Friday 02 Dec 2016

Bend Over, Cough
Jennifer Flaten

Nothing says, “You’re Old,” like your annual physical. In my case, it’s my once in a decade physical.

Yes, I skipped a few annual appointments. Okay, maybe more than a few, but with good reason after having three children, two of them twins, in three years, I felt I’d had enough probing to last a lifetime.

I loathe going to a physician. All the sick people sitting in the waiting room. Oh, you know it’s true, you go in for a flu shot, feeling fine and you come out with typhoid.

Didn’t matter what I thought. My odometer was turning 40. I was due for a tune up.

Trust me this was not my idea. It is a requirement of my health insurance. Perhaps, they don’t believe that a cupcake a day keeps the doctor away.

Still, I would see if I needed to make any changes like maybe vanilla cupcakes instead of chocolate. Not that it would do any good. I am out of warranty and all parts are no longer in stock.

I spun the health insurance roulette wheel and came up with a physician in my neighborhood. After answering more questions than what’s need to get level 8 security clearance, I had an appointment. Of course, the appointment was over a month away, if I did have some fatal disease I would be dead by the time the appointment came.

On appointment day, I filled out a massive health questionnaire peppered with some rather personal questions. Rally, there are some items are on a need to know basis and a physician doesn’t need to know. For example, what is my hat size?

I languished in the waiting room for the required amount of time, which is long enough to make you wonder if they forgot you but, not long enough to actually petrify in the chair. Finally, I moved from the waiting room to the exam room. Yah, progress; I might be done in time to vote in the November elections.

Now it was test time. I aced all the easy tests, temperature, reflex and blood pressure. I even managed to remain upright after the technician removed enough blood to support the whole cast of “Twilight.”

Both the nurse, during preliminary tests, and the physician asked if I’d had a mammogram or a colonoscopy, lately. Why, did I look like I needed either one? Oh, no I am just at the right age where I need to have both done.

Before you could say “up sell,” the nurse scheduled me for a mammogram. As I’m a procrastinator, I did say I would “do it later.” Technically, never is later; apparently, everyone says that and doesn’t mean it, just like me, so they schedule it right there before you even leave the office.

Well, that seals the deal. I am officially old. When they start encouraging you to do other tests, intrusive painful tests, then you know you are old.

I am not against either test, they both serve a purpose, but let us face it; the physician isn’t offering the colonoscopy to the 21 year old.

No, the 21 year old or anyone under 40 gets a pat on the back. He or she hears it's best to keep up the good work, even if all their daily nutrients come from beer. The rest of us, who are “just the right age,” get additional, read profitable, testing.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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