I don’t like doctors very much. I don’t like medical personnel, period. Which is ironic considering I have a few friends in medical school and one of my sisters is a trained nurse and I will guillotine the head off any man who breaks her heart. With the exception of just them, I don’t think I can stand being in the same room with any doctor, nurse, or basically anybody who works in a hospital, for five minutes without beginning to feel an itch on my balls. And it’s nothing personal, really, I just don’t like anyone who feels like they’re better than the rest of us mortals.
Doctors – like lawyers and engineers – think the air we breathe comes out of their asses. Doctors walk into the room with an explosive self of entitlement and their stethoscopes hanging from around their necks and their egos hovering above them like a dark cloud. They talk down to us and tell us we have diseases we have never heard of and expect us to understand them like they are some sort of gods and we are their subjects. And then they send us off with notes inscribed with prescriptions in barely readable handwriting. Why do all doctors write like chimpanzees high on codeine? Does it make y’all feel special and deserving of Head of State Commendations?
I also hate doctors because no matter how simple a problem is, they will always find a way to magnify it. You go to the doctor with a simple stomachache but, No, all of a sudden it’s, “Sir, you have acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis.” Or you knock your right foot on the stool and limp to the ward and suddenly you have Rheumatoid Arthritis. I hate doctors – oh, I hate doctors; darn nosy brats.Like, dude, I came in here with an itch on my nipple, why can’t you just let it be an itch on the nipple and treat it and let me walk away? Why you gotta start poking around places you weren’t invited and find diseases – like Cancer – that I was perfectly Okay not knowing I had? You think I want to find out I have gout? You think I’m going to be happier knowing I have gout?
The fact that I hate doctors thereby means I hate hospitals as well. Growing up, getting me out of my bed to the hospital when I was sick was always like World War Z. I would kick, scream, wail, bite, abuse, scratch, and wake the whole goddamn town up before accepting to be admitted. To this day, I have only ever spent one night in hospital. And that was because I refused to take the medicine I was given so my mother left me there to teach me a lesson. She came back the next morning with bread and uji and tea and peanut butter and a whole basket of apologies but I wouldn’t have none of it. I sulked the whole week after that and never spoke to her. I was a young brat – and I was the last born – which means when I was sick and sulking, I got anything I wanted.
A while back I was busy laughing at memes and poking my celebrity crushes on Facebook in the office when a mail came in from HR. The mail said the company would be conducting a mandatory medical check-up and all employees were required to show up. It tried to come off as polite and failed miserably; only coming off as dictatorial, with a slight hint of “fail to show up and you can find another job” tone Now, normally, I don’t do group things. They (company) had organized a team building session deep in the forest at Lukenya previously and I begged to be excused and they said it was fine… so long as I paid back to the company the money that had been used to book my room and other expenses because all arrangements were already complete. The rooms were 10K a night for two nights; so, yeah, I dragged my ass up and went.
Anyway, a couple of days later the company set out an entire room and loads of doctors and medical groups pitched tent in there handing out leaflets and carrying out tests on us mortals. The mail also advised us not to eat or drink anything, at least 6 hours before showing up. But I have a PhD in smelling bullshit and that stank like one of them even from a mile away. So I pounded three Chapos, beans, 2 avocados and 5 bananas that Thursday lunch time before rocking up on a full stomach at 3p.m.
The first table was where you signed alongside your name and payroll number and, later on while leaving after completing the tests, you came back to pick an apple like a loyal servant on your way out. On the second table was a health and fitness company; which is just a fancy way of saying a gym. I have wanted a little paunch for years and, going by the number of people who meet me nowadays and say “kwani unakulanga nini hii town?” I think I’m already beginning to sport one. Ain’t no way I was going to throw away all those years of hard work just for some silly abs so I can impress women. So I skipped that table like a boss.
The second table lay nutritionists; which is just a fancy way of calling bossy ass women who tell what you can and cannot eat because, god forbid, one day you’re playing with your kids at the park when you’re 40 and you collapse and die from all those burger festivals you attended in your youth. I have always held the opinion that a healthy body is a Chapo-Madondo body. So, as far as my diet went, I was spot on. So I skipped that table too.
At the third table were a couple of chaps with one of those machines you see in the CBD used to measure heights and whatnot. That was my first stop. I climbed onto that machine and they recorded my height and weight and I don’t know what else. Then I got off but had to climb back up again because one of the results they got was too strange; like I wasn’t human and shit. So they took the measurements again but I think they got the same result because one of the sighed and looked at me with his eyes wide open like I was walking around buck-naked. I said “what?” and he responded with “nothing,” which is what made me feel like there was really something, so I cursed him and his entire clan and made a ‘yo’ mama’ joke in my head and giggled a bit because I’m funny in person and even funnier in my head.
