“Would you like a prostate exam?” asked my physician, as we were wrapping up my physical.
I asked her how many people say yes to that question.
“More than you’d think,” she responded.
That was a weird thing to say.
“I suppose I should,” I answered.
The only reason I said yes is because she did not have hands the size of Andre the Giant’s. No one wants a prostate exam administered by someone with Andre-the-Giant–sized hands. I had ascertained her hand size many years ago, in anticipation of this very reason.
The whole prostate exam experience is demeaning to a man. Necessary of course, but extremely demeaning. From the popping of the latex glove as it is slipped onto the insertion hand, to the non-probing hand resting on your shoulder as you bend over, pant-less and sobbing . . . It’s like a clinical version of prison. Or, at least how I’d imagine prison.
I’ve had prostate exams before. In the grand scheme of things, they aren’t that bad.
“You may feel a little pressure,” she said. Then, suddenly, entry.
Her finger was in there for quite a bit longer than I would’ve liked.
“Too bad you don’t use MapQuest,” I said, in an attempt to break the awkward silence.
“You use humor when you are uncomfortable, don’t you?” she asked.
I wasn’t sure what gave her that impression.
After what seemed like hours of searching, she found my prostate and starting plucking at it as if it were a peach she was trying to pick from the highest branch of a tree.
My eyes started watering. My spirit nearly broken, I exclaimed, “There’s Waldo!”
“You are a funny guy,” she replied.
She continued poking at my prostate, almost trying to antagonize it into fighting.
“Rent is inexpensive, but I’m going to ask for a security deposit,” I said.
“There you go again,” she responded.
Finally, she removed her digit from my rectum and told me to pull up my pants.
“Was it good for you?” she asked, giving me a dose of my own medicine.
I shrugged my shoulders and remained stoic, considering whether I should pay a visit to her HR department on the way out.
“Everything seems fine,” she stated, “though your prostate did feel a little soft.”
“Soft?” I asked, puzzled. “You mean . . . like . . . wimpy?”
“No. Just a little tender.”
“Is that normal?”
She looked at me for a second and said, “It’s not abnormal.”
In my experience, a doctor shouldn’t really describe something to a patient that sounds weird but isn’t of concern.
“Overall, you appear to be in good physical condition,” she said. “Your sarcasm levels are off the charts, though.”
“Are you going to give me a prescription for that?”
She rolled her eyes and told me to have a nice day.