100,000-mile pat-down and tune-up

The first resolution of ’04—don’t get cancer. Second res—go to all the doctors in town to make sure I’ve haven’t already bungled resolution one.

When you’ve just turned 51, playin’ ball with res number two means you’re going to be busy. You just gotta get a lot of stuff checked out when you careen into your sixth decade. It’s as if you’re a ’93 Ford Taurus, and you gotta go in for your 100,000 mile service call, and the chances are pretty good you might find some sludge in your water pump, a blown gasket or a leaky hose.

The first stop—my internist, who is in charge of checking ye olde prostate for any lumps, bumps and malicious intent. He told me to grab the table, bark like a dog, and beg for mercy. Sure enough, he found the little devil and pronounced it normal. Or at least, undeadly. I asked him for the latest advice in terms of prostate health, and he replied, “Sleep well, avoid lard, and don’t let anybody, and I mean anybody, kick you in the lower abdomen.”

Second stop—the colonoscopist. Gee, somehow I’d forgotten to call in last year for my first scheduled taste of Back Door Cam. Doctor Havalook is the king of the human cave network, and he said, “Bruce, we’re gonna do a little internal spelunking in there to see if you’re plagued with any of those nasty ole colonic stalactites. But first, you gotta flush out any bat colonies.”

Now don’t worry, I’m not going to get all graphic on you here. I’ll just say that whatever you’ve heard about colonoscopies has probably been exaggerated by your friends and family, so they can have some fun watching you squirm. The often-dreaded prep work, which is an extremely thorough cleansing of your subway system, was not that big a deal. The stuff you have to drink tastes like Gatorade more than anything, and when it’s through with you (and through you), your pipe is definitely ready for its close-up. It’s like your colon got all gussied up to go to Cover Shots in the mall.

The colonoscopy itself? I couldn’t tell you much. The last thing I remember was the doc saying “OK, I need you to roll over on your left side.” Then, it was Conk City. Next thing I knew, I was waking up in a very calm state, and the doctor came in and said I was stalactite-free … this time. See you in five years.

Third stop—dermatologist. This was the guy I was worried about. The sun has been pounding me into a Baja Brown every summer for a long time now; why wouldn’t I be? I mean, I do all right with the sunscreen; I just wish I’d started using it before I was 38. And I didn’t begin wearing broad-brimmed hats until, oh, about six weeks ago.

So he checked me out and said, “You know those hideous hairy moles of yours?”

“Yes, Doctor,” I replied, girding for a word that ends with “noma.”

“Well, they’re just hideous hairy moles. Lucky for you. Now, my assistant here is quite skilled with a scalpel …”