"This won't hurt a bit." That's another of life's half-truths... it's only true if you're the one holding the needle. This is one of those times when it truly is more blessed to give than to receive.
Doctors like to use innocent sounding words to describe what they're about to do to us. Sorry, but you can only fool me once. I'm not as dumb as I look.
"Just a little pressure here." That means they've found a pressure point that will turn your eyelids inside out and make you levitate three feet above the table.
"Just a little pinch." Sorry, but a needle in the groin feels more like an ice pick. So what do they do first? They stick you with another needle to numb the area so the second one doesn't hurt as bad.
That makes about as much sense as chewing a handful of jalapeno peppers to take your mind off a smashed toenail. Take if from me, a handful of Valium works a lot better.
So when I went to the hospital for a heart catheterization, I had a few concerns about what was getting stuck, and where. I'm not a chicken, but I have been lied to before. Yes, a vasectomy really does hurt.
So as soon as the cardiologist used the words "catheter" and "groin" in the same sentence, I knew I was in trouble. Then he said something about a local anesthetic. Excuse me? Local where? Not without some serious drugs first, and I don't mean the legal kind.
This has to be one of the most humiliating procedures I've ever had. I don't know why I put on pants when I left, because the entire hospital staff had seen me without them. I think they were selling tickets to raise money for the summer picnic.
First there was the woman who shaved me. I don't think she was a nurse. In fact, she looked a lot like my seventh-grade Civics teacher. Suffice to say she wasn't hired for her good looks. I think they do that on purpose.
I wouldn't mind so much, except the nurse was watching the whole time with a clipboard in her hand. When the shave was finished, she scribbled something and muttered, "D-minus." Since no bandages were required, I have to assume she was grading me.
Then they wheeled me down to the prep area where six other nurses took turns lifting my gown and writing on me with a ballpoint pen. I'm not sure what they were writing, but the doctor about fell over when he read it.
Finally they rolled me into the procedure room and shot some good stuff in my I-V. After that, they didn't have to lift my gown. I did it for them.
But the fun was over as soon as I saw the doctor hovering over my abdomen with a needle in his hand. Earth to Dave ... party's over. Need more drugs.
Then he said something about a little pinch and jabbed me with something that felt like a sheet metal screw. I remember the assistant saying, "That's the worst part. You won't feel a thing after this." Liar.
Actually, the procedure itself was painless. They told me when they were going to inject the hot stuff, and believe me, it was hot. But that only lasted a couple of seconds.
As the doctor withdrew the catheter and told me everything was fine, a crowd of nurses gathered around and started pressing down on my hips. That's never a good sign.
I'm not sure exactly what the doctor was doing, but it felt like he was pulling my artery out with a corkscrew. As my hindquarters overcame the weight of four nurses, I remember one telling me to relax. Relax? That's easy for her to say. Let's trade places.
Okay, so the pain only lasted a minute. It's probably best that I didn't know about that part ahead of time. Let's just be glad I'm not one to hold a grudge.
The good news is my test came back completely normal. I may be fat and out of shape, but my heart is probably healthier than my doctor's. One thing I can promise you, though. The next time he pulls a stunt like that on me, I just might return the favor. "Easy, Doc, this won't hurt a bit ... "
© Dave Glardon