by Mary Gulivindala
Ladies and gentlemen, do you neglect yourself by not going to the doctor? Whatever doctor you have been avoiding, whether it’s your dentist, proctologist or an overall overhaul, I’m here to encourage you to take care of yourself and to keep your eyes and ears open while doing so.
You never know when life is going to give you a reward of laughter for doing the right thing. When you least expect it, comedy karma will hit you, as it did me. I had the best time at the gynecologist last week, where I went for a girlie parts check up!
I normally don’t go to a doctor unless I am in horrible pain. I don’t dislike doctors; I just won’t take the time out of my busy life to take care of myself. I feel fine; why bother? I also don’t want to know if I have some heinous disease like cancer. No one wants to hear that. Ask anyone who has cancer; it’s a total bummer.
I normally avoid doctors’ visits, just like my father, God rest his soul. He went to a doctor and found out he had cancer. My dad never liked going to the doctor because: 1. He was Irish. I don’t know if this is an Irish thing, but he’d say that “doctors have nothing good to say.” 2. I grew up in an era where you didn’t go to the doctor for every sneeze, headache or scrape, as people do today. Unless a bone was broken or you needed stitches, we pretty much would spit on a cut, slap on a band-aid and go back OUTSIDE to play.
Today I have insurance; thank you, Mr. President! There were a few years when my kids and I didn’t, so medical insurance FEELS like a luxury, which it is not, so I’m going to use it. My Catholic childhood guilt knows that many people today don’t have insurance or they don’t use the coverage they have because they can’t afford the co-pay. Shame on me if I don’t use it! I set up this appointment a few months back. My ticket came up, so off I went to see the doctor.
His office is in the Women’s Center on the fourth floor of Chestnut Hill Hospital. I think the hospital parking should be free, but that’s another story for later. I went into the doctor’s office, and here the fun began.
While standing in line to sign in, I noticed an older woman in front of me — let’s call her Madam X — perhaps in her early 60s, who was holding a book. It was “FIFTY SHADES OF GREY”! If you haven’t heard of this book, basically its soft core porn about S&M… a romance novel. Just then Madam X noticed that I saw what she was reading, and she tried to subtly cover it with her purse.
I was thinking, hey, there’s no judgment here. I could completely identify with her feelings because I’ve had the exact same ones. Last June I bought the same book, and I also felt pressure to conceal it. My son attends a Catholic elementary school, and I was holding the book there at a school event. “Fifty Shades of Grey” is not exactly a Penguin Classic. I didn’t want anyone to know I was having S-E-X, which I was whispering in my head. I started to get paranoid and began to feel flushed, and I hadn’t even read a page yet.
Back in the doctor’s office, a woman sitting next to me started telling me that she recently went to another local doctor by the name of DR. BUTCHER, who specializes in COLON AND RECTAL SURGERY!
You would have thought we just struck oil like Jed Clampett from the Beverly Hillbillies with the explosive gusher of laughter that erupted from that tidbit of information. Now we were in the zone! We were like two kindergarteners laughing about fart noises, only not so innocent.
Meanwhile, I noticed that across the room Madam X wasn’t reading her book; she was concealing it on her lap with her purse. Fast forward to the examination room, where I was told to “strip down and put on the paper robe; the doctor will be with you in a minute.” We all know a minute is not a minute at the doctor’s office; it’s at least 10 minutes. Due to the nature of my visit, I decided it was a good idea to visit the restroom. While sitting on the potty, I noticed boxes of little handy wipes. Score! I’ll have a few, thank you. I asked myself if it was stealing, and I felt terrible. Once again that Catholic guilt was whispering softly in my ear. It might sound ridiculous to some, but I couldn’t take the handy wipes without asking permission.
Now, the entrepreneur awakened in me, and I thought that if I were the gynecologist, I would have a vat of these towelettes next to the examination table, and it would be mandatory for all patients to wipe down prior to examination.
I mentioned this to my doctor when we met, and he thought it was a brilliant idea as well. Back in the examination room, I saw an OK magazine. What a treat! I do not buy rag mags but do read them for free at any opportunity. Waiting in line at the supermarket and CVS are two of my favorite “libraries” for such reading. Smack on the front page are stories of anorexic celebrities and how they maintain their skeletal appearances.
So I jumped up onto the table, put my feet in the stirrups and lay back like I was on a lounge chair at the Jersey beach. This was a vacation for me. I was alone, it was quiet, and I was reading a trashy magazine. Finally, here came the doctor.
Due to the endorphin-filled neurotransmitters shooting around in my head, I was feeling happy and chatty. Well, I hit the lotto of doctors when I met this one. We were like-minded, doctor-patient soul mates. We introduced ourselves, and get this; his name is PAUL NEWMAN.
Come on, Paul Newman, a gynecologist?! It was as if the comedy universe was showering me with blessings of comedy bits. Dr. Paul Newman, who has brown eyes, was born on the same day as the famous actor and salad dressing entrepreneur! What are the odds of that?! He was a lover of comedy, and of course I indulged him in what had just transpired in his office. It was fun, fun, fun!
But we soon snapped out of our revelry because it was time to get down to business. I was examined, all clear, and told I could dress. My visit was over; it was an anticlimactic moment (so to speak). Unless I receive a call telling me I have cancer, I will not have to return until next year. What a bummer. As of today, my phone has not rung, which is bittersweet.
“Life coach” Mary Gulivindala is the founder of Blue Print Life & Wellness Coaching in Chestnut Hill and a stand-up comic.