Known Bodily Imperfections

I have a physical today. The first one in quite a while. The first one with my new doctor. It may be my last one.

I thought I’d try to make it easy on my doc. After all, I’m all for efficiency. So instead of forcing him to ask me a bunch of questions, I prepared a document listing everything I thought might be pertinent. I titled the document Known Bodily Imperfections.

I tried to be comprehensive. But I’m not sure it was the best approach. I ended up with a list of 10. For heaven’s sake, 10!!! Should I go to Red Alert?

I tried to eliminate some items to get the list down to where it jived with my self-perception or dreams (see image). But I couldn’t. Not if I was going to be honest with myself. Or my doctor. So I’m sticking with 10. How f**king depressing.

I then categorized the imperfections between things I can do something about and things I can’t. The bad back I inherited from my father is an example of the latter (particularly painful of late). Thanks dad. The good news is, I don’t feel guilty about it. The bad news is, there’s nothing I can do to change it (although I can try to manage it). Obviously, it makes sense to focus on the things I can change or influence materially.

A few things aren’t easy calls. Should I have another surgery to have the plate removed from my shoulder or put up with the discomfort and intermittent pain? I’m sure the surgeon would vote for surgery (cha-ching, cha-ching), but I’m not so eager. Surgery entails risks. Other things are easier calls but harder to implement. Weight reduction is a classic example.

I also scanned the list to see how many of the items were age related. I count six. As I see it, the alternative is a premature death. I’ll put up with the six.

The process got me to thinking whether I would have done anything different if I could live life over. The answer is “yes, of course.” At least four of the imperfections could have been avoided or alleviated with better choices. That leaves six of 10 for which I bear no responsibility. There, I feel better already.

Finally, it occurred to me this was a list of known conditions. But the doc most likely will do a clinical exam, including the dreaded prostate exam. (I’m pretty sure he won’t take my word for it that it’s fine.)

Undoubtedly, he’ll also order some blood tests. What if he finds something else — knowledge that will transform a condition from an unknown to a known?

Too bad. My list isn’t going to be any longer than 10, so there’s no room for anything additional unless I can knock off one or more of the items from my list of knowns.

Which makes me wonder, why am I having this physical?


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