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By Staff | Feb 18, 2011

The time was at hand. There was no more putting it off. No more begging, no more pleading for additional time. The sentence had been pronounced; no pardon could save me now.

Determined to make the best of this dreadful day, I showered and donned comfortable clothing.

Some would dress to the nines for this occasion, but I didn’t want to give them the satisfaction.

Arriving at the dreary facility, I was instructed to sit in an anteroom to await my turn. A small cadre of the condemned were already there.

We tarried grimly in cold silence, exchanging furtive glances, wondering who would be called next, which of us would leave this room and be seen nevermore.

A bolt shot through me when my name suddenly boomed out. I got up and quietly followed the warden, striving to preserve my dignity. Some might kick and scream, but not me.

I was taken into a small chamber and instructed to sit. It was conveyed that I shouldn’t worry, that it would be over quickly.

Alone for a few minutes, I scanned the small chamber. A menacing sphygmomanometer was mounted on a wall, and I knew that the industrial-looking cabinets concealed keen instruments that would soon be brought to bear.

Perhaps most disconcerting was the stainless steel table where so many others had lain. Imagining the number of “procedures” that had taken place on that very table elicited an involuntary shudder.

A man entered the chamber and took a seat beside me. In his hand was a thick folder: my dossier, my catalog of crimes.

After glancing through my file for a few quiet moments, the man murmured, “It’s been a while since you’ve had a checkup, hasn’t it?”

“I know, doc,” I replied. “It’s just that well, this isn’t exactly my favorite sort of thing to do.”

Doctors and I have had a rocky relationship from the start. Almost as soon as I was born they began to torture me with their pointy needles, administering their vaccinations and antibiotics.

Other needles were used to extract some of my precious corpuscles for their so-called tests.

I don’t even want to talk about my first surgical procedure except to testify that its aftermath left me unable to walk for nearly a year.

This initial contact with doctors cemented a pattern that would repeat itself over and over during my childhood. Every time I visited the doctor’s office, it was vaccinate this, stitch up that, quit picking on it or it won’t heal.

Verily, this same pattern has continued for the past two score and 10 years.

For example, a few months ago I was afflicted with a urinary tract infection. It was only with utmost reluctance that I paid a visit to my doctor’s office.

I was swiftly and humanely prescribed a powerful antibiotic. And since he had me captive, my doctor impressed upon me that it had been a long time since my last honest-to-goodness checkup and that I should make an appointment.

I wanted to say, “Just gimme the darn drugs!” Instead, I meekly complied. The fever that was raging through my body bears much of the blame for this blunder.

My trepidation grew as the date for my checkup neared. I knew that the news could only be bad.

This is because my health sins have been numerous. Too much fast food and not enough fast motion. How often have I vegged out in front of the TV while forgetting to eat my vegetables?

These and countless other transgressions would soon be brought to light via blood tests. My own bodily fluids were being forced to snitch on me!

My cholesterol would be checked, my blood sugar scrutinized. Blood pressure assessed, weight appraised.

Lord knows what else would be evaluated. PSA, PSI, back fat, butterfat, patty-whack? Medical ignorance is the price one pays for avoiding doctors.

Seated beside me in the exam room, my physician examined the rows of numbers on his printout. He explained what the numbers meant, but most of it was Greek to me. Bracing myself, I asked him to simply give me the bottom line.

“Everything is looking pretty good,” he said. “Keep on doing whatever you’re doing.”

Wow! I have the best doctor in the world! He’s kind and understanding and best of all, non-judgmental! I could have kissed him except for we don’t really know each other all that well – extremely intimate examinations notwithstanding.

I was about to leave – Scot-free and a redeemed man! – when the good doctor took a last look at my chart. It seemed there was one tiny detail that needed attention ere I could leave.

Yup. A tetanus booster.

Nelson is a freelance writer from Volga, S.D. Reach him by e-mail at jjpcnels@itctel.com.

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