I need more apples

I am not an open person. Yes, I see the irony, but it’s true. I don’t like to ask for help, I don’t like to reveal too much about my personality to strangers and I don’t like to get too personal, even to my doctor.

Such was the case recently, when I forced myself to go for an office visit after having some difficulty urinating (even writing this story down is causing me a great deal of stress. However, since I know the ending and find it amusing, I’m going to continue). I had never had urination problems prior to this point, so I knew that something was wrong that required medical attention.

Now my doctor is great. I call him a “conveyor-belt” doctor because you’re in, he sees you, you’re diagnosed and you’re out. Fantastic. I love this because I don’t have to talk to him, I don’t have to feel guilty for being sick, and most importantly, I don’t have to reveal too much. In fact, in the past when I’ve given him too much information (“I started getting sick on Saturday. I had a hamburger for lunch that may have been undercooked. Then I went to the movies and saw “Fight Club” and the guy next to me kept coughing.”), my doctor will look at me and say, “It’s ok. Take this pill.”

I tell him I’m having troubles, and he tells me to pee in a cup and we’ll have an answer within a few minutes—neither one of us really looking each other in the eye. We leave his office, I comply with his request, leave the cup in the bathroom and wait in his office. A few moments later he returns and says pretty much the most frightening thing that I can ever hear from a doctor:

“Are you doing anything weird sexually?”

This bothered me for a number of reasons. One, I’d have to get into a conversation of what qualified as “weird sexually”, and with a medical doctor, I imagine what I envision as “kinky” is probably a 2 on his “weird things I’ve had to discuss & remove from patients” meter. Two, I couldn’t imagine any of my behavior that would result in my getting an illness that is brought about by something that is considered “weird sexually”, but whatever it was scared the hell out of me. Think about it, when it comes to things that really mess you up, STDs rank right up there with brass knuckles, jetlag and seeing your parents have sex.

“No. Not that I can think of,” was my response. And what a shitty responses that is. “Not that I can think of”? What sort of weird sexual activity would get placed in the back corners of your mind? Oh wait, I do like to melt wax on my nipples while watching reruns of “Alf” during intercourse, but it slipped my mind. I bet if someone asked you to name the 5 strangest sexual encounters you’ve had in your life, you could probably name them faster than all of your elementary school teachers. And hopefully those two lists don’t overlap.

“Well, you’ve got a urinary tract infection. It’s somewhat rare for a man to get, but it does happen.” And just like that, we had moved past whatever strange locations I was placing my penis to the heart of the matter. He outlined my drug regimen for the next few days and told me to call if it didn’t go away in a few days. With that wrapped up, he got up and began to leave. But I did something odd. I asked a question.

“How does a man get a urinary tract infection?” It took all of my courage to ask him this, but there was a part of me that had to make sure that I wasn’t partaking in any dangerous behavior or activity and that outweighed to stay quiet.

Without missing a beat, this man who has maybe spoken 30 sentences to me over the past ten years looked me dead in the eye and said,

“Fecal matter in the urinary tract. Hey, you asked.” With that, he smiled and left the office. I sat there for a moment, reeling in what had just happened. And then it dawned on me.


Now I apologize for the graphic nature of that last sentence, but I swear to you faithful reader, that was the first thought that popped into my little neurotic head. Not, oh he considers anal sex “weird sex” or “that’s strange, I haven’t engaged in any activity that would place fecal matter in my urinary tract.” No, I immediately get anxiety that my doctor thinks less of me because I know believe that he believes I’m some sort of weirdo sexual contortionist.

This is why I’m not an open person.

NOTE: It turned out that I had a kidney stone, not a UTI. So fecal matter never played into it.