Kathy Gibbons: Putting squeamish to the test

Kathy Gibbons

If you’re squeamish about bodily functions — human or pet — you might want to skip this.

I’m squeamish about doctors. When I was a kid, my parents took different routes so I wouldn’t realize until too late that’s where we were going. I’d wrap myself around telephone poles to thwart being dragged in.

As an adult, after moving to Traverse City, I was lucky to find a couple of great specialists and a good personal physician who I was with for years. Then she moved.

Being relatively healthy, I was an orphan when it came to having my own doctor after that — and didn’t mind.

But a few years in, I decided: you gotta have a doctor — and set out to find one.

The first noticed swelling around an ankle that I did not see. He said I needed compression socks at night. Right.

The next one wouldn’t do a medical exam on the first visit. I wasn’t told this ahead and couldn't keep taking time off from work. I didn’t go back.

Then I found my current doctor. I told her I was there because I knew I should have physicals; beyond that, if there was something I didn’t want to do, I wouldn’t. Colonoscopy was top on my list — actually, it was the whole list.

(Aside: No need for lectures here. I know.)

Each year I see her. She asks. I decline.

This year, she countered with the idea of a mail-in screening. That sounded painless and I agreed.

When a box with an intertwined C and inverted G clearly visible on the outside arrived, I set it aside. No rush.

A week later, I opened it. I don’t know what I was expecting. Saliva on a slide? A prick to the finger?

I read the instructions and was completely grossed out — not just for myself, but for United Parcel Service. Do you know what kind of stuff is shipped along with our Amazon orders and cheese-of-the-month?

And it’s all same day. So after the stars align one morning, you're supposed to gather what they want (cue gag reflex), add chemistry they send (gag again), put it back in the box and ship it that same day — oh, and keep it at room temperature until you do.

Well, I work. Do I keep it on my desk until lunch? Only to then take the C/G box walk of shame at The UPS Store? Really?

The other morning, I was scooping cat litter and had a dark thought. Hmmm. Would the C/G people be able to tell?

Of course, I did not do that.

And so the kit sits on the pie safe, like kryptonite.

The moral of this story? Don’t agree to a test by mail until you know what it involves. And if you’re over a certain age, just have the #!@$! colonoscopy. I plan to.

Maybe that was the real test in the box all along.

Kathy Gibbons can be reached at gibbonskath@yahoo.com.