Disclaimer: There might be potentially objectionable/gross stuff in this post. Hell, I should likely throw that out in front of every post, but this time it’s probably warranted. If body things are icky to you, maybe don’t read this one?
With that out of the way, I went to the doctor today. Last chance to high tail it.
Okay. So. I went to the doctor today. Why? Because I was concerned about a certain pimple type thing on my penis. Just under the crown there was the teensiest little silvery nodule. Could it be herpes? There was only one dot. Does herpes have a singular? A herp? The herpetrator? Herpes is pretty common, so chances being what they are…
An aside: I’m not here to herpes shame anyone. I’m not looking to get herpes in the same way that I’d rather not get a cold. Not having herpes is in every way preferable to having herpes. If I get herpes though, life goes on. It’s not a big deal. My biggest priority in having herpes would be not passing it on to other people, much like a cold. In any case, knowing is everything. As you could’ve deduced from my flimsy grasp of the English language and how tenses work, I don’t have herpes. It’s a relief, in that it’s not something I need to think about as much as the alternative would be. With that said…
Despite being a logical, reasonable adult, it was embarrassing. The whole process was embarrassing. Coming out to my partner as potentially having it made me feel silly. Then I needed to make the appointment.
Receptionist: Please hold.
*Dial tone. No muzac up in this biz*
Receptionist: How can I help?
Me: Hi, I’d like to book a consultation with [REDACTED].
Receptionist: Certainly, what is this regarding?
Me: I, uh, I’d like to get something checked.
Receptionist: And what is that?
Me: [quiet voice] I want to see if something is herpes.
Receptionist: Sorry, I didn’t hear you, you’ll have to speak up.
Me: (and thank fuck I wasn’t at work or in public) herpes.
Receptionist: Was that herpes? Did you say herpes?
Me: Yes. That’s what I said.
Receptionist: Okay. She has an opening at 10:15.
I felt sheepish the whole time, like I was transported to a grocery store as a teen and the clerk was making loud price checks on embarassing items. I know there was no ill will or judgement on her behalf, but that didn’t make me feel any less self-conscious.
I arrived, waited and was eventually brought to another room by a nurse to wait some more. She told me that once she left I could strip to my underwear if it made me feel more comfortable or go The Full Monty. I told her that I saved nothing but non-existent modesty by keeping my boxers on, so opted to strip down. She gave me a large sheet of paper to put over my lap and left the room. I then faced the dilemma of whether or not to keep on my socks. Like, what is the protocol? Frankly it was odd enough wearing a shirt and no bottoms, but I figure having a young female doctor (who is roughly my age) walking into a room to see an unnecessarily naked man with a paper sheet over his lap would only seek to terrify both of us. It’s the definition of random encounter. The only thing worse would be if I were still wearing socks. I shed my boxers, pants, shoes and socks, then sat on the table. I looked at the sheet. It was huge, big enough to cover my body. I unfolded the whole thing- which reached half way to the ground- put it on my lap and waited. I sat there with this massive sheet and my shirt and waited some more. Then I felt self-conscious. Was she gonna think I was a total dork for having unfolded the whole sheet when half or even a quarter of the sheet would’ve been ample? I folded it in half.
I heard a knock at the door and for a second wondered how to say “come in”. Like, I didn’t want to say it too eagerly or saucily, cause that would be weird. I let out this half whimper and nothing happened. I said it again a little louder, but because I was confused it come out as if I was unsure of what I’d just said. It was only the nurse bringing in a swab kit in case the doctor wanted to test for herpes. I thanked her and she left. I looked down at the paper and folded it in half again. I waited some more.
Then the doctor came in. I don’t know why I felt so awkward, this wasn’t even my first time showing her my penis. Hell, I knew she wouldn’t even care, I’m sure to her my penis was about as interesting as my knee. I told her what I’d seen, how you kind of had to strain to see it under the right light. She inquired briefly about my sexual history then she asked me to take off the sheet (without commenting on how folded it was, I might add). She looked at it for maybe half a second before announcing “that’s not herpes.” I was a little bemused. She continued. “It’s a silvery nodule, it’s just a sebaceous cyst. It’s nothing you have to worry about. It’s tiny. It’ll go away on its own.” I was relieved, but still expected something more. “That’s it, really.” She assured me that it wouldn’t affect anything, that everything was quite fine. I thanked her and she left. I put my clothes on, then wondered to what extent I needed to fold up the paper on the bed. It wasn’t like anyone else would be using it, but I didn’t want to give anyone the impression that I was messy.
I do it to myself, I do.