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I’ve never had a steady doctor here in New Orleans, for a variety of reasons, not least among them the fortunate fact that I’ve been in remarkably good health ever since I moved here eight years ago.

Still, I’ve always heard that once you turn 40 you should get annual checkups as a matter of course. So I went to the website for my employer’s health plan, punched in my address, and found a physician just two blocks from our house.

But my appointment yesterday left something to be desired. The doctor did not inspire confidence. Her manner was so awkward and uncertain and diffident that it made me uncomfortable. Also, the idea that I was just coming for a checkup, out of general principle without any specific complaint, did not seem to compute.

There’s something else that puzzles me. I keep hearing references in the popular culture to a certain procedure that’s conducted on males at the doctor’s office. I think it’s related to checking the prostate. Do I have to spell it out? OK, I’m talking about where the doctor sticks a finger up your asshole. There, I said it.

I have never had this done to me. What I don’t understand is, why? If all my fellow American men are getting goosed on a regular basis, why have I been spared? Is my ass somehow repellent to the medical community? I thought maybe, now that I’m 40, I would finally be subjected to this indignity, but no. I didn’t even have to take my pants off. And I couldn’t hardly bring myself to ask about it. “Aren’t you going to stick your finger up my asshole?” I don’t think so.

For the record, I do not crave having a finger (or anything else) inserted into my rectum. I really would rather avoid it if at all possible.

However, there is a history of prostate cancer in my family, so it’s a concern. Of course, I’ve been practicing my own preventative regimen with great faithfulness.

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  1. Lee Lee

    I do know what you’re talking about B. My father has teased me with it for years. He told me they start doing that at the age of 50 (around here anyway).

    It’s actually a means to an end, just as when you were a kid you get a prize for being a good boy. That prize………..orgasm 🙂

    I’m no doctor, but my father has told me that your wad is checked to ensure your prostate is working properly.

    As I’m sure you know, the prostate produces a coating on sperm to ensure they have a chance in the dark, acidic environment of the vagina.

    The sad thing for us is that the only way to “tickle” the prostate is through the ole’ bum.

    But hey, it could be worse. I’m sure XY has told you about what they do to females, right?

  2. Kent Kent

    I’ve been a fan dating back to your Bloomington days. I found your blog only recently.

    Being now and old man of 51, and with a history of prostate cancer in my family as well, I’ve been told the test starts at 50, but patients with a family history should start earlier, in the 40-45 year range.

    Get a new doctor.

  3. D B D B

    They feel for cancerous tumors on the prostate, which are prone to appear on the side facing the anus. If you’re predisposed, you should get the test, and I’d recommend having a female doctor. I mean, as a straight man, I recommend having having a woman put her finger in your ass. For one thing, they’ve got smaller fingers. And, if you’re so inclined, you can imagine it’s a kind of kinky sexual thing. I suppose if you’re a gay man, you might want a male doctor for all of the reasons above.

    Yes, masturbation prevents prostate cancer. But it doesn’t just have to be masturbation. Ejaculating (or in the jargon of the medical community, blowin’ a hot load) in any manner will work. Though if masturbation really prevented prostate cancer, it seems like there’d never be a single instance of it.

  4. MAD MAD

    I feel your pain, bro. I would rather have root canal without anesthesia than go through that. Internists or GP docs may opt to refer the patient to a butt specialist for the procedure, Dr. Assman or whomever.

  5. Brooks Brooks

    A prostate exam may not be the most comfortable procedure in the world, but it’s over with quickly. The way you guys go on about “women’s little hands” you’d think Bart was fixin’ to get fisted. How big around do you think a finger IS? Even a male finger? Do y’all not regularly pass objects bigger around than a finger when emptying your bowels? I must say, I think y’all are being just a tad wussy.

    Bart, dinna fret about the size and/or sex of your doctor’s finger. Just find a good doctor.

  6. D B D B

    Hey–I also said B could turn it into a somewhat sexual experience with a female doctor! And I never talked about the hands, just the fingers!

    B, who do you want to drop your shorts in front of–a woman or some grizzled, old grey-haired man?

  7. Brooks Brooks

    DB, I have to wonder about this female doctor who has such a hold on your imagination. The odds that B. will get probed by Scarlett Johansson in a lab coat are slim.

  8. Julesb_town Julesb_town

    B don’t count on the PSA test alone. My dad was diagnosed w/prostate cancer w/the finger exam. His PSA levels were “normal”.

  9. I feel your pain B. Did in when I was forty as part of a massive call for Black men to be screened at LSUHSC…never been back…and I’m 48.

  10. D B,
    You’re sick dude. Believe me, I understand about the small hands thing. I once scared a male DR because he was afraid I was about to pass out and crush him. However, for me, that wouldn’t be as bad as standing in front of my female Dr with a woody waiting on her small hand to enter my butt.
    I think we’d both feel a bit awkward! Wait, that’s better than just me feeling strange. Nevermind.

  11. I remember when I was like 10 and had a kidney infection, I went to a doctor and got probed. He told me to drop my pants and bend over the table and relax. He put on a glove. I, being young and naive, had no idea what was about to happen — and for some godawful reason, he didn’t bother to tell me! So I’m thinking you’ll at least be better steeled for this procedure than I was on my first time.

    That said, it’s not unbearable. Once it’s over, it’s over. That’s the good part. Just make sure you do it when you don’t have the shits. That could be ugly.

  12. This is all so silly. There is no pain, just apprehension about the possible pain, and the macho aspect of being somehow feminized.
    The size of the hands make no difference. The finger still has to reach the prostate. Tiny fingers would only make the procedure more intrusive.

    Just a personal note here, I went to a female doc twice for routine physicals and never once dropped my drawers. Once I finally found a good PCP I got a complete physical – hearing, vision, and prostate. I felt a lot better, and fortunately prostate healthy.

    Trust me a good doctor has seen it all and could care less about anything but your health. Just do it.

  13. Frank Schiavo Frank Schiavo

    Okay. My doctor told me you should get it annually, after age 40, and/or if there is a history of that kind of cancer in your family.

    Is it fun? No, but you know what? Beats the holy sh*t out of Prostate cancer. That is an ugly, painful and not very pleasent death. Usually they give you a kit for the stool sample on the first visit then do Mr. FingerQuest on the visit after that lab work. If your doctor doesn’t at least ask you about it on the next visit, dump the quack & get another doctor. A doctor who isn’t try to help you stay well should stick to seeing Pham company reps and leave human beings alone.

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