Friday, February 02, 2007

Stickin' It To Me

This was cholesterol day.

Apparently, I have inherited my father’s and his father’s cholesterol problems.

In fact, I’m not sure that we have blood in our arteries any more. My numbers make it sound like I have something more akin to the sludge that lines the drain of a utility room sink.

The last time I got it checked my doctor was so freaked out he called me instantly. I think he was surprised that I was alive to answer the phone.

Three months and one big bottle of Lipitor later I was back at the lab for another test.

If the cholesterol doesn’t kill me, the blood tests probably will, and that is also my father’s fault.

When I was about 6 years old, I was visiting my pediatrician for my annual check-up. His name was Doctor Hertz (yes, sounds like hurts). It came time for the old TB Tine test. That involved the thing that looked like a corncob holder that they jabbed in the arms of young children. When the children screamed, the TB spores would fly out of their lungs.

I think that’s how it worked.

Anyway, I wanted no part of it.

“It’s no big deal,” Dr. Hertz declared. “Look, I’ll give one to your father first.”

My dad did that wide-eyed, clenched-jaw subtle head shake that he thought the doctor would see but I’d miss. It was the other way around.

Dr. Hertz rolled up my father’s sleeve, and my old man lost all of the color in his face. Once the probe hit his arm, he made a groaning noise that sounded like a snoring hippo. His eyes rolled back and he went face down on the floor.

I was immediately whisked out of the room as the doctor called a code yellow-belly.

The next part I didn’t see, but heard. As my father began to come to, he had a flashback to a college boxing match and thought he was getting up from the mat to go another round with his opponent. Only in this case his opponents were young nursing students.

I think he hit a couple of them.

Like every 6-year-old, I thought my dad was indestructible. Whatever was in these needles dropped him faster than a tranquilizer dart brings a black bear out of a suburban tree.

For all anyone knows, I may have tuberculosis now. No one will ever be able to confirm it, because they’re never going to jab me with that thing.

The needle for the cholesterol blood test is no better, but I haven’t found a way to get around it.

Instead, I sit there with my free hand over my eyes, in a cold sweat, and I’ve been told I talk gibberish.

When it’s over, and I’ve taken a nap to recover, I strut around, pointing at my band-aid, showing off like the hero I am.

I survived another one.

I’ll get the test results Monday.

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