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A Visit With The Doctor
"Well, what seems to be the problem today?" he asked in an all too friendly voice.
"Boss told me I had to see you. Just moved to town and need to get a doctor established and I guess you're it."
Furiously writing on his clipboard as if something vital had been uttered, he went on "So, your boss told you to come, eh? Tell me, what do you do for a living?"
I looked at him as if he had three heads instead of just the baby-faced one sitting on his shoulders. "Don't. Retired. Boss is my wife."
Doogie Howser continued writing as he laughed good-naturedly and replied "Good for you! Enjoying the life of retirement, that's good, that's good. Ok, tell me about yourself. This is a get to know one another visit, isn't it? So, let me get to know you!"
I could already tell I didn't like this whippersnapper. Hell, he was young enough to have spots, for crying out loud. But, boss said go so here I am. "Okay, how do you want to do this? Ask questions or have me tell you about myself?"
"Oh, go ahead and tell me about you, your family history, your health. Take it from the top!" He chuckled at his wit.
From the top...
"Okay, you asked for it. From the top, you say. Well, on top of my head you'll find a scar. Seventh grade a wooden ladder fell on me while I was wrestling. Sixteen footer it was. Near a ton on 'er." I looked to see if he got the Jaws reference: he didn't. Oh well, must be young and stupid. "Leaned up against the wall then fell smack down on top of me as I pinned this guy. Knocked me a little silly, I can tell you. Anyway, I stood up and felt woozy then this blood came running down over my head. I guess I looked a little like that gal Carrie in the movie. Took six stitches to close it up and I had to have my head shaved."
"From there, I have a scar on my right eyeball from playing with a stick gun as a kid. On the iris I think. Real lucky there. Got small cataracts in both eyes. Other than that, my eyes are good. Oh wait: also in the right eye a scar from having microsurgery once when I flipped hot solder in it while removing a wire from a connector with a soldering iron. Some molding compound stretched out and flipped that damn molten lead right in my eye. Hurt like hell but no lasting damage. Ears are okay except for the hair that grows there like wild weeds. Lost a molar once to a dentist who thought he was taking out a wisdom tooth. Guess he was lacking in wisdom himself. Other than that, only other problem high up is my neck. Hurt that in a flag football game, championship game it was. Made a 40 yard reception for the winning score; other fella didn't like it so he tackled me head on. Tore the muscle right out of the sheath, I'm told. Healed that way. So every now and again it tightens up and pulls my head to the side. No problem."
I looked at him and saw he wasn't writing anything down, just had a slightly glazed look on his smooth as a baby's butt face. "Not important enough to write down, Doc?"
He recovered and made some notes. "No no, keep going. Anything else?"
"Well, we're only to my neck; got a ways yet to go. Tore both labrum's on my shoulders. No surgery, just put up with the pain till they healed up. Upper arms are okay I guess, elbows and forearms too. My hands, though; that's another matter. See this finger (raised the left pinkie)? Broke that twice in two weeks; fork truck both times. Broke it again a couple of months later. Basketball. Never had it set, just dealt with it. Coupla months after the last break it got dislocated. Basketball again. That hurt worse than the breaks. Scar on this thumb is from a rusty knife; blood poisoning that time."
He took a breath then and looked at the Doc. Still glazed a bit near the eyes, but writing on his clipboard. "Go on" he stammered.
"Okay then: Every finger and thumb has been jammed and more than likely broken. Basketball almost every time. Love that game but damn it hurts. Got scars on my hands from falling off a roller horse as a tyke onto a floor furnace. It was winter, so of course it was on. Burned the crap outta me. Rolled around on it for a bit before my mother decided to get up from the table where she was visiting with her friend and pull me off. Spent a week in bed that time, hands all bandaged up."
"How old were you?"
