Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Paper Placemat Gown

Two months after my thirtieth birthday I was reminded why I only travel outside of North America every thirty years. 

It isn't a fear of flying
or the thought of becoming homesick 
or even the staggering guilt from being away from the farm and out of the office for eight days. 

It's the paper placemat gown.

I visited our general practitioner a few weeks ago for my scheduled wellness visit. The nurse didn't laugh when I took off my coat, shoes, watch, FitBit and cardigan before stepping on the scales. She did, however, check her watch - which I've never before noticed her doing without putting a velcro sleeve on my arm? She must have been on a schedule that day or something. 

The gal directed me into a little white room with lights bright enough guide Ronnie Milsap. She proceeded to ask me approximately 82 questions in a matter of three minutes. 

Nurse: Back or neck aches?
Me: ....Yes. 
Nurse: Tell me about those.
Me: Well, I mean, they usually only occur when I've spent more than two hours with my brother, then comes this strange pain in my neck...

Later, I tried for some time to remember if it was gastritis or glaucoma that our family had a history of, but before I could call Momma for the answer the nurse decided to skip that question. 

Ten minutes later, Ms. Can't-Quit-Looking-At-Her-Watch closed her clipboard and left the room, though not before instructing me to put on the dreadful paper placemat in the front. 

Or was it open in the back?

Oh no. 
Before I could ask for clarification, the nurse was out the door.
I stood there in the bright room, alone and freezing. I threw a stack of National Geographic magazines over the register blowing cold air. If I have to take off my clothes and dress myself in nothing but a paper placemat, there was no room for a draft. 

I looked at the the shoddy pile of tissue paper sitting on the examination table. This moment - this simple decision of direction - could completely change any familiarity and comfort I've acquired with our practitioner.
Open in the front or open in the back?
Either way, ol' boy is going to see more than either of us would like. 

"Deep out. And deep breath again," Doc asked of me. 
By the time I did what he wanted, he was on to the next ask. 
Dude, is this a doctor's appointment or lung strengthening for deep sea diving?, I thought to myself. 

"Looks good. 
Sounds good. 
You get that from your father's side. 
No change there. 
Ideal blood pressure.

According to Doc's vocal play-by-play, the check-up was going exactly as we both planned.

Until I spiced things up by surprising him with a list of questions regarding travel to Argentina and a laundry list of vaccinations and medicines I'll need for the voyage. 

Doc is my favorite kind of man: Smart and Patient. 

He asked a few questions, then the nurse got out her pen and highlighter. 

He spoke so quickly and in a language I don't know. Here is my recollection:

She'll need a Photo-Tony-Romo-Benghazi-Stripizoid in the next month. Oral. 
Follow that up with an ingestible Benzoid-Astro-Instagram-Drug-Czar-Typhoid-Anti-Hysti-Shine-Mine-Yours-Ours
Taken twice daily following her arrival in Argentina. 
Don't take that with milk - She'll regret it. 
Now, when she gets back...that's a whole other deal. 
Let's look into a Herbo-Phobo-Robo-Cop-Azoid, every other day, also skipping days that contain a "T" in the spelling. 
We'll wrap things up with an Ammo-Camo-Glammo-Trifecta-Othro-Moto-Oxtail. Hold the tail.
Yeah, that's it. 

I looked at the nurse.
Geezo preezo I hope she is getting all of this. I lost him at Tony Romo, I thought to myself. 
Then Doc woke me from my daze.

Doc: Have you been you Africa?
Me: Yes. 
Doc: When?
Me: Two weeks ago, I went there to study the stripes on a zebra. Granted, it was a dream/nightmare  but I did wake up and remember to use the filtered water out of the Brita pitcher to make Cody's coffee. 
Doc shook his head the same way Cody did when I used the Rural King advertisement for kindling last February. 

He then gave me a plethora of great traveling advice, a few medical advisories and even asked about our cattle. There is something peaceful about a physician who closes the visit by asking about our herd, and by also talking about his hay situation moving into winter. Doc gets us.  

He shook my hand and offered one more nugget of advice: Remember: Don't drink the water. (Dually noted)

As I write this, I realize that my appointment with Doc was the easy one as I prepare to cross timezones. 

Next: Vaccinations at an Undisclosed Health Department.

To be continued...
Assuming I follow protocol for the 

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