Thursday, December 06, 2007

Paging Dr. Jellyfinger

So, I had my physical the other day...

Let's face it, when you are a man and the word "physical" comes up, the only thing you can think of is rubber gloves and K-Y jelly. Sophomoric, I know. But there it is.

I haven't had a full blown physical since high school and that didn't include the dreaded check of your, ahem, nether regions.

Frankly, I'm obsessing about this when I get seated on the doctor's table and the nurse goes through the preliminaries. She leaves. I await the doctor. I look around the room: flyers on how to control high blood pressure, growth charts, cotton swabs. Normal stuff. Except there on the desk is a singular rubber glove laid out next to a tube of...of...LUBRICANT! Ahhhh. This is cruel. It's left purposely in my viewing area. The minutes tick by (you always have to wait in a doctor's office right?) but that glove and tube don't move. My eyes keep coming back to it. I entertain thoughts of disposing of it. Maybe he would forget all about it if it's not there on the desk? Maybe that's the last one of each they have? Is that a tack on top of one of the fingers??

No. I signed up for this. Best to do what needs getting done.

The doctor comes in. We go through the various phases of the physical. This is all a blur. My only concern is when he is going to put on that glove. When? When! Stop torturing me!!**

We discuss my family medical history. We discuss the level of my physical activity and concerns about recent heart incidences with other runners. I'm hooked to an EKG. Little lines and hills scribble on a piece of paper. How can they get a fair picture of my heart when I'm staring at that glove? And the tube of lubricant? Oh, God, they must think I'm in the beginning stages of a heart attack.

The doctor informs me I have a bit of prehypertension (no kidding! it was full blown at that moment) which we'll monitor over time. The EKG revealed sinus bradycardia with the absence of symptoms. The doctor chalked it up to a normal condition for runners, bikers, other athletes, etc. In fact, most runners probably have this condition. It's a byproduct of the training. If you have an unusually low resting pulse, there's a good chance you have it as well.

Other than that, all checked out well and I'm good to go. No concerns. Not sure why I have a bit of high blood pressure though. I exercise. I'm not overweight. Don't smoke. I've cut down - and will cut down further - on caffeine and salt. Stress? Genetics? Must be.

But, wait, what about the glove? Hmm, I'm not saying anything. He's not doing anything. I'm getting dressed and leaving.

Somehow or another, I escaped the, er, invasive part of this exam. Looking back, I think his evaluation of my family medical history combined with my age made the "procedure" not necessary at this time. Or he was being merciful.

I can't help feeling a bit like the wallflower never asked to dance.

Now that this is behind me, my wife, parents and in-laws can feel reasonably comfortable that my heart isn't a ticking time bomb waiting to explode during the next race.

As far as we know.

Happy trails.

** Level of fear greatly exaggerated for comedic effect.


Non-Runner Nancy said...

If I had to guess, your BP will be normal when not faced with the glove. It's called "white coat hypertension."

Keep checking it and keep and eye on it. Even if you do all the right behavioral things, you can still have hypertension. Obvsiously they are good to do and can help, but some people are just prone to it. The good news, we know what to do about. Stay on top of it!!

Glad you are good to go!

Mir said...

Hahaha, great doctor story--you had me laughing. And I'm very glad that your health checks out! I'm sure the elevated blood pressure was due to nervousness, but at least now you know to keep an eye on it!

Jesse said...

"I can't help feeling a bit like the wallflower never asked to dance."

Haha! Classic...

L*I*S*A said...

I'm guessing your prehypertension is a result of mostly genetics. Does HTN run in your family?

I've been told I have sinus bradycardia as well. We runners have that commonly. I'll take it.

Glad everything checked out okay.

Don't worry, the glove will make an appearance another time.

Topher said...

Funny post, and great blog. Found it throught the 8 on the 8th results. Good luck at Disney, and Boston.