Don’t Touch Me There: Seeing My Doctor For A Check Up

I recently had my yearly get together with my physician. It was a delightful event, as usual.

He flipped through my chart and made small talk with me based on what he had written down there the last time I was in. I am never sure why he does this. I know there is no way he remembers me any more than the next guy who shows up and takes his pants off. I wonder how funny it would be if I brought a folder with his name written on it to my next appointment. I could flip through some pages and say “I see that the last time I was here you put on a rubber glove, then told me to bend over and grab the table.”


A typical examination room in a doctor's office.

Where the magic happens (Image via Wikipedia)

I was on a list of people waiting for physicals from my doctor. When I called for an appointment, I was told that he was “finished doing physicals for the year” but that I could get on the waiting list in case an opening became available. I don’t have another doctor to compare him to, but I figure this guy must give the best physical in the land if people wait in line for them.

My lucky number came up last week. A woman from the doctor’s office called me at 8 am on one of my days off and said I was next in line for the mother of all physicals. She asked if I could be there at 2:30, I said I could, she said I shouldn’t eat anything until after the appointment. Wonderful. Had I known I was going to have to go all day without food I would have made a batch of chicken and dumplings at midnight to shorten the time between meals.

By the time I got to the doctor’s office, I was getting the shakes from being so hungry. I considered eating the paperwork they gave me to complete, but thought I’d just wait. I should have eaten the forms. Getting the mother of all physicals is pretty time consuming. I didn’t see daylight until 4:30. I have to remember to not take mid-afternoon physical appointments.

Yes, I’m Turning Fifty. Thanks For Remembering.

Then, as he was making and reviewing some notes in my file, the doctor said “oh, you’re turning fifty this year.”

He wasn’t saying it to wish me a happy birthday. He said it so he could follow it up with a question. “Do you know what that means?” I asked if it meant I could have a big party. That wasn’t the answer he was looking for. Finally, he relented and told me it was time for me to get a colonosocopy.

Will Ferrell (as Alex Trebek) and Darrell Hamm...

Remember when Will Ferrell was funny? Me too. (Image via Wikipedia)

Keep that in mind in case you and your doctor are playing Jeopardy. If  one of you says “Gastroenterology for $400, Alex” and the answer is “oh, you’re turning fifty this year”, the question is “do I need a colonoscopy?”

So apparently I am being set up with the latest and greatest in colonoscopy. It is called an open access colonoscopy. That name disturbs me. They can call it open access all they want, but I am locking the door and not taking visitors during the procedure.

No, I mean that. Do not show up expecting to sit in on my colonoscopy. All guest seating for this event will be in the spacious lobby. Concession stands will provide snacks and t-shirts commemorating the event will be available at the merchandise table.

The Door With My Name On It

The last part of my doctor visit involved me filling up a cup.

A lady from the doctor’s lab walked me into a restroom adjoining the lab. She wrote my name on a cup and asked me to fill it. After she left I looked around. There was a list of instructions on the wall detailing exactly how I was to fill the cup. There were a surprising number of steps to successfully accomplish the cup filling task. The last two steps on the list caught my eye:

Close the lid securely.

Put the cup in the door with your name on it.

I had already planned to close the lid securely. That just seemed like a polite thing to do under the circumstance. There’s no way a person could consider themselves civilized, yet pass unsealed containers of waste to another person. On the other hand, perhaps I expect too much of my fellow man.

Once the cup was secure, I looked for a door with my name on it. There wasn’t one. There was an exit sign on the door I entered through and there was a little door in the wall, but that had the manufacturer’s name on it. I opted for the little door, even though my name is not Metalcraft.

So now I wait. The mother of all physicals always ends with a letter from the doctor listing his conclusions about my health. It usually arrives in an envelope in the mailbox with my name on it. I guess if the letter says “you’re in fine health, but my office smells awful” I will know I picked the wrong door.


