Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Uncomfortable Moments

I have known Frank for over 40 years. He is one of the nicest, most caring persons I have ever met. He takes a genuine interest in my well being and that of my family. However, as he now attempts to engage me in conversation, I find his banter to be unbelievably annoying. I am having an incredibly difficult time paying any attention to what he is saying. I know he is trying to distract me from the events which are transpiring, but his efforts are an abysmal failure. Frank is my doctor and is in the midst of performing a biopsy on me to determine whether I have a serious problem with my prostate.

Have you ever tried to make small talk when somebody is doing something to some part of you that violates ever principle of human decency? Could you ever imagine in 7th grade that years later you would be opening yourself up to your friend in ways that are even hard to put down on paper? Was there ever a moment where you envisioned discarding every shred of privacy and exposing your inner most secrets to someone with whom the most important conversation you once shared was about the French homework for the next day? Me neither.

So, as Frank discussed what was happening with his sons, when he was going on vacation, and talked of another upcoming season of Yankee baseball, all I really heard was "this will only hurt for a few seconds". While Frank was in his world, I was in another place, much starker and, every 30 seconds or so, much colder. I found myself in a holding pattern, counting the number of times Frank had taken little parts of me, never to be returned. I was told there were to be 12 of these moments, and I never so badly wanted to be able to perform a fast count. It was like in touch football where you were supposed to count slowly to 5 Mississippi before rushing the passer, but somehow 1 through 5 were combined in a blur. I was trying to get to the quarterback as quickly as possible, but I was stuck at the line of scrimmage.

As Frank droned on, I tried my best to be responsive, and even cheerful. I did not want him to think that I was a baby, and that I needed my wife , who was in the next room, to provide me with any support. In fact, Frank had asked if I wanted my wife to be there during the procedure to hold my hand. I had told him that this would not be necessary, and made as though the mere suggestion was laughable. Inside though I was secretly thinking I could use all the reinforcements possible.

Even while I was sure that time had slowed down in the room, I knew that the reality was that someday Frank would release me from his clutches and I would be free. As I finally counted the 12th snip, I discovered that I was once again able to take a deep breath. After telling Frank that it was not as bad as I thought, and that on a scale of 1 to 10 ( 10 being the worst) that the discomfort was a 1 or, at most, a 2, I got up from the examining table. I cleaned myself up, tried to locate my dignity that I had put on a shelf for the past half hour, and got dressed. I walked out into the waiting room and greeted my wife, who was most glad to see that I had survived the procedure and appeared to be intact.

Frank came out shortly thereafter to tell me that everything looked good , but that we would have to wait about a week to be sure. He was going on vacation but would have the results on his return. However, Frank could see behind the feeble macho charade that I had attempted to exhibit . Thus, in the middle of his vacation, Frank called in to his office to get my results as soon as possible. I received a call from Frank, from out of the country, notifying me that I was fine. I told him I had not been worried about it at all. I then uncrossed my fingers, and let out a big sigh of relief. I am supposed to go back for a follow up with Frank in about a month. I think I just lost his phone number and address.

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