The art of medical worry…

I have mentioned before that I am a skilled professional when it comes to worry. Let me give you a small sample of how well I can worry. If you saw the first of the new Star Trek movies (and I’m a big fan), Chris Pine as a young James T. Kirk, arrives at the induction center for Star Fleet on a motorcycle. A passing worker admires the bike and so “Kirk” tosses him the keys and says, “It’s yours.” Really nice, right? Well, I have been worrying for years since that came out: how in the world did that worker ever drive that motorcycle when he didn’t have the title to it? I mean, did he just store it in the garage and admire it or did he run the risk of being caught on a motorcycle with no clear title? These things worry me.

That being the case, it’s a sure bet that any type of medical exam can put my worrying meter into overdrive. Especially since medical personnel, whether they are for the body, the teeth or even the eyes, feel compelled to explain what they are about to do…in worrisome detail.

I was thinking about this during an eye exam this week. The young assistant held up a wicked-looking device that kind of resembled a pipe wrench and announced, “Now, I need you to hold open your eye as wide as you can so I can tap the eyeball with the machine.”

My first reaction to that announcement was to take off my glasses, squeeze my eyes shut as tight as I could and cover them with my hand! The term “tap the eyeball” is not a good one for a woman like me who doesn’t wear contacts because I can’t touch my eye to put them in. Although I tried to hold my eye open, my eyelid was quicker than their machine every time. So the doctor decided they would try it a different way. “Now, I’m going to use a light to measure that eye pressure,” he told me. “But I need to put in these eye drops. Please hold your eye wide open so I can drop them in.”DSCN3081

A dentist is nearly as bad. They want to check those teeth and the wider you can open your mouth, the better. “I’m going to tilt the chair up so I can work on the underside of that tooth,” he will announce. What he doesn’t realize is that I have a problem with being upside down. I’m holding on to the chair, hanging my head down, trying to remember to hold my mouth open while he is saying things like, “I’m just going to give this tooth you say is sore a little tap. Tell me when it hurts.” Would snapping my jaws shut on his fingers be enough of an indication, do you think?

And of course, both the dentist and the doctor are masters of the shot. “I’m just going to thrust this needle up your nose and give you a shot. There will be a little sting.” Having a baby was a “little sting” compared to a shot up the nose!

By far the worst physical exam for a worrier like me is the colonoscopy. What a great procedure. “In preparation for this procedure, we would like you to drink this vile-tasting laxative in about a gallon of Gatorade. This will ‘cleanse the colon.” You know what they mean by that? They mean that you will defecate so much and so violently in so short a time that it will eventually drain from you in a liquid form which is unstoppable and will cause you to live on the toilet.

Now, when you’re done “cleansing the colon,” that is when the fun really begins. “We are now going to take this tiny camera on a stick and shove it up the bottom to look inside your colon.” I’ve been through this procedure. As horrible as the camera sounds, I can tell you that the preoperative poop fest is actually worse. And of course, when it’s over, they want to show you photos of the inside of your colon. I have never been curious as to what that looks like!

So maybe when I think about it, the whole “tapping the eyeball” really doesn’t sound that bad. It’s certainly a lot less worrisome than a camera which goes where no camera has been before. And that reminds me,  I still can’t stop worrying about what that Star Fleet worker is doing with the bike for which he has no title. It’s a stressful world!

© Jackie Wells-Fauth and Drops In the Well, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Wells-Fauth and Drops In The Well with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


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