Thursday, November 5, 2009

Men and Doctors

“Thou shalt not go to the doctor.” Men think this is the eleventh commandment. Hence they obey it religiously.

A man will sometimes end up in a doctor’s office anyway. This happens whenever his wife bludgeons him so she can drive his comatose form to the doctor. Before our male friend knows it, he’s sitting on a cold exam table in a gown that covers even less than his health insurance.

He’s miffed. Is he really even sick? (For a week he’s been able to light cigarettes with his tonsils.) Why were there no refreshments in the waiting room? (Distracting patients from suffering is bad health care economics.) How could the Phillies possibly have lost that game last night? (Because they had sick team members who wouldn't go to the doctor.)

Alas, you can lead a man to the doctor, but you can’t make him take a prescription. That’s why God invented single serving pudding packs into which capsule contents can be secretly stirred – this technique is not just for basic marital poisoning anymore. A woman, by contrast, often goes to the doctor if she dreams that someone she once worked with got a haircut from a stylist who owned a parrot with shingles. The red spot emerging on her finger could be related.

Is a man afraid that the doc will find something wrong, and he’ll have to endure painful procedures, or wind up losing internal organs he could have sold for good money? No. He’s afraid that the doc will find something wrong and his wife will say, “See. I told you so.” He prefers being the one to say that to her, like when the doctor said that thing on her abdomen was called a "navel" and nothing to worry about.

So he sticks to his “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it” mantra. Unless a man is in excruciating pain, he’d rather avoid the doctor’s office, because don’t you understand? That’s where people get sick. And pricking the skin to remove a test vial of blood, well, that just plain violates the Hippocratic Oath. (Translation: “Needles scare me even more than finding out that all my blood cells have morphed into tiny cheese steaks.”)

A woman, however, shows off a blood test puncture like a medal of honor in front of her doctor-allergic husband. She says she wants him to remain healthy so he can be around for many, many more years of getting prodded into doctor visits. She says she’d be happy to make him an appointment this very moment. She also happens to mention that the new buxom phlebotomist who takes your blood looks exactly like Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Like he believes her. Like that’s going to suddenly make him willing to go to the doctor. Like he even thinks CZJ is even such a major babe. He’s insulted. But for some reason his blood suddenly hurts, so he concedes to making an appointment for Thursday at 2. You know, just in case.