It's too bad I couldn't have my brainwaves type all this stuff out as it was happening.
  1. They deliberately put Exorcist stairs in this building to force you to use the surely-diseased hand rails.
  2. I never know what to say to secure a walk-in, so I just wore scrubs and said the word "epigastric," a word I learned from The Fugitive.
    They told me to come back in an hour.
  3. Because I had to wait an hour for an open appointment, I waited in the optometrist's office down the hall. They had a functioning TV.
  4. When it got closer to 10:00, I moved back over to the doctor's office, and just after me, in walked a slightly younger woman.
    Her voice was all but inaudible, yet it was understood perfectly by the receptionists. I have been told I am the world's worst whisperer (I KNOW, RIGHT), so not hearing what this woman was saying made me jealous, but in a "teach me" way.
  5. I wonder how many couples found love while sitting in a waiting room.
    What with the TV being broken and the Otis Redding Pandora channel playing and all. How many days would I have to sit here to meet The One? Could it be Ms. Inside Voice over there?
  6. She looks miserable and I instantly feel better about my own problems.
    Despite a prognosis that is sure to be colon cancer, I have maintained a sunny disposition that even the non-sick would be wise to follow.
  7. There is a blood pressure scare.
    I told the nurse to give it a minute, because I have performance anxiety when women in floral print put me in restraints. Sure enough, I passed her tests and got to proceed to the next round.
  8. I explain my symptoms to the nurse, intending to keep it brief, but in the end, telling her about all the times I turned down Sure Things because I was too worried about my tummy grumbles.
    She writes everything down. She stops at a word, like she's unsure, so I spell "ejaculate in solitude" for her.
  9. A long wait in the exam room.
    I'm sure she's out there violating nurse-patient privilege with those four people who never do anything but sit at their computers facing each other. I think they might all be robot torsos, connected into the chairs.
  10. I whistle the theme from LINCOLN, one of my go-to whistlin' tunes.
    Didn't Lincoln also have stomach issues? IF ONLY HE WAS ABLE TO GO TO THE BATHROOM THAT NIGHT.
  11. My stomach is making a ton of noise, of course when the doctor is out of the room.
    Oh wait, that's just the guy hacking up a lung in the room next door. I hear my nurse tell him "I hope you feel better soon." She didn't say that to me. What did I do to her, I whisper to myself, which is of course loud enough that the guy in the next room stops coughing so he can listen.
  12. Was Kevin from The Office the model for this??
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  13. A friend texts me as I wait the half hour for the doctor.
    "There's no way you have an ulcer," she tells me. "You're too nonchalant." I tell her my joke about WebMD auto-printing out a leaflet about colon cancer when I typed in my symptoms, and she says "You don't have colon cancer." I say, "It is more likely that than AIDS, which was a 'Recommended If You Like' on the last page of the pamphlet." She laughs and I think to myself that maybe I'm not sick, maybe I'm just sad that no one has laughed at my jokes recently.
  14. Finally, the doctor.
    He laughs too heartily when I tell him I think it's colon cancer, so he doesn't have anywhere to go laughter-wise when I throw my likely overindulgence with Count Chocula into the equation.
  15. He presses on my stomach as hard as he can and asks, "Does this hurt?"
  16. He tells me to sit up and begins to wash his hands.
    Jesus Christ, is this it? Is he prepping for the rectal exam? The box of blue gloves is right there. I hear "You Give Good Love" by Whitney Houston playing on Pandora in the hall. I've always loved how she hits the word "baby" in that, and now I'm going to think about that soulful vocal whenever I remember my first intentional finger in the ass. This is unfair to both Whitney Houston's legacy and also the potential sexual fetishes of my future self.
  17. I ask him as he's drying off, "Hey, can we wait to hear the next song?"
    He turns around, confused. "Maybe switch to Vivaldi, or some Windham Hill sampler?" He laughs and bypasses the gloves, instead sitting back at his computer, where doctors spend most of their time these days. Wait, did he just wash his hands after touching my stomach? My stomach is clean as hell.
  18. He orders an X-ray at an outside clinic.
    Two further bills (they charge for each part of your journey in America, as the X-ray technicians are independent contractors or whatever the hell).
  19. On my way out, I run into the nurse who checked me in.
    She finally tells me, "I hope you feel better." As we pass, I give her my half Harrison Ford smile, which absolutely looks way cooler in my head, "Me too." I overhear the doctor checking his voicemail on speaker. He has no new messages. In that moment, I feel badly for him, as I instantly imagined they were personal messages and not a thousand worryworts begging for appointments.
  20. I slay them during the X-ray.
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    Would I sound like a hypochondriac if I told you the technician and I recognized each other from my last X-ray in February? I asked if anyone came in on Halloween in their costume, like on all the TV doctor shows, and when she said no, I kicked myself for not thinking of wearing my banana costume until just then. Why am I always more interesting around the people I don't ever want to see??
  21. I will hear the results on Monday, but got a copy of my X-ray on a DVD anyway.
    I looked at it when I came home, and everything in there looks like a goddamned nightmare. I am no doctor, of course, so I'll just wait to hear the news from him. Back home growing up, any time anyone in our family went to the doctor, my aunt, a receptionist at the rehab clinic, would find the results almost immediately and tell us, sometimes days before the doctor would call us himself.
  22. Late addendum: record store edition
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    To celebrate another triumphant day of adulthood worry, I retreated to my local record store. Flipping through the stacks, what did I see? I took it as a sign.