Let’s Get A Physical

When you have a bad day, bills pile up, lose your job, step in a puddle, wreck your car, break up with your boyfriend, drop your ice cream cone, etc — People cheer you up by suggesting, “well… at least you have your health.” Ain’t it the truth? Sometimes we forget, but then we get the flu, or food poisoning, or whooping cough. It’s little life reminders that ill health can clothesline you into bed on a moment’s notice. Doctors are generally good humored, but if there’s anything to take seriously in this world, it’s your health.

After learning heart disease is in my genetic chain, I got my first physical in several years (I’m an overachieving procrastinator). Preventative medicine certainly goes beyond eating healthy and exercise. Besides obtaining a license to eat bacon, I wasn’t expecting much from my yearly physical. Oh, but I got so much more.

My doctor was a wee little Asian girl. I say girl, because I think I’m getting to the age where anyone under 40 looks like a child, even myself. She was perfectly wonderful, nice, understanding of my concerns, and very giggly. I so do appreciate when strangers laugh at my jokes. She asked if a medical student could come in to do the physical with her. Sure, more people who know how to listen to my lungs the better.

They listened to my lungs, astonished at my slow and full yoga breathing. Pranayama anyone? In other news, I have textbook ear canals — control your jealousy. They both tapped my belly to count my organs, although it sounded hollow. Then I received a very thorough breast exam. “So much attention,” I joked. The two young doctor girls giggled nervously. I guess no matter what your occupation boobs are boobs, and grabbing someone else’s is always a little weird at first.

Then she asked me about immunizations. I thought not having a tetanus shot in the last 10 years was a good thing. “I’m not clumsy ,” I boasted. “Is it okay if you get a booster today?”

So I hung out with the nurse after the doctor and medical student left. I had more of a heart to heart with her, as you do with a nurse. She took blood tests, expert with the needle, wrapped me up with a purple bandage. Totally my color. Time for shots. I was half hoping she’d forget. I don’t care how old you are, no one likes getting a shot.

She prefaced the tetanus booster with the warning, “Your arm might be sore for three to five days.” Three to five DAYS! What?! That seems a little long. She must have been sticking some straight up wusses. I think I can handle a little shot. I’m a big girl. Bring it on.

When I came home, I shrugged off my husbands warning that I wouldn’t be able to lift my arm the next day. “Cancel your classes,” he said speaking from an experience of falling off his bike and splitting his hand open. I casually disregarded my best friend’s council, “Your arm will be completely out of commission.” Sure, when she fell in an outdoor water feature, I bet it hurt. I’m pretty tough though.

Then it hit me. Holy moly. This shit hurts. I couldn’t lift my arm. At all. The next day at work clients sympathized, “Yeah, it’s like getting punched in the arm.” Um…I don’t know how many fights you’ve been in, but I don’t think this is the type of pain could be caused by blunt force from another fist. It’s more like I fell down three flights of stairs on my shoulder, then had my arm ripped off by a zombie.

I spent three days like this. But now I can walk barefoot on a bed of rusty nails whenever I fancy.

So when your doctor casually asks you if your up to grab a tetanus booster today, say NO. You have a tennis championship later. Then yodel your way out of there so she’s distracted.

But do get your physical every year.

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