You’ve put on a few lbs. Mr. Tanner

Prostate exam

Since Lisa died, I have committed to an annual physical – at least until Michelle graduates from high school.  Once she is out of the house, I think I will stop.  Because I hate them.  Of course there are obvious reasons 50 year old men don’t like physicals.  And I don’t need to hear comments about what women go through.  I know.  It sounds awful.  And No.  I have never had my privates smashed in between two cold metal plates until I yelled out in agony.  But I still don’t like to be handled in that manner by someone I scarcely know who resembles Danny Devito.

As if I didn’t have enough anxiety about having my blood being siphoned out of my vein by Morticia Adams, and having to fully undress in front of a complete stranger eager to conduct a full cavity search, this year, the pre-manhandling session began with a scathing attack on my weight.

“I see you’ve gained 5 pounds since you were in here 18 months ago.  You’re up to 181.”

“Well… I’m 6’1.  What would you like me to weigh?”

“Don’t get me wrong.  You’re doing better than most.  But I’d prefer you stick to 175, your late 2013 weight.”

“That was my weight early in this morning, naked, after a good trip to the bathroom.  Your nurse puts me on the scales wearing my dress shoes, with my phone and wallet in my pockets.  And… I just ate lunch!”

He was unmoved.

That night I watched what I ate.  I went to sleep at 176.4.  The next morning, I jumped on my Walmart scale and had shot up to 177.2!  How does that happen?  I had eaten nothing!  I had gone to the bathroom!  I was in the buff.

A friend at work suggested that perhaps I was a sleep eater.  He saw a show on TNT.

“You really should consider a pad lock on your fridge.”

My kids are at camp.  There is no food in my kitchen.  Unless you can pack the pounds on French’s mustard, I don’t think I’m packing it on while I sleepwalk!

After telling me I was fat, my physician, who could also stand to shed a few lbs., started his annual check of my business.  He finished one side and then stopped to chat about the shark attacks on the coast of North Carolina.  Mistakenly, I had shared that we had a beach vacation heading our way.

It’s not that I mind conversation while being groped, I actually like to have a relationship with those who intimately touch me.  But the pause was disturbing.  I was sprawled out, naked as a jaybird, boxers dangling around my feet, and he stopped to catch me up on the daily beat.

My underwear hasn’t spent that much time around my ankles since I made pee-pee in Mrs. Holt’s kindergarten class.  Typically they are fully on or fully off.  They ain’t hanging out in other places around my being for extended periods of time!

Then it happened, what I’d been dreading since my last physical in November of 2013.  He said, “Roll over –  toward the wall.”

The last doc to give me a prostate exam had me lean over the table, feet on the floor, hands gripping the table.  A friend told me that his physician’s favorite position was on all fours – up on the table, like a four legged animal.  That makes me thankful for my physician.

After checking my bladder, colon, prostate, intestines, and esophagus (he has very long fingers), he walked over to the sink and handed me a tissue, one, to clean the vat of Vaseline he left behind.  It was like cleaning up the BP oil spill with a hand towel.

Michelle graduates in six years.  I don’t know if I’m going to make it.  Perhaps I’ll just buy more life insurance.  With enough money, certainly my demise wouldn’t bother her too much.

Mr. Tanner, we’re gonna need that form.

Mr. Tanner, we're gonna need that form.

Mr. Tanner, we’re gonna need that form.

I am delinquent.  I admit it.  I have not yet completed my oldest child’s physical form for the upcoming school year.

There’s a good reason mind you.  She can only get a physical once each year, and her last one was on July 12, 2013.  She’s been working at an overnight camp in Arapahoe, NC, for the past ten weeks.  I don’t think there are doctors in Arapahoe.  If you have a tooth ache there, your neighbor extracts it for you.  We simply had no options.

She does have an appointment this upcoming week.  And I promise, the second we walk out of the office I will drive straight to her school and turn it in.

It has to be frustrating to deal with parents like me.

To deal with us, the delinquents, our school has hired a health form repo company to ensure that my child does not spread disease and that I meet my deadlines.  I was late on my middle daughter too.  Between the two of them I have received no less than 60 emails this summer informing me of my inadequacies as a parent.

This week, I didn’t get an automated reminder, I actually got a specific note from a staff member at the Health Form Repo Center.  I think his name was Guido.

Today I logged on their website to print the form, readying myself for the upcoming appointment, and at the top of the page there was a large red box.  It read, “54 DAYS PAST DUE” you idiot!!! (that wasn’t written but it was certainly implied).

I am afraid.  I am not sleeping well.  I look out of my windows at night fearful that Guido is going to snatch my child and hold her until her blood test comes back.  We don’t walk near windows anymore.  I just don’t know what might happen.  I have Michelle climb under the car, just to be sure nothing looks cut, before we leave home each morning.

I purchased a bulletpoof vest.  I wear it any time I leave the house.

Guido, have mercy!  Do I not get any credit for the forms I have completed?

Vital Health Record – took 20 minutes to complete – CHECK

Consent to Treat – CHECK

Over the Counter Medicine Form – CHECK

Prescription Medicine Form – CHECK

Psychological/ADD meds Form – CHECK

Copy of Health Card – CHECK

Concussions Form – in the event my child gets hit in the head with a ballet slipper?? – CHECK

Asthma, Allergies, Diabetes, Seizures, Mental Health Condition forms – CHECK, CHECK, CHECK, CHECK, CHECK!

I have also completed the Transportation to/from and at school form.  I agreed to have any and every photograph of my child be displayed anywhere the school wants to put it.  I have given them information on all four grandparents, my credit card number for school purchases and volunteered for two committees.  They know my shoe size, that I prefer boxers, and that I had a crush on Janice Middleton in 4th grade.

