An off day in the middle of a home stand is a phrase that normally brings shivers up and down your spine. Off days at the beginning or end of a road trip are a little bit easier to swallow. At the beginning you have said your good-byes to the team and have come to grips with the fact that you won’t see your loved ones for a while. Likewise an off day at the end of a road trip while bad is not as painful since you haven’t seen your team for a while and besides you’re excited because the next day is the beginning of a home stand. It’s when the off day occurs at home that is so troubling. You go to a couple of games then BAM! No baseball for a day then you have another three days. Perhaps the most accurate visual I can come up with is that you feel like the bird that thought it would be a good idea to fly between the mound and home plate during a Spring Training game when Randy Johnson was pitching. Yeah, I’m talking about that one.
As if having no baseball was not bad enough, my wife decided that a doctor’s appointment would be the perfect replacement for a day at the ballpark. It’s not that I hate going to the doctor, well it’s not like I hate going to the doctor as much as I hate going to the dentist, it’s just that I wouldn’t put a doctor’s visit even in the same book as going to a ballgame let alone as a good replacement. But given that there was not a baseball game I didn’t really have a choice.
It didn’t help when my wife asked if I wanted to go for a ride and put me in the car. If I would have stopped to think about it, she did that with our dog one time and when he came back he had been neutered. I spent the rest of the day keeping close watch on my manly parts just in case I had been set up like the dog.
This doctor’s appointment was a follow on to the one in July where they talked about the “mystery mass” they had found. After a battery of tests and more needles than a field trip to Biogenesis, I would be hearing the results that would determine next steps. It seems like every doctor’s appointment starts the same way, filling out paperwork. You can always tell how bad your condition is by the amount of paperwork you have to fill out before actually seeing the doctor and as I’ve gotten older I’ve noticed the number of questions has gotten a lot longer. By this appointment the paperwork portion had reached the 45-minute mark. Forty-five minutes, the Diamondbacks take less time for batting practice some days.
I’m not quite sure I get the whole fill-out the paperwork thing. Despite diligently answering every question it is inevitable that the doctor or the nurse will ask you the exact same questions once you get in the examination room. Just once I want to give the doctor/nurse the exact opposite answer to every question just to see whether the paperwork or the doctor’s notes are the final say. My wife warned me that today was not the day to test my theory and she followed that with the look that I saw in her eyes the day she took the dog for that dreadful ride to the vet. I also remember the look in the dog’s eyes when he returned; it was an “I have nothing left to live for” look as he whimpered in the corner licking what was left of his dog hood. No, today was a day to play it safe, or as safe as someone like me could play it. Still, I couldn’t help myself with some of these.
“Have you ever had a blood transfusion?” the doctor asked.
“Yes, once at the end of the 2006 baseball season. I went in and had all the purple and teal blood removed from my system and had it replaced with Sedona Red and a little black (but only on Saturday home games).” I answered.
My response was met with nothing but dead silence except for the groan coming from the corner where my wife was sitting. The doctor stopped and looked up at me. I held a straight face. Finally my wife jumped in, “no he hasn’t had a blood transfusion, he was talking about the Diamondbacks changing their colors.”
“Uh, huh,” the doctor replied. “Would you be amenable to having a blood transfusion?”
“You mean like recreational or as needed?” I asked. This was followed by another moment of silence and a response by my wife who corrected my apparently wrong answer.
“Do you have night sweats?” the doctor asked.
“Only when the Diamondbacks lose a game,” I replied. This time the silence was a little shorter than the last time. He looked up, saw my Diamondbacks hat and shirt then matter-of-factly responded, “so quite frequently.”
Whoa, where did that come from? I immediately began explaining that the team was only 5.5 games out of first place in the National League West and only 4.5 games out of the wild card. Before I could even start to expound on how “gritty” the team was he was already about four questions down the chart with my wife now answering everything. I’m not sure but I think this was the medical equivalent of being shut out.
I don’t remember much else from the question and answer portion of the appointment. I did make a note to make sure and ask how much of a baseball fan the doctor is before making the appointment. For all I knew this guy was a Dodger fan and once he got me on the operating table he would go all Yasiel Puig on me ignoring me despite the fact that I was speaking Spanish and telling him about Luis Gonzalez’ family connection in Cuba.
In the end, it wasn’t all bad. I left the doctor’s office without being neutered and even talked my wife into going to Taco Bell for free tacos. All-in-all I did a lot better than the dog did.