54 Comments on “Don’t Touch Me There: Seeing My Doctor For A Check Up”

  1. Colonscopies are a breeze. I’ve had one, so I now consider myself a pro.
    Ewww…who would want to watch that?

    Here’s the checklist: Tell them you that you get sick to your stomach (after reading the Hipster’s post, I’m afraid to use any form of the word nausea), so they’ll put some fun stuff in your IV.

    Tell them you woke up in the middle of having your wisdom teeth pulled, so they give you extra sleepy stuff, and tell them you are a hard stick and tend to pass out at the sight of needles. Then you’ll get the best IV giving person.

  2. Betty says:

    The prep was the worst part of the colonoscopy. They put you under for the, uh, insertion and probing. By the way, Will Ferrell was never funny.

  3. If the procedure is to be performed by a different medical professional, will you be administering a grammar test beforehand? I’ll be happy to offer a second opinion (on the grammar test — just so we’re clear) and to buy a tee-shirt at the merch table.

  4. Todd Pack says:

    Doctor’s don’t think it’s funny when you make jokes about the more, um, let’s say “invasive” parts of a checkup. Once, I asked my doctor, “Are you even gonna buy me drinks first?” Trust me, he REALLY didn’t think that was funny. At all.

  5. Super funny post…I’m taking notes on thoughtsappear’s exam prep run down. Sounds like the best way to do it hands down…or should I say pants…nevermind!

    Also we have been counting down to your birthday for a while now…have you ever said when the big day is?

    • omawarisan says:

      I have sort of been watching this one come down the road a bit, haven’t I? November 3, and there will be beverages.

      I’m printing her comments on the prep and taking them with me.

  6. Lenore Diane says:

    Hilarious!! Except for the part about your doctor no doing any more physicals for the year? Huh? There’s a cut off date for physicals? Odd.
    Open access colonoscopy? Yeah, no thanks. Oh, I’ve had a colonoscopy – more than once – but open access? Really? No way. No how. And as Betty said – the prep is the worst part and Will Ferrell was never funny.

    P.S. Happy birthday!!

  7. KathiD says:

    I recently saw my doctor for the physical. Part of it was getting some shots. Before administering the shots, he said, “This may hurt a little.” After, he said, “I was wrong! It didn’t hurt me at all! hahahahahahahahahahaha!”

    Doctor humor. Ha ha.

  8. KathiD says:

    P.S. That was Not a Joke. It really happened to me. I know you were worried about that.

  9. OMG. I had one like 15 years ago. I have a bad habit of waking up in the middle of medical procedures. There was this TV and I guess I was on it. It looked just like that medical channel I surf by really quick and try not to see when I look at cable TV in hotels. I said Oh cool, is that my insides? or something to that effect because I was sedated. Then this big mask came down and I was out. I guess they did not want me talking while they were doing whatever they were doing.

    So I had never had Valium before, and when I came too, I guess at some point they had given me that. I’m one of those people who get drunk on half a beer so I was really flying. I was in the recovery room and I was insufferably happy and chatty. There were other people in the recovery room and I kept trying to talk them about Christmas TV programs. Rudolph. Yep.

    This is the worst part — you know I had a Southern upbringing and all that goes along with that and they would not let me go home until I had — well, let’s just say a lot of air goes into you and it has to come out. Because of the Valium, I was A-OK with that at the time. I am sure I conducted myself like a lady under the circumstances. But I shudder to think of it now, and next time I am definitely requesting a private recovery room 🙂

    • omawarisan says:

      If I wake up I want to have something prepared to say. I’m pretty sure I won’t be up to making it up on the spot.

      Wait, I have to deflate?

    • karen says:

      LMAO because I had my wisdoms out on valium and the oral surgeon who came into the room to take the stitches out (my surgeon was on holidays or, you know, avoiding me) could barely use scissors he was laughing so hard. Honestly, I had the BEST TIME having that procedure, talked the whole hour, and the entire office (one of those downtown joints with at least a half dozen oral professionals and their crews) had to come and see me. Side show me.

      It gets worse. Nobody told me it was an anti-inhibitive drug and when I went home I answered a solid half dozen personal ads, some not as um straight-forward as others, and gave my real number. I even mailed the suckers! (days before Internet).

