© 2013 Aaron Atkinson

White Coat Syndrome

Laura has a coworker who hasn’t been to the doctor in 20 years. He’ll turn 40 this fall and he’s finally decided it’s time to go.

Gary: I’ve been testing my blood pressure at Walgreen’s and I know it’s high. My family is insistent that I go get it checked. I’ve finally made an appointment for Tuesday.

Laura: Good for you.

Gary: Yeah, I figure if I make it out of there with high blood pressure, high cholesterol and borderline diabetes I’ll consider it a win.

Laura: That’s not a win, Gary. Those are all serious conditions.

Sharing news like this with Laura is one thing. Sharing it with other coworkers is a big mistake. Gary might as well pour blood in a shark tank. Curious heads start to peek over the cubicle walls.

Josh: What time is your appointment, Gar?

Gary: 10:15 in the morning. But I’m taking the rest of the day off.

Laura: Taking the day off? How come?

Gary: Well I figure I’ll be there until two or three in the afternoon.

Laura: No way, Gary. They’ll have another patient at 10:30. I bet you’re not there more than an hour.

Josh: I wouldn’t be so sure. If you’re almost 40 they’re going to do a prostate exam, dude.

Gary is starting to sweat and giggle nervously.

Mark: Oh, yeah. I had a prostate exam when I was 16. It was the worst experience of my life. I still wake up with cold sweats, and whenever I hear the sound of a rubber glove snap I have flashbacks.

Josh: I’m 34. Six years until I need one. I’ve already been dreading it for almost half of my life.

Gary: That does it. I’m going to tell the doctor that if I need anything that requires removing my pants or sticking me with a needle that we should do it first and just get it over with.

Mark: No small talk?

Gary: No.

Mark: That’s probably a good idea. After that prostate exam you’re going to need a bit of small talk.

Josh: And some cigarettes.

Gary: Great. Laura, add lung cancer to my list of probable ailments.

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