Today people talk a lot about wellness. About taking care of ourselves. And about preventative care. But many of us are terrible at this game. And by some of us, I mean dudes. While women often have regular health checks of some sort (or multiple sorts), guys often go completely undoctored. Which can have serious consequences.
Since college, when I still had regular health supervision through the athletic department at The University of Wisconsin, I have had very little interaction with doctors other than Dr. Pepper, Dr. Suess, and Dr. Dre.
Back in the Saddle
But yesterday morning I established care with a new primary physician. (The staff kept telling me that I was establishing care, or I wouldn’t have known that was what it was called.)
Part of the reason I hadn’t seen a doctor was that I have been healthy. But that’s not a great excuse.
The other reason I hadn’t seen a doctor was that I didn’t know who to see. So I finally asked my good friend and fellow Badger, Dr. Michael Brin, an Emergency Room doc in Milwaukee, for a reco. He gave me a recommendation. I called to make an appointment. And they told me that doctor was not accepting any new patients. So I instantly knew he was lazy. And an elitist. And I didn’t want to see him anyway.
Then the woman I was talking to recommended another physician from the same office. This doctor was a woman. I politely declined, because I prefer a dude doctor. I have a policy against getting all naked on a papered table with a lady in the room other than my wife.
The woman then offered a 3rd option, who was a dude doctor, who was seeing new patients and was not fresh out of medical school. I said yes to the dress and booked the appointment.
Then, after I got off the phone I looked up the doctor online to see how he was rated. People seemed to love this guy. So I kept the appointment.
The Big Day
Yesterday was the day. And it was easy.
I scheduled the first appointment of the day to minimize waiting room time. I saw the doctor’s assistant very quickly and got to make a bunch of health jokes. When I was asked if I vaped or smoked I responded that I wanted to, but no one had invited me yet.
I got measured.
I was thrilled to still officially be 6 feet tall, and within single digits of my weight when I graduated from high school.
They found my pulse. Which is a really good sign.
My blood pressure was in the zone, like AutoZone.
I still had no reflexes in my knees. (Throughout my life I have had no response when physicians whack me on my knees with the tiny Dorito-shaped hammers.
The Big Question
When the doctor saw me he asked me a bunch of questions. But the most interesting one was, ‘Why are you here?’
I said, ‘Because I want to live a long time.’
He then probed further, ‘But what was the trigger event that made you want to come in and see a doctor now?’
I thought about his question more deeply. Then I shared, ‘On my birthday I set goals for the year. I had goals related to all the significant areas of my life. Including marriage, family, career, relationship, financial, and travel goals. My health goal was to finally see a doctor and establish a baseline for my long-term health, and to have a resource for the future.’
My new doctor (which sounds like nude doctor) said he thought that was good thinking.
We continued the rest of the exam. He asked me about my health, who lives with me, and about my parents’ ages and health. He asked about siblings. And I was happy to have no major issues to report about them.
The experience was enjoyable. I was able to honestly say that I don’t have any real health issues or concerns.
I didn’t have to have my prostate checked the old fashion way, because apparently there is a blood screening for prostate cancer. I had eaten breakfast that morning, so I had to schedule my follow-up labwork (bloodsucking) for next week.
At the end of our visit, my new doctor thanked me for coming in. When I apologized for being so boring, he said that boring is very good. He said it was a real pleasure to have a pleasant talk with someone enjoying good health and not dealing with any major challenges.
As he was leaving the room he turned back to me, smiled, and added, ‘Tell your wife you did a good thing today.’
I am really happy I finally saw a doctor. Now I have an answer to ‘Who is your primary physician?’ I have peace of mind that my blood pressure is right, that my moles are still the right kind, and that I still have both a height and a weight. Within a week or so I will know if there are any other invisible things I should be concerned about. But even if there are, chances are that we caught them before they were major problems. I am happy to know that I now have a literal health plan to detect new issues early. And someone I can call and say “What’s up doc?’ whenever I have a question.
If you haven’t found a primary care doctor, do it now. Ask your friends who they see. Call that doctor. If they are a lazy elitist, ask for another available recommendation. It’s easier and more important than you think. The key to good health and to preventing small things from becoming big things is early intervention. Your family and friends want you to be around to enjoy life together for a long, long time. So if not for you, do it for them.
Note: If you are in the Milwaukee area and need a good doctor, I am happy to share my guy with you.
*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.
+For more of the best life lessons I have learned, check out my new book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.