Get Your Checkups
People talk to me. They open up and unload their burdens. Because of this, I know many intimate details of random people I come across in my day-to-day comings and goings. I am grateful for this opportunity to be a safe place for folks to talk freely, and I am a vault with any and all revelations.
That said, the following story is purely fictional with no real persons represented. No animals were hurt in the telling of this story, and all characters are over 18 and gave their full consent to the telling of said story if they were real and not just figments of my imagination.
Alrighty then. Disclaimers notwithstanding, here is my tale.
The likable sort
Dan and I cross paths on a semi-regular basis. He is the lab technician at the wastewater treatment facility where I dump storm and drainage water from the local landfill. I would put him in his 40s.
A likable sort with a quick smile and a slow manner. Married with two daughters, both of whom play softball. His wife has some extensive medical issues and ongoing health concerns, but overall she is doing better these days, and the girls are helping out around the house more as they get a bit older.
Dan's battle with bladder cancer
Dan has also had his share of health hurdles, including bladder cancer. He has had his treatments and aftercare and is in remission with no evidence of disease. For all intents and purposes, he is doing well. It is in this doing well that our story unfolds.
Godsmacked and dumfounded
I am unloading my tanker when Dan comes by to pick up the sample bottle. We are chatting about nothing specific when I ask about his health and his latest check-up. We both are scheduled for our annual scopes about the same time, in the early fall of the year. "I haven't had one in a couple of years; I probably should," he says.
I was gobsmacked. Dumfounded, vexed, perplexed, taken aback, and baffled. I am sure I stared at him silently for an hour, maybe two, or at least 30 seconds before I composed myself enough to ask, "Why not?"
He didn't get on with his primary doctor. He hadn't taken the time to find a new doctor. The insurance was a hassle. He was busy. He had more silly answers than I have gray hairs, being bald notwithstanding.
Our special love language
At the end of it all, he was just making really poor decisions. I wanted to be understanding. I wanted to be supportive and gentle, even kind. I wanted to, really I did. I had the best of intentions, and then I opened my mouth. "Good way to end up dead," was what shot forth.
Before you think too harshly of me for being a dolt. We work in a blue-collar, labor-type environment. Course talk and off-color language are our love language, and I didn't just say that and walk off. "You are a friend, and as such, I am compelled to urge you to reconsider your asinine behavior." Yes, that was much more kind and grace-filled.
We talked, and I made sure he understood that my concern, albeit blunt, was sincere and came from a place of friendship and not as a mean-spirited attack.
Monitoring your bladder cancer
So, as I sit here, this sunny July morning, typing to all of you. My friends, I implore you. I beseech you. I encourage you from a loving and caring place to... Get off you backsides and keep up with your treatments and monitoring.
Live your best lives to the maximum level that you can, and please take very good care of yourselves.
How well does your healthcare provider understand your bladder cancer?