I actually filmed my physical and posted some pics from it. You can find them in the images section. I titled it “Pics from my last annual physical.”
This year’s physical went a little differently. After I retired from the military ten years ago, my wife chose a new primary care practice for the both of us. Whether deliberate or not, she chose a practice where the doctor, the PA and the nurse practitioner were all female.
For this year’s annual physical, I was originally scheduled with the practice’s new female Nurse Practitioner, but the office made a change about three weeks before my appointment to the PA who gave me my physical last year. I was hopeful because she was the one who examined me in the lithotomy position last year.
So the morning arrived. I headed over to the office. The staff were doing a great job social distancing themselves and the patients. I signed in and was brought to an exam room immediately. A minute later a tech brought me the standard clipboard with the forms to fill out. I was then brought to the nurse’s station to have my vitals taken...then back to the exam room to wait.
After a 10 minute wait, the PA arrived. She pulled out the rolling stool, opened up her laptop, and proceeded to ask me the basic background questions. When it got to the point where she asked me if I had any questions, I brought up how last year she had performed my prostate exam while I was in the cross-legged lithotomy position.
She nodded her head, saying, “Yes, I remember. We can do that again.”
She also asked if I was seeing a dermatologist once a year. I answered that I decided to postpone that visit until after the pandemic cleared up. She agreed that was a good idea and added that she would do a quick skin inspection as part of my exam today.
With that, she took a cloth gown out as well as a thin paper sheet and placed both on the exam table, and said, “I’m going to step out of the room. Go ahead and get undressed, and put the gown on opening in the back. We usually have women put the opening in the front,” she added, “You can leave your underwear on for now, if you’re more comfortable doing that.”
She stepped out of the room and I proceeded to undress. I chose to get completely undressed. She was gone about five minutes, so I was in the gown, sitting on the table waiting for her, when she returned. This was only the third or fourth time that I was ever completely undressed for an annual physical.
The exam started with the normal parts. She listen to my heart and my lungs, and examined my eyes, ears, nose and mouth. She then gave me a pretty thorough skin examination. She started by opening the gown in the back and examining my back and, I guess, the top of my buttocks. She then moved around to the front of me lowered the gown to my groin area, exposing my chest my arms. I don’t think she actually examined my genitals for any skin abnormalities at that time.
She extended the table’s small pull out extension so I could lay flat on the exam table, and then examined my legs and my feet. After examining those things, she placed the stethoscope into her ears and listened to my stomach and bowel sounds.
The PA then had me sit back up and instructed me to scoot down towards the end of the exam table. I watched as she extended the stirrups, which made that awkward metal scraping sound that I’m convinced can be heard in the exam room next door. (Just curious ladies, are they loud at the practice you go to?)
She then instructed me to place my feet in the stirrups and scoot more towards the end of the table. As I placed my feet in the stirrups, she stowed away the table extension thus opening up the space between my legs. So, for the second time in my life, I found myself in an examination room, lying on my back, feet in the stirrups, with my penis, testicles, and anus on “display” for my doctor (PA).
This year was different though. She pulled up a rolling stool, and sat down between my feet. Next she pulled on a pair of black exam gloves.
“I need you to scoot a little more towards the end of the table.” I shifted my position until I felt her hand on my rear end.
She started to lube up the middle finger of her right hand, but then paused.
”I think I’ll start by examining your testicles.”
The only reply I could think of was, “Uh, ok.”
”Go ahead and relax you legs. Just let them fall outward,” she added.
With her left hand, she pushed my gown and the paper sheet up towards my stomach, exposing my genitals and anus. Then she started to roll each testicle between her fingers feeling for any lumps or abnormalities.
As she was examining me, she asked me a few routine questions.
”Do you give yourself regular self exams?”
”I try to remember to that while I’m showering,” I answered.
”Have you felt any tenderness or discomfort?”
”No, none at all.”
”Did you ever have a problem with an undescended testicle?”
”I don’t think so.”
I’m sure there were more questions, but I can’t remember at this time.
Last year I felt she used a little too much pressure, while examining me. Fortunately, this year, the pressure was more manageable, at least from my perspective. In the pics I posted, you can actually see her right middle finger is already lubed up for the DRE.
As she finished up the testicular cancer screening she said, “Okay, let’s have you cross your left leg over your right knee.”
This put me into the cross-legged lithotomy position. Then I felt her lubed middle finger touch my anus.
”Take a deep breath and bear down for me,” she instructed.
I tried to follow her instructions. I never think I am relaxed enough. But it didn’t seem to matter, her finger slid deep into me anyway. ? I was instantly reminded that she has quite large hands. I felt uncomfortably full. As her finger was sweeping over the surface of my prostate, she commented that everything felt fine.
She probably kept her finger inside of me for 20 seconds in total. Since I was flat on my back, all I could really do was stare at the ceiling. I wish she would have elevated the head of the table, so I could have observed what she was doing. Would it be odd to ask for a mirror next year?
She withdrew her finger and pulled the gown and paper sheet back over my genitals.
”You can take your feet out of the stirrups and sit back up.”
As I sat up, I could feel the lubricant sliding between my skin and the paper covering the exam table.
”Let’s have you stand up and bend over the table.”
Again I followed her instructions, turning myself between the still extended stirrups and the bending over the table, placing my chest flat against the paper covering.
”Just relax and bear down for me.”
As I did as she asked, and her middle finger slid into me again. Her finger quickly found its mark, and I felt that unusual sensation as her finger tip swept across my prostate. While she had her finger inside of me and was examining my prostate, she again commented that everything felt fine.
A minute later she withdrew her finger and told me that I could stand up. As I turned to face her,she placed a box of tissues on the exam table.
”Feel free to use some tissue to clean up the excess lubricant.”
We spoke for a few more minutes, before she left the room so I could get dressed.
After reading others’ comments, I realize how fortunate I am to have a PA who is open to trying new techniques.