Preened, primed and fully prepared, Grumpy leaves the house fully confident that he is ready for his date with Doctor Paul. He has allowed extra time to be sure that he is not tardy and late for the dreaded examination. Clutching a water bottle in his right hand (The pee on demand test), he dials the radio to ambient music of the relaxing kind. He hopes to subdue his blood pressure into a state akin to suspended animation.
The “a-hole” who pulls out from a side road causes him to brake heavily but does not cause Grumps to enact a road rage induced outburst. Nay! Nay! Grumpy is in a good place; his ying is in tune with his yang, each breath is exhaled slowly and his mind is clear of all negative thought. He is the master of his destiny.
Upon arrival at the clinic, he easily slips into a parking place mere steps from the entrance. He lucks in and finds the waiting room empty. His final meditation will begin unencumbered by the coughing and wheezing of flu bound allergic, congested sickos. Sitting perfectly still, eyes closed, he meditates quietly, confident that his blood pressure will read a perfect 120 over 80 and he will be one with the universe.
“Mr. Grumpy”, the PA crackles loudly.
“Shit”, he moans.
In a nanosecond, his pulse quickens, his sweat glands go into overdrive and all of the relaxation techniques in the world won’t stop the thumping in his chest. The Chamber of Horrors awaits him.
Grumpy is greeted at the reception desk by a pretty blond nurse who not only appears to be sixteen years old but also stands about four foot nothing. Her short and stocky patient feels as if he is as tall as an NBA post player.
“Step on the scale”, the nurse says in her Mickey-like voice. Grumpy ponders why all the young women he encounters appear childlike. It couldn’t be HIS advanced age, could it?
The cooperative patient pauses to remove his keys, cell phone and loose change from his pants lest these items add tonnage that would make a difference between approved weight and obesity.
The adolescent nurse declares, “One hundred and ninety four pounds”, such that all in earshot will have their suspicions confirmed. The dude standing on the scales is either a smurf or a Hobbit.
Handing him a paper cup and smiling demurely, she adds, “I’ll need you to fill this!”
Grumpy resists the temptation to respond with “Here?” or “With what?” as he slinks to the washroom cubby. He realizes that he has lost all control over the situation. This IS his Guantanamo.
After downing a full water bottle Grumpy is not surprised when his “stream” nearly jets the cup from his hand. Having to stop a “tinkle” before his cup runneth over, is no mean feat. Those Kegel exercises finally pay off, albeit for an entirely different purpose.
A bold sign before him declares. WASH YOUR HANDS. Well, I guess so, he thinks. A full body rain suit and a shower stall would have provided better protection and a more pristine sample.
Grumpy carries the cup as if it is a chalice of fine wine, bows and places the sample on the reception counter as other patrons back away in disgust.
“Please wait here a moment,” Blondie says. “I have to clean up the examination room!”
Images of blood spattered walls, dripping lubricant and soiled latex gloves dance in Grumpy’s head. He decides that if he hears moans or chortled screams coming from any of the closed doors he’ll bolt like a spooked deer. A great sweat tsunami spreads out from each armpitcausing Grumps to regret that he chose a dark colored golf shirt for this encounter.
Seconds later, the ever-smiling nurse beckons with her finger. “Follow me, Mr. Grumpy. Everything is ready!”
With robot efficiency Grumpy ambles down the hall, the bright light from the open door drawing him forward with magnetic force. He’s been placed in the Pediatric examination room, whose walls are plastered with Disney graphics. In keeping with the environment, Grumpy slinks into the smallish chair like a reprimanded five year old.
Cutesy nurse, who appears to be enjoying her moment of complete domination whips out a blood pressure cuff, smiles, and waits for an extended arm. Fully submissive, the patient readily complies.
Grumpy could never understand why the good Doctor required these young maidens to take the initial pressure reading. It was obvious to him that the presence of these fantasy makers added a minimum of ten points to the reading.
“Good”, she whispers. “120 over 80!”
Disappointed somewhat, Grumpy wonders if this is the Doc’s secret test for potential Viagra candidates. No matter, the blood pressure is good and that was the point of all of his preparations and meditations. The first hurdle has been passed.
“When I leave the room you should strip to your shorts.” she says, “Sit on the edge of the examination table and place this towel across your lap.”
There is something ritualistic to these words. Her rote dissertation has Grumpy remembering that there are other hurdles to jump. And, of course, there is the high jump that comes in the end. (No pun intended.)
As Grumpy reaches for his belt buckle, little Miss Happy, gives him her most flirtatious smile. “Doctor Paul will be with you in a minute.” she coos.
In the intervening minutes, Grumpy feels that maybe all of this isn’t as bad as a strip search at some remote border crossing or a spot check in some banana republic. “Senor, please drop your pants!”
Well, maybe so?
As he sits quietly on the edge of the table, feeling slightly chilled, his eyes are drawn to the neat row of paraphernalia the good nurse has prepared for Doctor Paul.
1. A rectangular pad with a large glob of lubricant glistening like crystal in the fluorescent lights.
2. Two blue latex gloves laying side by each like two severed hands, and,
3. A roll of paper towels of the type you might buy at Dollarama.
Grumpy takes a deep breath because there is be no turning back – except in the literal sense. He is fully prepared for this inquisition. Hell, without it, he can’t renew any of his meds and it is those little pills that keep him ticking.
The rumble in his belly from the coffee he drank reminds him of the effect of this liquid in terms of his morning routine. The words, “Coffee goes right through me!” flashes in his mind like a great neon window sign. Images of digitally induced explosions barely blunt the throbbing in his head. Could things get any worse?
A slight knock on the door and the words, “Are you decent?” gob smack our Grumpy back to the reality of his situation. If grown men were to cry, this surely would be the perfect moment.