I checked in with the receptionist of my family doctor and took a seat in the waiting room while I started filling out the paperwork. The nurse quickly came and took me back, telling me to place my paperwork and coat in the exam room while she weighed me in the hallway next to the reception desk/ nurses station. The exam room was in a corner of the building, right between the reception desk/ nurses station and another exam room used by the office NP. The doctors actual office was kind of behind the reception desk and also shared a wall with the exam room. After weighing me the nurse told me to have a seat in the exam room while she wheeled in the BP cuff that was on a little rolling stand. She took my BP and blood oxidation level. She then asked about medications I'm taking and a few other questions about miscellaneous things. She asked if I was there for a physical and I answered, "I'm not sure." I just switched to this doctor and he recommends doing a "complete consultation" with all new patients. This was my first time to see him, so I didn't know if that meant he would examine me, just a meet and greet, or what exactly. I now believe that when I said "I'm not sure" that the nurse (and doctor) thought I was just reluctant to have an actual physical exam. So the nurse says, "I'll just leave you in those clothes then. Besides, nobody wants to meet the doctor naked." With that she rolls the BP cuff out and tells me to finish up the paperwork and the doctor will be in soon.
While sitting in the exam room filling out the papers, I could easily tell that the walls there were paper thin. I could clearly hear the entire conversation of the patient and NP in the room next to mine as well as hear the conversation that the receptionist and nurse were having just outside the door. I could hear word for word everything said by everybody. That means that they will all hear the doctor and me, scary thought. After finishing the paperwork and returning it to the receptionist, I have a seat back in the exam room. Within a minute, the doctor knocks and enters the room greeting me. He sits down and we talk while he also asks me questions and discuss different things both personally and medically. It was a pretty good conversation/ interview that lasted probably 35-40 minutes. During this time he mentions multiple times that he's a minimalist and only does tests and exams that he thinks are necessary. I agreed with that. We start getting to the end of the conversation and it's apparent he's not 100% sure how to proceed. He keeps telling me how important annual physicals are and how he doesn't "put anybody through the wringer", and it's kind of like he's trying to talk me into one. He then just basically asks if it's ok if he gives me a physical. Sensing my trepidation he says, "I promise not to put you through the wringer." I agreed and climbed up on the exam table. Just for the record, I never disagreed or said that I didn't want a physical, they just assumed that's what I meant when I answered "I'm not sure."
I find going to the doctor a very stressful and high anxiety experience. Dropping my pants and intimate exams strike terror in me and are very embarrassing and intimidating. However, that's also part of the thrill for me. Remembering back to those experiences and emotions later on are what I love. I must admit though that hearing him say that he doesn't do tests unless they're necessary and that he "won't put me through the wringer" did put my mind at ease quite a bit. Not to mention that I'm still completely dressed.
He starts off looking in my ears and briefly my nose. He then grabs a tongue depressor from the counter and has me stick out my tongue and checks my throat and all around my mouth. He feels around my face and neck down to my shoulders, all while asking questions and making comments every now and then. He grabs his stethoscope and goes around to my back, having me take deep breaths and then shallow breaths. He comes around to my front and says he's going to listen to my heart and asks me to lean forward slightly. He puts away his stethoscope and pulls out the table extension while he asks me to lie down. He checks my knees and legs a bit before moving to my feet. He feels my ankles some and moves my feet around before moving up to my abdomen. He feels my stomach some, then lifts my shirt up to the top of my belly before pressing around some more. He comments about the scar from my appendix surgery and about my moles, of which I have plenty. He really pressed hard a few places, then put his hands flat on my stomach all around my belly button, pushed down hard and tried to spread it apart, peering down into it. All while asking about pain and discomfort. He then continues saying something about my moles while he pulls up my shirt one section at a time looking. First one side, then the other, back and forth until my shirt is a little above my nipples. Then suddenly he says I can sit up and pushes in the table extension. I'm thinking, well this is the moment of truth. After the abdominal exam is always when they have you stand up for the hernia exam. Let's see if I have to endure that. He comes around to the other side of the table and lifts up the back of my shirt, commenting about some of my scars from having moles biopsied in the past. Then has me tuck my chin down to my chest and checks my spine. Phew, I don't have to drop my pants. I pull my shirt back down and cover up my belly. He goes over to the counter and grabs his rubber hammer, pushes in the step stool at the bottom of the table, and checks my reflexes in my knees and ankles. As he is returning the hammer to the counter, I think we're done and start to position my feet on the step stool to go back over to the chair I was in earlier.
