Saturday, 7 May 2011

The Medic concludes: donate my body to science fiction

free clip art medical
No history of mental illness?
I'll ask you again AFTER you've seen
the bill for this appointment..."
I've had my US Visa medical and it was a brief, dull and expensive affair.  The Doctor seemed more interested in completing the paperwork and verifying my identity than checking my actual health.  The physical examination of my back, abdomen and chest must have been over in less than two minutes.  The long-awaited external genital inspection was merely a brief "front mooning" (sorry).  I also had a chest x-ray - only the second x-ray I've ever had in my life, the first being for my Japanese visa.  I'm sure that exposure to x-rays for non-emergency purposes is unhealthy but then I don't hold any of the cards here, so I'd better shut up. 

The highlight of the visit was stripping naked to the waist and sitting in a large robe that would not close tightly enough in a waiting room with people who were fully dressed for work.  Outside I could see people going merrily about their business on Marylebone Lane and I remembered that Hank and I walked down that street every morning on the way to our respective offices.  Never once had I thought to look up into the window of the Doctor's waiting room and see if I could spot semi-naked people.  The barber across the road, however, clearly knew what he could see in his customers' mirrors and - perhaps my mind was playing tricks with me here - he seemed to be smirking.

Only a foreign medical appointment could get me into such a fix.

I thought of David Sedaris's adventures in France.  At least in London the Doctor and I both spoke the same language.  If you've never experienced the joy of healthcare in a foreign jurisdiction, David Sedaris's short story, published here in the New Yorker, will make you weep with laughter.  And for the sake of continuity, Sedaris is Number 25 on, subject of my blog entry of April 23rd, and yep, Hank and I have indeed paid good money to hear Mr Sedaris read from his own books. 

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