There comes a time in life when a manly man's got to do what a manly man's got to do, even if it means having his nether-regions explored by a total stranger with a tiny flashlight and camera. For me, that time came two years ago but like many manly men, I put it off.
The reason is simple. Many men would rather eat dirt than go to the doctor. In fact, many manly men have probably eaten dirt hoping it would cure whatever ailed them so they didn't have to go to the doctor. This is a major reason toddler boys begin eating everything in sight. Rather than having an oral fixation as psychology suggests, I propose these pint-sized males are in fact trying to avoid the doctor.
While I have not eaten dirt, at least not since becoming an adult, I am one of those manly men who associate going to the doctor with having the plague. At times I would rather have the plague.
So what made me break down and go? Basically, it was another urge most men, not all of them manly, have. Under my current insurance policy, the cost of this particular procedure is covered completely, implying it is free. No co-payments, no deductibles. Absolutely free.
Men love free stuff. We will take almost anything free hoping to put it to good use some time in the future. Of course, that time never comes but it doesn't stop us from taking the free stuff.
So here lies the conundrum. On one side, as a manly man I hate going to the doctor. On the other hand, the male in me loves free stuff. Which do I choose? In the end, even though it meant sending a "search party" to places I never intended to be explored, the "free" side won out.
Speaking of manly men, my trip to the doctor also revealed another disappointing fact. I am only half, maybe even a third, the manly man I had thought. While my blood tests came back with raving reviews on most fronts, I was told my testosterone level was low. How low you ask? If it doesn't improve, I may have to switch teams and take up interior design or wedding planning.
Not to worry. Dr. Jonathan Poon has me taking testosterone treatments and I hope to return to my manly man self in the near future. Now back to our original discussion.
I was given an appointment at Elbert Memorial Hospital for the procedure, along with a large jug containing some type of "magical" powder at the bottom. I was to fill the jug with four liters of water (which in American terms translates to "a lot"). I was to drink this liquid until it was gone in the shortest time possible.
The purpose of this liquid is house-cleaning. It gets rid of the cobwebs, dustballs and any other matter which may have been building up in your system over the past 52 years. Think of it as a pressure washer for your innards. While it may not go in like a pressure washer.... we'll just leave it at that. Let's just say that it works.
I arrived at Elbert Memorial and was greeted by Pat, who handed me a less than fashionable gown which was conveniently open in the caboose. She then strung me up to a bunch of contraptions primarily designed to make sure I did not escape.
I was asked on numerous occasions what procedure I was expecting that day, and each time I replied, "A tummy-tuck." Although asked more than once by multiple professional hospital employees, it is obvious not one of them listened because the doctor did not get anywhere near my tummy, at least not from the front, and absolutely nothing had been tucked, at least not as far as I can discern.
I was attended to by two charming surgical assistants, Sonya and Dot, who were both professional and personable (personable mainly because they both laughed at my lame attempts at humor under intense procedural pressure), an anesthesiologist, Scott, and Dr. Haley, who I am guessing performed the actual procedure. I'm really not sure who performed the procedure because the anesthesiologist obviously knew his job. I was out like a light.
I do not remember anything about the next half-hour or so but I did wake up feeling a little closer to my doctor. Upon regaining consciousness, I was greeted with two pieces of information.
First, I might feel some "gas pressure." The attendants wanted to make sure I relieved this pressure rather than hold it in.
I was shocked. This must be the only time in the history of male-female relationships when the female has actually granted the male permission to release such pressure in her company. And this female wasn't just granting permission, she was insisting on it. I obliged the request with eager diligence. I cannot wait to get home. When I tell Paula, I am sure she will be jealous and adopt this same policy.
The second piece of information was that one very small polyp had been found but Dr. Haley said he did not expect it to be a problem. I am to meet with him again in two weeks and was told if the test results came back as he expected I am good for another five years.
The question which keeps coming to mind is, what if that polyp had actually been something more, and what if I had maintained my manly man stubbornness about going to the doctor? I guess that's a question we should all ask ourselves if we have yet to have ourselves checked. Even us manly men.
Copyright 2013 Mark Berryman
Editor, Columnist, All-Around Nice Guy