Getting Prostrate for the Prostate..Exam

Posted: Wednesday, April 30, 2008 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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Remember that robotic voice you’d hear when the National Weather Service would break-in radio or television programming to issue severe weather warnings?
No, I’m not talking about Jay Trobec.
This voice had..and maybe still does have.. an androgynous monotone not unlike the Conehead characters when they say, “we’re from France.”
Thanks to advances in technology, though, there’s now no mistaking what gender those fake voices are. And, while most people would rather talk to a real person, I don’t mind it when my voice mail lady asks for my pin number and wants to know if I’d care to listen to some more messages or if I’m through. She seems really nice.
My cousin, who travels during the week, absolutely loves the GPS system in his car. He cranks her up as loud as she’ll go finding comfort and company in hearing the lovely automated voice of a woman who really knows her way around.
He also admits his GPS lady is sort of like having his wife along constantly telling him where to go.
These computer voices are so realistic that I nearly got into an argument with one the other day…which eventually leads to an explanation for the title of this blog.
I take five pills a day and once a month those prescriptions need to be filled.
All I do is call up the imaginary pharmacy clerk at Lewis. He’s a very nice, sincere-sounding fake man who says “Welcome, you have reached the Lewis Drug automated prescription service..please enter your prescription number followed by the pound key.”
I proceed to follow a few other prompts from this soft-spoken gentleman, and before you can say “hey, aren’t these drugs cheaper at WalMart and HyVee? …my order is complete. He courteously tells me when I can pick up the pills then says “goodbye” like he really means it.
But then a couple weeks ago, my mechanized friend turned on me.
As I was reading off  one of my refill numbers, I’m pretty sure he cut me short and said.”Hey, Mr. Lund, you idiot, we can’t fill this..your prescription has expired.
Why can’t you just read the label before you call. Don’t you think I have better things to do than talk to lunkheads like you? You can stay on the line to talk to a real person if you want to. Good luck with that.”
And then with a “goodbye” that sounded about as sincere as a Las Vegas maître d’, he hung up on me.
Now, I’m stuck. There’s no way out of it. I have to call my doctor’s office to see if they’ll renew my prescriptions..which they won’t, of course, because I haven’t been to the doctor in a year and a half.
“We’ll set you up for a physical at 9a.m. on the 29th.   Okay Doug?” said Doctor Allen Funk’s nurse.
“ I guess..but I’m feeling fine.”   
“We’ll see on the 29th, then.” (she means that “literally.”)
I have nothing against doctors..except that at my stage of life I can be pretty sure they’re going to find various maladies and ailments  that go along with someone of such advanced age.
My appointment starts with the pretty young nurse having me stand on the scale. She has a good laugh when I ask to remove my heavy shoes as if that’s going to make a difference on the obesity chart.
Then, it’s off to the tiny exam room where she mercifully allows me to keep my shirt on while she checks my blood pressure. “144 over 88” she says.
Then I’m handed the lab results from the blood I gave last Saturday.
“Does that “H” by my glucose and cholesterol numbers mean what I think it means?” I asked.
“They’re a little high, she said.  Dr. Funk should be here in a few minutes to answer all your questions.
 In the meantime, you can disrobe and put on this checkered gown.”
Apparently the only sizes they had left in the drawer under the exam table were small. I looked ridiculous and was waiting for Allen Funk to pop-in telling me to smile I’m on Candid Camera.
No cameras but I’m pretty sure Dr. Funk had all he could do to keep from laughing when he saw me in that silly little outfit.
He proceeded to check me over from head to toe in positions so embarrassing that even I had to chuckle. But it got pretty quiet when I heard that rubber glove snap and I turned around to see him going for the petroleum jelly. 
“We gotta do it, Doug. It’s been three years since the last one.”
Finally, it was over and we had a chance to talk about my lab tests. There are a few concerns..especially about getting me to shed some pounds..but basically I’m as healthy as can be expected for someone in the freshman class of babyboomers. Best of all, my prostate is tiny and..much to my relief..the risk of it ever becoming a problem, is extremely low. He checked my blood pressure again after the procedure; it had dropped to 135 over 73. ”That’s pretty typical, he said smiling. “Most people’s BP gets a little elevated before that part of the exam.”
So, is my peace of mind worth all the stress of being prodded and probed and touched in all sorts of forbidden places?
Go get it done, guys.
By the way, I’m back on good terms with my mechanical phone friend at Lewis.
I knew he couldn’t stay mad at me.

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