"Near as I can figure, maybe two? Yeah two years old. I remember rolling around on that damn furnace, flames below me and the grate hot as hell. Anyway, a few scars here and there from that. Got a scar on my thumb knuckle from a knife; one on the inside of the other thumb from a broadhead. Now, back to my body. Had my heart jump started a time or two because of some rapid heartbeat thing I get every now and again. Last time they told me to walk into the ER and tell 'em to jump start me. No biggie. Oh, got this throat closing thing going on sometimes where I get a piece of chicken stuck. Cost me $80 once for a Dr. Pepper in the ER for that one. Keep the soda at home now; can't stand the flavor but ya gotta do what ya gotta do, right? Had a hernia in my belly button once; got it fixed. Been bit by brown recluse spiders a few times; stung by scorpions a couple of times too. Don't drink or smoke, but used to hang around a bunch of smokers at the bowling alley. Got tired of breathing in their death stink so quit bowling cold turkey. Been checked out a few times, lucky nothing ever came of being around that crap. Oh, speaking of crap, boss says I crap too much every day, but I feel good. Five or six times a day's okay, right? So, that's my history from the bottom up."
He finished writing and looked at me. "Is that all?" Is that all? I thought you young pipsqueak! Hell no that ain't all! I'm old as Moses toes and twice as corny! Of course there's more!
"Well Doc, that's just the from the bottom up: here goes from the butt down. Left hip hurts like hell most days; might by the rheumatism. Right does too but not as often. Left kneecap got cracked playing football once upon a time. Drove to Colorado to go hunting in the Rockies for Mule Deer with stitches in that knee in a manual transmission truck the week after. Time I made it to Rifle stitches were hanging in by a thread. Had a doctor cut 'em out and put band aids on the cut. Lasted a day or so. Other knee got hyper-extended once in a softball game; kept playing. Tore my right hammy in another game: went 5 for 5 that day after I tore it. Good day. Muscle balled up the size of a tennis ball on the back of the leg. Took six months to heal. Never went to the doctor just taped it up. Broke one ankle in a basketball game; tore tendons in the other ankle same game. Got a cast on one of them, forget which. Back to the doc a week later to take it off. Wore it out hunting, trapping, playing basketball and running across campus to classes. Scored 18 points in a pickup game in that cast. Guy guarding me was pissed. Broke some bones in my right foot in a dog show of all things. Never got it looked at, hurts to this day. Gotta wear a certain type of shoe to help with the pain but I manage, I manage."
"Well, that's quite a history Sir. Anything else? Have you had a colonoscopy done recently?"
I glared at the youth sitting on the rolling chair in front of him. "Once. Came back clean and never saw the need to go back again. And don't be thinking you're man enough to try and talk me into another."
Gulping audibly, the doc made more notes. "O-o-o-kay. Is that... I mean, anything else? How about any family history?"
Well, there was some of that. "My dad was an orphan; his father died when my dad was a baby. Two older brothers remember their father a lot better than my dad does. Tuberculosis I think. His mom died a few years later of the same thing. Grew up in an orphanage but was as healthy as a horse all of his life. My mom's side has some legs on life. My great grandmother lived to 104; she outlived all but one of her kids. My grandfather died at around around 70; grandmother lived a few years longer. My mom made it to 80 as did my dad. Her brother had this liver thing, too much iron. Hema-something or other. Killed him before he hit 70, but even though my mom had it she kept giving blood enough to keep it down. I ain't got it, been checked. Beyond that, 'bout everyone else is good."
I looked at the kid sitting there, peach fuzz on his chin, looking for all the world like some waif straight outta a Dickens novel with his pencil in hand poised above the clipboard that was covered with chicken scratches. What else did I want to tell him?
Nothing. "Look Doc, this is just a get to know ya meeting, and I know you now. I'm good, and don't look to see you again till you stand over me as I'm dying. And even then, don't want nothing from you. Let me die. No hanging around on life support, no raising me from the dead, no keeping me alive to get money outta me; I'm a tired, grumpy, wrinkled up old turnip. Got no blood for ya. Got it? Now, all I need from you is a note saying I saw you, that we went over my history, and we'll be good. Okay?"
He nodded his head, looking like a bobblehead doll in the back of a car. He walked me out and before letting me go stopped me.
"Sir, I have to say that if I had more patients like you, I would probably be out of business. You're hardheaded and tough, and I assume just deal with life as it comes, right? Glad there are so many others who don't feel as you do. They give me a livelihood. You take care, and I'll look for you when I see you, okay?" With that, he shook my hand and sent me on my way.
Back at home, my boss was waiting as I walked in.
"Welcome home honey. How was your visit?"
"Good enough. I know him and he knows me. We're good. Now, how 'bout some lunch? Got any of those biscuits and gravy left from breakfast?"