This week I will attend multiple orientation sessions to seep up more information.

But I will attend only, only if I get this dag gone physical completed and turned in.

What if my car breaks down on the way to the doctor’s office?  What if the doctor is sick that day?  What if their copier is broken or their pens run out of ink?

I’m going to begin investigating home school options.

 

 

Me and my HSA

It’s the end of my insurance plan year.  Three years ago, I signed up for a Health Savings Account.  This nifty new tool costs significantly less per month which is a good thing.  However, unless you have open heart surgery or gangrene in your gall bladder, you likely won’t hit your deductible.  I pay the first $4,000 in medical expenses out of pocket.  After that, my insurance company pays 100% of costs I incur.

Thankfully, this was the first year on the new plan that I met my deductible.  After Stephanie had her tonsils removed in June, we were golden.  The past three months I’ve been searching for a reason to go to the doctor.

“Dad, my left toe hurts.”

“I’ll book an appointment with the podiatrist tomorrow.”

“Is this a freckle or a mole?”

“We’ll let the dermatologist make that call.”

“I’ve got a really bad tooth ache dad.  Can I go to the dentist?”

“No!  That’s a different insurance company.  Take a shot of whiskey and bite down on a twig.”

I don’t understand insurance, and I don’t understand the medical profession.  Last year at my annual physical, my doctor asked me if I wanted him to check my prostate.

How do you answer that question?

“Absolutely!  I’ve been waiting for that all year-long!  And while you’re at it, could you give me a spinal tap?”

What guy is going to answer that in the affirmative?

“Well,” I started, stalling for a moment as I pondered my choice.  “On the one hand, I would trade my P90X video series to avoid that investigative procedure.  On the other, I would prefer not to have cancer in that area.  What are most of your other patients choosing?”

We ended up agreeing that I’d be checked at age 50, and the tension in the room decreased tenfold.

Oh, and the last doctor I visited on my multi-month journey chasing free healthcare, had a nurse who gravely insulted me.

She called me from the waiting room, took my height and weighed me.  She then walked me into the examining room, pulled out the blood pressure cup and headed toward my arm.

“Mr. Tanner, can you roll your sleeve up a bit?”

“Sure.”  I thought she could take it with my dress shirt sleeve down.

When I unleashed my right gun, she turned around and huffed, “Uh.”

“Is something the matter?”

“It’s smaller than I thought.  I need to get the little cuff.”

“My arm?”

She nodded.

“Ma’am, it’s not that small!” I insisted.

“It’s whole a lot smaller than it looked under that big ole sleeve of yours.”

As a general rule, it is better not to suggest that any man’s part is smaller than anticipated – especially his bicep!

So this week I’m back on a healthcare diet.  And after my experiences this year, perhaps that’s not a bad thing.

Annual Physical = Anxiety

Posted by Danny

I changed doctors about a year and a half ago.  I’d been seeing this guy for years, he’d touched me in so many personal ways, I felt an intimate connection with him.  But he couldn’t remember my name.  It hurt.  So I made a change.

My new physician’s name is Brian.  I like him a lot.  He’s about my age – I think he understands some of what I’m facing as a 46-year-old man.

Even though he’s a great guy, I was still dreading my physical last week.  I get excited about a massage, there’s a woman named Shelva in West Virginia who gives me my annual rub down at Capon Springs.  Her hands are like money!  But for some reason, I didn’t have the same level of enthusiasm about my family practitioner.  

I had worked myself up – I struggled to sleep the night before.  The anxiety of someone I didn’t know poking and prodding all over my body just about undid me.  The words, “Turn around and bend over – this won’t hurt a bit” kept echoing through my head.  I could smell the latex glove.

I woke up early.  I wanted to make sure I’d done all of my business before heading to the internal masseuse.  I cleaned extra well.  I wanted be his tidiest patient that day.  I can imagine some of the conversations he must have with his nurse after certain patients leave the office.  I didn’t want to be the topic of their water cooler talk.  And if I was, I wanted it to be good…”Did you smell him?”  “I sure did!  Like Old spice!”  “Un huh.”

We all know why there is mouthwash in the dentist’s bathroom.  If I was Brian, I’d invest in a bidet.

The nurse entered.  “Are you having any problems Mr. Ham?”

“Anxiety.”

“How often does this occur?”

“Anally – I mean annually.”

“The doctor will be here in a minute.”

She didn’t tell me to remove my clothes.  At my other doctor’s office, I had to disrobe by now – down to my boxers.  I don’t want to undress in front of him.  That’s so personal.

He enters, “I’m going to listen to your heart first.  Take a few deep breaths.”

He’s a big guy.  Athletic.  Look – at –  those – hands!

“Sounds good.  You’ll feel a little pressure on your stomach.”

He’s going for my pelvis.  It’s coming…

“Let’s take a look at your feet.  I see you have several planters warts.”

He didn’t even look down there.  What’s up with that?

Now it’s recommended that caucasian men get a prostate exam at age 50. But I can do one this year  if you’d like.  It’s your call.”

My other doctor started those when I hit 40!  That’s not right.  Why did he do that?  I feel so violated.

“Uh, un, I’m good.  I would not like one of those.  Actually, my prostate is feeling in-credible!  Never felt better.  Healthiest prostate in Raleigh!  Everythings just fine with my prostate.  Got those warts on my feet, but my prostate is dandy, no warts there!  I’m thinking 50 is good.  Yeaaaaa, 50.”

I’m going to sue my former doctor.

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