"Fly fishing is my passion, hunting is my weakness, and mules are a perplexing addiction."

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Doctor Doogie; patients waiting in room 2, 3, 4, and 5!

Despite evidence to the contrary, in an effort to verify to my employer that I am indeed still alive, I am required to have a yearly physical. My boss claims he doesn't really know just what my job title is, and on those rare occasions I don't stay out of his sight, he claims he doesn't actually observe me doing anything. Apparently he has astute observation skills. Apparently there is some sort of rule somewhere that requires that I actually do something.

"You're...whatshisname, uh, uh...?" he said one day, fumbling for a name?
"Yep, that's me," I said.
"Well, uh, uh, uh... do something," he said, flicking his finger at nothing in particular and starting to walk away.
"I am doing something," I told him, "I'm pacing myself."
"Pacing yourself," he said, "for what?"
"I have to conserve energy so I can stay up past eight tonight for the season finale of Desperate Housewives!"

At any rate, today was my scheduled physical. Getting a yearly physical is traditionally a day that young men dread. They tremble in fear and angst over the getting to know you stuff; the turn your head and cough, the snap of a latex glove and the fickle finger exam, you know, the fun stuff. It is also traditionally a day that young doctors develop facial ticks and tremors of their own when old farts like me come in.

I arrived at my doctor's office at eight o'clock sharp, having requested the first appointment of the morning. Now I'm sure you've noticed that no matter what time your appointment is scheduled for, you never actually get in to see the doctor for at least an hour and forty-five minutes; usually longer. Glaciers have melted in less time.

First, there is the signing in, the co-pay ritual, and the ever enjoying search for the most isolated chair in a crowded waiting room to avoid contacting the disease of the week from one of the coughers, hackers, wheezers, or sneezers. I figure if I schedule my appointments for first thing in the morning, then all I have to really wait for is the doctor to show up for work on time. He arrived at 8:55 a.m.

"What kept ya, there Doogie, you're late; your Big Wheel get a flat?" I asked him, as he frowned and searched each of his twelve pockets for a pen.

I have nicknamed my physician Doogie Howser and he hates it. I call him Doogie Howser because I have hemorrhoids older than him. Doogie is youthful and barely out of puberty, I think, and wears one of those scruffy beards so popular with the young crowd. It only makes him appear like he's got the lead in the school play as Abraham Lincoln.

"Well, let's get to fun stuff," I said, unbuckling my pants, turning around and bending over. "Make sure ya wear protection," I added, peeking between my legs and smiling.

Doogie's slight facial tick began twitching; the one he develops when he's under stress. The one he acquires when I show up.

"I think we can skip this part," he mumbled, searching for his elusive pen.

"Darn, I was looking forward to that cigarette afterward," I said, buckling my belt and reaching over plucking his pen out of his top pocket and handing it to him. Doogie's facial tick began to quicken.

"Dare I ask," he groaned, "So what complaints do you have for me?"

"You mean aside from illegal immigration, the deficit, enviromeddlers, Diane Feinstein, my hens not laying, the...?"

"Yeah, aside from the obvious," he mumbled, his tick quickening a bit.

I rattled off my list of annoyances that each year, as I grow older, seem to multiply. I concluded with stating that I needed a re-fill of Vicodin and muscle relaxers.

"And what do you take those for," he asked?

I explained that I wasn't yet willing to give up those passions of mine that I pursue. The trail work projects, packing, hiking,fishing, and hunting, and that I was willing to tolerate the arthritis, bone spurs, and everyday aches and pains that go along with those endeavors, but, that from time to time, especially during hunting season, there are times when I need a Vicodin to keep from being hauled out by a search and rescue team. I then went on to explain that the muscle relaxers were used at night, mostly during hunting season to keep my sudden vaulting out of bed in the middle of the night when my leg cramps up and begins playing pranks on me as my heel attempts to touch the back of my head. "My screaming annoys my wife," I explained. "It interrupts her sleep," she says.

"You hunt," he asked, peeking up at me from his lap top?

"Yes, I hunt a lot," I answered.

"What do you hunt,"He asked," picking up his pen and setting it on his prescription pamplet?

"Mostly deer", I said, "I'm a deer nut."

""Really?" he said, "I hunt deer as well; I'm a bow hunter."

"I use a bow myself," I said. "I rifle hunt too, but I bow hunt mostly."

For the next forty-five minutes Doogie rattled on about deer hunting. His facial tick subsided and he was in the moment, talking about his passion to the point I began to think I might be spending the day there. He asked where I hunted, what broadheads I like best, and how I hunted. It was at this point it suddenly hit me; this is the reason why the waiting room is always so crowded. This is why the folks in the other three patient's rooms had by now read at least two People Magazines, the last six months of Better Housekeeping, a three month old issue of Journal of Medicine Today, and a Jehovah's Witness pamphlet.

Doogie finally filled out my prescriptions and presented me with a list of referrals to other doctors to address my various other complaints and promised me he would like to come out next season and spend some time at my deer camp. This, after I pointed out to him he probably had another patient or four waiting in one of the other rooms.

So it looks now as if next deer season I'm going to have some new company. Guess I'm gonna have to stock up on Snapple. Somehow I think I'd feel guilty contributing to the delinquency of a young genius by sharing my beer with him.

, despite little to no movement to the contrary on my part at work,