A person might think that having reached the age of 62, having had two children and visited dentists, doctors, and gynecologists literally hundreds of times, that there would be very little that would cause me to be taken aback by one of these professionals. All mothers know that once you go through the birthing process the first time, any pretense of modesty has been lost, never to be found again. However, the saying ‘never say never’ is very true .
As I sit here at my computer this evening, anticipating a colonoscopy tomorrow morning at 7:15, my mind is whirling with thoughts almost as fast as my feet rush me to the bathroom every few minutes. Doctors, I think, are secretly sadists. They must be. What normal person would command another human go an entire 24 hours with no food? In my opinion a clear liquid diet is not food. It is cruel and usual punishment. Add to that, the vile concoction that the doctor says you MUST drink within a very short period of time.
This concoction, in reality, is some sort of acid that has surely been used to torture captives in some dark cave during a long past evil era. Not only does it taste like poison, it’s an extremely sneaky poison. Just when you think you may have actually survived, it hits you. No matter how strong your ‘control’, believe me it won’t be strong enough.
Sheer exhaustion finally takes over and you fall into a very uneasy sleep, but not for long. It seems that the wicked doctor is not quite finished. The last instruction is to drink even more of this nastiness four hours before my procedure. This means, my clock is set for 3:15 a.m. (And I thought 7:15 was early!)
Now I ask you, does the world actually function at 3:15 in the morning. For those of you not yet retired, I’m sure it must. I remember those years and years of getting up before the sun and dragging my tired self to work. But, now I AM retired and for me, early mornings have ceased to exist.
This upcoming, exciting appointment was brought about by my last visit to my doctor’s office. It seemed a good idea at the time to ask my sweetie to accompany me. Dick and I had been together for over two years. I had gone with him to his doctor appointment. I was sure that having him go with me to mine would be just as painless.
Even though this was a routine visit, I did have a couple of questions about acid reflux and I wanted to request the shingles vaccine. I was sure that between Dick and I, most of the doctors words would be remembered even after we’d arrived home.
As I sat on the examination table, answering boring questions, my honey sat quietly in the corner listening. Suddenly the question was, “What color is your stool?”
My initial reaction was to look toward Dick, thinking to myself, “That new toilet stool that we just had put into the bathroom is white, right?” There was a hesitation of a couple of very long seconds before I realized what he was REALLY asking. Now, Dick and I have talked about a LOT of things but stool color has yet to be one of them. I began to wonder if more embarrassing questions were on the way and started to doubt the wisdom of having my honey come along with me. Discussing stool color is just not very romantic in a relatively new relationship.
On the way home, Dick and I had a good laugh about the way I had tried to described stool color. As we laughed, I remembered a couple of other recent visits to our esteemed medical personnel.
A good example of being asked an embarrassing question happened in, of all places, the dental office. I was having quite a bit of dental work and evidently the dentist felt he was a bit more comfortable with me than I did with him. But, then again, is anyone ever truly comfortable sitting in a dentist’s chair.
Preparations were underway for several caps on my front teeth. Because of the location and the fact that these teeth are on display every time I open my mouth (which is often) getting the color right was pretty important. In order to get a better idea of what was visible and what was not, Dr. Saper asked me to talk to him. Naturally when ASKED to speak, I could think of absolutely nothing to say. The power of speech seemed to have flow off into the ozone somewhere.
“It’s easy,” he said. “Just tell me a story.”
Again, I just looked at him with a dumbfounded look on my face. “A story,” I thought, “Do I know a story? Little Red Riding Hood? Now how does that start?”
Because I still seem so befuddled by the question, Dr. Saper took matters into his own hands and asked, “Tell me about losing your virginity?”
Needless to say, this untied my tongue, “What? Are you crazy? That is none of your business!”
Before I could get myself wound up, Dr. Saper interrupted with, “That’s fine. I know exactly which teeth are going to be most seen.”
Right then I began to plot my revenge. Could I accidentally bite down the next time he had his hand half way down my throat? Could I draw blood? Hmmmm, I’ll think about this for a while but we all know that revenge can be, oh so very sweet.
When thinking of red-faced moments with the medical professionals, the gynecologist probably holds the number one position (no pun intended). However, I’m going to skip all the obvious embarrassing moments and focus on one particular visit with this doctor fairly recently. My gynecologist is a very competent, petite young woman who doesn’t look a day over 13.
Appointments with Dr. Logan are postponed and seriously avoided almost as often as the trips to the dentist chair. However, I do try to be careful of my health, especially as I mature. It seems life-long friends are developing ailments daily, that affect their quality of life. I want to hang on to whatever quality I have for as long as I can, even if this means the dreaded Pap Test.
This is supposed to be an annual test for cervical cancer. My annual testing is not always completed annually. Remember I said I want to be healthy but I’m not a fanatic about it. There’s only so much humiliation this old heart can take within a twelve month period of time.
As I was lying, with my eyes squeezed tightly shut, on the exam table for my last Pap Test, the silence seemed to be smothering me. In order to relieve a bit of my anxiety, I tried to start a conversation and break some of the quiet taking over the room.
“I’ve met a man,” I announced. “He is a real sweetheart and we enjoy being together so much.”
This was greeted with more silence. Evidently Dr. Logan was so into her work that she hadn’t heard me. But, alas, I should have known better, because as 13-year-old-looking Dr. Logan helped me back to an upright position, she hit me with, “Are you practicing safe sex, Mrs. Chandler?”
“I beg your pardon, Dr. Logan. You’re not even old enough to have sex in the first place. I am 62 years old. I’ve actually HAD sex a time or two and I truly do not think I want a Safe Sex Talk from my doctor.” Naturally, I said no such thing. I simply answered, “Yes,” in my tiniest voice and said a quick prayer that she would drop the subject right there. Much to my discomfort this was not to be the case.
I received quite a long spiel regarding sexually transmitted diseases among the SENIOR generation. I listened politely, trying to look interested and concerned, while all the time thinking, why can’t sex be a forbidden discussion like it was when I was growing up?
As a side note, it has taken me two days to finish writing my thoughts on the above three doctors. Remember I was in preparation mode for the colonoscopy. I’m thankful for all my blessings, including surviving the day before and for being SOUND ASLEEP for the actual procedure.
© copyright Donna Hale Chandler
DONNA HALE CHANDLER
LIFE HAPPENS (My Story)
THE HINTS BOOKS