When you’re in your twenties and you go to the doctor because your body stops behaving according to the understood specifications, the usual approach is for the doctor to give you a prescription and a few hints on the value of sobriety and regular sleep.
But once you reach A Certain Age, the same malfunction leads the doctor to conclude that you’re probably nearly dead and your only hope is to undergo a battery of tests so bizarre that they border on practical jokes. This is how I spent my Monday night.
I was sent to the hospital, where they bombarded me with x-rays. Then, as if I was some fraternity pledge, they made me chug a half gallon of nasty liquid. In this case, it was “orange” flavored barium sulfate, which they thoughtfully keep in a refrigerator at one or two degerees Kelvin. I could use many words to describe that drink, none of which are synonymous with “tasty”. Ingesting that much freezing goo pretty much robbed my body of the capacity to generate heat. I made sure to keep moving regularly so that none of the hospital staff would mistake me for a cadaver and have me wheeled off to the morgue.
Once my body temperature climbed high enough to match that of the room, they made me take my pants off for another round of x-rays. After that came an iodine injection, and the technician retreated behind a screen (to laugh at me in secret, I’m sure) while I dealt with the consequences of that. This was followed by another blast of radiation, which seemed sort of tame by this point. After that I guess they were out of ideas for weird stuff they could do to me, since they gave me back my pants and let me go.
The hazing is over now, I’m home, and I’m wearing pants again, but I could think of many ways I’d rather spend an evening. I expect the doctor to call in a few days and tell me to stop being such a sissy.
I don’t really begrudge them zapping me and filling me with strange substances, but I do miss the lost time. A whole evening! With NO INTERNET! I nearly died. Sheesh.
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