Skip to main content

why i don't go to the doctor

so i had to get a physical for the united methodist church. i haven't been to a doctor since i've lived in annandale, so i randomly chose a practice that was reasonably close to my house and had doctors' names that seemed pleasant to say. my appointment was yesterday at 8am, and i approached the 70's style architecture with great trepidation. after great length and filling out numerous forms all asking for the same information, i sat down in the wood-paneled waiting room and flipped through a 6-month old copy of vogue, if only to discover what shade of lip gloss would compliment my skin tone. as soon as i had determined that i best fit the 'olive' category, but before i discovered the appropriate shade for my lips, my name was called by a stern looking nurse and i entered the hallowed catacombs of the doctor's office. having entered the mysterious back hallways, i proceeded to sit in a sterile room and read a variety of material on breast cancer detection while waiting what felt like several hours for the doctor with the pleasant name. when she finally arrived i discovered that she was only the physician's assistant, and that her name was not particularly pleasant to me. she then asked me all the questions that i had already answered on the numerous forms. after she seemed satisfied with the precision with which she had dizzied me with her intense barrage of questions, she proceeded to poke and prod me, shoving various measuring instruments into most of the orafices of my body. i even had to turn my head and cough while wearing something she referred to as a 'gown' which was much more like a bib. but all of this, from the brady bunch decor to the extremely awkward genital exposure, was a cakewalk compared to the last leg of the journey. the nurse came back in the room and announced with a wonderfully sensitive tone that she needed to take some blood. i immediately began to reel. quickly, i tried to regain composure. "you can do this," i said to myself. "just breathe and focus - think about sports. the yankees suck. how are they playing below .500 baseb...HOLY CRAPTHERE"STHENEEDLE!" i continued this internal conversation, desparately trying not to pass out. at one point i remember sighing loudly to which the annoyed nurse responded, "it's's just a little slow," as if this wasn't excruciating for me.

i hate giving blood even more than i hate going to the doctor.

today i have a nice sized bruise on my arm, which looks like i was clubbed on the inner elbow by a wwf-sized muscle man. but that's not what happened. i rather wish it was. instead, i was unfortunate enough to have to suffer through a process that includes a sharp metal needle, the sucking of my very life-blood from my body, and the fake smiles of a mean-spirited sadistic nurse and her unpleasantly-named cohorts. this is why i don't go to the doctor.



edrew85 said…
DUDE! I hate needles too, I've had a terrible experience giving blood that made me afraid of all shots and needles, bad news. I hear ya!
Mary said…
my poor brother. there there. now now.

(i haven't been to the doctor since...highschool?)
RedBank Billy said…
I feel your pain, but take it from one who goes for that horrible blood test every 4 months....ah ya never get used to it!!!! Great story, I hate the doctor too, seems to always find something wrong with my old body....sigh
greg. said…
my arm still hurts.

Emoly said…
needles suck.
doctors whose names you can't pronounce suck.
1970's commercial architecture sucks.
giving blood sucks (well, to a vampire).
bruises suck.

That's why Bill didn't go to the doctor until I made him, after he turned 30 (which he promptly found out: he has way high blood pressure -ok he already knew that, he has high cholesterol, he is in stage two of kidney disease. He can't wait until I turn 30 and he makes me go to the doctor).

I always say that ice cream helps.
nysewanders said…
I feel your pain. Very well written, I felt as though I was right beside you cringing. Thats hard to do, but you pulled it off.
Erin said…
And this is why i gave birth to a 9 lb baby naturally. THIS.EXACT.REASON.
greg. said…
well, i just want to say that it is nice to hear such a chorus of comments. i was beginning to think that everyone had stopped reading.

my blood results just came back and (surprise surprise) my cholesterol is high. the doctor wants me to exercise more. it is just a few degrees shy of 150 degrees outside today. people are literally sweating to death. i'm trying to stand in such a way that no part of my body touches any other part of my body (to avoid stickage). and now i am supposed to exercise. awesome.

