The doctor visit

By John Toth

The annual medical checkup is not one of my favorite things to do. I dread it and procrastinate, like many other men.
I know I have to do it, but it’s really easy to find excuses to keep postponing it.
My side of the family has put off going to the doctor for generations and has paid the price. Both of my parents died relatively young from complications that could have easily been prevented.
So, I know that I have to get those numbers checked and tests run, but it’s so hard to pick up that phone and call for an appointment.
This is why every man like me (and that makes a lot of us), needs someone to constantly remind him that things like this cannot be postponed long.
It’s the same with dentists. And defensive driving. You know that you have to take care of it and time is running out, but not today, or tomorrow.
Well, I finally made it into the waiting room. That’s another place I don’t like to be. There is nothing to do.
The magazines don’t interest me. The people around me are silent. Some whisper, but I cannot hear them clearly – something about their illnesses. I’m so bored that I try to pay closer attention to make out some of the words, but no luck.
I’m reverting to my old stand-by, the cellphone. Might as well get on Facebook to pass the time. But the phone doesn’t get 4g in here. Now I cannot even access the outside world. I’m getting anxious. Maybe the doctor can give me something for that. I’m here, anyway.
I’m in the examination room. We’re doing all the basic stuff – weight, blood pressure, etc.
I bought a blood pressure gadget on eBay recently. It goes around my wrist and inflates. I found out quickly why it was so cheap. It shows whatever readings it wants. One time it showed that I should be dead because my blood had stopped circulating. Another time it showed that it was so high that I should be in the ICU. So, basically, it’s a toy.
The blood pressure monitors at the mall and supermarkets aren’t much better. So, here I am, with the nurse doing it manually, the old-fashioned way.
Another routine exam. Everything looks good. I’m asking questions while the doctor is listening to my heart. He is not answering.
I’m taking deep breaths. He’s listening more.
Here comes the needle for the blood sample, just like the year before. We’re done. Results in a few days.
The results turned out fine. I’ll live to print another week.
I went to settle the bill.
“You’re insurance doesn’t cover wellness visits,” the clerk said at the counter.
I suspected that. How much?
$180, including the blood tests.
Not bad. I consider it money well-spent. We’ll see you in a year or so.
Next stop, the dentist. But, I have to take care of a few things first.