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So in an effort to save some money and combat the rising cost of health insurance, my employer (the State of Oregon) switched providers at the beginning of the year.  The byproduct of that was that I had to pick a different insurance and set up a new personal doctor.  Since I haven’t had a full physical in a few years, I decided it was time to get that done as well.

I went into the new doctor’s office and they handed me a packet of paperwork to complete.  Most of it was pretty standard. Do I take medication, do I have allergies, do I suffer from high blood pressure or any other number of illnesses, blah blah blah.  About halfway down the form was the “Lifestyle” Section.   It asked (and I answered) the following–see if you can figure out where the smartass creeped in:

Do you drink?  Yes

How many drinks a week do you drink?  Maybe one a week, on average.

Do you take recreational drugs?  Other than chocolate?  No.

Are you sexually active? Not as much as would like to be!

Are you sexually active with women? Men? Or both?  Well there was that one time, but I was young and I needed the money…

Do you wear your seat belt in the car?  Well I found the one on my toilet at home was too confining…I mean a guy wants to relax in there, right?

Do you have smoke detectors in your home?  Yes, I find they help tell me when the toast is done.

Do you have a fire extinguisher?  Please refer to the previous question.  (Given the way I cook, it’s required.)

Do you have a gun in the house?

And that last question is the one that really threw me for a loop.  I started to wonder why my doctor needed this type of information.  What business is it of theirs if I have a gun in my house?  Then the conspiracy theorist inside me started thinking…maybe this is doubling as some sort of risk assessment for the new insurance.  Maybe they’ll stop insuring me if I answer incorrectly.  What does me owning a gun have to do with going to the doctor?  Resisting the temptation to write None of your goddamned business in the space provided, I left it blank.

Papers finished and returned to the receptionist, it wasn’t long before I was called back and met the new doctor.  She was very friendly, very polite–we started to discuss the medical issues I was having–my sore shoulder, my recent cold, and the excessive skin issues related to my weight loss.  The doctor asked me why didn’t I have the body lift and get rid of the skin. I told her I didn’t have the $35,000 to pay for it.  She said due the issues I was having, it could be classified as a medical procedure–NOT COSMETIC–and that my insurance should cover it.  She said she would see what she could do to get me into the plastic surgeon’s office, and said she would talk to the insurance company directly.  I’m trying not to get my hopes up, but it would be fantastic if she can make this happen.  It would mean the world to me to get rid of this extra skin.

So moving on with the exam, she checked the usual suspects (heart, lungs, blood pressure) and told me how I appeared to be in great shape.  Still feeling a little snarky from the questionnaire, I thanked her, and told her she looked pretty good herself.  I was really liking this new doctor. She wanted to help me with my skin problems, she was telling me I was in good health, and she was impressed with my muscle development.   Things were going along swimmingly…and then she said the words.  The words no man wants to hear.  No, not “we need to talk” or “just so you know, I’m late.”  Reaching for the box of latex gloves on the wall, she said quietly, “I see from your chart you are over 40 years old.” Que the music stopping and the car skidding to a stop.  I knew what this meant…the glove and the finger.

It’s not that I am a homophobe or anything like that, but I don’t know too many guys who like this procedure. You don’t want it to hurt–but you really don’t want it to feel too good either, if you know what I mean.  Suddenly, there’s a bottle of lube on the counter.  I mention to her that I know the insurance companies are forcing doctors to cut costs–but please don’t skimp on the KY for this, okay?  I started to get up and spread my legs out a little while bending over and putting my elbows on the exam table–the position I like to refer to as the ‘Jenna Jameson.”   Thankfully, the doctor stopped me and told me to stay seated.  Great.  Now I appear a little too eager for this.  Maybe I wasn’t going to the get finger?  Maybe I would be able to keep my dignity for another day!  No such luck.  I laid down on my side, and she very quickly did a surprisingly easy prostate exam.  I do like the way they explain that you need to relax.  Really?  Just met you twenty minutes ago, and you’ve got a finger two knuckles deep up unchartered territory.  Relaxing isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. 

All in all, the exam went really well–just another benefit to losing weight.  I don’t get the big speech (that I wasn’t going to listen to anyway) about how much my heart was working too heard, how I was at risk for diabetes–none of that.  I got praised for being healthy.  I don’t dread going to the doctor’s office any more.  It’s not a reminder of what I need to be doing–it’s a reminder of what I’m doing right.

Life is good.

Paul

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