Let’s Get Physical

Yesterday I had my yearly physical. It is the normal routine, as they go.

I’ve been going to this same doctor for decades, now. She is always very good, and thorough, and caring.

But as with any doctor visit, anywhere, there are a lot of questions.

Those questions begin with the Medical Technician who greets you, escorts you back to your lucky room, weighs you, measures all your vital signs, and on. Then she sits you down and interrogates.

As I mentioned, I have been going to this same doctor for a long time. You would think by now my information would be somehow tattooed in the computer system. But apparently, they need to confirm, confirm, confirm.

Where I live. My phone. Insurance. Emergency Contact. Blah. Blah. And then they really start getting personal. Are you still taking this med, and that? Do you smoke? Do you drink?

At which point, I stand up on the table and do my best impersonation of Adam Ant. “Don’t drink, don’t smoke. What do you do? Don’t drink, don’t smoke. What do you do?….. Goody. Goody. Two Shoes.” I like to grab the little light tool from the wall and use it as a microphone. The cord that attaches to the wall gives the thing a perfect effect.

Yet. I think this makes the Medical Technician slightly nervous, so I sit back down, after I’ve kicked the tune a few times.

She started in on a few more questions. Then, she said to me, “Do you still have any periods.”

To which I responded, “Only at the end of my sentences.”

She folded shut the portable laptop and quietly walked out.

I won’t put you through the rest of the details concerning my physical, other than to tell you that there was poking and prodding and tugging and nudging. Palpate isn’t a word that frequents my vocabulary. But once a year, it seems to fit. And then I can put it back in the drawer again. Right next to excrete.

Everything went okay, in the end. No pun intended.

I have to go for routine blood work, and follow up with a couple of other things. But for my age, I’m still fairly elastic.

On my drive home, I wondered if it is really all necessary. That business of having a yearly physical. I mean, next week, there will be a new study out which totally reverses all past advice on the food pyramid, which is no longer a pyramid. In fact, it is now a plate of quadrants, with a little cup of dairy on the side.

This won’t last until the cows come home, I’ll tell you. I mean, if I drank, I would not know if I’m supposed to have red wine or not. And that is. With, or without my dark chocolate. Before, or after my black coffee. Or not at all. I think coffee is okay, because I heard that Green Tea is now like poison. Do I exercise hard, or lightly walk around the interior of the bathtub? And should I sleep only 3 hours, take vitamins and supplements? And, and, dang it, WHAT is all this about flossing my teeth?

There is an old saying about the weather here in Ohio. Look out the window, and there is your forecast.

I’m thinking this may ring true for our human bodies too. If you wake up in the morning, and everything seems to be working, you’ve won the day.


“How wonderful to be alive, he thought. But why does it always hurt?”
― Boris Pasternak, El doctor Zhivago


“There was a skyness to the sky and a nowness to the world that he had never seen or felt or realized before.”
― Neil Gaiman


“The more I feel imperfect, the more I feel alive.”
― Jhumpa Lahiri