Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Be Careful What You Ask Your Doctor

I am so zany sometimes.

Case in point: Today I went to the doctor.

That's not the zany part, I promise.

Drunkards, I hate going to the doctor. I have to take time off work, which is a pain because the people there refuse to stop giving me stuff to do just because I'm not there to do it. What the hell, people at work? 

Mostly, though, I hate going to the doctor because I desperately don't want to be sick. I'm terrified of being told that my blood pressure is dangerously high, or my heartbeat sounds wrong, or there's some kind of weird, expensive lump on my body.


If I had my druthers, I simply wouldn't go to the doctor unless I was actively sick or injured. And I haven't been sick - real, go-to-the-doctor sick - since I had shingles in 2014. For all my fears, and for all my chronic disregard for my physical health, I'm a damn healthy person except for one thing: I have mild to moderate asthma.

I'm fortunate in that there's a readily available prescription drug (it comes in a purple disc) that does an amazing job at controlling my asthma. I'm frankly privileged to have health insurance that makes it affordable. The US health system is so fucked. How any medicine that could mean the difference between life and death can cost hundreds of dollars a month without insurance is incomprehensible. But that's a rant for another day.

Homer is funny, but healthcare isn't.

In any event, my doctor prescribes a year's worth of my asthma med. So every year I have to make the pilgrimage to attest that I still enjoy breathing and need a little help to do so. And while I'm there they weigh me and check my blood pressure and listen to my heart and lungs. 

As an aside, I always freak out when they take my bp. There's a lot of high blood pressure and heart problems in my family, and I assume that stuff is going to catch up with me eventually. Yet my bp is fine - today it was 122/70. I don't think I understand how bodies work.

I'm getting to the zany part, I promise.

Every year the doc makes two recommendations: Come in for a complete physical, and get a mammogram. And every year I smile and nod and say "you bet"...and ignore them. Why? Here's my logic. If I do those things, there's a greater than zero chance that they'll find something wrong with me. If I don't do those things, there's a 100% chance that they won't diagnose me with anything scary, life-threatening, or costly.

I do not recommend this approach to personal well-being to anybody reading this. If any of my loved ones adopted this approach to their health, I would be appalled and entreat them to look after themselves, for their sake and mine. Please don't mistake my lack of giving a shit about myself for practical medical advice.


Today I got the standard spiel: Blood pressure good, heart and lungs sound good, prescription has been called in, you should schedule a physical and a mammogram. But this time they added a brand-new recommendation: You should consider a colonoscopy.

Now, I had to accompany my ex-spouse to several colonoscopies because of his own health issues and a family history of cancer, and I really can't think of anything I'd less like to do than undertake colonoscopy prep and then have a camera shoved up my bum to film my guts. 

I was so gobsmacked by the very idea of subjecting myself to this rectal hellscape that I blurted out:

"Oh my god, can't I just poop in the box?"

Maybe zany isn't the right word. Whimsical? Spontaneous? Completely lacking in adult human filters?

Whatever it is, the doc utterly topped me by saying, "Oh! Really? Sure, I can have a Cologuard mailed out to you today!"

You guys, what have I done? I'll tell you what I've done. I have committed to producing a stool sample that I will place into a cardboard receptacle that will be sent via the US Mail for analysis. I'm going to poop in a box and put it in the mailbox. 

Take that, Louis DeJoy.

I guess I'll let you know how it goes? 

1 comment:

  1. I had to drive my friend to his colonscopy earlier this year. I feel like it's the equivalent of helping our friends move in our 20s. Good luck with your squat and squeeze.


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