I Am Not a Young Girl
The summer of 2008 I was on a big running kick. I ran a half-marathon.
The San Francisco Marathon was also coming up. I had decided to run the half marathon version. The half-marathon route would take me across the Golden Gate Bridge. Pain with a view, if you will.
A week or two before the SF Marathon I was at home watching a triathlon on TV (I’m the first to admit I need a life). The triathlon had me jazzed up so I went out for a nice run.
An uneven sidewalk (what am I, supposed to ‘watch where I’m going?’) teamed up with my tired legs to wreck my plans.
My right arm flew out instinctively, aha! evolution I’ll undo you yet!, and I did not fall flat on my face. But what if my arm is more of a wuss than my face?
In the fourth grade I had an epiphany – something is wrong with my right shoulder.
When I moved it a certain way something funny would happen. This I was used to. This was normal. This is just what right shoulders do. I’m perfectly normal, right?
What was so momentous about that day was that I realized maybe, just maybe, this is not what a right shoulder should do. This conclusion came at the hands of logic. The body is somewhat symmetrical.
So, then, body, why does one shoulder do something that the other does not?
At the next opportunity (probably recess) I consulted my friends.
“Ewwww! Gross! Do it again!”
As a warning message to any potential parents – this really is how fourth grade boys can think.
Here’s a part I don’t exactly get. It wasn’t until the seventh grade when this story picks up again.
Yes, I knew starting in the fourth grade my shoulder was not normal.
Yes, I was a mama’s boy who talked to my Mom about anything and everything.
I really have no idea why this did not seem to be something worth mentioning to my mom. It’s not that I worried about boring my mom. I would sometimes tell her about my strategy in video games.
When I did show my Mom my shoulder “trick” her response was probably closer to “huh!” than “what was that!” because I didn’t see a doctor specifically for my shoulder.
Instead, the next time I had a physical (yearly for sports), we brought up the topic.
The doctor’s initial reaction was amusement. He told me (and I had not yet seen “Lethal Weapon” so I didn’t really get this) was that I could, “use that for a pretty good party trick!”
Methinks the good doctor had fun in his college days.
The doc then went on to tell me just what was happening with my quirky, fun-loving shoulder.
It was popping in and out of the socket.
Back to the SF Marathon and jogging.
I had hurt my right shoulder and all this came flooding back to me.
Did I pop my shoulder out of it’s socket? It doesn’t feel that way? Or maybe it does? Is this because I never did those exorcises the doctor told me to do?
My self-diagnosis was that my shoulder was 15% out of socket.
I called to see a particular doctor but learned that wouldn’t be possible for several months. Forget that! I changed my request, “just give me whoever … but make it as soon as possible.” I wanted to know when I could run again.
I asked for a physical because with my insurance I got one of those a year for free.
My appointment was with a female pediatrician who was roughly ten years older than me.
My thought? This could (it did) get awkward.
After I was let into the back area, where a nurse weighed me and gave me a lollipop (kidding), I began to realize ‘this isn’t worth it. My shoulder hardly hurts. This isn’t worth it.’
The colorful, eye-catching, friendly wall-paper was having the opposite effect.
I took a seat in the room to wait for the doc.
She comes in and she’s … not attractive (to me at least).
What does this mean! Was I hoping she’d be attractive? Was I hoping she’d be unattractive? Was this going to turn into a porn shoot?
“I see you’re here for a physical.”
Oh God. I try to back-track.
“Well I said physical but really it’s just my shoulder … I’m just curious about my shoulder. I just wanted to see about my shoulder. I said physical because I get one for free … but really it’s my shoulder.”
I was desperate to no longer have this be a physical but instead be just about … my shoulder.
The doc pokes around at my shoulder a bit, she asks some questions, she does the “breathe in … ok … deep breath … ok …”
Then the good doc, the professional, sits down.
She goes on to explain to me about the test for hernias, and the test for testicular cancer.
I didn’t even have these explained the first time I had these tests done – guys know they’re coming. We prefer not to dwell on it.
She’s explaining it to me in detail though. Why she’s going to put her hands in certain areas and what it’s for and how I can check for certain things myself. She tells me what my “testes” should feel like. I wanted to giggle and run away.
Here’s what I’m thinking during all this: what kind of ‘state’ should I be in?
I mean, she’s female. But, I’m not attracted to her. And!, she’s a doctor. But!, you don’t exactly like heading outside unless you’re dressed if you know what I mean. I decide it’s best to go a la David.
Then, she asks me to pull my pants and underwear down to my knees … as she BLUSHES!
Make no mistake my friends, it was a clear blush. It was funny, but also not what I needed.
It’s a bad thing when a doctor blushes before touching you in your la-dee-da spot.
After the hernia test the doctor leaves the room (presumably to laugh). She comes back and tells me some last bits of information and then she gives me a form to get some x-rays on my shoulder.
The x-rays were the icing on the cake.
The machine is moved from waist-level to my shoulder.
I have yet to see the doctor again. For medical reasons. Za-Zing!!