Inverted reality

Inverted reality

May 01, 2010

I scheduled an appointment for 11:20 a.m. to see my primary-care physician, Dr. U.R. Knotavet, to update my tetanus booster and to ask her a few questions.

My wife and brother-in-law came with me for support, since I usually felt some degree of anxiety in the exam room, which was the reason I was dancing around in it this morning.

"Christian Andres. How are you?" my doctor asked.

"Not so well this morning," I said. "I've been losing some weight, and my appetite has decreased."

"Really?" Dr. Knotavet asked.

"Yes. Since I'm here to get vaccinated, I might as well let you know that I've also had this growth here under my skin; I think it's oozing some pungent material. But before you look at that, do you think you could tell me why I keep having to stick my finger in my ears and relieve the itchiness? I think there was some dark discharge coming out of one of my ear canals this morning."

As Dr. Knotavet placed her stethoscope on my chest, I began talking loudly. "While I have you this close, could you also take a quick glance at my left eye? I've had this yellow discharge every morning, and I'm not sure why. I'm sorry you won't get to see the discharge today, I actually wiped it off this morning."

As Dr. Knotavet finished checking my blood pressure, she grabbed her ophthalmoscope to look at my eyes. Just then, I was starting to feel a little anxious, so I decided to put my iPod on and listen to my favorite dance song, "U Can't Touch This" by MC Hammer.

I politely told the doctor, "You'll have to look at my eyes while I do the windmill and kickworm here on the floor; I hope you don't mind."

I could see her getting impatient, and I think she only spent 7.2 seconds on that part of the exam. Before she could turn off the ophthalmoscope light, my wife asked, "So what's wrong with his eyes? Is he going blind? Can he see? Do you think it's contagious? Is it hereditary? Could the Froot Loops he's been eating have caused it? Will his insurance cover it? Why does Costco sell so much cranberry juice cocktail, and who really makes Kirkland products?"

The doctor gave my wife a phony smile and said, "Uh, I don't really see anything wrong with his eyes, but I couldn't get a good look since he was dancing all over the floor; maybe if you had him take a sedative next time and left his iPod at home I may be able to get a more thorough look. I'm sorry; what was your other concern?"

"Oh," I smiled. "This apparent abscess, would you look at it?"

"Sure," said Dr. Knotavet as she put on some latex gloves. As she gently expressed purulent material from my lesion in my groin, my cell phone rang. "Hold on just a second Dr. Knotavet, I just need to see who's calling." Sure enough, it was my mom wanting an update on what the Doctor had found.

"Uh, Doctor, do you mind telling my mother what you've found so far … here, you can just begin talking." I pressed the green talk button and handed her the telephone.