At 2:30 I bend over so the urologist could shove two fat-knuckled fingers up my ass to feel up my prostate gland.
Why two fingers?
“As a precaution, I encourage my patients to get a second opinion,” he explains. “And this way I get to bill your insurance company twice.”
What insurance company?
What? Now? Here? Or am I supposed to ask How high?
“It’s amazing that any medical professional keeps you on as a patient,” Guido tells me as we head for the car. “And why are you walking funny?
Two reasons. Remember?
So we’re out of there are about 3:30 and we have an hour to kill before my NEXT medical adventure, the one where a dermatologist stabs me with a needle a few times before carving out a diamond-shaped chunk of cancerous epidermis from my shin. The obvious thing to do is grab a quick beer and maybe some chicken wings at Shenanigans. We do this at the bar — one of us prefers to stand.
Two lovely cold Grolsch draughts later, sitting in the refrigerated exam room, leg prepped for invasion, naturally I need to pee. Guido thinks this is a singularly bad idea, but she’s not the one who just had his beer-soaked prostate gland massaged by a frustrated lumberjack. So I steal out the door and go limping down the hallway where a medical factotum intervenes.
“We don’t have one,” she says, straight-faced. “Only ladies.”
Damn. Do I need to sit down?
“You’ll be sorry if you don’t,” she warns me, “in ways you can’t imagine.”
Maybe I don’t have to pee after all. Oh what the hell. I’m already sorry. But I’m careful not to splash on my shin.
The surgeon asks me if I’m allergic to anything. “Hard work,” says Guido.
“That’s evident,” he says, eyeing my state of dishevelment. “But I meant medication. Like penicillin. It’s important to know this up front in case of infection or if I accidently cut off your leg from the knee down.” He emits a Peter Lorre-like giggle.
That chilled the room even further but for some reason I start sweating.
“You are aware,” he asks, observing the remnants of my suntan (the weather has been uncooperative for weeks, it seems) “that the reason for this damage to your skin is exposure to the sun?”
Well, I’ve heard that. But I’ve also heard about evolution and global warming. Amazing how gullible people can be, innit?
He gazes at me thoughtfully. “If you’re not concerned about sun damage to your skin, there’s no need to worry about climate change,” he tells me. “You’ll be long gone.” He smiles encouragingly.
While he gets to work I send my consciousness off to the cosmos somewhere because this whole process — and in fact, any experience where my body encounters tools and devices wielded for reasons other than sexual gratification — inspires my fight or flight instincts, and the best way to avoid a truly unpleasant scene is to get myself mentally elsewhere. Guido and several dozen persons from the medical profession know this from experience.
Guido, on the other hand, is fascinated by the efficient tools, deft movement, and overall science of surgical intervention. When it’s somebody else, of course.
The procedure lasts about 45 minutes. Draw, cut, excavate, stitch, bandage. Guido tells me later in response to her questions Dr. Lorre very patiently explained his every move. I’m not around to hear any of this, of course. I have just one question: Can I exhale now?
We leave so the medical assistant can wash down the blood from the walls and ceiling. Not even 6:00 and dark already. Traffic is heavy (Guido’s driving). My leg doesn’t hurt yet, but my ass is still tender. And sweet. I’m told. Not.
It’s a Jack Daniels kind of night. Neat, no ice.
See? I told you Thursdays could be fun.