The Annual Physical

I’m going tonight to help celebrate a friend’s landmark birthday, one of those ending with a zero. When we were young, the milestone markers were six, thirteen, sixteen, twenty-one. Then the anticipation and excitement of those birthdays started to decline, and we began congratulating each other making it through another decade. The following poem is a small reflection of these measures of our lives. Hope you are all enjoying your weekends.
 
THE ANNUAL PHYSICAL
 
Instructions are given.
Deep breath, count to three,
then blow into the tube
for as long as you can.
My lungs empty out and the needle on the gauge
nudges its way eastward,
toward good health I hope.
My heart has already been given the thumbs up.
An octopus with suction-cup feet
and a meter for a head said so.
And my blood pressure is normal
according to a rubber hose
squeezed tight around my arm.
A hammer to my knees
enlightened the doctor on my reflexes.
Soon, my blood wil tell its tale,
likewise my urine.
But, for now, it’s my breathing
that’s being asked to speak for me
and, despite a white face
and a dizzy head,
it’s convinced I’ll make it
through another year.
When I was younger,
there was no such creature
as an annual physical.
Or, at least, my body parts
didn’t need to be told
how good they were.
And neither did the years
for that matter.
 
John Grey
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17 Responses to The Annual Physical

  1. Deborah says:

    You are right about the laughter of children, and if I want to hear more I should invite several to my next annual checkup.  This was fun and reminded me that (dang) I am overdue. 

  2. Marge says:

     
    Hello, Jorge,
     
    This is a fascinating entry, sir. Human beings must endure many things to be healthy and to remain that way. Teddies, on the other hand, need only remain watchful over the human beings who love us and to give and recieve hugs as needed.
     
    I hope your friend had a happy birthday surrounded by other good humans. And I hope you are happy and healthy, birthday or not.
     
    Your friend,
     
    Teddy 

  3. Charlotte says:

    Now, Jorge, that was timely.  Hanging from my computer clipboard is a letter that reads, "It\’s time for your annual exam.  This is important for your continued good health. American cancer society guidelines…………. Pleas call the clinic and schedule an appointment."  And tomorrow morning that is what I am planning on doing!!  ..  Good reminder and great poem.  Take care hugs, lottiemae 

  4. redvelvet says:

    Enjoyed the poem & I can relate… most definately… Hope your friend had a great celebration… be well 🙂

  5. Stephen Craig says:

    Jorge,  As I near my 60th year I can relate to this post.  Recently had my yearly at the VA and the Dr. gave me a green light.  When I said, " See you next year!"    My Dr\’s reply was, " God willing".    Wakling the halls of the clinic after leaving the examination room there was a smile on my prayers.
    As ever be well, my friend.  Stephen Craig Rowe

  6. Betty says:

    Hi Jorge,
     
    Having just had my "annual" physical, which, by the way, gets more complicated each year, I relate to the poetry.
    Thank you for the Memorial Day post.  It is good to hear from one who has not always enjoyed "freedom."
     
    Betty

  7. Stephen Craig says:

    Jorge,  Marilia  A friend of mine from Brazil is featuring some of my paintings and words on her space.  She did a great job and it is worth seeing.  http://faboni.spaces.live.com  As ever be well.  Stephen Craig Rowe

  8. Kathryn says:

    ah, love that – Smiling
     
    I had a "milestone" birthday this past February — weird being 50  …very weird….I\’m healty and energetic and keep in shape, so maybe I "fool myself" into forgetting how old 50 sounds *laughing*

  9. c says:

    Thanks for stopping by! I\’m nearing a birthday as well, although I\’m yet to make it a decade from the last \’landmark\’ you mentioned here.

  10. Unknown says:

    Hi Jorge, Thanks for your wonderful comment about the support group.  This has been a very rewarding experience for us.  I just had my birthday, June 1, so now I\’m 27.  Yikes, only three more years until the big 3 – 0!  Take care.  Danele 

  11. Marie says:

    Thanks for the reminder.  I should be getting my physical soon. 
    Hugs, Marie

  12. Charlotte says:

    Hi Jorge,  Just stopping in to say hello.  It is trying to snow here off and on today.  That\’s what we get for living at 6185 feet altitude.  Good for asthma and breathing situations for me though…  Hope you enjoyed the birthday party.  hugs, lottiemae

  13. Holy says:

    Landmark birthdays are fun.That\’s a great poem.  Hopefully you had a fun time reminiscing with your friend and gauging the measure of years from the medical standpoint.  Happy, healthy weekend!

  14. Pucca says:

    Hola esta muy bueno tu space.Me gustaria ke pasaras por mi space y me dejaras tu comentario
    Besos
    Ximena

  15. Beach Bum says:

    Jorge – haven\’t forgotten about you – just been so busy!  happy friday.
    tess
     

  16. redvelvet says:

    Yes it does my friend… especially after such a period of frustration… thanks for visiting… hugs…

  17. Edith says:

    Annual physicals… for me it\’s usually more like tri-annual… I avoid all that stuff for as long as possible.  Of course now that I\’m 41 my doctors are bugging me to do things like mamograms and other yucky stuff… I\’m still avoiding it until I have no other choice.  Being that I\’m diabetic, the doctors want to do more tests all the time than I think are necessary… I have great feeling in my feet, my sugars are just fine (most of the time), I\’ve had no degeneration of the eyes (they\’ve been the same for years), and I\’m mostly happy and feeling ok.  That\’s enough for me.  Hope your friend had a wonderful birthday… no matter what the age.

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