Tuesday, May 19, 2009

It's all downhill from here, apparently

My birthday's in April, and I always schedule my yearly physical for May. It's a little birthday present I give myself - Happy birthday to me! Time for an unpleasant exam! Well, yesterday was the appointed day. Please know, going to the doctor’s office for a physical is not my favorite way to begin a week, but I go because I know I should and because my mother would keel over dead from concern if I didn’t.

My doctor’s office does a good job seeing its patients on time; yesterday was no different. I checked in at 8:55 and was called back at 9 on the dot.

Immediately the Very Nice Nurse ushered me to the height and weight measuring station – which is all out in the open for everyone to see. (Hey – any doctors reading this, couldn’t you at least hide it with a curtain?) I gingerly stepped on the scale, hoping if I were nice to it it would be nice to me. It wasn’t. Plus five pounds. Then measured – 5’ 7 ½”, down half an inch. Neither bit of information was good news.

We left the station of horrors and walked to the examination room. The VNN took my blood pressure and remarked that it was higher than normal. Really? No kidding. You just told me I’m getting shorter and wider, in effect, turning into a square and you wonder why my blood pressure’s a tad elevated? I’m surprised my heart didn’t burst through my chest out of sheer embarrassment.

She placed a gown on the table, reminded me to tie it in the back and said the doctor would be right in. Great. As I waited I perused the Real Simple magazine and let myself be taken away to the world of spring cleaning – that is how desperate I was to mentally escape. Did you know a cut lemon dipped in baking soda will clean most kitchen surfaces? Just as I was learning how lemons can be used in the washing machine in walked Dr. Susan, a perfectly lovely woman I’m sure I would like in real life but I couldn’t bring myself to do anything more than begrudgingly appreciate considering what she was about to do to my nether regions.

We chatted a bit about my kids and her new grandbaby. She looked over my blood work results; “Perfect on paper!” she exclaimed. Then she got to the blood pressure, frowned a bit and offered several ways to lower it. None of her suggestions involved eating a Snickers bar or downing a $1 diet Coke from McDonald’s which was a disappointment. She did, however, talk about diet and exercise. Shocker.

Small talk finished, she moved along to the exam. “Hmmm,” she said. “Did you know your cervix is tilted to the right?” Why, no, Dr. Susan, I didn’t know that. I don’t walk around with one of those frozen metal things inserted where the sun don’t shine asking folks to evaluate the placement of my cervix. “Well, does that matter?” I ventured. “Oh, no, not now that you’re past your child-bearing years.” Fabulous. Now I’m an old square with high blood pressure and a weird cervix.

She finished up, shook my hand and out the door she went. As I put my clothes on I remembered all the questions I was going to ask before the shock of becoming freak of nature set it. Thankfully none of my issues was pressing because I’m not going back anytime soon; I’m pretty sure I need a full year to recover from that visit.