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Doctor, doctor: part tres

Posted: May 15, 2017 4:23 p.m.
Updated: May 16, 2017 1:00 a.m.

I really dislike going to the doctor.

My current doctor is a great doctor, terrific guy and an old friend from way back -- and I still dislike having to go see him, at least professionally. It’s the old, “It’s not you; it’s me” thing.

As a long time, card-carrying hypochondriac, I have had every horrible condition known to human kind --  Alzheimer’s to Zika, take your pick -- at one point or another, but have never gotten around to doing anything about it. Such things cost too much. Besides, it’s more fun to worry needlessly and obsess incessantly about it. In fact, thanks to the magic of the internet, I can instantly scare the heck out of myself any time I want on websites like wrongdiagnosis.com.

 I think my problem lies in the fact that, too often, our doctors tend to tell us things we don’t want to hear. Who wants to hear that you have to give up everything you like to eat, drink or do because it might cause a hand to grow out of an ear, or some such? And with a nod to my deep Scotch heritage, who wants to pay to hear such? 

For that matter, who wants to pay to be poked, prodded, stuck with needles and then told you have to give up everything you like to eat, drink or do because it might cause a hand to grow out of an ear, or some such? 

Like I said, it’s more fun-- and a lot cheaper -- to obsess and worry incessantly.

Many years ago, I had a doctor possessed of a brilliant mind, astute diagnostic instinct and probably the worst bedside manner on the planet. I mean, this guy made Greg House look like St. Francis of Assisi. Everything you ever saw him for was always prefaced with a question about your daily activities, followed by a haughty cocked eyebrow and the following cheerful announcement: “You’re going to die.” He ended every conversation with, “and quit smoking,” whether you smoked or not.

Good advice, obviously, but delivery is everything these days. Then again, I suppose if he had diagnosed me with something truly heinous, I probably wouldn’t have wanted to get the news via singing telegram. Such things remind me of the old joke where the doctor tells his patient, “I’ve got good news and bad news.” The patient asks for the good news, whereupon the doctor replies, “They’re going to name a disease after you.”

Then there are the medical milestones which we all eventually have to pass. From childhood vaccinations to sports injuries, from male pattern baldness to E.D., there’s always something to fear, suffer, test for or otherwise deal with. Way back in the day, most kids wound up having to get their tonsils out -- my brother actually kept his in a jar for show-and-tell at school -- but at each age, we all wind up getting something or having to do something. 

For those of us who have joined the half-century club, the must-do is a colonoscopy. Naturally, I keep putting it off, understanding, of course, that I need to get this done so I can move on and forget about it. But in addition to the hideous idea of paying to allow total strangers (because I really don’t want to invite friends to this) to run a camera-mounted garden hose 4,000 feet into, um, territory not meant for exploration, the whole thing sounds danged inconvenient. Personally, I don’t care to spend a day and night on the porcelain Barco-lounger after drinking the half gallon of turbocharged purgative you have to drink prior to the procedure. 

And then there’s the whole paying total strangers to run a camera-mounted garden hose 4,000 feet into territory not meant for exploration thing.

So, perhaps I should have a little fun with this. I’m thinking about maybe having a henna tattoo (I hate needles and don’t want anything permanent, anyway) of, say, a pair of Groucho glasses and a mustache, or maybe a beer tap, drawn in a strategic place prior to the procedure. 

Of course, some of those whacky medical folks have twisted senses of humor, too. A friend of mine swore the last thing he saw -- besides medical people wearing surgical masks and holding wicked looking medical instruments, of course -- before the anesthesia kicked in for his vasectomy was a poster of the Three Stooges staring down at him from the ceiling of the operating theater.

You just can’t believe how something like that jump-starts an already over-active imagination.

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