It had been a long time since I visited my doctor. Not that I was busy reliving the life of Caligula, but every baby boomer should see their doctor regularly, if not for their health at least for the stunning waiting room décor.
Troubled by the discovery that a friend had been diagnosed with cancer, I telephoned my doctor’s office to schedule an appointment. Thinking that I would have at least a two-week waiting/clean-up-my wretched body period, I was surprised to learn from the office receptionist that I could drop by just about any day and any time I wanted. Had I been consuming a beverage, I most certainly would have performed a spit-up take upon learning this news. The receptionist and I agreed upon an afternoon appointment for the following Tuesday and I hastily planned a brief but steady diet of fruits, vegetables, legumes and eight glasses of water a-day. It was doubtful that such an extraordinary change of habits was likely to fool anyone about my health, but this is the part of human nature that converts death-row inmates to Jesus.
The following Tuesday, on the drive to my doctor’s office, I rationalized that he would find me in relatively good health but ultimately, he would ask me to lower my weight, lower my salt intake and lower my trousers for a visit to booty land. This is why doctors and erotic massage therapists make the big bucks. I parked the car at a nearby garage and made my way to my doctor’s office, unconventionally located on Jeweler’s Row, on Wabash Avenue in downtown Chicago. Entering the humble lobby of the office, I signed in and walked over to the sparsely occupied waiting room. There were only two other occupants in a seating area for twelve, an older man and a younger man. All we needed was a grade-school boy and we would have made a fine poster for the cycle of life. I passed the time by imagining the basis for their visit and concluded, “Yep, they’ve got the clap”.
In turn, they both stared at me and probably concluded to themselves, “Yep, he’s got the clap”.
The magic doctor door soon opened and a middle-aged, female medical assistant emerged and called out, “Mr. Gidalbo?” I half-expected her to follow up with, “Your pizza order is ready”.
The older man turned out to be Mr. Gidalbo. He rose out of his chair, followed the medical assistant into the magic doctor door and disappeared. A few minutes later, the same medical assistant opened the door again and simply called out, “Brian?” No, “Mr.” just “Brian”. I assumed that Brian must be a headliner in Vegas since no surname was required. He too, disappeared into the examination area. The magazine collection in the waiting room was filled with stale news and appeared to be an obvious breeding ground for viruses. I stayed clear from the magazines and opted to sit in silence like a forgotten grandfather.
Fortunately, the medical assistant came to the rescue and ushered me into an empty examination room. She welcomed me to step up to the scale and performed a formal weigh in. The medical assistant didn’t wince at the final figure, but she did seem perplexed, perplexed on the order of, “How come you’re not dead yet?”
She scribbled the reading into my medical chart and proceeded with a blood pressure check. She dressed my left arm with a Velcro cuff and calmed me down with a couple of one-liners about the weather. Pumping up the arm cuff, she got all serious before releasing the air through the monitor. Her reaction was a well-measured, “Not bad”.
The medical assistant then recorded the reading and said, “The doctor will be with you shortly”. She quickly left the room, taking my chart with her.
Alone again with my thoughts, I felt that I held nothing but positive recollections about my doctor. He was kind and even-keeled, professorial, yet hip in a certain way. If I were guessing his age, I would guess that we were close in age. In short, he was a lot like me, an all-around good chap.
I glanced around the room with my free time, taking in the tools of the medical trade, the examination table covered in tissue, the skeletal chart fixed to the wall, the tongue depressors at the work station and a round stool on wheels that could easily be a drummer’s throne. Suddenly, with a burst of energy, Dr. C entered the room carrying my medical chart. He gladly shook my hand and smiled, “It’s been a while, Bob. How are you doing?”
“Great, just great, doctor”. I replied. “How about you?”
He gave me a shrug and said, “Well, you know . . .”
He immediately began reading my chart and nodded along knowingly. Satisfied with the data, he looked up and inquired, “So what brings you here today?”
Without much thinking, I blurted out, “I think it’s time for me to have a colonoscopy”.
As soon as the words left my lips, I knew that he would wonder why. Most people wouldn’t want a colonoscopy on a dare, let alone speculate that it is time for one, as if it were time to bring a prime rib to the table.
“Do you have any health issues that have you concerned?” he asked.
“Nope”. I said.
“Have you ever had a colonoscopy?” he continued with his interview.
I cut to the chase, “Nope. But I understand that men at my age should have one as a precaution”.
He nodded and said, “You’re right about that, absolutely right”.
His act of agreement had me thinking, “Okay, here it comes, the rectal exam. Down with my trousers, on with the gloves, slather on some KY and turn on the old boom box, it’s time to play the Doors “Backdoor Man”, by jiminy”.
The last time I had a rectal exam, I was convinced that Dr. C not only had his whole fist, but his entire arm up there. This time, instead of asking me to assume the position, he left the examination room. He then promptly returned with a physicians’ profile for another doctor.
“Here’s the man you want. He’s very good. I’ve sent him a lot of business; he should cut me in with a commission”. He said.
Dr. C handed me the profile sheet and reinforced his recommendation with, “Give him a call”.
I replied, “Okay, thanks”.
Ah, the real ‘Backdoor Man’.
(Part 3 will be posted after my pre-colonoscopy referral)