My doctor is young. Really young. He looks like he’s maybe in college. And yesterday, Doogie (not his real name) changed my life forever.
In the air of his examining room yesterday I felt something between Doogie and me shift the moment he snapped on a blue latex glove, hauled out from a drawer a tube of lubricant that would fit into a caulking gun, and said, “Go ahead and put your elbows on the table here.”
“Excuse me?” I replied. Perhaps he had forgotten how earlier, smiling to hide the unease within me, I had acquiesced to his request that I make myself naked beneath the flowered, undersized blue gown that it was apparently his desire to see me wear.
He tapped the strip of white paper running down the center of the padded orange-yellow exam table. “Just put your elbows right here.”
“But … but [Doogie],” I said, a slight quiver in my voice. “Are you sure that’s what you want? Can’t we at least talk some more, get to know each other a little better? I’ve only been here a few minutes.”
“Hey, it’s gotta happen.” In his voice I detected an unsettling note of cold resolve.
I knew I sounded too emotional, but I couldn’t help it. “But couldn’t you at least … I don’t know … maybe pour me a drink of some sort? Play a little Barry White, maybe? Or even just dim the lights a little?”
“I like to do it with the lights on.”
So young. So jaded.
“So this is what our relationship has finally come down to,” I said, hoping I sounded brave. “This is all that we are now.”
“‘Fraid so,” he said, unscrewing the top from the tube. “Let’s do this.”
I turned my face away from him, not wanting him to see how his words had stung me. This resulted in my presenting to him the only part of me in which he apparently had any real interest at all.
“At least promise me you’ll be gentle,” I said.
“I will. Just relax. This won’t hurt a bit.”
I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and awaited my fate.
Friends of mine have experienced what was I was about to. Each has assured me that it was fine. “It ain’t that big a deal,” said one. “It’s nothing,” said another. “It’s over in a second.”
This morning I have made a list of every acquaintance of mine who has ever told me that a rectal exam is not a profoundly unpleasant experience. It might not happen today. I might not happen tomorrow. But sooner or later I am going to kill them all.
The instant my sphincter became a friendship ring, I locked my arms straight and said, “Whoa whoa whoa whoa!” I also danced on my tippy-toes like I was doing a manic “Calves of Steel” workout.
“Holy Christ!” I cried out. I know you’re not supposed to take the Lord’s name in vain. But I’m confident that Jesus, being in every last way human, will not only understand, but sympathize.
“See?” said Dr. Bratwurstfingers. “Now that wasn’t so bad, was it?”
At first I was too traumatized to respond. Finally, with my eyes on the floor, I murmured bitterly, “All I can say is that I hope that was good for you.”
I will now do my best to try and put my life back together again. The first thing I’ve got to do, or course, is plan five of six murders. Immediately afterward I will seek professional help. I will certainly see a mental health therapist. Perhaps also a hypnotist. Maybe an acupuncturist. A Pilates instructor. I don’t know. I’ll just take it one day at a time.
And Doogie?If you’re out there, somewhere, reading this, all I ask is that when you think of me—and you will—think of me kindly. I would like to pretend that I can forget you, but we both know that’s not possible. Although, God knows, I will try.
But I’m afraid that my thoughts will always wander back to you, in the end.