Whittling Away: Doctors


By Dick Brooks

For Capital Region Independent Media

Headshot of a man named Dick Brooks.

I do not like going to the doctor’s.

I believe that for once, I am part of a vast majority of the human race. In all the decades that I’ve survived, I have yet to hear anyone say, “There’s nothing good on TV. I don’t feel like shopping so I think I’ll go to the doctor and get an exam.”

Let me state right up front, I have nothing against doctor-type people. As a rule they are intelligent, caring and clean sorts who are hard-working and useful to have around if you’re sick.  My problem is deciding when I’m sick enough to need a doctor’s services. 

I am basically of the feeling that if I can walk, communicate with others of my species and am not actively bleeding or have any bodily parts detached, I am not in need of medical assistance.

The Queen and all the proper medical journals suggest an annual physical. I am of the opinion that if one goes looking for trouble or problems, one will find them in abundance. 

The last physical I had reminded me all too graphically why I do not like going to the doctor. I had an appointment to be examined at 2 p.m. I checked in with the cute little receptionist who looked like she had just come from cheerleading practice. I was instructed to take a seat in the waiting room and they would be right with me. 

After a pleasant 45 minutes of reading magazines with no covers so I wouldn’t know how far out of date they were — although I did find an interesting article on our recent losses at Gettysburg — I started to focus on my fellow waiters. 

The whole room was full of sick people. There were sneezers, coughers and folks with bandages in the most interesting places. These guys had things that I didn’t want so I sat there trying not to breathe until I heard my name being called. 

I was ushered to a small cubicle where I was weighed — not a pleasant experience, especially for the scale. My blood pressure was taken and a thermometer stuck into my mouth, at which time I was asked a series of questions. I guess my mumbled answers were satisfactory because the nurse handed me a gown and told me to strip, put on the gown and wait for the doctor. 

As fascinating as some forms of nudity are, people my age don’t enjoy being naked. As I peeled off the layers, I noticed for the first time how cold the cubicle was; they probably used it as a meat locker during slack times. The gown didn’t help warm me since a very large portion of my anatomy was hanging out the gap in the back. 

I sat on the examination table — why don’t they have a flannel cover on those things instead of slick paper over the refrigerated faux leather upholstery? 

I sat there for another 15 or so minutes before the doctor appeared. He had a good time for five minutes or so, whacking, thumping, poking and looking into places I wouldn’t have offered viewing opportunities to voluntarily.

He said there were some tests he’d like to run. I was feeling testy by this time so I thanked him and left.

I went home and checked my medical kit. Aspirin for aches and pains, Ace bandages, which are good for all sorts of things and can even substitute for bungee cords in a pinch; a flannel bag of corn kernels that when heated in the microwave are good for joints that hurt; duct tape for re-attaching any appendage that needs re-attaching; Bag Balm, a left over from my farming days that helps me keep my youthful-looking complexion; a big bottle of Sloan’s Liniment; a bottle of castor oil; and in honor of my hero, Bob Beyfuss, a bottle of ginseng. 

All was in order. I don’t think I’ll be seeing the doctor again for a while.

Thought for the week — If Jimmy cracks corn and nobody cares, why is there a song about him?

Until next week, may you and yours be happy and well.

Reach columnist Dick Brooks at whittlingaway@yahoo.com.

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