Larry Bernstein is a free-lance writer, public school teacher, and tutor. He and his family live in Fair Lawn, NJ. You can find his website at larrydbernstein.com. His blog address is memyselfandkids.com
It had been a while since I went to the doctor, and I couldn’t put it off any longer. My wife strongly encouraged me to go. “You have to make an appointment with the doctor. I’m too busy to worry about you going to the doctor too. If I have to ask you to go, you will regret it.”
Uh-oh. You know what she means guys.
Anyway, yes dear, she was right, this time. I wasn’t consciously avoiding an appointment but wasn’t rushing either. I had plenty of excuses: nobody around here takes our insurance, I feel fine, I don’t have time, etc. Well, I couldn’t put it off any longer. I scheduled the appointment. A few days later, I received some paperwork in the mail. I diligently filled out the paperwork the night before and brought it with me to the appointment.
After reviewing the paperwork, the receptionist sent me to billing. I was told, “You know the doctor does not accept your insurance.” Yes, I knew and with that I was instructed to take a seat in the large near-empty waiting room. The wait was brief, as promised, and I was led in to a room by a nurse.
The nurse did the standards: took my pulse, weighed me, and then told me to take off my shirt. She said she would be back in a moment.
I sat in the waiting room feeling awkward and cold. After the EKG equipment was removed along with handful of chest hair (ala Steve Carell in The 40 Year-Old Virgin), I was told the doctor would be in to see me shortly. The nurse handed me a gown and told me to undress.
After stripping down and getting back on the scale, (I knew that number was too high), and changing into the gown, I waited. The doctor came in to the room – calm and casual.
“Aren’t you supposed to be wearing the gown? I’m the patient,” I said.
“No, I’m not even wearing a tie. I don’t bother with the gown. It makes the patients nervous.” He asked the usual questions about family history. He also asked about my sleep patterns and then talked about his own. He asked about my family and talked about his own. He asked if I exercise and then talked about his regimen.
The doctor proceeded to explain the process that he has his patients go through. He said there was one more thing he had to do and it was a little awkward. However, I was at that age, and he had to check. He instructed me to lie on my side with my rear-end facing him. “Ohh,” I said aloud. That’s not pleasant. He pronounced the prostate fine.
I attempted a smile, said thanks, and left the office. On second thought, I don’t think I want to have a beer with him anymore.