr. Hair did! He was really interested. (I call him Dr. Hair to protect his privacy; I came up with this nickname because he had hair.)

Presently, I explained to Dr. Hair all about my confusing problems--the lingering flu symptoms, the bizarre performative neuropathies, the six hairy eyes growing out of my knees--and he "Hmmmm"ed and "Huh"ed appropriately. He took several notes, or possibly made amusing pornographic sketches in my chart.

"Has the internet turned your job to shit? Does everyone wander in going, 'Hey, I've got Baker's Vein and Vermicious Knids!' " I asked at one point, and he barked with laughter. "Lay it on me," he said. "What have you got, doc?"

"I've been picking and choosing between lymphoma and MS," I said.

"Sure!" he said. "I'm not ruling anything out." Say, about that. Can we?

He had me take off my shirt and he had a listen at my lung talents. "It's not flaky," he said at one point. I resisted the urge to mention that my lungs were not pastries, but I figured that they covered that in med school. He mentioned some other crap about my thyroid, but then he gave my neck a grope and seemed to immediately dismiss the idea.

He had me perform some outstretched-hands exercises, trying to get a handle on the whole neuropathy situation. "You're tremulous!" he exclaimed when my outstretched hands shook. "For how long?" he demanded. "I don't know. 1974?" I guessed. He beamed at me; he really seemed excited about this tremor thing.

Finally, he decided to "take a picture": that is, get a chest x-ray. I've never had a chest x-ray. In fact, apart from dental exams, I've never had an x-ray of anything not mouth-related. I simultaneously anticipated and dreaded this, not because it would hurt, but mainly because: what if there is some melon-sized nightmare in my chest?

So I had to go over to some other nurses and wait for the chest x-ray. I also had to get my blood drawn for a CBC and chemical panel, for which I was characteristically totally brave: "Don't ask me to watch this shit," I informed the nurse. I'm so lame. She was a pro, and it was fine.

Waiting for the x-ray nurse, I sat in the waiting room, not far from the vampire who had just drained me for a few cc's. A young blonde woman came up and spoke to her, and the next thing I heard was the nurse saying brightly, "All right! Have you ever given a stool sample before?"

My head automatically shot up at this unexpected series of words, and I caught the blonde woman's stricken eyes. I felt horrible, and looked back at the awful carpet.

"No," said the woman with more aplomb than I would have ever summoned.

The extremely Teutonic x-ray tech gal called me in for the x-ray. I stood against a metal plate, and she shouted at me, through a crook in the door, "BREATHE IN DEEP AND HOLD IT!" I did, and she slammed the door. The machine went BLAH at me, and then she opened the door again. "YOU CAN BREATHE NOW!" she howled. She terrified me.

"I have to develop these," she said. "Go get dressed!" She has a totally unrealized career in BDSM. Well, she would if she weren't terrifically ugly, so everything is probably as it should be.

The bullet: my chest x-ray was clean. ("It'll be reviewed, but it's clean," said Dr. Hair. I think my blood pressure dropped another twenty points right then.)

So I still don't know what the fuck is going on, but I'm immensely cheered that Dr. Hair doesn't really seem too concerned about anything. (Then again, my bloodwork could come back with the thrilling news that all my lymphocytes have turned into tiny plastic bananas or something. Exciting!) He gave me an ADVAIR DISKUS for my intermittent dry cough--I guess--and I kind of already hate it, mainly for the bullshit term "DISKUS." On the other hand, I can't ever have enough corticosteroids. But for God's sake . . . DISKUS. Fuck you, Advair.

He also gave me a prescription for some antibiotics--Z-pack--and a beta blocker for the freaky-deaky blood pressure. So now I feel like an old man. "Mother, can you cut up my steak for me? I've got to go take my beta blockers and hobble around feebly for a while."

While I was waiting to get out of there, the stool sample blonde came walking down the hall again; I caught her eye again. She was gingerly holding a plastic container at arm's length. She looked stricken again, and I looked at the carpet again. I am so sorry I saw you carrying your stool sample, I thought to myself, and herself mentally thought to myself, Boy, me too.

I posed a gedankenexperiment to myself at that moment: If I were single, could I ever date a woman who I had first encountered while she was submitting a stool sample for the first time? I came to the conclusion that I am a huge dumbfuck.

After all that--it's been a lousy week--I reflected for a bit. And then I remembered something important. Dr. Hair never once tried to touch my balls.


Note: Comments are closed on old entries.

Comments

No ball fondling?!?! What kind of quack-tastic bullshit is this "Doctor" trying to pull?! Everyone knows that no diagnosis of the male species can be accomplished without The Groping of the Testicles (I'm going to write a screenplay with that title)!

Comment number: 014880   Posted by: You can call me, 'Sir' on September 7, 2007 06:37 AM from IP: 152.17.123.31

I bet the problem is actually in your balls, and now you'll never be cured. You should go back and DEMAND a ball-groping.