cathyq said…
Having seen the bruise, I can attest that it is nasty looking; however, some of the drama is a bit overdone. After all, it's just a blood sample. When some of the other medical procedures are taken into consideration (i.e. hemorroid surgery, swallowing a camera, proctoscope) it really seems relatively easy and painless. Just wait until you hit 50! By the way, I've learned to take my own reading material for the waiting room. A good book helps to keep you mind off of the pain of it all. Just a suggestion.
mego said…
Ok Greg I'm ready for a new post. Every time I click on your blog and see that giant needle I get the chills. While I'm not necessarily fond of needles, I'm not really scared of them either - but that picture you chose just makes me think of torture for some reason! I guess that's what the dr.'s visit was for you...
julie said…
greg, i'm with mego. where are you? has your bruise slowly started creeping to other parts of you and now you are just one gigantic bruise, rendered incapable of typing up a simple blog for us faithful readers? i mean, come on now. show some mercy to others who don't like looking at needles several times a day. you better or i'll give you a bruise worse than you've ever seen. remember dad's arm after i was through with him? think on that... ;)
greg. said…
mom - the drama is overdone? are you kidding me? do you remember who is writing this? OF COURSE the drama is overdone.

that's how i roll. that's what makes you laugh. you know its true.

and, i'm sorry, but the phrase, "just a blood sample" doesn't make any sense to me.

megan and julie - okay okay. geesh. sorry. i have been thinking that no one is really reading this thing anymore, so haven't been so intense about writing it. but i get it. i'll get the needle out of there. but, just so you know, that is only a portion of the feeling i get when i walk into the doctor's office. i feel this heavy 'needle aura' hanging over me, threatening me with its sharp metal points and sterile careless pragmatism. it haunts me, taunts me, calling out in non-human tones, "i will rob you of your blood and leave you with pain, a band-aid, and probably some bad news from the doctor."

now you know.

Popular posts from this blog


i made these comments and prayed the following prayer at one of our worship services at SPWF yesterday, and had a few folks asked if i would post them, so there they are: 
It has been a season of terrible tragedy.  And I have noticed in the news a trending phrase: thoughts and prayers.  It even has its own hashtag on twitter and other social media, but net necessarily in a good way.  People are understandably tired of hearing about others’ thoughts and prayers, when that is only a thinly-veiled way of saying that our only obligation to those who suffer is a brief moment of silence, or nothing more than a tweet or public statement.  The truth is that, for those of us who follow Jesus, much is required when our neighbors suffer.  We are called to do justice where we can, to love kindness and mercy, and to walk with God through it all.  But let us be careful not to throw out the proverbial baby with the bathwater.  We are, as people of faith, those who know that prayer is not simply an em…

a divided tree

there is a tree in my back yard.  i'm pretty sure it's an oak tree.  at least that's what i think Shannon told me.  i don't know my oaks from my maples, my elms from my locusts.  to me, it's a tree: a corinthian column bursting up into life and glory.  full of sap and pulp and rings and bugs and cells pulsing with water and always reaching for something.  it is full of rhythm, reach and flourish then fall and die, and repeat. 

this particular tree, though, isn't of one mind. 

half of it's rusted orange leaves have given up their grip and surrendered -gracefully or not - to the pull of gravity and the threat of winter.  the north side of this inauspicious oak is just about bare naked, all sticks and straight lines, a skeleton of itself.  but the side that looks south is stubbornly resisting change.  no longer green, the leaves have compromised their summer vibrancy, but they are clearly not ready to concede death just yet. 

i feel like i can relate to this …

thankful right now

"if the only prayer you ever say in your life is 'thank you,' it will be enough." -Meister Eckhart

"thanksgiving is inseparable from prayer." -John Wesley

i've been thinking about gratitude quite a bit this week, and how to foster a thankful spirit in the midst of the barrage of bad news that for me is punctuated by yet another "breaking news" notification on my phone, interrupting the busyness of my day to rudely remind me that the world's brokenness knows nothing of limits or boundaries, not to mention my schedule or sanity.  still, the bad news keeps coming. 

i just scrolled through my most recent notifications just from the last few days and they contain phrases like "crimes against humanity," "57 million users hacked, but not reported," "alleged pattern of sexual abuse," and "extremely disturbing," just to name a few.  how am i supposed to be present at a staff meeting when my phone is buzzing …