      I’m always glad to meet another lightweight so I thought I’d make a random comment. I’m over from Elly’s blog … Great post, but I really lost it (in a good way) with your closing paragraph.

  10. Laura says:

    I understand that you don’t want visitors during your colonoscopy, but you will at least be live-tweeting it, right?

    • omawarisan says:

      Well, if Mary’s experience is the model I will be following I may be live tooting it.

      I wonder if I can just get a local and live blog it like I did jury duty and the Superbowl?

  11. I googled open access colonoscopy to allay my fears (and yours). It does not involve big screen TVs.

    I had a colonoscopy when I lived in Japan–they do all the prep in the office including not one but two enemas administered by nurses who didn’t speak English. I still don’t know if it was supposed to be fun or not.

  12. Kim Pugliano says:

    I too had a colonoscopy, for which they gave me propofol to sleep. This is what I remember: “Oh! There it goes!” Then I heard the anesthesiologist tell me it all went well. This is how I responded:

    “I love you.” Yup. Not 12 seconds later I was wide awake, and asked the nurse, “DID I JUST TELL HIM I LOVE HIM?” She confirmed that yes, I affirmed my undying love for the anesthesiologist who just watched me sleep for 15 minutes.

    Awkward. Then I had to pay him $176.

  13. Pie says:


    You know there are people paying good money to voluntarily have a pipe put up their nether regions to clean themselves out and there you are facing it as a health requirement to mark your fiftieth year. What a topsy turvy world we live in. Good luck with that one, fella and happy birthday in advance. I’ll bring some cake.

  14. sarahnsh says:

    I’ve been that hungry before where I just want to gnaw on anything nearby, whether that be paper, paperwork, whatever, it’s not good to be that hungry! I’ve always heard the prep is the worst part of the colonoscopy too. Anything to do with the medical field is more likely not to be easy and simple if they can help it.

  15. Snoring Dog Studio says:

    “Open Access”? WTH is that? Do they start in your throat and work their way down? Isn’t it already OPEN ACCESS? For gawd’s sake, you’re drugged, you’re in a defenseless, vulnerable position, naked — what part of that isn’t open access? I’m praying that by the time I need another colonoscopy, they’ll invent a super x-ray that can see through the bean burrito. Sorry, commenters – definitely TMI, but the point is, the prep was so awful for me that by the time we got to the procedure I was hysterical and had vomited not just everything in my gut, but everything in my neighbor’s guts. Again, TMI. No worries, Oma, you’ll do fine. You’re not nearly the lightweight I am.

    November 3! Your birthday! Yippee!

  16. Katybeth says:

    This was so amusing. Perhaps you would consider putting your next appointment on Facebook–at least check in and then you could twitter the event live. On the other hand that may be just way to much information..I agree have a closed door policy.

  17. sistainsane says:

    maybe you should consider temporarily tweeking your tagline just a bit on the day of your colonoscopy 🙂

  18. Laura says:

    How’s the art contest going? If you don’t have a winner by the time you have your procedure, you should consider asking your colonoscopist (colonoscopier? colonoscope operator?) for a few still pictures of your insides.

    • omawarisan says:

      Actually, I had the giant surge that I posted and then it seems to have stopped. I could use my colonoscopy picture and change my slogan to words that come out of me, one way or another.

  19. spencercourt says:

    I’d rather have a colonoscopy than a blood test. No pain, although the prep is pretty…shitty.

  20. I’d like to get a t-shirt that says, “I was in the waiting room for Oma’s colonoscopy and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.”

  21. tsanda says:

    doctor folder is gold just incase you needed more reassurance. I’m stealing that. thanks by the way.

  22. Blogdramedy says:

    Well, I guess a half century deserves some kind of special reward…funny, but a colonoscopy wasn’t on offer at the mall. Maybe I should have checked out the plumping section at the hardware store instead. 😉

  23. planetross says:

    “the door with your name on it”

    That would be a great book title!

    note: if my last name was “Toilet”, I’d always be a little proud seeing that on the door!

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