With Fathers Day coming it just seems appropriate to post a severely comical blog post done by Christian Radio Presenter Chris Fabry. Pass this on to the dads in your life. Aside from getting a good laugh it will be a reminder that the dreaded exam does need to happen as it can save a life literally.
While in the waiting room with Dr. Phil on the flatscreen TV above me, I filled in as much as I could about my medical history. Every malady my mother and father ever complained about. Every varicose vein of my older brothers. Have I ever had hepatitis? I can’t recall. Does it matter now that my death is nigh? High blood pressure? Yes, I have high blood pressure just thinking about what Dr. Goliath is about to do.
I surveyed the office help. For some reason I kept looking at their hands. Please, if there is a God in heaven, let this doctor I picked at random from the phone book have small hands.
When I got to the illnesses of my children, I gave up and wrote “too many to list.” Who am I kidding? This man isn’t worried about my children. He’s preparing right now to provide me with excruciating pain. He’ll get to the children years later.
“Mr. Fabry, if you’ll step this way.”
I thought of Groucho. “If I could step that way I wouldn’t be here.”
Deep breath. Go to my happy place.
“Why don’t you step up on the scales?” she said.
Like a lamb to the slaughter, I obeyed, kicking off my shoes and watching the numbers whiz by on the digital scale. I’d never been on a digital scale like this before. The last time was the old scale with the heavy “200 lb.” weight I moved to the center. For the past 25 years I’ve set the weight bar at 200 and then added a little or a lot. This time the number stopped short of 200.
She wrote the number on the pad having no idea what a momentous occasion this was. I wanted her to pop a balloon or give me a lollipop for good behavior. Maybe tell me the doctor couldn’t bowl because his hands were too small.
We had a little chat and then I was ushered into the chamber of horrors. It seemed like such a placid room at first glance. On the computer screen I thought I saw a Google search. “How to inflict as much pain as possible when giving…”
“Hello, Mr. Fabry,” he said, extending a hand to greet me.
I just stared at it, then absently shook it and sat. Suddenly I was transformed into a little chatterbox, telling him every malady I’ve ever had, a tonsillectomy when I was a child, a broken arm, a hangnail two weeks ago. I couldn’t help myself, I just prattled on, while inside the storm brewed.
“Oh please, have mercy on me,” I wanted to cry. But I babbled on, rambling about this and that, answering his questions with reckless abandon.
“Well, come on over to the table and have a seat,” he said, patting the exam table like I was an obedient dog.
Just like the witch in Hansel and Gretel. Stick out your finger and let’s see how fat you’ve become. I sat and he listened to my breathing and my rapidly increasing heart rate. He complimented me on my blood pressure. “You’re like a 20 year old young man,” he said.
Right. If I were like a 20 year old man I wouldn’t be in this position.
An image flashed of Pippen, our Bichon Frise. I used to take him to the vet and he would sniff the table and chairs and floor and whine, not understanding. There was palpable fear in that room and Pippen could smell it.
“Hold his head,” the vet would say when she wanted to give him a shot or that awful exam. I would hold his head and talk gently to him. Old Pippen. Why wasn’t there anyone here to hold my head? Someone to sing and comfort me. Maybe play a movie to get my mind off what was about to happen.
With my luck they would be showing The Shawshank Redemption.
“Now if you’ll just hop down and put your feet here and lean over the table,” he said, gentle and mild. Dr. Kervorkian. Easy for him to say. I took another look at his hands and focused on a spot on the wall.
“On second thought, maybe we should concentrate on my blood pressure,” I said, turning. “Don’t you think it’s a little low?”
He smiled and snapped the glove. “Just lean over and take a deep breath.”
Deep breath. Deeper than the ocean. Oh Mama. Somebody. Anybody, help! Send your ministering spirits. Let angels prostates fall.
I took another breath and the room spun like the Cloud 9 at Camden Park, just after I’d eaten those three corndogs slathered with mustard. Searing pain. Mind-numbing, star inducing pain. I wanted to turn around and bite him. I should have because nobody was holding my head. Somebody stop him before it’s too late!
The glove snapped again. “All done.”
He sat down at his computer like nothing had happened. Like it was just another day at the office. Like that was the most natural thing in the world. I sat down, too. Why was that such a big deal? It wasn’t a problem. Just a little discomfort for a moment and then all is okay. At least for him.
The truth is, my wife didn’t make me get the exam. I scheduled it of my own volition. Because I want to live another year to fight dragons. Because I want to write another story. Because I want to watch my daughters grow into beautiful women. Because I want to watch my sons grow into strong young men. And come back from the doctor to tell me what it was like to lean over a table and take a breath.
This is for every man who has never had “the exam.” Go ahead and schedule it. Be a man. And when you do, think of me and laugh. That will be my greatest reward.