On Medicine and Aging
I’m getting to that age where every medical exam is more than just an exposition of my flailing health and unstoppable descent towards death. There’s a directly increasing scale of humiliation involved in the nature of routine afflictions a person suffers with age. Hemorrhoids, piles, incontinence, flatulence, cancer. To diagnose these conditions we have to regularly submit to having organs and orifices squashed, poked, prodded, scoped, smeared, drained, and probed. Remember when you were young the worst thing about a doctor’s visit was maybe the doc would grab your balls and say ‘cough’. As a kid, the most invasive thing was getting that oversized popsicle stick thing stuck on your tongue so the doc could look down your throat to see if you had tonsilitis. I used to bite down on the wooden popsicle stick in spite of the fact that biting wood is like brushing your teeth with steel wool. I remember the doctor would always say things like ‘ah what a clever lad’ when he really wanted to take his stethoscope and hang me from his stirrups.
Now, it’s like, ‘Okay Mr Saunders I am just going to stick my fingers up your ass and wiggle ‘em around a little bit and we’ll see if that little critter at the base of your scrotum is getting a little big for his britches.’ Can’t we do a bloody x-ray or MRI on it? We send people to the moon, we clone sheep, invent nanotechnology, and split the atom – and yet here we are having doctors sticking their hands up our arses to check our prostate?
I wonder about people who want to be proctologists. What life circumstance is at the root of this kind of ambition? When I was a kid, and the teacher would have students talk about their ambitions I’d always say something like, ‘when I grow up I’m going to be Superman and use my x-ray vision to see through the clothes of hot chicks and I won’t have to work cuz when I need something I’ll just go and take it’. Or, I’d say that I was going to discover a gadget to stop time so I could just plant myself at the place where they draw the lottery numbers and have mine come up so I’d never have to worry about money. I’m pretty sure my teachers are Googling me today thinking I’m number seven on the most wanted list – a degenerate, but an underachieving one at that. Either that or they are certain I’m a carnie.
I imagine that proctologists along with podiatrists are like the gym teachers of the doctor world. Those foot doctors are like the creepy janitor at your high school who just happens to be there when you’re trying to get to second base while making out with Susie in what you thought was a safe nook in the school basement. In my mind only a total creep wants to deal, on a day to day basis, with feet like my grandmother’s with toes that point sideways from the foot and bunions that need a chainsaw to be removed.
So now, I hate to say it but I’m thinking more about ass doctors and more anus-oriented medical issues in general. I really can’t get into the free and easy banter when it prefaces the act of a finger being stuck up my ass by an overly-chipper doctor, or worse, by a camera thrust up my poop-chute ‘hey, let’s stick this big tube up your ass to see how clean your pipes are! Anybody in the mood to sniff out a polyp?’ Now they show people’s butts on billboards to convince us that it’s silly to be embarrassed about having some doctor look up your anus. Propaganda to the core, and tantamount to those insidious tampon ads that show women dancing in white pants when in reality they are brooding about their periods.
Apparently I have a polyp colony that has settled on some fertile land somewhere in my lower intestine. Soon I suspect there’s going to be enough polyps to form a little society, and in no time my polyp society will draft a Bill of Rights and a Constitution to organize themselves effectively. Whatever they do, I don’t want them to start a Revolution. The spread of polyp dogma throughout my body is the last thing I need.