Comment number: 014881   Posted by: superblondgirl on September 7, 2007 07:13 AM from IP: 69.177.139.176

I came to the conclusion that I am a huge dumbfuck.

That's what it took?

Take care, you ranting, hypertense dumbfuck.

Comment number: 014882   Posted by: Elsa on September 7, 2007 08:48 AM from IP: 4.156.105.250

Welcome to the Land of Old, Skot. I passed the mystical gateway when I went to the doctor about a year ago for a guilt-induced "annual physical." About 3 years after the previous one, of course.

Anyway, they took some blood, and a week later called me back in to say, "Hey, your cholesterol is through the roof!"

Neat, of course, because I don't really do anything that should cause high cholesterol, like gnaw on raw beef or eat french onion soup. Then the doctor uttered the words, "Probably your body just produces too much cholesterol!" Woo! I'm an overachiever too!

Thus, my first daily-pill-for-the-rest-of-my-life. Fuck you, overachieving body.

Comment number: 014883   Posted by: Ian J on September 7, 2007 09:39 AM from IP: 192.150.22.5

Sorr...uhm Great to hear you're not gonna die, S.

Comment number: 014886   Posted by: beige on September 7, 2007 04:50 PM from IP: 128.95.169.36

My X-Ray tech on Tuesday was a similarly severe Russian woman. She told me to change into two robes, one open in the front and one in the back. I came out of the changing room and she shouted "Why did you take off your shoes?"
Um, cause I don't know how to take off my pants without taking off my shoes? Am I in trouble? I mean, in a lot of situations walking around in public without pants gets you in trouble automatically. I sheepishly awaited further instruction, and then she sighed and ushered me into the room with the X-ray machine and the big lead divider that they stand behind while they push the button. While the pictures were being taken, she would yell
"Don't move, don't breathe! Okay, now breathe."

I don't think she was actually angry. She just always sounded angry. She was actually kind of pretty, too, which for some reason made me even more embarassed.

And Ian: Same exact thing happened to me. I just took my lovastatin five minutes ago. Just like the one I took yesterday and the one I'll take tomorrow and, according to the doctor, just like the one I'll take every day for the rest of my life.

Comment number: 014888   Posted by: flamingbanjo on September 7, 2007 05:51 PM from IP: 216.254.16.115

Oh, the love in this room.
Skot, it maaay be time to give up the cigs and the booze and embrace...well, a holistic approach to health.
Or you could have some wretched disease which demands you stuff your shortened lifespan full to the brim with smoking, drinking, eating anything you want, and making the love.
Better wait for the test results before you decide.
But each plan has equal merit.
It would be my selfishness which would prefer a long, healthy, boring life for one of my favorite writers.

Comment number: 014887   Posted by: Alyxmyself on September 7, 2007 05:51 PM from IP: 68.201.0.251

My X-Ray tech on Tuesday was a similarly severe Russian woman. She told me to change into two robes, one open in the front and one in the back. I came out of the changing room and she shouted "Why did you take off your shoes?"
Um, cause I don't know how to take off my pants without taking off my shoes? Am I in trouble? I mean, in a lot of situations walking around in public without pants gets you in trouble automatically. I sheepishly awaited further instruction, and then she sighed and ushered me into the room with the X-ray machine and the big lead divider that they stand behind while they push the button. While the pictures were being taken, she would yell
"Don't move, don't breathe! Okay, now breathe."

I don't think she was actually angry. She just always sounded angry. She was actually kind of pretty, too, which for some reason made me even more embarassed.

And Ian: Same exact thing happened to me. I just took my lovastatin five minutes ago. Just like the one I took yesterday and the one I'll take tomorrow and, according to the doctor, just like the one I'll take every day for the rest of my life.

Comment number: 014889   Posted by: flamingbanjo on September 7, 2007 05:54 PM from IP: 216.254.16.115

You sure do write some stuff that has an odd point of view. I like odd :)

The Groping of the Testicles- An epic tale of a man and his nuts. To grope or not to grope, that is indeed the question. Hmmmmm...

You should write a poem based kinda on To Be or Not to Be but about ball groping and doctors hehe.

Comment number: 014891   Posted by: Chris C on September 7, 2007 09:38 PM from IP: 75.68.1.188

Hey Skot, funny as always. Ask your doctor about those damn beta blockers -- those are like heavy shit and not the first thing for hpd according to my own family doctor. "Whilst once first-line treatment for hypertension, their role was downgraded in June 2006 in the United Kingdom to fourth-line as they do not perform as well as other drugs, particularly in the elderly, and there is increasing evidence that the most frequently used beta-blockers especially in combination with thiazide-type diuretics carry an unacceptable risk of provoking type 2 diabetes.[1]" I got hydrochlorothiazide for the first-line high blood pressure diagnosis (yes, I'm 40, this sucks!), but also: you should QUIT SMOKING if you have HPD!

But then I'm in socialist canuckistan so what do I know.

Hoping to have you entertain us for decades more.

Comment number: 014925   Posted by: Zvi on September 11, 2007 08:43 PM from IP: 74.100.252.80

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