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Published November 2, 2021

My economy class version of the executive physical

 

By John Toth / The Bulletin

Get an executive annual checkup, says the radio ad, in a full business suite and with complimentary breakfast. Most test results are available on the same day, and you get at least an hour with the doctor.

That’s not how I get my annual physicals, but I do something similar - the economy class version.

I carry my own business suite with me - it’s called a smartphone. I can do just about anything on it that I can do on a computer, although after a while I wish I could attach a regular keyboard. But, it will do.

I sit in the waiting area, waiting to be called into an examination room, where I wait some more. I get on my phone and start going through emails, killing out the ones I don’t need. When I’m all done with work and am still waiting, I get on Facebook and Twitter to catch up on the latest.

Then the doctor knocks and enters. I shut down the screen, and we start the physical.

What about the complimentary breakfast? I’m having blood drawn after the examination, so I could not eat anything, anyway. I drove up here hungry and am getting hungrier by the minute. But this is part of the process. I’m used to it.

Maybe in the business suite they draw blood first and then let the patient pig out on a catered breakfast. The ad does not say who is catering it. I could go for some mammoth tacos by now. I can imagine myself as I inhale one or two, I am so hungry.

But the doctor, to whom I have been going for six years, starts the exam by staring at my record on the computer monitor. “Hey, don’t you remember me? I just saw you last year.” We had a nice chat, and you told me that I was in great shape except for my cholesterol.”

I don’t say that, but I’m thinking it. I actually stay quiet and let him read. I can’t see the screen, so he may be catching up on his email. I don’t know.

Then he stops and asks me all these health questions. I answer them. What type of vitamins am I taking? I actually remember them this time. I list them all off. “I may have missed one or two,” I conclude. “I have it all on a spreadsheet at home.”

That gets a chuckle out of him, but he goes back to the monitor.

“What kind of breakfast do they serve in the business suite?” I ask him to break the silence in the room.

“I don’t know. I’ve never been there,” he answers.

“I heard that ad on the radio and was curious,” I add as I continue the conversation.

“That’s where I heard it,” he answers.

We start talking while he goes through the usual examination stuff, including the ones that I dread, but are necessary to prove that I don’t have a hernia or a bleeding colon.

“You’re coming up for another colonoscopy next year,” he says.

“Thanks for reminding me. You’ve made my day,” I reply with a lot of sarcasm in my voice. Another chuckle.

He pushed me into getting one six years ago, which probably saved my life, or at least saved me from endless chemo treatments that would have totally altered my life. They snipped five polyps out of me, three of which were getting ready to grow cancerous.

I remind him of that conversation. I am forever thankful that he kept insisting that I get one. He doesn’t know how to take compliments well and returns to staring at the monitor.

To him, it’s all in a day’s work. To me, it’s a very important event. So, each time I see him, he gets reminded and acts awkward.

How time flies. We have been talking and getting a physical for about an hour, just like in the expensive executive suite.

Blood work done, and I step outside. Now for my catered breakfast. Next stop, Costco, where I devour a hot dog and diet Coke. Life is good.

(John looks forward to hearing from you on this subject. Send comments to john.bulletin@gmail.com. You can even send an old-fashioned letter to: The Bulletin, P.O. Box 2426, Angleton, TX. 77516.)