“Welcome to your mid 40’s!”
This is what I heard the universe shout at me when I started the process for my very first big boy physical. I’m not just talking about the “turn your head and cough” nonsense I got when I was a kid. Or was that in a dream? This is that onerous, multi-visit rigmarole to see exactly how you’re holding up at your supposed halfway mark. The litany of tests includes the standard knuckle taps on the back and chest, an EKG, a series of ex-rays, various needles, a do-it-yourself stool check (lucky me), a 24-hour urine collection and of course, the always entertaining two-finger Moon River (watch Fletch for more details).
Allow me to elaborate on the aforementioned urine collection.
Okay, I need to pee in the above container for 24 hours. Got it! Seems simple, right? Well, there are a couple challenges…
First, I had a painful surgery last fall to remove a Tic-Tac-sized kidney stone that was lodged in one of my ureters. My clever urologist described it as using a laser beam to destroy the Death Star. I found that to be a funny reference and hated his fucking guts at the same time. So now I’m drinking more water than I ever have in my life, at least 80 ounces per day. Throw in a steady diet of alcohol and coffee and I’m a human fountain. I sometimes wake up three times during the night and it’s not to check my email.
Second, the urine needs to stay cold. Hmmm, well, this giant jug of bio-hazard isn’t getting stowed with our main food supply, so off to the lonely garage fridge it goes. The one we were, up until now, only using for breast milk and desperation beers. The garage, by the way, is two stories down from my bed. And with that, I give you the visual that will haunt your dreams for years to come. It involves me, half-asleep, traipsing down to the garage multiple times a night and dropping trou by the light of an open refrigerator. I bet you can fill in the rest. I sure did.
The good news is the majority of my tests have come back positive. Wait…uh…I mean the results are good! I’m a healthy 44 year-old and that gives me a huge sigh of relief. I lost my father to lung cancer back in 2005 and just a few years later, lost my mother-in-law and grandmother-in-law within 11 months of one another. You would think those life-changing events would’ve gotten my stubborn ass in for this physical sooner, but they didn’t. I was the typical guy. Ehhh, I’ll be fine. It’s just a cough. Screw that. It’ll go away. Doctors schmoctors.
It was falling in love with Ben and Sam that changed my attitude. I know they’ll have to cope with losing me eventually, but in the meantime, I want to hog every possible moment that I can with them. I want to have a front row seat at their graduations and make embarrassing toasts at their weddings. I want to hold their babies and change the tennis balls on my walker so I can make it to the first dance recital or little league game. And if getting all that means I have to occasionally pee in an orange plastic jar, I’m down. I’ll do it over and over.
Just don’t use the fridge in my garage anytime soon.