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Tests and more tests

In many ways life is a multiple-act play. You keep waiting to see what’s next, and sure enough, there is always a twist or something coming up that you didn’t count on.

For me, my latest act is what I call the medical phase of life. It is where you focus on the obituary page first each morning, and when you don’t find your name, the next step is to check what time your doctor’s appointment is today — and of course don’t forget a stop at the druggist for your latest prescription.

The medical phase starts early in life, often as a baby, but God planned things out well as we forget those early visits of getting shots or developing a severe case of diaper rash or in the case of male babies, being circumcised. No, for most children the first serious encounter is not medical at all but is often considered so by the child undergoing the torture of his first haircut.

I am focusing here on the male children because girls are born looking forward to their first visit to the beauty parlor. From the time they are born, they have bows in their hair with matching outfits and tiny little shiny shoes. On their first visit to the beauty parlor, they are leafing through books picking out hair styles and colors they want to wear to the prom.

Boys on the other hand are left pretty much alone in the grooming department until it is time for their first haircut. At that time, they are forced to remove the frogs and marbles from their pockets and are pretty much dragged to the barber shop.

Upon their arrival, they sit on a board placed across the arms of the barber’s chair while some old guy peers at them through dust covered glasses with a huge pair of scissors in one hand and a pair of noisy electric clippers in the other. The next 20 minutes normally consist of the mother urging young Johnnie to be good while the old man yells, “Be still.” It’s a pretty traumatic experience; trust me: been there, done that.

After that first haircut, life goes along pretty much as normal with occasional visits to the doctor for a scraped knee or a broken arm. Kind of just like running repairs to keep you moving along to the next phase of life, nothing too serious.

For me, that first haircut and scraped knee are far in the past. I am finding that my visits to the doctor today are much more frequent, and I have entered what I consider to be one of the final acts in my life’s play.

As you age, your doctor visits change drastically, and at first it seems as if your doctor’s visit has actually become a series of visits. If the truth were known, after a certain age, your life is one continuous doctor’s visit.

First, let me say that our health care professionals do an excellent job, and we are lucky to have such talented and caring people looking after us. But! I have recently discovered that a visit to the doctor means running some tests. That’s great, but each time I have a test, it leads to a second set of tests, which normally leads to an appointment with a specialist.

That visit to the specialist is guaranteed to lead to, you guessed it, more testing and often another specialist and even more tests. I did a series of 24-hour urine tests recently and was told the first time that the volume of urine was not sufficient. Funny, because I put every last drop in the giant jar they gave me. I didn’t save any for myself.

After I repeated the test, I told my wife that if they turned down that sample, I was adding apple cider to the next sample with just a touch of buck lure. I am pretty sure that would have kept them busy, but I know that would have led to more tests. I have had so many tests and have seen so many specialists, I actually forget what my original problem was.

As we are in the age of computers, doctors’ offices love to send you the results of your tests so you are better informed. Now, that would be great if I understood the results. They used words to describe my condition that they have not used since medical school, and they give me ranges for the test without telling me what the numbers mean. So basically, when I read my results, I normally assume I am either dying or am already dead. I never really know until I check the paper the next morning.

John Kasun writes from his home in Duncansville, when he is not checking his blood sugar and blood pressure or is in the bathroom doing a 24-hour urine test.

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