That's when he said, "OK, I need to do a hernia evaluation on you." Uhhhhh, what?!? Wasn't expecting that. Not after everything he said earlier. That's when instantly I could feel my stomach drop to my ankles and my head started spinning. I start stalling, twisting my feet on the step stool to stand up on the stool. "Just come all the way down to the floor and stand right over here, looking in this direction." , as he's pointing to the floor and which direction to look. It's a pretty small room and he wanted me to stand a few feet from the end of the table, next to the door of the room at an angle. So if anybody opened the door, neither one of us would have gotten hit by it and the person entering would have a nice side view of me getting examined. I walk over and stand where I'm told and unfasten my jeans. He walks over, grabs some gloves and the chair and brings them over. It took a little while for him to get his things, so I'm standing there dumbstruck holding my pants up, waiting for him. Once he has a seat in front of me and starts putting on his gloves I reluctantly lower my pants and underwear down to mid thighs. I must admit, for me personally, it's quite the feat to overcome the fear that's almost paralyzing and actually pull my pants down and finally expose myself. I know, I'm a baby. That moment when I am standing there totally exposed and the doctor is sitting just feet in front of me putting on the gloves, completely focused on my genitalia is probably the worst / best. He asks if I do self testicular exams, and I honestly answer not very often. He starts talking about the importance of such exams, and asking about pain or if there are any issues I'm having when he starts his exam. He very gently presses just above my penis and all around my scrotum. I look up, not wanting to see any more for fear of getting an erection and completely loosing all shred of dignity. I feel him manipulating my penis and gently palpate my testicles. After what felt like an hour and a half of that, he says, "OK, look this way and give me a good cough. Look that way and cough." Just before my first cough is when I start thinking about just how much you can hear through these walls. That's when I'm imagining the nurse and receptionist sitting out there listening to all the words and instructions the doctor is giving me and picturing me standing right inside the door, pants lowered, doctors hands all over my genitals, and me coughing nice and lough. Me standing here enduring all the humiliation. The doctor says, "Alright," and stands and walks away. "OK," I think, "I survived that ordeal," and pull up my pants.
I'm just tucking in my penis when the doctor looks at me and says, "I'm going to go ahead and check your prostate while we're at it." Uhhhh, stomach drop and head spinning all over again. As the doctor gets to the end of the table, he leans over it demonstrating what exactly he wants me to do. "The easiest way to do this is just for you to lean over onto your elbows, feet apart a bit, and point your toes inward a little." As soon as he said this I immediately think of one of the threads on this website. Ha, ha! He moves out of the way and I walk the 3 feet over to the end of the table that felt like walking the green mile in the Tom Hanks movie. I pull my pants back down to my knees, lean over the table, and await my fate. It felt like I was in this position waiting for forever. I'm sure it wasn't, but I've never felt that on display and vulnerable. I feel the doctor spreading my cheeks and crack looking for awhile. Then I hear the doctor reach for the lubricant and the click of the lid. He says, "This might feel ..." And couldn't hear what he said at the end of the sentence. That's a detail I really wish I had, but oh well. Then suddenly his finger was inside me. There were no further instructions or words of encouragement, just in. It didn't hurt. It didn't feel good. Just... weird. Maybe a bit full. I could feel his knuckles up against me in my butt crack. I remember looking down at my feet at this moment and noticing that I didn't do anything he told me to do with them. They weren't that far apart and I didn't point my toes inward. Oops. It was also at this moment when I thought to myself, "You little shit. You said you weren't going to put me through the wringer. Your definition of 'wringer' and mine are totally different. I'm pretty sure that THIS defines 'wringer'." I was also picturing the nurse and receptionist outside the door, picturing me inside, bent over, and a finger up my bum. I didn't feel him rotate or move his finger in anyway. It was only up there for a couple of seconds then i felt him pull it out. When I saw him walk past me I slowly stood up and hesitated for a brief moment, waiting to see if he handed me any tissues to clean myself up with. He didn't, so I slowly pulled my pants up. We both stood talking for a minute, mostly because I was afraid to sit down and squish all the lube that was in my butt crack.
Eventually we both sat down and talked for another 5-10 minutes, him saying that I've reached the age that I need to plan on having a physical every year. He left and sent the nurse in a few minutes later with a flu shot and prescription for lab work. It was hard looking her in the eyes, knowing that she just heard everything that I just went through. Now I'm curious what next year might bring. When the nurse asks me if I'm there for a physical and I say yes, will she tell me to undress? To what extent, what will I be wearing for the exam? Will the doctor examine the same things during the physical? It's possible he only does genital or prostate exams every 2, 3, or 5 years. I'm under 50 and my psa was very low, so I may not have to do that for awhile... ??? That's why the anticipation is one of the best parts! I guess I've got a year to think about it...