27 December 2013

My Doctor's Appointment Yields Expected Non News and So I Write About it and Life

Yours truly...not recently.
"Actually we're going to use this room." The very short stout nurse directed me to one of the examining rooms in the urologist's office. I "actually" entered the room and sat down. Upon greeting me she'd asked "how are you today?" Now that she'd successfully  directed me to a room and seen that I "had a seat" she posed the question a second time "how are you today?" I gave the same response both times: "Fine." I wanted to be consistent lest she thinks that perhaps I was trying to deceive her. One supposes it's a clever way to trip a spy.

The very short stout nurse then took my blood pressure. No matter what you see a doctor for even if its just to settle a bill a nurse will take your blood pressure. I was then informed that the doctor would be in to see me in a moment. I settled in for the long wait that is customary when sitting in an examination room. The doctor (a urologist) broke with custom and entered within a minute.

The urologist greeted me warmly commenting on how nice it was to see me again after so long a time. I'd only been in his office once before and that four or five year ago so I had my doubts that he really remembered me. I didn't remember him.

I'd been referred because during my annual physical something seemed a little off during my prostrate exam. It was better safe than sorry and I shouldn't worry but let's have an expert check it out. I was 98% sure that my prostate was just fine. The urologist quickly informed me that the blood work taken after the physical had shown no signs of anything. Now I was 99% sure. We also went over the symptoms list and found that I had none. I knew that going in. This was all waste of a copay.

Despite the total lack of concern on anyone's part -- least of all mine -- I was to be probed. Down went my trousers and in went the doctor's finger. Into my own personal rectum. Let me say this with absolute certainty -- I received a thorough exam. That finger was twisting and turning and digging and poking. I think it made it half way up my stomach. If there was anything to find he'd have found it.

He found nothing. 100%. But wait let's check the urine too. Pee in the cup time. I remember the first time I peed in a cup for a doctor was when I was a young lad. Unclear on the concept and needing to wizz anyway I filled said cup to the brim. I forget the nurse's subsequent comment but do recall she commented. This time I gave them just a wee bit -- pun not originally intended but having been observed approved of.

Nothing in my urine. I was already at 100%. Doc wanted me to come back in six months for another probing. I said sure thing though may just give it a miss. I'm the first to call a doctor when something is amiss and never miss my annual but I don't go in for doctor appointments because well maybe even though now there's nothing better be sure who knows what can happen.

I have enjoyed remarkable health all my life (physical that is my mental and emotional states have been rather a mess as anyone who reads this blog is no doubt aware). This is a matter of good genes good habits and most importantly extraordinary luck. My poor brother  -- who was twice the man I'll ever be -- had absolutely rotten luck and suffered mightily for years before dying too young.

My 27 odd years as a teacher (some have been very odd indeed) have caused me to suffer innumerable colds and occasional bouts of the flu but that's been about the size of it. Teaching has in the past caused some stress but that has manifested not in physical ailments but in long periods of stark raving lunacy. Okay I exaggerate....A little.

So anyway I'm a lucky bastard but one learns in life that luck can turn against you rather quickly. So far so good. I really got a sense of how lucky I am on Christmas Eve as I held at various times two baby boys each a grand nephew courtesy of my nieces. I also got to chase and be chased by my four year old grand niece. I was surrounded by my two daughters the wife the two aforementioned nieces and two nephews my sister-in-law and three significant others one of whom is a full fledged husband. And a really cool dog. We had a visit from a jolly fat man from northern Finland too. There was much good food laughter song story telling and general joviality. Gifts were exchanged the best of which was the company. This is how it should be.

I hear people complain constantly about their families and their dread of family gatherings. I honestly do not know what this is like. That is not to suggest that the family experience has been entirely smooth. To the contrary. As I've mentioned here before my dear old mom went off her rocker and abused alcohol in the bargain. It took decades of therapy but I'm over it. Not really but I'm about as square with the whole deal as a person can expect to be. I've actually forgiven the old dame and can think fondly of her.

So I've had some knocks and at this stage in my life I'm grateful for each one. I have a friend who claims to have had no crisis no major health problems no bad times. He is highly successful man with a wonderful family and I've little doubt that he has lived an idyllic life. How boring. He is a fine fellow but I can't but wonder how a person grows and comes to understand life without experiencing some powerful adversity. It's like a high school sports team that never loses. Kind of nice but at some point you need to experience the sting of defeat as part of your learning process. Dealing with defeat is essential to developing character (god I hope that didn't sound too hokey). After all it is not what life does to you but how you handle it -- good bad or ambiguous -- that is important.

So I don't have prostate cancer and never seriously thought I did. Maybe some day. Maybe something worse like the pancreatic cancer that felled a good friend. Maybe an accident. By definition they can happen to anyone. Maybe not. Maybe I'll grow really really old. I think I'll stick around and find out.

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