December 24, 2013

I think Christina likes me

A READER IN FLORIDA wants to know how my actinic keratosis is getting on. (That’s the stuff you get on the back of your hands after years of handling the tiller in hot sunshine.) He also wants to know how I knew I had it. Well, I didn’t, actually. I only found out after our nice government decided we should all get a free “wellness” check-up once a year, both mental and physical.

I duly presented myself at the doctor’s office where a nurse asked me to remember three unrelated words — house, car, apple — and made me draw a picture of a clock at 9:45.  She rejected my cunning offer to draw a digital clock and said I had to draw one with hands, which I duly did, although it’s harder than you might think. I was congratulating myself on passing the test when she asked me to repeat the three words she’d asked me to remember.

Well, I didn’t do too badly. I remembered the first one, anyway, and she wrote down on a piece of paper that I could satisfactorily tie my own shoelaces and find my way home. Then she asked when last I had seen a dermatologist for a check-up.  I said I couldn’t remember — not because of memory loss or anything, but because it had been a long time.

So off I went to a dermatologist. She turned out to be a lady dermatologist called Christina. As is only natural before a shy person like me is required to show one’s naked body to a strange female, I looked her up on the internet. She was in her thirties and rather good-looking, but I read with some foreboding that she had done her internship in a military hospital in Texas, so I resolved to be on my best behavior because I know that military doctors have no bedside manners and expect to be obeyed immediately.

Her nurse gave me one of those ridiculous hospital gowns with string ties and told me to get undressed.

When Christina entered the room I saluted and drew myself up mannishly to my full five-foot-whatever inches. 

“You’ve got your gown on back-to-front,” she said. 

“I can’t tie knots behind my back,” I explained. “It’s a man thing.”

She checked me out all over.  Then she took both my hands in hers and looked deep into my eyes. I looked back and blushed.

“You’ve got actinic keratosis,” she said, pointing to little bits of dried skin on the back of my hands.

I’d read about that, and I wanted to impress her with my knowledge. “That’s the stuff that makes jellyfish glow at night, isn’t it?” I said.

“No, it’s a precursor to skin cancer,” she said. “I’ll prescribe some ointment. You can get dressed now. I want to see you again. Come back in six months.”

“Yes, ma’am,” I snapped, reaching for my drawers.

I take this to mean she likes me and I look forward to our next meeting. I am very pleased with Obamacare.

As for my actinic keratosis, it’s gone now.  I’ll have to invent some other excuse if I want to keep seeing Dr. Christina.

Holiday greetings
Happy holidays to all my faithful readers.  And here’s wishing you health, peace, and prosperity throughout the New Year.

Today’s Thought
We are rapidly becoming a land of hypochondriacs, from the ulcer-and-martini executives in the big city to the patent medicine patrons in the sulfur-and-molasses belt.
— Dr. Vincent Askey, former President, American Medical Association

If you can’t fix it with a hammer, you’ve got an electrical problem.

(Drop by every Monday, Wednesday, Friday for a new Mainly about Boats column.)

1 comment:

biglilwave said...

Actinic Keratosis...sounds like a great name for a boat. I'm naming my next boat that. And the dry peeling varnish on the boat's teak will only live up to its name.