Sitting in an examination room is nerve-racking for some people.
What’s wrong with me? Is it the consumption?
Do I have the coronavirus?
Is that lump a cancerous tumor or a ball of fat?
With me, it’s usually a ball of fat. However, I need to be told so by a medical professional because this time – THIS TIME – my illness could be caused by a lifetime of dangerous activities, like breathing and regular checkups. It’s not caused by red meat and pizza.
When my mother died of lung cancer, I went to the doctor for what we call in the hypochondria biz, Reasonable Assurance from Unreasonable Questions.
Why did I think I may have lung cancer? I never smoked, I never rolled naked in shredded asbestos (that I know of) and I wasn’t in the 1956 film, “The Conqueror,” the location of which was in the fallout zone of nuclear tests and resulted in 91 people who worked on the movie contracting cancer – including John Wayne.
Nope. I should have been clean, but I grew up in the ’70s when people smoked in cars, restaurants, airplanes and probably in the middle of open-heart surgery.
What the doctor found in my chest X-ray was a lump near my lungs. The fear from this announcement and subsequent butt clenching is probably the reason for the hemorrhoids I was in the doctor’s office for today.
By the way, after further examination the lump near my lungs turned out to be a double cheeseburger.
Unlike normal people (I can only assume), I’m OK with being told I need surgery. What I’m not OK with is the doctor telling me what he’s is going to do during that surgery.
For example, I don’t need to know what size post-hole digger he’s going to shove up my bum to remove my hemorrhoids because, 1) the visual alone will probably give me a different medical crisis, and 2) during the surgery, I’ll be more doped up than a rock star. When I tell the nurses it’s great to play in Seattle, they’ll know what I’m talking about.
Even though I sat on the examination table’s paper sheet with hands over my ears and my eyes closed, the surgeon told me anyway. Thanks a lot, Doc.
The next step was the surgery.
Although hemorrhoids are the butt of jokes in sitcoms (see what I did there?), people in the real world have a hard time discussing them. Why? Much like the children’s book, “Everyone Poops,” everyone has hemorrhoids. It’s just that not everyone’s hemorrhoids are angry jerks like mine, honking their horn and sticking a middle finger out the window.
There’s no reason for that sort of behavior in a pair of pants. So, I got ready for the hospital.
Preparing for a hospital visit is a lot like preparing for vacation. Wear comfy clothes, understand you’ll probably get sick from the food, and no matter how much you’ve read or talked with the experts, you really have no idea what’s going to happen. Am I going to get plenty of sun or have something removed?
Either way, take a picture, I’m the one with my eyes closed.
Jason Offutt’s newest book, “Chasing American Monsters: 251 Creatures, Cryptids, and Hairy Beasts,” is available at jasonoffutt.com.