How to Survive a Complete Physical

              For many years now, perfectly sane, people have willingly or unwillingly subjected themselves to a decidedly Pagan ritual known as, “The Annual Physical”. Just to be clear, I fall into the latter category. However, at the request of my Doctor (a request that implied physical violence on his part if I didn’t comply) I went to see another physician for my “COMPLETE PHYSICAL”. If you’re a man and are commanded to make an appearance for one of these, here are a few tips to help you through.

                When you first arrive and check in, you’ll be told by the receptionist that there will be a “short wait” until the doctor can see you. This “short wait” can range anywhere from a few minutes to enough time to read the unabridged version of “War and Peace”. Remain patient (I know…bad pun). Eventually a nurse opens the door to the hallway to the examination rooms, calls your name and escorts you back. At this point, she will take your “vital signs”. This is nothing to panic about. You’ll be weighed, possibly measured, and then your pulse, temperature and blood pressure will be taken. You may feel relief as, so far, this is nothing new to you.

                Depending on the doctor, your next stop may be to, “See the vampire” or, in medical parlance, “The Phlebotomist”. At this point, you will be required to part with some of your precious blood and the only way they can do that is…with a needle. Even if you have a fear of needles or faint at the sight of blood…especially your own…don’t be a wuss. Just look away and wait for the “stick”. Under no account should you make any witty remarks about vampires, leeches or anything else related to blood sucking. From personal experience, I can assure you that this feeble attempt at chit-chat will only annoy the vam…err…PHLEBOTOMIST and can result in them “missing” your vein on the first try and causing them to have to stick you again. This is not desirable.

                Once you have been drained of your precious, red fluid, the nurse now escorts you into the brightly lit, white, REFRIGERATED examination room. She tells you to strip down to your skivvies and put on a gown that has no back to it. Before she leaves you to your changing of clothes, she tells you there will be another, “short wait” as the doctor is with another patient. When you inform her that the exam table is exceedingly cold and ask how long of a wait you can expect, do not be surprised to hear her burst into maniacal laughter as she closes the door. Do your best to ignore the laughter you can hear through the walls from the other nurses when your nurse tells them what you asked.

                After changing into the gown and gathering up your remaining courage and dignity, explore the room while you wait. You may want to use this time to make yourself acquainted with the various examination tools in the room. This is only fair, as soon some of them will become very well acquainted with YOU. You notice a framed copy of the Hippocratic Oath on the wall and sincerely hope that the doctor takes the statement, “First of all, do no harm” as a directive and not a suggestion. By now you may notice that your nail beds are turning blue from the cold. Don’t worry. Just a little bit longer….and what is this?? A “BONE SAW”!??

                About the time you’re ready to build a campfire out of tongue depressors, the doctor walks in. With his white lab coat and stethoscope draped rakishly around his neck, he is the very picture of confidence and well-being. You must do your best to not look afraid. Doctors can literally SMELL fear. If you start shaking, blame it on the fact that the exam room seems to be a balmy forty degrees below zero. Your self-confidence will unnerve the physician who, up to this point, sees you as nothing but a vacation in Fiji. He will now see you as being a man to be respected and reckoned with.

                After putting a tongue depressor in your mouth, making you gag and try to say “Ahh” at the same time, listening to your chest with the stethoscope that seems to have been just removed from a vat of liquid nitrogen, and looking in your eyes and ears with something that looks like it was designed by Torquemada for The Inquisition, he does something totally unexpected. With gloved hands, he reaches down, grabs you in a place that NO ONE ever grabs you without special permission and tells you to, “Turn your head and cough”. This is no time to argue. Do as you’re told. Try to hack up a lung if you can.

                Though indignant, you realize that this wasn’t as bad as you thought it was going to be. Then the doctor reaches into a drawer and pulls out an industrial sized tube of “KY Jelly”. He tells you to turn around and bend over as far as you can. You tell yourself that he’s only going to slip you the bill when, to your horror, you get slipped something else. Even though it’s only a FINGER, it feels like someone is trying to shove a Smithfield ham up your backside. As your life flashes before your eyes, you come to the realization that not a jury in the world would convict you if you were to wrap that stethoscope around the doctor’s neck and pulled!


                After this final bit of humiliation is committed upon your person, the doctor peels off his gloves, pronounces you “fit” and tells you to get dressed and see the receptionist on the way out to schedule your next physical. You do the right thing and do as the doctor asks…you schedule your next physical. You schedule it for June, 2045.


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8 Replies to “How to Survive a Complete Physical”

  1. I avoid the doctor like the plague (yes…my own funny choice of words, yet oh so true, LOL) And always try my best to make any doctor's appointments for as early in their daily schedule as possible….so I will hopefully make it home before dinnertime 😛 I've learned that they double and sometimes even TRIPLE book patients for the same appointment time. You would think that overall, the medical profession would try to attempt to make a doctor's a visit as pleasant as possible in order to encourage patients to WANT to see their doctors, but then again they do have us where they want us in many ways, don't they? 😦 I really enjoyed this, Johnny. Thanks for your sage advice.

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  2. It's a nice twist, reading this from a guy's point of view. Can't say I ever noticed a post like this before. Interesting to see that yes, it's a universal experience.Carolhttp://www.carolcassara.com

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  3. Yikes…sounds about right…except you forgot the bill part…where your blood pressure rises as you wonder how you are going to pay for this “pronouncement of fitness”. No wonder people schedule these appointments so few and far between 😀

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  4. Is that what a physical is like? I haven't had one in years but I'm seeing a new doctor Friday (seeing him on Friday, not seeing Doctor Friday) so I may need to change my plans. Whenever I read a magazine I'm always into best part of the article (the 4th or 5th article I've gotten to) when they finally call me in. I wind up taking the mag in with me because without fail I'll still be waiting another 20 minutes or so in the exam room. I freak the phlebotomists out though. I have no fear of needles, I've had thousands of blood tests in my life, and I like it better in my hand where I barely feel it. Some of them, the lesser experiences ones, act like I asked them to perform brain surgery on me. Trust me, it doesn't hurt, just stick me already!

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