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She padded away, and I sat for a few minutes in my gown, feeling mortal, the way you do if you're 57 and scantily clad, sitting in bright light. I could imagine that a pea-size tumor in my innards had sprouted and sent evil tendrils shooting through the lymph nodes, and now dense jungle growths had a grip on my vitals and in a few months people would sit in an Episcopal church and softly weep for me and then have a nice lunch. I was almost to the scattering of the ashes when the doctor walked in. He asked me how I was and I said fine. He sat down and perused the questionnaire I'd filled in.
It is pleasant to have someone concerned about you and your health. I was brought up to think about others, not about myself, and if the conversation should dwell on me, to change the subject quickly. But now, in the privacy of an examining room, I was accorded the great privilege of talking about me, my feelings and aches and what's happening here and here and down here, and the doctor was not so bored to hear about it. He found me interesting and looked into my eyes and my ears and my nose. He thumped my chest; he had me drop my drawers and asked, "Everything down here work O.K.?" Yes, I said, yes, yes, it does. But thank you for asking.
And that was the upshot of my story in Rochester. Aging male, out of shape ("deconditioned") but in pretty good shape for the shape I'm in. Knock, knock. I have the cholesterol levels of an 18-year-old, in case you're curious, which is highly unjust, considering the eggs and cheese and beef I've snarfed, the zero hours of aerobic exercise, and thank God for His Unjustice. Knock, knock. That is all I have to say on the subject at this time, and there will be no questions, thank you.