An Indian Civilizational Perspective

The Travails of the Annual “Physical” Exam

Getting an annual physical exam is something that my wife has to remind me. Probably when she feels I am worth more alive than dead, her reminder comes in. But this time, I had to get a certificate for a trek that I will leave for shortly, where the organizers wanted to make sure, I was alive and healthy as I had claimed to be.

I have never had any permanent doctors so I keep looking for a new one every time. So, I searched on my insurance provider’s site and started calling the doctors from the list. First one, happened to be the same one as my wife’s. But she was too busy and had a date for the annual exam one month later. Too bad, dearie.

Then the next one. She replied, “Sir, unless you are willing to reduce your age by some 40 years, we cannot entertain you. We are Pediatrician, you see!”

Damn!

Ok, next one. She was willing to let me come the next day. “Wow! Baby, you are in!”. Annual exam it was the next day.

I reached the doc’s office 15 minutes earlier, signed up on everything that I didn’t have any clue about. Honestly, I have no idea if I have diabetes or heart problem or allergies. Isn’t my doctor supposed to tell me that??

I mean, isn’t something drastically wrong with the system when the doctor wants you to not only make a determination on what diseases you have but do so with complete certainty AND sign on it??

If I knew ALL THAT, Missy, I wouldn’t need you!!

Anyways, 10 mins of waiting brought the nurse into the room. She explained what was to be done and what I could expect. And then she ended with something totally out of the blue – We also do “Well Man’s Exam” as part of the Annual Physical. “What’s that?” I asked slowly.

Well, like women have breast exams for breast cancer, men should have testicular exam for colon cancer. “What???”

“Yes. Its nice” she replied with a certain delight in her voice.

Nice?? Huh!

“I mean good.. its important for you”

Oh ok. – I wasn’t feeling very comfortable, but she has psyched me enough with her “Colon Cancer” images. So, I asked “What do you do?”

“Well, the doc will feel your testicles for certain signs and then teach you how to do your own exam”.

“Whoa!! She will not only squeeze my …. but also teach me how to?? What the heck was I signing up for?” I thought worriedly!

“Is it ok, Mr Kapoor?”

I slowly murmured “Yes” (thinking of colon cancer).

Then she handed me a paper gown and a paper sheet. “You can completely undress and get into this gown. This sheet is for your privacy”.

Aah, these days men get only a paper sheet to handle their privacy? Heck, I guess, we are back to Adam& Eve times of a leaf for privacy.

The doc came and did all sorts of test, as I tried hard to handle the paper sheet. Then when she was done, she told me of her sinister intentions for the next action. “Lemme go out and get the nurse, so we can do your testicular exam”.

“OHHHH.. she wants company while she squeezes the heck out of me. The women empire is striking back!”

Soon, they both trudged in, with the nurse in front. Who quickly came and picked up my “paper sheet” and held it between me and her with the intention of telling me that she is not going to see anything. Yeah right!! The sheet was held way below as she towered over it.

Now, the moment of truth came.

The doc went about the act with great professional care and kept giving me directions on where to feel as she kept pressing at various points.

“Does it pain here” she would ask as she squuezed me.

“OH NO, you idiot!!, would it hurt if I squeeze you, Ma’am?” I thought. But said “No, its ok”. She was as great a sadist as such docs come!

“Everything is fine, Mr Kapoor” she said with a smile as she left me to myself and my paper sheet for privacy.

I somehow came home in daze from my experience of the “Physical Exam” – which this doctor took too literally!

I intend to continue my practice of looking for a new doctor everytime I have to go to one.. and this time when I go for the Annual “Physical” exam, I will make sure I tell the doc – “No testicular exam, Colon Cancer or no!”

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