Now Turn Your Head and Cough
How women keep men alive in spite of themselves

Just had a long overdue visit to the doctor last week. I’ve been avoiding it for quite a while because who wants to hear someone being negative about your bad lifestyle choices every time you see them?

Just remember, some of you are destined to be involved with a man-child who has irresponsibility hardcoded into his DNA.

Let’s face it, a lot of men suck when it comes to health-related stuff. We don’t exercise, we eat poorly, we’re overweight, and we don’t like going to the doctor. In general, we’re terrible about scheduling for preventative care. Because, unless you’re into it or feeling adventurous, no one relishes getting his balls fondled by a veritable stranger followed by a gloved finger up the rectum. (I’m still not convinced this isn’t some form of hazing on the part of doctors.) I did have a colonoscopy last year (*shudder* You can read about that nightmare here), but I think the last time I was in for a physical was in 2015. And before that? Probably 2007.

Masters of procrastination

Skipping our annual physical might not be wise, but on the other hand, no news is good news, right? That mentality is why we single men tend to live 10 years fewer than our married brethren. Most wives don’t put up with that nonsense. (My co-worker’s wife being an exception — He hasn’t been to the doctor in 20 years. Maybe she’s hoping for an insurance payout?)

Young single ladies are probably thinking there’s no way in hell they’re bugging a grown-ass man to take care of his health. Just remember, some of you are destined to be involved with a man-child who has irresponsibility hardcoded into his DNA.

Which brings up a point: how much time you’ve put into the relationship will also factor into your level of involvement. A woman who’s been in a relationship any length of time knows what’s at stake. If her man is the irresponsible type and she leaves his healthcare to him, next thing she knows, he’s died from an ingrown toenail. And there’s no way she’s put in all that time to train him to put the toilet seat down and doublecheck the grocery list only to have to start the whole process over with someone new. Not just that — what woman wants to start dating again and willingly dive back into a sea of troglodytic males looking for that one pearl? Nagging her man to make his appointments is just her way of protecting her investment. (Also, she might, you know, actually like him.)

Sick man in bed with thermometer in mouth

Something else to consider. A woman doesn’t want to hear all the whining that’s going to occur if her significant other really does get sick. There’s no way in hell she’s letting some minor ailment turn into a medical crisis followed by months or years of perpetual complaining and trying to get out of chores or have her cater to his needs. (Don’t believe some men are waiting to take advantage of these opportunities? Let fellow blogger Kieran disabuse you of this notion.)

Poor choices

When men do get sick, we tend to make things way worse by refusing to go in for treatment until we don’t have a choice. For example, I got an ear infection two years ago, which I did get treated at an urgent care (eventually, after it felt like someone was stabbing me with an icepick). The antibiotics knocked out the infection, but also killed all the good bacteria which let a yeast colony move in and set up shop. My ear started oozing and filled up with this weird viscous discharge.

…the Houseguest had been on my ass as relentless as the Terminator, bugging me to make an appointment.


It was disgusting. Naturally, I waited for like 3 months before going to the doctor. (The Houseguest wasn’t renting from me at the time so could only point out I was an idiot when she was in town visiting.) I finally saw a specialist after I couldn’t hear anymore, worried that I was permanently deaf in my right ear, but the doctor cleared up the problem in about 10 minutes.

I didn’t realize until recently how dumb I was. The Houseguest’s good friend almost died from an ear infection three months ago when it turned into bacterial meningitis overnight. In fact, the ER doctor told the friend’s wife her hubby probably wasn’t going to make it (he did, luckily).

Man, there but for the grace of God go I.

Taking action

So, I had been meaning to go to the doctor for a while for a checkup, but primarily for my anxiety issue which had flared up. And the Houseguest had been on my ass as relentless as the Terminator, bugging me to make an appointment. She had grown tired of me pointing out my various minor ailments over the past year. (Plus, now that I think about it, if I croaked, there’d go her cheap rent.) I still didn’t make the appointment, but at least she kept it on my mind.

Then, one day at work, I was super stressed out after two weeks of hating my life as a copywriter, and my anxiety got the best of me. I was in the agency manager’s office talking to her about the pressure and how my brain felt hijacked when next thing I knew, I had trouble catching my breath. Basically, I was having a panic attack. She listened calmly and next thing I knew, she had handed me her smartphone. It was already ringing her doctor’s office.

“Make yourself an appointment,” she ordered me. So, left with no choice, I did.

The hassle of revolving doctors

One of the reasons I’m bad about going to the doctor (other then being an inveterate procrastinator) is the constant changing of my healthcare plan, which means changing my doctor if he’s not on the plan. The patient/doctor relationship is constantly rebooting, which I hate. Every year, my plan seems to change. Employers are always shopping for a better deal as insurance companies jack up their rates. I’d actually been on Obamacare for part of last year when I was freelancing, which worked out pretty good. (Except the insurance company’s website was a nightmare and I never actually got a primary care doctor.)

So I couldn’t find my last doctor on my current plan, so I had to find a new practitioner.

The agency manager’s doctor is a woman, so I just made the appointment for the anxiety. I could save money by getting my physical at the same time, but to save us (me) the embarrassment, I decided to skip it and wait till I found a male doctor.

At the doctor’s office

Since I wasn’t getting the physical, I was a little surprised when they wanted to take blood. Of course, once I mentioned my poor diet and how long it had been since my last physical, the doctor thought it wise to do some lab work.

The doctor also offered me a flu shot. I hadn’t gotten one recently, but the last time I got the flu was a doozy, so I said sure. Then, after I mentioned a minor puncture wound in my foot and how my tetanus vaccination was probably out of date, she asked when I’d had my last tetanus shot.

crazed looking doctor with a hypodermic syringe
Let’s go with the small needle.

“1990-ish?” I replied with zero confidence in my answer, so she asked if I wanted one of those as well. Having just read how the tetanus bacteria is all around us (but hard to contract), difficult to treat and possibly fatal, I signed up for that one too. Now, I hate needles, but they must have improved needle technology since my last tetanus shot because I didn’t even feel it when the nurse gave me the injection and barely noticed the flu shot. The last time I got a tetanus shot (or maybe it was an MMR?), they jabbed me in the ass with a cold dose and what felt like a harpoon and I limped around for a day with a sore butt cheek and leg.

But this time, no problem, except the blood draw could have gone a little smoother. Though even that wasn’t too bad. The doctor wrote a prescription for some meds to help even me out and sent me on my way. I don’t know why I’d been putting everything off.

Now I just need to make an appointment for my physical so that the doctor can snap on a rubber glove and haze me.

You know, I’ll get back to that a little later. After I find a primary care doctor.

One of these days.

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18 thoughts on “Now Turn Your Head and Cough
How women keep men alive in spite of themselves

  1. Very true that men don’t go to doctors until they are half-dead. They also tend to diagnose their condition themselves, according to criteria that they only know. The mysteries of beind a man…

      1. Ha ha! Exactly! My father had been self-diagnosing himself for years, and ended up in hospital for a serious surgery he would have avoided if he hadn’t been playing doctor.

    1. Sean D. Layton

      My uncle did the same thing and wouldn’t listen to my aunt. Next thing he was having major surgery and spent time in the hospital.

      1. Sean D. Layton

        Yes, it was well written and an eye-opener. I wrote a review on Amazon yesterday (It’s by wordcreatr).

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