Friday, December 01, 2006

The Longest Five Seconds of My Year

On the first Friday in December, I traditionally endure my annual physical. On Friday, December 1, 2006, the tradition continued. Having another man peer into various orifices is an unsettling experience on its own. In fact, for several years I went to a female doctor. I actually preferred that. However, there were certain activites which became necessary because of my family medical history. We weren't comfortable with her doing them, so I moved on. This is how we got to The Longest Five Seconds of My Year.
Let me lead you down this path gently (an adverb my doctor needs to embrace, by the way). My father was diagnosed with prostate cancer when he was in his 50's. The good news is: He's 80 now, alive & well. The bad news is: he was much younger than your average prostate cancer patient. So, as fortune would have it, I began experiencing the up close and personal exam for prostate enlargement when I turned 40. If you don't know what I'm getting at, let's put it this way: as far as I'm concerned, Christmas does not come early for me. Seven Decembers now, a cumulative 30-40 seconds of my life have been excruciuatingly elongated.
I know I get no sympathy from women for his. The pelvic exams they live through can't be pleasant. I have a point to make, though. For a lot of women ( I dare say most), isn't the area the doctor examines used as an entrance much more than it is as an exit? I mean, think about it.
From my perspective, this prostate exam causes someone to force his way in through the out door. ( With a nod to Prince, I guess the doctor could wear a raspberry beret. An obscure reference, I know).
The silver lining: I hate needles. Any kind of puncture turns my stomach. In the sequence of events surrounding this annual prod-fest, the bloodwork comes after the (Oh, my God, here it comes) digital rectal exam. So, the needle stick is a tiptoe through the tulips. I'm typically still reeling from the initimate invasion, so I sail through the phlebotomy portion of the program unscathed. The palpation portion of the process is almost a pleasure, in a non-homoerotic kind of way.
This leads me to the lingering mystery which seems to enshroud all of this for me. As painful (yes, painful) and awkward and unsettling as the Five Seconds are for me, I just can't figure how some people engage in similar activities for pleasure. Maybe it's like coffee, an acquired taste. I'm not interested in any new acqusitions, by the way. Thanks.
I already have another appointment for the first Friday in December of 2007. You know when I start dreading the first Friday in December? The first Saturday in December. The 24 hours in between, I'm just trying to recover.

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