In Doctor Godot's Waiting Room
Will de Kypia

New prints on the wall.
Sailboats at rest in the harbor.

A nautical theme appropriate for the patients
becalmed here. Hoping that a good report—
medical, not meteorological—raises a breeze
to fill those sagging sails so we might resume
our normal passage across the sea of life.

Meanwhile, we can peruse the usual suspects
to be found in any respectable doctor’s office.

Golf World.

Tennis World.

The Wide World of Yachting.


Plus a few unusual suspects.

Savage Investing—no, it's Savvy Investing,
really need to get my eyes checked again.

Terminal Geriatrics, too close to home for this patient.

The Rod of Asclepius will no doubt pound
the very latest medical news into our skulls.

___“Flex the Sex: Kegels for Men.”

___“Pneumonia: Your Last Best Friend.” 

___“Twenty-Four Essential Medical Tests.”

They don’t do the annual physical like the old days.
You peed, stepped on the scale, said “ah,” coughed,
kicked, and got your reward: a clean bill of health.

Done, safe for another year.

Now they torment you with their four-and-twenty
tests. Slap on the cuff when you walk in the door,
inform you your blood pressure is up again, then
draw some blood for more tests. Vampires, they
suck so much blood we all should be anemic.

After reaching a certain age, a man knows
he must measure out his remaining years in
medical examinations and procedures.

So many of this test and so many of that, each
documenting the ongoing depredations of time.

Until he fails the final examination and the ultimate
physician requires that he settle his account in full.

We begin the testing process with our primary
care physician who orders a CBC. More blood.

EEG, nothing wrong with my brain.

EKG, how ticks the old ticker?

There are thyroid and pre-diabetes screenings,
a fecal occult blood test—Lovecraft would love
it—and the double-contrast barium enema.
Bubble, bubble, my innards are in trouble.

Colonoscopy every ten years or sigmoidoscopy
every five, that's a bit Freudian.

Are you or have you ever been a smoker? 
Spiral CT scan for lung cancer, yeah, I’ve seen
lung cancer. The ankle-brachial index and the
carotid artery ultrasound for stroke, maybe.

Transferrin? The TIBC? To be an informed
patient you have to go to med school.

At least I have insurance, good insurance.
You hear about people without, like…
Who was it?

I’m forever half-remembering things.

Why is a brainpan like a bedpan?
They’re both full of crap. Ha, ha.

Tests results used to be simple.
Cholesterol was high or it was not high.

But things got complicated with this good and bad
cholesterol stuff. The LDL/HDL ratio, triglyceride levels,
three main types of lipids, the fasting lipoprotein test.

Too complicated for me.

Next test, the aneurysm scan. Why?
You’re cruising at 60 miles an hour, a sudden
blowout, it’s over. What a great way to go.
I want that one. Or else I want a gun.

The gender tree tells me nothing transvaginal
needed. And no CA 125 or Pap smear. Instead
I get the PSA as well as the dreaded DRE.

Don't forget the various medical specialists.
First the dentist.

"A biennial dental exam every six months.”
Sure. However “biennial” manages to be
simultaneously ambiguous and superfluous.
Make it “biannual," better yet "semiannual,”
then delete.

Ophthalmologist, previously noted.

See your dermatologist once a year.
Actinic keratoses. Three main skin cancers.
So much time in the sun, serve me right if…

There are even some do-it-yourself tests.
Monthly testicular self-exam in the shower,
always popular. Oral self-exam in mirror
for signs of erythroplakia or leukoplakia,
see illustrations below. Less popular.

Reading about these afflictions could turn
you into a hypochondriac obsessively reciting
a catalog of mostly delusional complaints.

“Doctor, there was blood on my toothbrush
again this morning. My bowels are always
loose. The lesion in my soul is still growing.”

I don't need delusions.

An old man going under the knife is last season’s chaff
ready for burning. Not much heat to give, even less light,
mostly bad smells and the kind of of smoke that might
leave a smudge on some of his friends for a little while.

Hmm…I think that is quite enough
medical melancholia for one office visit.

Let's look at some more
slicks already pawed over
by a plague of sick folk in dire need of distraction.

The newsweaklies, almost
People clones.

Sports Illustrated, not the swimsuit issue.

National Geographic, the same as always.

The New Yorker, changed a lot.

Truth Fishing—no, it's…

_____________Pardon?
_____________Yes. Yes I am.
_____________Thanks, I can find it.
_____________This is not my first time here.

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Escutcheon
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