Friday, October 29, 2010

Do it for your friends and family

You know folks; I always promised myself that I would never lay any kind of crap on anyone. You know, “smoking’s not good for you”, watching what you eat, losing weight, politics, religion, etc. Because truth is it could only lead to bad feelings with friends, and most people don’t like others telling them what they should be doing anyhow. And it’s also a good way to loose a lifelong friend and insult them at the same time. No not me, I’m never going to run that kind of business with my friends.

So that being said, all I’m going to do is tell you guys about my really horrible track record when it came to seeing a doctor for anything, and how after almost 35 years or so I’m slowly changing my ways. So maybe my kids just might have someone to push off a cliff in his wheelchair while wearing his old 70th pct Northstars jersey forty years from now. Holding an old rotted Sherwood goalie stick with a scotch 88 tucked in his yellowed urine stained underwear, yeah that just might be me goalie mask and all.

Ok, so the first time I ever saw a doctor was probably the day I was born in late December of 1957 over at Methodist Hospital in Park Slope. Just a slap on my ass and that’s it. Yeah, that one counts, and that’s number ONE. Then from that point I would assume that my mom had to have me checked every year until I finished high school back in 1975. Oh, but those were my “mommy” check-ups, and not generated by me, so lets not count them because she was calling for the appointments. And besides many of them took place at doctor Albin’s office, and who knew if he was a real doctor anyway?

So let’s start from scratch at 18 shall we?

Ok, doctor appointment number one was made after I had this ongoing temperature for about one month and my urine was as dark as apple juice. I was around 23 at the time and I just met my first wife who was my girlfriend at the time. Who knows what the hell I had? but a trip to doctor Martinucchi on Prospect Park West and a prescription from the Eagle Pharmacy cleared that up after a few days. And of course a follow up to find out what gave me my kidney infection was never ever followed up with. But the original point here was that it took me one month to see someone even though I had a fever and some “Motts” apple juice flowing out of you know what

Ok, that was 5 years from my last “mommy” appointment,
and I guess five years isn’t too bad huh?

Now, the next stretch is real long here, because I can’t even remember ever seeing a doctor for anything. There were bruises from pucks, Delco car batteries falling on my hand, coughs, fevers, cuts, but never a doctor ever being called. There was even a broken finger that I repaired myself after I got “freaked out” at this walk in medical office on McDonald Avenue. I remember this Bangladeshi doctor in a white coat saying:

“Oh, you have not been to a doctor in 20 years?,
it is time for a full check-up my friend”

With that I walked out and taped up my finger in my garage with an old scotch 88 I had sitting in my goalie glove. No, no check-up for me when I can do it myself.

But then that day came, and I was doomed…

I was playing some pick-up hockey in Fort Greene when I was about 43 years old; I made this awkward leg save and heard this strange tear on the side of my leg. For a moment I thought it was my goalie pants, but then the pain came and I knew it was trouble. I went home and put some ice on it, but it did little to ease the pain. By nightfall my knee was swollen and I knew this one was trouble.

Now, what would ever force me to go see a doctor?

A fever? No
A month-long cough? No
A sore throat? No

An injury that would affect me playing goalie? Yes.

So the deed was done, and after about 20 years I made an appointment to see a doctor at the Hospital for Special Surgery to check out my “internet assumed” cartilage tear.

“So who’s your primary care doctor?”
I think I might have actually said doctor Albin, even though the last time I saw him was probably 25 years ago.

“And when was the last time you had a check-up?”

“Oh, it’s been a while”, I said

“Well, we’re going to have to look you over to make sure we can do this procedure”

And they did, but not the whole nine yards, or the finger with the “KY” on it if you know what I mean. But still in my little mind I guess that was some kind of check-up.

Ok, so that was 25 years since the last one, and I guess not bad considering I never died.

Oh, and I guess I forgot to mention here that I got married again when I was 41 years old, and my wife Virginia was starting the old “time for a check-up” thing with me. But that hockey injury solved that problem, so I was covered.

“So when are you going to see a doctor?” said my wife.
“But I’m not sick, so why should I see one?”
“You see a doctor when you’re ok not always when you’re sick”
“It’s called being responsible as a father”

Oh yes, I forgot to mention here that I had a son now and he was two years old.

So I promised I would go and never went, the months rolled by then the years rolled on as well. Until finally I decided to see a doctor that a friend recommended in the city on the Upper East Side. That was 2001 and three years after my knee surgery.

And guess what folks, all was well and I was fine. Blood tests good, blood pressure, prostate and the rest. And once again I was good for another five years or so.

“So when are you going for your check-up again” said my wife.
“But I just went five years ago”
“Five years ago?”
“You’re supposed to go every year”

So once again it was time to make an appointment, and I did. And about five years to the day from my last appointment the doctor saw me again.

And guess what folks, all was well and I was fine. Blood tests good, blood pressure, prostate and the rest. And once again I was good for another five years or so.

“So when are you going for your check-up again” said my wife.
“But I just went five years ago”
“Five years ago?”
“You’re supposed to go every year”

So I made appointments, cancelled appointments, cancelled appointments and then finally went back to see my doctor as a "new patient". Thats because they threw out all my charts because I wasn't there in such a long time.

“You know when you’re fifty you should go for your colonoscopy Ron” said my doctor

“A what?”
“A colonoscopy” said my doctor.
“Here read this”
The doctor gave me this pamphlet on the procedure.

Well, fifty turned to fifty-one, fifty one to fifty two and then the questions from my wife once again.

“So when are you going for your colonoscopy?” said my wife

“Well, let me have my check-up first with my regular doctor and then I’ll schedule my colonoscopy”

And guess what folks, all was well and I was fine. Blood tests good, blood pressure, prostate and the rest. And once again I was good for another five years or so.

But not my colonoscopy, I need to do that sooner than later, because a promise is a promise. And I told my wife I would.

So I went to see the "colon" doctor for a consultation and he told me all about it. I made an appointment at the front desk before I walked out and I promised myself I would not "pussy" out of it. The appointment was one month to the day after my consultation. October 25th 2010.

And yes, I drank that funky drink, and yes I did not eat any solid food for one day. And yes I had a hard time sleeping the night before my colonoscopy because I was scared they would tell me right then and there that something was wrong. Because they will tell you right then and there after you wake up if something looks abnormal.

Well folks, on Monday October 25th at 7:30 am I finally had my colonoscopy, and all was fine. And it’s really not as bad as everyone says it is. And given the fact that many people die from colon cancer because they never have it checked, it’s well worth getting checked out before it’s too late. And if I can do this anyone can, because when it comes to going to doctors for anything I am the biggest six foot three two hundred pound infant in the world! But I did do it, and yes it counts.

Note: Colon cancer is the type of cancer that will just sneak up on you without you ever knowing you have it. You can feel great and run 25 miles a day, but it still may be brewing inside of you and waiting to kill you in a few years. You can eat right, not smoke, not drink and it will spread to your liver before you know it and be a stage four killer. So PLEASE do yourself this one favor, have a colonoscopy soon, because if something is found now, you WILL live to be an old person. And we do want you to be around and so do your friends and family.

Ron Lopez

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