GULP! Annual Medical Physical

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Today is the day I go in for my annual medical physical, and I am dreading it like a big dog!…Although I get one every year, and have no outstanding health problems, this yearly visit always strikes a chord of fear in me….What if they discover I have cancer, or some other equally terminal disease?….What if I need a prolonged treatment program for some unknown ailment? What if it turns out I need an operation that I cannot afford, living only on Social Security benefits? I am getting ready to go there today, and am just jotting down my feelings off the top…

I think it this fear of the unknown that scares most people the most…Sure, I FEEL fine, I don’t drink or smoke or do drugs, I get plenty of exercise daily and try to eat well, but there is always that nagging doubt, that fear tugging at my sleeve that they will discover something unexpected and suddenly turn my whole world upside down…It is like the one time of the year when my Superman cape slips down, my self aura of invincibility is punctured and riddled with doubts and fears…I feel exposed and vulnerable…

It is like when David Letterman went in for his annual physical several years ago, all routine, and then he was suddenly being immediately wheeled from the friendly confines of the doctors office into the cold and sterile atmosphere of the operating room for an emergency heart bypass! He seemed to be in good health, but that particular examination turned out to be life saving, so there is always that doubt in the back of your mind…

If it could happen to a rich and famous guy like him, with access to the best doctors in the world, it could sure happen to me….or you! I guess that is the whole point of getting an annual physical though…If I pass all the tests, and I always have so far, knock on wood, I get a huge adrenaline rush of relief and feel energized, ready to resume my daily routine….

I will have faced my inner demons and come out the other side triumphant, victorious and feeling exalted in body and soul…There is no better feeling, it is like acing a finals test in high school! Of course I will not know the results of all the various tests for almost a week by mail…If they call me before then, it will NOT be with good news….

I know lots of people who refuse to go to the doctor for an annual physical, saying that doctors always end up finding something wrong with you…Well, that is their job, and it’s a well known homily that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure…Of course I know in the back of my head that if there IS something wrong with my body, better to find it out asap, as early as possible, for a much better chance of successful treatment….

Well I have stalled enough, it is time to go to the doctor’s and confront my inner demons….I have been fasting for 12 hours and I am starving, on top of all the self manufactured anxieties, fears and phobias I am lugging around like so much dead weight, dragging me down….They may be imaginary, but are paradoxically very real to me…

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I get to the doctors office in plenty of time and fill in some additional forms, then am rather surprised to be quickly ushered into a waiting room….A nurse/technician of some kind weighs me, measures my height and then takes my blood pressure and pulse…The BP is 106/59 and the pulse rate is 83…These numbers mean nothing to me, they are incomprehensible numerals, but I am assured that they are good strong, healthy indicators…

The nurse leaves the room and then the doctor comes in and listens to my breathing with her cold stethoscope and fills out a computer, line by line of all my symptoms, medications and things to be checked for on my blood test….She compares last years physical screenings and then this years, and my blood will be checked for cholesterol, blood sugar levels, and prostrate screening and various other medical anomalies which I am not aware of….The test results come back to me in the mail with a normal range listed, and then my personal score…

After the doctor leaves, another nurse comes in and takes 3 vials of blood (Vampire!) from me, and then I get a shot for pneumonia/meningitis prevention…I checked with my health insurance company and it is $0 deductible, so it is free…Also I don’t have to make a co-pay because I came in for this physical just over a year from my last physical, so the whole examination basically costs me nothing…

That wraps it up, and I leave there gleefully, a little woozy from the shot and retreat to the quiet sanctity of my home….Hopefully one week from today, all my test results will come back OK and I will fall well within the normal range of test results, and so I will get the green light for another year of living…

You know, I was really frightened and hated to go to the doctors, but now that it is over, I am really glad I went…I feel like I did the right thing, and if I can keep that feeling, of doing the right thing all the time, in all the other areas of my life, I will eventually die a happy person…

I feel righteous because I did my part just by showing up, the rest is up to the doctors and the labs and the computers, and in the words of that immortal, famous old Spanish song, “Que sera, sera”: “Whatever will be, will be”….

One thought on “GULP! Annual Medical Physical

  1. I agree completely about the anxiety the needles the horror of it all. I dread going to the doctor for any reason and I have this thing where my blood pressure goes up every time I do go. I am a big chicken and when they say they need blood, I say I need it too for Christ sake! Far as their machines rummaging around my skeletal closet of disarray I suffer through it mostly mute unless asked a question or two or a thousand. I am the normal, I need to know each and every thing you are doing, what number should that be kind of thing and am I ok? You can take solace in the fact that you are not alone in this comedy of what may be error’s however suffice it to say we are all hero’s when the tests come back negative.

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