In my earlier days as a “typical male,” although my wife might argue that I’m more atypical than most, I was not as health-conscious as I probably should have been. And, while I never took up smoking, didn’t drink alcohol, and spent my days working at relatively non-life-threatening desk jobs, I also didn’t spend much time at the doctor’s office. Now, at first blush, one might think, ‘Good for him, he was never seriously ill and didn’t injure himself sufficiently to require hospitalization.’ But that’s not the real point here.
Perhaps I should rephrase. Like many young men, I NEVER visited the doctor; not, at least, until I met my future wife and she began inquiring on all manner of embarrassing topics. Even during our first few months of dating, the ever-cautious Mary Ellen asked a LOT of questions, all across the board. But what embarrassed me most was admitting that I had gone nearly two decades without ever having seen a doctor; not once. Shocking, right? Yes, but probably not atypical.
Actually, it’s not quite true that I never saw any medical professional during those years. I’ve always been big on dental health (with thanks to Drs. Noonan and Alderisio), so semi-annual dental check-ups were not part of my avoidance MO, probably because I’ve never been prone to tooth decay. But when it came to internal medicine — general practitioners, ENTs, gastroenterologists, and all of those other helpful doctoring types — never once in more than 19 years did I feel the chill of a cold stethoscope upon my skin. Continue reading →