Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Up yours! No need anymore?

Strong Language educates me that "giving the finger" is represented with two fingers by "Brits, Australians and New Zealanders":
The ‘up yours’ gesture is made with the index and middle finger raised and parted, and the palm facing towards yourself. It has similar connotations to the ‘middle finger’ gesture, but with an added element of defiance. The hand may be moved up and down for added effect.
I needed to know that as much as I need a digital rectal examination of my prostate!  I suppose I should be happy that I won't ever get the dreaded prostate exam by a physician from one of those countries who who might end up using two fingers!

After I turned fifty, when I went to meet the physician for a health check up, he raised the issue of checking my prostate.  It was a butt-clenching moment.  "Do I really have to get that done?" I asked him.

I am sure he has heard that from many men.  We men are wimps.  Women routinely get their breasts pushed and stuffed into machines in order to get themselves checked for breast cancer.  They lie down on tables for pap-smear-tests.  But, once in a rare while when we men have to undergo an uncomfortable examination that is intended for our own good, we become wimps.  Big time wusses, we are.

"If there is no family history of cancer at a young age, then it might be ok to skip it" the good doctor replied.  I could have hugged him for that, but then I am a man and we men stay away from expressing emotions.

Thankfully, I did not hug him.  Because that would have been premature.  The doctor added: "when you go in for a colonoscopy, you can tell the doctor to check your prostate also.  Make it a two-in-one."

I have not been to the doctor's office since then!  Colonoscopy?  Better kill me first!

There is good news for wusses like me:
Both the Cancer Council and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners have recently recommended doctors dispense with the rectal examination when screening for prostate cancer.
But those are professionals from down under, by which I mean Australia, of course.

Oh well, I would rather be one of the men who "would peacefully co-exist with their mild prostate cancers if they were left undiscovered."  Here's to hoping that a digital rectal exam will be done on me only if it were a court-ordered autopsy procedure ;)


6 comments:

Ramesh said...

We should examine the desensitisation of the medical profession (doctors, nurses, et al) to the medical procedures they do. I can understand that doing it every minute of the working day inevitably leads to desensitisation. But of us, laymen, unfortunate enough to be sentenced to something like what you have blogged about, it is one of the most terrifying moments.

Amidst all that clinical efficiency, there is hardly any reassurance, hardly any attempt to calm the fears. Nothing at all. You are left to stew in your own terror.

And if you are in "the old country", you wait for hours ,wallowing in that terror, for the privilege.

As the saying goes in Tamil, the greatest of wealth is a disease free life.

Sriram Khé said...

Yes, ... here in the US they are far more sensitive to the dignity of the patient than is typically the case in India. But then it takes a lot of education--not merely college degrees--to get to that stage.
All the doctors that I have ever had to meet with have been wonderful to me. It is just that I have an intense problem being in such a vulnerable situation, I suppose.

Even here in the US, there is a differential treatment of the people of certain class/skin color, though perhaps not as bad as in India. A few months ago, a university professor (Yale? I forget) wrote about her experience in the hospital--first when they didn't know that she was a university professor and then when they knew she was one. The dealing with the patient with dignity and respect was the case in the latter situation, obviously.

But then we all commit that error in our own professional and personal lives. I am as guilty as everybody else.

In this case, yes, the bottom-line is to have good health so that we don't have to go anywhere near doctors and hospitals. And in my case, to be gone at 75 before all that need arises big time ;)

Anne in Salem said...

Perhaps the saying is true - women have babies because men couldn't handle it.

By the way, you are not awake for the colonoscopy. The prep is worse than the procedure.

Sriram Khé said...

Oh yeah, no doubt about it--there is no way that we men will ever want to push out a soccer-ball through a small opening. I get nightmares thinking about even the catheter-in-the-penis that awaits me in my old age ;)

No thanks for the comforting detail on the colonoscopy ;)

Subha M said...

Doctors are the worst patients. Very difficult to make them agree for a checkup or further treatment.

Sriram Khé said...

From what I have heard and read, I would think so ... Hoping that the comment is not coming from close to home ...