During my annual checkup, my primary care doctor asked if I have experienced any difficulties. I said, “Lately, I find myself dropping things out of my hand. Becoming alarmed he asked, “How long has this been going on?”
“Oh, it’s a recent development, but the interesting part is that I can sometimes catch the object in the air before it hits the ground.”
“Okay, but just to be safe, I’m ordering a brain scan to rule out any neurological issues. I’ll make an appointment at the hospital’s imaging department for you.”
Arriving at the hospital at the appointed time, I gave the receptionist my name. She asked, “What is your birth date?”
I said, “5-18-40.” Seeing the startled look on her face I said, “No, not 1840, 18 – 40.” She seemed relieved.
Not knowing exactly what kind of scan I was getting, I simply stated, “I’m here to get my head examined.”
She said, “Oh, you want Mental Health. They’re in the building next door.”
“No, no. Are you suggesting I’m out of my mind? I’m here for a scan of my brain to learn why it’s superior to those of people who sit behind desks and ask stupid questions all day.”
I am second-generation Italian and all of my grandparents were born in Italy. Given that heritage, you would expect me to have that wonderful olive complexion. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. My skin is as white as my sweat socks.
Growing up in Brooklyn in the forties and fifties, we didn’t have sunblock. I played all sports outdoors without any skin protection. But when I went swimming at the neighborhood pool, my mother slathered my body with a mixture of iodine and Mazola Oil. The iodine stained my skin so there was no way of knowing if it was tanning. And the oil allowed my skin to fry at a high temperature without it smoking.
This inconsistent and unscientific regimen resulted in me being damaged goods. In high school, the kids referred to me as the wop with fly shit all over his body. And now as an adult, my body grows every conceivable skin disorder, including keratoses, moles, tags, lentigines, keloids, and more.
My dermatologist has frozen up to 30 of these bumps in one visit. But then they came up with the Blue Light Treatment. In this process, they apply a cream to your skin and let it percolate for 45 minutes, and then they shine an ultra-violet light on the area to destroy the pre-cancerous growths.
I had the treatment done to my face and six months later they scheduled the same treatment for my balding scalp. When I got to the office, they introduced me to the new intern who would be running the procedure. The dermatologist assured me that he would oversee the process.
The young, nervous woman gently applied the cream to my scalp. They called it cream but it was more like carbolic acid. I sat in the waiting room for the prescribed amount of time and was brought back in for the second step. The intern then set up the ultra-violet light above my head and turned it on.
I said to her, “You’re sure this is going to grow hair, right?”
Startled, she jumped up in a panic and ran out of the office, never to be seen again. She now works in Customer Service at Home Depot.
When you get to my age category, an annual visit to the urologist becomes part of the healthcare ritual. My urologist is an excellent young doctor, but his receptionist is a cranky, overweight battle-ax that lives to bully, intimidate and embarrass the patients. She is obviously an unhappy person who has not made the best of what she was dealt. I can’t understand why the good doctor keeps her, except she is probably his mother-in-law, and she’ll kick his ass if he even tries.
Last week I entered the crowded waiting room and apprehensively approached the surly terrorist. Recognizing me, she shrieks, “Oh, are you here to see the doctor about your impotence?”
“Actually, no,” I replied, trying to become invisible.
And gathering my strength, I shouted back, “I’m here to see about a sex change operation. But I don’t want the same doctor that did yours.”
Well, she must have had her hearing aid turned off. She smiled and handed me a small specimen cup and a pair of rubber gloves, and said, “Take this into the booth on my right, the one with the TV monitor, and see if you can get a specimen in the cup without getting it all over your shoes. Oh, and please try to hurry, the doctor is scheduled to see you in 45 minutes.”
“In that case, do you provide those erectile dysfunction aids to speed up performance?”
“We do, but we’re all out of the gummies that you probably prefer.”