• Egyptian Healthcare – A Special Series – Part II: The Check-Up

Getting straight to the point, getting naked for the doctor is always unpleasantly awkward. The last time I had to do an EKG (no shirt), the young female nurse watched me intently while I got undressed. The only other time I’ve had an EKG, it was done in the US by an old woman and I was wearing a hospital gown. That toned down the awkwardness, but in the end you wind up shirtless in front of a stranger and so there’s really no way going around it. But at least in that case it was in front of an indifferent old woman.

It was a cold day, so after the young female nurse watched me struggle out of three layers of clothing and there was not a scrap of fabric between us, she just continued watching me. What the hell, lady? Doctor’s office is not the place for getting your creep on. I am not sure whether that was supposed to be sizing me up comparatively (do women even do that?) or perhaps she had some kind of positive or negative opinion about what she saw. The point is, she was not indifferent and neutral like the old lady from my first EKG. And that’s disturbing.

In the US, my first EKG involved having little disposable stickers stuck to my chest and then removed. In this more recent EKG, I had this cold gel that gave me an instant vision of Arctic whale semen glopped onto my abdomen without warning that such a substance would now be intruding into what I thought was my body temperature. Then rubber suction cups were stuck to me like some kind of Baby On Board sign in a car window. I felt like I had barnacles. When the EKG was finished, the suction cups were violently ripped off, leaving richly pink circles behind. The Arctic whale semen gel was then wiped off with one napkin.


"Let's close our eyes and pretend we're at sea."



Now, if you have never had an Arctic whale ejaculate on your abdomen while you are at the doctor’s office having an EKG done, let me tell you that it takes more than one napkin to remove it.

So after feeling humiliatedly fondled seaward, I just put my clothes back on and reminded myself that I needed a shower. The kind where you sit on the floor and rock and weep while you try to wash the taint of your mistreatment off you.

That time that I went to the hospital for a case of imminent death, I had yet another 200 year old doctor, except that in contrast with the dirty “UN doctor,” he was not interested in feeling me up. To a fault. The death symptoms were mostly in my throat, and he didn’t even lift a finger to see if my lymph nodes were on their last pulsation before explosion, which was, in fact, the case. Instead, he just looked at me with the light that was strapped to his head like I was a stalagmite. Yes, an actual light; not a head mirror. He boredly went through the motions of spelunking my throat and then rushed me off so that he could tend to the approximately 20 other people waiting their turn practically inside the room with me. The whole experience was kind of like being rushed through a line in the cinema to have your ticket ripped in half, only naked. And slimy.

*Photos from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute and Animals Gallery.

6 Responses to “• Egyptian Healthcare – A Special Series – Part II: The Check-Up”

  1. 1 smartdoc October 10, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    but i wonder.. y did you have to get a EKG for a simple throat infection?

    • 2 blacklisted October 10, 2010 at 10:52 pm

      I really want to say that it’s because of the incompetence…But I was (unclearly) referring to two separate visits. The EKG was a part of a general medical examination for my recruitment into my current job, and the excavation with headlight was for the imminent death in my throat. Or simple throat infection, as it turns out.

  2. 3 David October 11, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    The magic of your blog is that it makes us think about things like whale semen. Thanks for that.

  1. 1 • People Who Pass By Blacklisted When They’re Looking for Something Even More Sinister – Blogoversary Post! « blacklisted: Trackback on April 28, 2011 at 3:30 pm

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