Then one of them sat me down and said;
“Your metabolic age is 40.”
“My balls are what?”
“No, your metabolic age. It’s 40. That means your body is functioning like that of a 40-year-old man.”
“And that’s a good thing, right?”
“That depends. How old are you?”
“Uhmm… 23? Yes, 23.”
“Then that’s not good.”
“Why not? You’re saying being 40 is bad; like a disease? That’s pretty discriminatory, don’t you think? Even Churchill is 40. Do you want me to tell Churchill you said being his age is like a plague.”
“No, that’s not what we’re saying. What I mean is you’re not living healthy, and you’re stretching your body too much. Your metabolic age should, at the worst case scenario, be two or three years more than your actual age. It’s, however, best when it’s lower than your age.”
“Oh. So if I’m 23 and my metabolic age is 40, what does that mean exactly?”
“Like I said, it means you’re not living healthy. You’re not eating right; you’re not exercising enough; you’re not having enough rest; you’re not sleeping enough; you’re drinking too much; you’re stressing and stretching yourself too much. In short, you’re overworking your body.”
“Okay. So what should I do to get it back to normal?”
“The opposite of those things I have mentioned. Say, how many bottles of beers do you drink on an average night?”
“Average? Just three.”
“Can you get it down to one?”
“One mango. Of course, one beer.”
“But… how the hell does that count as drinking?”
“Then your metabolic age is only going to get worse.”
I frankly did not know how to take that news. I mean, look at my dilemma: I know 40 year olds who go to the gym and spot clean shaven beards and wear Clarks and do not post what they had for lunch on Instagram because they’re busy leading decent lives and raising twins who will grow up to become poets. That doesn’t sound so bad, right? But then there are the other 40 year olds: The ones who DM young campus girls things like “Hey bebe gal, you have nice boobies, can we meet?” The ones who drink White Cap and belch loudly in bars and swat waitresses’ behinds and reek of warthog sweat and show up at their children’s graduation ceremonies with only the Daily Nation Newspapers. Terrible people. And you see that scares me because I don’t know on which side I lie yet; and I’m on Instagram so I’m guessing I’m not off to a great start either.
Anyway, when the guy was done telling me how to lead a healthy lifestyle, he directed me towards a fully tented section of the room with a sticker on what was supposed to be the entrance of the tent printed with some doctor’s name. He told me to walk into the tent and see the doctor for “some more tests.” For the sake of this piece, and because I would like to think of myself as a half decent journalist, we will call that doctor Dr. Mugo.
I walked into the tent and Dr. Mugo shook my hand so happily you would think we were the only two human beings left in a world consumed by a plague; or like we were the only two black people at Buddha Bar in Westlands. He smiled widely and his eyes lit up and his body movement was swift. What I did not like, however, was that he spat a little when he spoke – like some goddamn miraa chewer – and his spit landed somewhere on my face. I felt like taking myself to a laundry mat for a whole body scrub.
After the usual pleasantries, guess what Dr. Mugo tells me. No, just guess. Okay, fine, I’ll tell you.
“Take off your clothes?”
“Yes. Take off your clothes.”
“That’s it? You won’t even wine and dine me first?”
“Huh?” (He missed the joke. I hate it when I’m on fire and people miss my jokes.)
“Nothing. Also, No, I’m sorry but I’m not taking off my clothes… not for you.”
“Hahah. So you’re one of the sensitive types, eh?”
“Not really. I just think it’s rude not to wine and dine somebody before asking them to take their clothes off. It’s ungentlemanly.” (I gave him another chance at the joke.)
“I just want to check if everything is in order in your body; from your chest down.” (Of course he missed it again.)
“My knees are fine, if that’s what you mean by ‘down below.'”
“No, I meant your testicles, to be more direct.”
“Oh, those are fine too.”
“How would you know?”
“Because I take them out for a spin every once in a while. How would you know?”
“I don’t. That’s why I want to check them.”
“Okay. At least take off your shirt and let me check your chest and stomach; a lot of diseases hide there nowadays.”
“Fine. But just my chest.”
And so I took my shirt off and lay on something cold that was made to look like a hospital bed and tried not to throw up as I watched another man move his heads around my very hairy chest.
I maintain my stand: Doctors are terrible people!