Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Snacks Between Meals: The Importance of Clean Underwear

Just when I thought the whole “kidney thing” was over, I got a call from the Health Research Centre at the Foothills Hospital to setup an appointment to meet with a specialist. That meant a third round of tests, but I didn’t really mind. I figure all of this peeing in cups will prepare me for a future career in sports. (I was thinking I would try luge. Really, how hard could it be? I can lie down like nobody’s business.)

Remember when your mother told you to always wear clean underwear whenever you went out just in case you were in a car accident? I can only assume mothers imagine some version of reality where the paramedics arrive, are about to administer life-saving first aid, but have to suddenly stop when they get an eyeful of your less-than-fresh briefs. (As you would expect, the collision was so bad that it blew your pants right off.)

          “Everyone back away! Back away, dammit! We’ve got day-old tighty-whities here.
          Nobody, and I mean nobody, approach the patient until we break out the haz-mat suits!”

          (Then, in a low whisper for your ears only.) “If only you had listened to your mother,
          we could have saved the leg….”

Well, this motherly advice is doubly valid when it comes to appointments with medical specialists: be sure you have clean underwear!

Let me take a moment to interrupt your thoughts briefly (pun intended). I might be giving you the wrong impression. My personal hygiene is impeccable, but the principle still has relevance…. You see, there is clean underwear, and there is (also clean) underwear that you only wear when there is no clean underwear left.

We’re talking about back-up underwear.

These are your boxers festooned with shiny hearts, your leopard-print banana hammocks, your studded leather thongs, and the heavily-logoed polyester panties commemorating 25 year of Hooters distracting its patrons from its crappy food. These are the options that are only marginally more desirable than going commando. 

In my case, it is Superman cotton briefs.

No, these aren’t innocent underpants featuring scenes from Actions Comics. Nope, these are bright blue with red trim and Superman’s famous symbol emblazoned on a general area that all men like to think is “super”. I didn’t buy these for myself, and don’t start attributing any kinkiness to Alison (we’re actually more into Batman). Instead, these were a gift from my sons. Whether it was a prank on their father or a genuine expression of how much they think of me as their hero is still unknown. (I strongly suspect the former.)

So, this rare morning arrived when, due to a laundry backload, I found myself peering into a nearly empty underwear drawer. I had three choices: long-johns (on a summer day? Forget it.), a pair of unmentionable horrors that will not be described here or anywhere, and those special undies that would make me stronger than a locomotive. 

Of course, I went with the super-shorts.

It wasn’t like I had been given much of a choice, but the consequences of my undergarment decision didn’t hit me until Dr. Sarni, the kidney specialist, left the room to let me undress for an examination. I swore loudly when I undid my belt and caught a flash of the bright red waistband. It hadn’t even crossed my mind when I was getting dressed that morning that my appointment would naturally lead to this moment; my only thought had been my mother’s concern about traffic safety. 

Dr. Sarni had given me a hospital gown to put on but had asked me to only tie it at the back at my neck. So, when she returned, I must have looked like someone’s mentally challenged adult son playing superhero on a really warm day, wearing the cape backwards. 

To Dr. Sarni’s credit, she didn’t let giggling get in the way of her professionalism.

And what was the result of this latest batch of tests and examinations? My kidney was once again declared normal and healthy. (I wonder if she thought a 40-year-old wearing Superman underoos was normal and healthy.) However, she did mention one odd thing: she said my liver has too much fat (???). I didn’t know such a thing was possible, but apparently this is usually due to high cholesterol. My cholesterol is perfectly normal, so I’m bracing myself for a call from my doctor to deliver him yet another cup of urine.

With this latest revelation, I’m beginning to suspect I’ve inadvertently become a member of some kind of Columbia House CD and Defective Organ of the Month Club. I think I forgot to send back July’s card, so I should soon be receiving (depending on my selection category) either Kool & the Gang’s Greatest Hits or an irritable bowel.

If it’s the irritable bowel, next time I’ll wear the long-johns.

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