Monday, May 28, 2007

Er, what are you planning on doing with that finger exactly?

As some of you know, I am a pretty big guy. That is 21st century, politically correct speak for "fat guy". And, along with the extra weight is the extra concern; well, great concern by all of those around me and mild interest within. Let's face it, until I can no longer, Poppa has got to get his feed on. Two words: Big Daddy's.

Anyhow, with my dear wife in mind, and the ever looming bounty of joy to be running after. I decided it was time for my yearly (read, when I remember to feel like doing it) physical. To say it has been a while would be lying as my current doctor has never seen me undressed before today. I even had to wear the neck-tie gown, which I now need two of to cover ALL the nether regions.

So, as I was sitting there in the gown, my mind wandered onto the subject of a prostate exam. Next year I will be forty so it is not unlikely that he may ask to do one now. Unless one is prone to rectal probing as a hobby or otherwise, it is not something one looks forward too; especially for us uptight men brought up by fathers and mothers who expressed that IT was an exit only area and anything else would lead you to hell. Yup. Christians. Gotta love them.

So, Dr. R. comes in and is his usually chattering self which was more distracting than welcomed this time around. Not sure why I started feeling anxious as I don't feel ill or unhealthy and nothing has said otherwise the last time (last year) that I had tests done. He asked if I was felling anything, had any illnesses, anything of that nature. I told him that everything was clear, totally forgetting my nagging shoulder and knuckle pains as they decided not to nag at that precise moment.

Strangely, he had trouble getting a proper blood pressure reading. He tried twice with my left arm, then once with my right. He listened to my chest and then made me lie on my back where he listened to my chest again and then checked the right arm pressure again. Something was not gelling but he was not telling. I hate asking doctors any questions because they tend to give answers I don't want. So, he was done, tells me to get dressed (what? No finger probe?) and says that he wants to send me downstairs. I ask to get some more accu-check strips (for the blood glucose machine, just so I can see where things are at) and he writes me a prescription. I head downstairs.

This is an old building and the lab is in the basement hole of the place. It is almost always full to the point that you spend a good half hour in the hallway waiting to get in; I never wear good clothes when I know I will be going to the lab as I just plunk down on the floor. Thankfully, I assumed correctly about needing tests so I had a full bladder in need of emptying and no food in my stomach. The request sheet had a bunch of writing on it and I was right that it was not just blood.

In this wonderfully open society of ours, the receptionist calls out my name and then basically announces to the crowd when asking me if I knew I was having a prostate exam. Excuse me?? He decided he did not want to play with my bam bam so he was farming out the work? She pointed to the PSA test written down and informed me that OHIP does not cover it so it would be thirty bucks or I did not have to do it now. I had already geared myself up, steeled myself if you will, for the invasion of my inner space. There is no way I was delaying that. Besides, if Mark Dailey from CityTV can bend over and publicly take one for the boys, then who was I to have any hangups of a complete stranger voyaging where no man has gone (or ever will go) before? So, I agree to the test and sit back down.

Finally my name is called and the technician is trying to explain to me that there is fluff on my face. No matter what I do, I am not getting it. As he had just handed me a clear plastic cup and three clear vials, all to be filled with urine, I told him I would look after it in the bathroom. Ok, something is still wrong with society. If not at least three people in the doctor's office, including the doctor himself, plus the receptionist and the four people already sitting there looking at me could not tell me all my head and beard was filled with bits of fluff from the gown and shirt exchange earlier, then I know not to count on any of them when I really need help. So, I clear my face of all that stuff after I was done my task. And let me tell you, with a full bladder, in a strange bathroom and trying to aim into what amounts to the mouth size of a juice bottle and then the mouth size of a nickel or dime, I was more George Bush (just hit EVERYTHING) than army sniper. What the hell were they thinking when they thought that trying to make a guy pee through a target was a good idea? I think they should invest in Swiffer or Bounty at the very least.

So, after I clean up, wash up, wash the containers down after ensuring they were sealed tight, I cleaned up the fluff and headed out the bathroom. I dropped off the materials at room three and was shuttled into room two for the blood guy. Not sure why but lately my veins have been collapsing. I am sure my sister could find them with little issue (she is amazing at her job) but these folks lack the precision and finesse. While this guy carefully took his time to find one, and he did hit it the first time (unlike the hunt and poke of a couple of months back), it still stung quite a bit which is not normal for me when it is done right. Four vials of blood later and I was shuttled to room one.

In this room lay the ECG machine. My sister was the last person to run one of these (as well as an EEG for fun) on me. Things are different now as these electro stickers are placed around your naked top have and lower calves. Then electrodes clip onto those pads and plug into the machine. It took five times as long to hook me up than it did to actually run the test. From what I could get the tech to mumble, it appeared that everything was in the normal range. So, that really left only one thing to do as they were shuttling me out the door. Which of you lucky studs were going to get up close and personal with the nether frontier?

Apparently, no one. Funny thing that. It seems that the new PSA test is done in either the blood or urine testing. Mark Dailey's presentation mentioned this before but the digit test was still being performed as it was the most definite way to tell right away if a man's prostate was enlarged. I guess the test is so much of a success, the digit is no longer needed. As much as I was ready to sing like Chevy Chase in Fletch Lives!, I was relieved that I would remain a virgin for the time being.

So, I now have to wait until the doc gets the results, mulls them over and then calls me about them. I won't start freaking out until he says he wants to discuss them in the office immediately. I left the lab and headed down Pape to a wonderful little Greek-owned eatery that makes the best breakfast sandwich under four bucks; a sourdough bread with an omelet and tomatoes folded inside. Mmm, mmm, good. Then I had to head into work; the fun was over. Ah well, at least the wife knows her probing is not alone though I will take mine over hers any day.



Anonymous said...

Ah man, I was in tears reading the way you put a spin on such things.
I thought that my ultrasound experience was funny, but it's nothing compared.

Dtrini said...

Just wait until I do get the "digit" experience. There will be yodeling, that's all I am saying. :)

It is a serious topic and it is something us guys need to get done to stay healthy, but it simply begs to be joked about.

Gil said...

YAY for taking one for the team! Okay, well, being READY to take one for the team anyway!

Agreed though, it is a serious topic and I've already discussed it with my husband as well. He just turned 39 so I can imagine that in a year or so, he'll need a baseline check as well.

Good for you for going through with it, despite your fears. I'm sure the digit experience will happen eventually; but for now, you can breathe a sigh of utter relief!

Dtrini said...

Thanks Gil. I kind of watch health with a sideways glance; keeping an eye on it but never watching it dead in the eye. However, reality sets in and there are things that we simply cannot ignore in this day and age. It's not like it used to be and the new stuff is some scary stuff. Anyhow, tell your husband I empathize and I will wince and squeeze in brotherly recognition. :)