A Real Doc for a Real Adult
By the time I was in my late 20s, I was settling down, married, and in the real world of working adults. Since I hoped that would be the case for a good long while, I decided it was time to develop an on-going relationship with a primary care physician. So I did my homework, and chose one, whom I’ll just call Dr. C.
I telephoned Dr. C’s office to schedule the appointment. The receptionist gave me an appointment for me to come to the office to fill out the pre-exam forms, provide insurance information, and have blood drawn and a urine test. That was in the days when doctors’ offices obtained the blood and urine specimens, and patients didn’t have to go to a separate lab. My actual doctor’s appointment was scheduled for one week after the preliminary appointment.
I arrived for my preliminary appointment. Dr. C’s was a solo practice but in a large medical office. I later learned that he previously had two partners, one of whom had recently retired and I don’t know about the other one. Dr. C kept the large office. The paperwork in this preliminary appointment was easy and routine. The medical assistant brought me to the restroom for my urine specimen and to another room to have my blood drawn. Oddly, this room had a proctology table in it. She told me to sit on the table, and she drew my blood from my arm. I had the impression that the practice no longer used the proctology table for that type of examination because there was no equipment of that sort in the room other than the table. Besides, by then (mid-1980s), flexible fiber optics for diagnostic procedures were becoming common. These were done by specialists and so primary care physicians were no longer doing proctoscopic examinations. So the proctology table was nothing more than a convenient piece of furniture for patients to sit on while having blood drawn.
The following week, I met with Dr. C for my examination. The office was punctual. The medical assistant brought me to the examination room and recorded my height, weight, and blood pressure. She told me to take off all my clothes except my underpants and Dr. C would be in soon.
He entered the room just a few minutes later and proceeded with the medical interview and examination which were much like I’ve described for my other examinations. When the time came for the examination of the “private parts”, while I was lying on the table, he told me to lower my underpants down to my knees. He watched me do this, so I think the genital examination was strictly visual. He didn’t touch my genitals or my inguinal region. He told me to roll over on my left side with my knees drawn up. I remember the sensation of his very large index finger penetrating my anus. I knew he had large hands from when I shook his hand on first meeting him. The sensation was pleasurable. Medically, the rectal exam was unremarkable in that it was during that period of my adult life when my hemorrhoids and other anal-rectal issues were not much bothering me.
With the exam complete, we discussed my chief complaint which was my allergies, and these had recently become much worse. He recommended desensitization treatments by an allergist. I subsequently did so, with good results. He also told me my blood pressure was borderline for someone my age and that it was just a matter of time until I needed blood pressure meds. For that reason, he recommended another examination a year later.
In fact, I had physicals by Dr. C each of the next two years, which were pretty much the same as the first. But a peculiar thing happened in the third. Evidently his regular medical assistant had called in sick that day, and so Dr. C had a “temp” from an agency come in to work that day. The temp took me back to the examining room and proceeded to make small talk with me. She was a woman about my age. She told me that her daughter’s school play was that night and I was welcome to join her to attend it. She told me her first and last name and that her phone number was in the telephone book. A medical assistant flirting with me! I was flattered and didn’t outright tell her no.
Later, after Dr. C’s exam was complete, I sat up and then stood on the floor to get my underpants back up. I noticed that, when I sat up, some lube stained with fecal matter had soiled the paper on the examining table. It was a bit disgusting. After getting my clothes back on, I walked out of the examining room as the medical assistant walked in to clean the room. She said, “good meeting you”, and it occurred to me that her last encounter with me would be to clean that soilage I had left on the examining table. My wife laughed when I told her that story.
We soon moved to a different locale, and so I never went back to Dr. C after that third physical. I later learned that he died at a young age of MS. After moving, I didn’t look for a new primary care physician for another six years. But the one I found was a good one! She was my doctor for 25 years, and I’ve described my physicals with her elsewhere on Zity. Despite my lapse with primary care physicians, that doesn’t mean I went for all that time without other physician encounters. Future blogs will be about that.