She said aloud, “BP 230 over 118” – which had absolutely no meaning for me. She might as well had said, “B52's over Dixie," for all I would have understood. I waited for her to say something like ‘Hey that's great, been working out?’ or ‘Hmm, you need more Wheaties,’ but she never did. With an alarmed look on her face Nurse Bendover broke out her rosary beads and started saying ‘Hail Mary's.’ You don’t even have to be Catholic to know that isn’t a good sign. She wanted me to lie down immediately and try to sleep.
“Okay, I’ll try but you’re not going to charge me by the hour, are you?”
She said, “Don’t worry about that, try to think of something other than dying at a relatively young age of a massive coronary.” I started thinking of something pleasant like my bed and not this mortician’s slab I was laying on. When the nurse eventually returned, she was disappointed to see that I wasn’t asleep or surprised to see I wasn’t dead. She took my blood pressure in my left arm this time and then in my right arm. She looked as worried as before.
The doctor entered. As this was my first appointment, I had never met the doctor before. When you hear the word ‘doctor,’ what image comes to your mind? Possibly some kindly graying, gentle, caring soul like Marcus Welby; am I right? Doctor Confetti shook my hand, then slouched in a chair propping one of his legs on a garbage can like a footstool. He looked, talked, and had all the mannerisms of Robert De Niro, playing a character in the movie, ‘Goodfellas.’ I kid you not, so help me on my mother’s grave, as was probably said in that same movie. Opening my chart, he sounded like he is doing a scene from the s
“You don’t look so good to me. When people don’t listen to me, they end up dead. You’d better do what I say or I’m gonna fix it sos you end up in the hospital. You get what I’m saying to ya?” Maybe I had watched too many gangster movies, but this was more than feeling nervous about seeing a doctor, I was being examined by a made-man in a lab coat! “Da first ting I wanna know is who sent you, and the second ting I wanna know is why you are here.”
“The HMO gave me your name, I swear!”
“Common, tell me da truth, dem rats are the ones out to git me.” He continued, “You can tell me, was it Frankie No-Nose or maybe it was Too Fat Tony?” He turns to Nurse Bendover, “When I come back, I want to see some blood.”
“Will you be a wanting any urine or stool samples Doctor?”
Dr. Confetti answered over his shoulder on the way out the door, “Don’t take any crap from him, send him to the boys down in the lab, they’ll know how to get it out of him.” The Nurse Bendover stuck me several times in the vein in vain. She apologized profusely but I wasn’t feeling anything. I was still in shock realizing my primary care physician probably had a practice on the side removing bullets from his buddies. [Suggesting Dr. Confetti was in anyway associated with organized crime would be highly offensive to anyone of Italian-American decent. On the other hand, suggesting highly trained medical professionals were enlisted to care for members of the mafia would be complementary for the Mob. The real question is, ‘Who’s going to get upset and hurt me first.]
Doctor Confetti came back into the room handing me some diet and exercise plans. Essentially, he told me to cut out life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I ask him for his diagnosis of my condition.
"Youse don’t wanna know about dat.” I tried a different tactic.
“Doc, what can I do, to feel better?
"You could pay me now.”
“How will that make me feel better?”
“It won’t, but it would make me feel great.” I made one last attempt.
“What would you suggest?”
Thinking for a moment, the Doc offered, “Avoid making any long-range plans.”
“You mean like two or three years?”
“I’d say more like two or three days.”
“Don’t you have anything positive to say about my situation?”
"Yeah, when I get done wit you, I'll be able to add a wing on to my house. [laugh] [chuckle] [snort]
“Would you be offended if I asked for a second opinion?”
“No problem. You’re also too fat for your --”
“My height,” I interjected.
“Species,” he finished.
He did admit that some people did not care for his bedside manner. He said when it came to his patients’ treatment, he believed in giving it to them straight, no matter what. Since he’d be the one giving me a rectal exam, at some point in time, that was the kind of philosophy I’d could sure get behind.