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May 29th, 2009

I had my annual physical this morning, which I've been dreading for several months now.

I got the usual cadre of annual physical checks starting with lab work, which I'd fasted for 12 hours in preparation for, and as always, I asked that an HIV test be included. The phlebotomist seemed like she was "in training"—which is never a label a patient likes to hear about their health care professional standing nearby with a needle—and as she passed up my most popular vein, on my left arm, and went in search for something better, I thought, "Ut-oh, this is not going to be pretty." To my surprise, and pleasure, though, she'd settled for one on my right arm that she actually nailed. A perfect prick—the needle, not me. She quickly filled three tubes of blood.

At the time of last year's physical, I was in a great, great place, and I was totally looking forward to my appointment. I'd done a lot of work in terms of my weight and my eating habits, and I left there with lots of good news and affirmations.

"What's been happening with you?" Amy (my GP, who's actually a PA) started, as she usually does.

"Well, last time I came in here, I was in a great place, and today I'm in the opposite of that place," I replied.

"How's that?" she asked.

"Well, I've pretty much gained all the weight back that I'd lost the last time I was here, I've injured my knee, had surgery, and I think I've re-injured it, and if I don't once again lose this weight, I'm going to have join the State's "Fat as Fuck" health plan in 2011."

She looked at me, with our five-year history together, and well aware of how I get to a point with my weight where I can't stand it, lose some, then gain it all back again and come to see her totally disgusted with myself.

She said, moving her hand in an up and down motion like you do when you stick your hand out a car window facing it forward going 60 miles per hour, "This is not an unusual pattern with you. You've really just been being you, right?"

"Right," I said.

"Okay, so you're puffy and pissed. Anything else going on?"

I love her.

We chatted about moving from my Nexium prescription to something generic, and she wrote me prescriptions for two cheaper meds that might work as a substitute and told me I could price each of them and see which I could get cheaper. I told her that as long as they're cheaper than Nexium, I'd take her recommendation. I'm going to try Protonix.

Next up was my My HEP A booster shot (part 2 of the Hep A shot I got back in October, just before going to China) and my EKG, both of which were done by Amy's nurse, Vicki. It took about 5 minutes to stick all those thingies to my body—in and around my body hair, and attach the clamps to them. "They call it a 12-lead machine," she said while working, "but there's only 10 leads. Go figure." It took maybe a minute to actually record the EKG before she began undoing all that she'd just done.

As she stuck me for my HEP A shot, she said, "I can stick you without hurting you, but I can't make the medicine not hurt." At first I thought this was a ploy to immune herself (pun intended) in case she did a bad job, so I'd think, "Oh it wasn't her, it was the medicine." Yeah, right.

But then, as if suspecting my cynicism, she added, "Yep, this one and Tetanus are two shots that hurt from the medicine. What you do, tonight, while you're watching TV (ut-oh), take a wet cloth and put it in the microwave for a few seconds. Then just set it right here in the area for a few minutes. That'll help the medicine move about. I gave it to you on your right arm, since you said you were right-handed, as the more you move your arm around the less it'll hurt later. I made a mental note to masturbate tonight, since I haven't had a TV for over seven years. That'll keep the old arm in motion. One for the team. It's the least I can do.

Next on the agenda, it was back to Amy for the annual highlight—my once-a-year hand job from a woman ("Turn your head to the left and cough"), followed immediately by the ass job ("Take a deep breath and exhale while I enter"). We have this inside joke that her finger is the only thing I'll bottom for.

After all the required checks, we had quite a talk about my knee situation, and she highly encouraged me to try this regimen before I go back to the ortho guys: two weeks of 800 milligrams of ibuprofen three times a day (that's 12 pills a day of the 200 milligrams), to use my ice pack at night, and to go back into PT for a couple of weeks.

She gave me a referral to a PT place, since I told her I hated the one at Raleigh Orthopedic (at least the branch in Cary). She has the best referrals. I've yet to go to one that I haven't loved. She also gave me a referral to a dermatologist, which I really appreciated. She said, "This dermatologist will actually talk with you."

I reminded her that she told me last time of a dermatologist whose name was hilarious, though it wasn't a referral, and I had forgotten it.

"Oh yeah," she said. That's Dr. Scales in Durham. And there's a psychologist in Raleigh..." she continued, and though I remembered her saying this last time, too, I let her finish, because it's hilarious, "...whose name is, and I'm not making this up, Dr. Looney."

At the end of our appointment, Amy said, "Always good to see you," to which I replied, "I so appreciate you."

Asking, "Where's the pee room?" I stopped on the way out to provide the specimen that they'd forgotten to ask me for at the beginning of the appointment while doing my lab work.



I did receive my pay cut today. Thanks, Bev. There are so many places not to spend it.



I'm just saying...


I worked from home today, which I so appreciated being able to do.



After work, I ran some errands, the most pressing being getting some wedding gift wrap and a wedding card for my neighbor's wedding, which I'm attending tomorrow. While I was out, I treated myself to dinner at Red Lobster, where I had my usual—the Seafood-Stuffed Flounder, which I absolutely love. I had every intention of eating the whole thing, when exactly midway—when I noticed I had one flounder fillet left, half a baked potato, and one cheese roll, I put my utensils down and asked for a box.

I left there both not puffy and not pissed.



The rest of my evening was fairly uneventful. (Bet you're going to hear about it anyway. Yup.) The highlights:

  1. I wrapped the wedding gift

  2. Wrote out the card

  3. Scored one for the team—as prescribed by my nurse, and

  4. Read some more of Anna Karenina.

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