So, I have a serious medical condition. It's called Fried-Bender Syndrome, and it's very rare, and very painful, and chronic, and non-specific, AND asymptomatic. But just 'cause there are no signs of the disease doesn't mean I don't have it.
I know I suffer from this malady because I self-diagnosed. I'm qualified, you see, to make a diagnosis because my wife is qualified to make a diagnosis. She's qualified because her sister is a doctor. I believe technically that makes me a Doctor-in-Law, but that sound pretentious or distant --off putting -- and I want my patients to feels like I care. Just call me Doctor.
Another reason I'm qualified to make this diagnosis is because I made up the name for the syndrome; making up a syndrome name has certain perks, naming rights if you will. Right number one...diagnosis authority. Voila.
So this condition, you may not have heard of it, right? There are random and disconnected symptoms. This is TRUE, I swear. I get disabling stomach pains. Like the feeling of getting kicked in the lemons, but higher. It always comes on at night. This little freight-train of joy -- thankfully -- happens infrequently. Over the eleven years I've had it, I've gotten pretty good at hearing the train whistle way off in the distance. I can hustle the kids off to bed, get some work done, say good night to my wife, and so forth. Then I find the bathroom farthest away from anyone and barf my brains out. It usually lessens the pain. Then I brush my teeth.
I'm not bulimic, but thanks for the concern. I like eating as much as the next guy, may be a little more, if you know what I mean. But after putting up with this weird little ritual for two-three years, I talked with my wife about my concern. Remember, she's almost a doctor. We looked at diet. Nothing. Stress. Not really. Food allergies. Nope. Years went by. The kids grew up and started to noticed that once in awhile Dad puked.
So when my kids noticed my syndrome, I had had enough of putting up with Fried-Bender and set an appointment with my doctor. He actually went to med school - apparently that provides additional skills that my wife and I did not possess - who knew?
This is where it gets awkward for my audience. The fellas out there know that when you approach 40, anytime you tell your doctor that your digestive system is out of whack, they are gonna check the Exit Door. That scares us (the man-boys). And the chicas? Not a lot of sympathy coming my way, given that doctors prod around their pipes from like 13 years old on up.
But man-boys, we are conditioned. Especially if you are old enough to have seen Fletch. I see anyone put on a Latex glove, I hear strands of Moon River in my head. Every time. School nurse puts on a glove to help a first grader with a bloody nose? Moon River. Watching C.S.I. and that chick that used to be on West Wing puts on a glove to pick-up a shell casing? Moon River.
So, in the days ahead of my appointment, The Voices start in. "You are gonna get probed. You are gonna get probed by a 300 hundred pound man with a goatee. You are gonna get probed by a 300 pound woman woman with a mustache. Something is gonna get stuck in the Exit Door and you're gonna end up in the Emergency Room, ass-n'ked, face down, with the hand of some orderly STUCK in the Badlands." Yeah, The Voices can be cruel.
So, I drive on over to the good doctor's office. I'm controlling The Voices and I really want to figure out this stomach pain thing. Enough already, right? I'm sweating lightly. Tell the doctor about my history and the first thing he says is, "We better check your lower G.I." Okay, I knew it was coming, so I shush The Voices. I'm a bit startled by his use of "we" but I'm good, I'm in control. I knew at least he was not gonna probe me. Come one, after years of med school and a successful practice, anal exam have to be the first thing a good doctor delegates. I'm right, because he says to me, "I'll go get the nurse-practitioner." The Voices scream, "Dead man walking. Here comes the pain. Here comes the humiliation." I begin to pray to God. I never pray, so I know the odds that God is listening to my frequency are not good. But I pray nevertheless. "Small fingers, small finger, small fingers. Blind man, small fingers, blind man, small fingers..."
Things go awry when the door opens. Apparently God hears my prayer but he has a very good sense of humor. Very clever guy, this God. Because into exam room number 5 walks the hottest medical staffer I have ever seen. M.I.L.F. Babe. Fantasy material. Sultry. And she has small hands, really pretty hands. The Voices love this! "A hot chick is gonna see you naked. Don't pop a wood..."
I'm married. I like being married. I have never been naked around another woman since I got married. I belong to my wife in really good ways. I'm old skool. But The Voices, they are bastards. "She's hot. Damn, she's hot. She's gonna like you. She's gonna lay her hands on you and you are gonna be naked. You, my friend, are gonna get seduced in exam room number five." The Voices even dig up some cheesy porn-soundtrack music to play in my head.
So, I'm on my side before I know it. Facing away from Nurse M.I.L.F., thank you GOD. She leans close to me and quietly says into my ear, "This will be easy." Oh, The Voices are going bananas now. "Wha-hoo! Bring it on!" And this one Little Voice I can barely hear says, "She sees all sort of asses everyday. This isn't fun for her. This is her job, dude. She isn't gonna find this awkward. Sure, if she has to stick her finger in someone's ass today, you might not be the worst. But NOTHING is going to HAPPEN." I focus on this one Little Voice.
Glove snaps. Moon River. I'm sweating. Nurse Hottie's hand on my hip. I stop breathing. EXIT DOOR breached. I am definitely not breathing. EXIT DOOR exited. Breathing again.
She leans in again and quietly says, "There you go. That wasn't too bad."
Sister, you have no idea.
I've decided to stick to self-diagnosis. The therapy for Fried-Bender is to lay off eating 5 pounds of french fries for my first and only meal at dinner time, add some fiber, and drink more water. It seems to be working. Maybe I am a doctor.