In order to get my hernia fixed, I first needed to get cleared for surgery.
If you missed part one where I wrote about the discovery of a disgusting belly button hernia, click here to familiarize yourself.
The surgeon who was to perform the hernia operation told me I must first see another doctor who could run the appropriate clearance tests. I guess once you become a surgeon you don’t have to do the low-level stuff. Like how the guy who drives the garbage truck doesn’t leave the driver’s seat. He’s got a guy riding on the back who deals with the actual garbage.
I protested that I didn’t need any tests and he could take my word that I was healthy enough to handle a small incision. My case was admittedly unconvincing as I didn’t have a fancy medical degree and my knowledge of gastroenterology was limited to knowing that word means “gut stuff.” I further weakened my position by acknowledging that I hadn’t read the medical questionnaire I was handed at the beginning of my appointment. He frowned when I told him this. But, c’mon, does anyone actually pour through those questions with precision? I simply checked “no” to every disorder, disease, or preexisting condition. If this was a more serious medical issue, like a triple heart bypass, I’d take the “Have you ever bled from the eyeballs?” question more seriously.
But even if I had completed the medical questionnaire correctly he would have made me get cleared for surgery anyway. It’s a malpractice thing. Lawyers ruin everything, right? I mean, until you need a lawyer to sue someone because they said you have a tiny wiener on Snapchat and though the message self-destructed a few people saw it and your reputation had been damaged enough to sue for restitution. I wouldn’t know because I don’t have a tiny wiener. Seriously. Let’s clear that shit up right quick.
Upon arrival at the medical testing facility I met the general practitioner who would perform the necessary exams. And while I feel that salespeople in general are annoying, I had to hand it to this guy. He was the best up-seller (note – not a word) I’ve ever seen. Halfway through the blood work he asks, “Hey, when’s the last time you had a physical?” It had been over a year and he said, “Should we tack it on?” I was already in my underwear so I said, “Sure.”
After the physical I was upsold again. “Hey, you’re dating, right?” I nodded. “You probably want to check for STDs, then. Should I perform the HIV test?” I told the doctor he did not need to sell me on an HIV test. In fact, I told him that for the rest of our relationship as a doctor-patient, he never again needed to ask me for permission to perform this test. He should just do the test. I don’t care if it’s free or costs $300. HIV is an important piece of information and I told him I would never say, “No thanks. I’m good.”
When he came back with the HIV-negative results a few minutes later, he pushed on. “You know, since we’re doing all this other stuff do you want us to test for every STD?” I said, “Once again, you never need to ask me that.” This doctor was now batting 1.000.. As he’s pricking my finger for herpes or whatever I asked, “Wait – does anyone actually turn down the STD test?” He said that many people do. Which made me feel superior to those people. Which felt good.
After all the tests were completed, he announced me I was in excellent shape for surgery, I added, “..also, in excellent shape to hit the disco tonight for some action, right Doc?” Not my best joke. “Actually,” he said, “We won’t know about the full STD results for three days. We’ll call you when they come in.”
I asked that they not call me unless it was bad news. I’d rather not be bothered. However, if they find out that I’m ridden with chlamydia, please go ahead and send word. He said that it was protocol to call with the results, positive or negative. I waived him off and said, “Seriously, just call if there’s bad news.”
A nurse called a few days later and told me the lab results came in and that I was negative on all STDs. I thought of making a joke telling her I went to an EDM concert over the weekend and that all hell broke loose and I’d need to get rescanned, but thought better of it.
I once dated a girl whose favorite genre was EDM. Every time I walked into her townhome that awful music was playing. And I’d have to take deep breaths until the feeling of wanting to smash the stereo over her head would leave me. It’s too stressful to date a chick with bad taste in music.
Now I knew I was healthy enough to get my hernia fixed, and healthy enough to start dating. The girl I was seeing at the time ended the relationship around right after this exam. Smart on her end because she was going to have to drive me to the hospital and sit there during the procedure. Like any good boy I called my mother and she was happy to fill the role.
In the next installment I’ll talk about how the procedure went (spoiler – I now have two belly buttons), and how after I went to a first date with a girdle.
photo credit: Tom Simpson Figure Slimmer, 1955 via photopin (license)