Birthday Digit

It’s my birthday. So that means I’m getting a finger up my ass.

I’d love to tell you that my upcoming anal adventure is connected to some kinky in-between the sheets fun commemorating the twelfth anniversary of my twenty-ninth birthday – but it isn’t. When my birthday approaches I always go for my annual physical. Joy.

When I arrive at my doctor’s office I’m ushered into one of the examination rooms. A pretty medical assistant weighs me, takes my temperature, and tells me to take off my pants. In any other situation I’d be happy to comply, but not today.

Suddenly I hear my doctor’s voice in the hallway. “Who’s in room six?” he asks. Of course, that would be me.

The assistant sticks her head out the door. “Mr. Dublanica’s in room six. What do you want done?”

“He needs an EKG, cholesterol, and a PSA,” the doctor’s voice replies from beyond the door. “I’ll be with him in a minute.”

“Yes, doctor.”

“Oh boy,” I say. “I’m getting wired for sound.”

The medical assistant laughs. “You got it.”

“Well, at least it’s not like the old days. When I got my first EKG the used to cover me in that goop.”

“We haven’t used that stuff in years.”

“Thank God.”

“I’ll be right back with the machine.”

As I wait for the assistant to return I look around the exam room. The walls are covered with diagrams of the human body and reminders of all the things that can go wrong inside you. I feel my blood pressure surge. Sitting in my skivvies I feel exposed. I guess it’s a good thing I’m wearing my cleanest boxer shorts.

The medical assistant returns with a machine that goes “beep” and attaches the electric leads to various parts of my chest.

“Hold still,” she says.

“I ain’t going anywhere.”

The machine whirrs and beeps as it spits out a ribbon of paper. As I watch as the red line squiggle up and down I pray the Lipitor’s been working.

“A friend of mine said if your EKG looks like the stock market charts you’ll be fine,” I quip out of nervousness

“That’s kinda true,” the assistant says. “Up and down.”

“Just no crashes.”

“I think you’ll be fine.”

The machine stops printing. The assistant plucks the leads of my skin, puts everything away, and starts trundling the machine out the door.

“The doctor will be with you in a minute,” she says. “And happy birthday!”

“Thanks,” I reply, glumly.

After another minute looking at the pictures of the human heart my doctor walks in the door holding a tablet computer. A thin, bespectacled man wearing a tzitzit under his shirt and and a yamaka on his head, he smiles broadly when he sees me.”

“My man, the famous author!” he says. “I thought you’d have traded up to a more expensive doctor by now.”

“I guess I’m stuck with you Doctor Levin,” I reply. With a reputation as one of the best diagnosticians in the area, Levin’s been my doctor for a long time. He’s also my father’s doctor which comes in very handy. Knowing what’s going on in my father’s body gives him some guidance in dealing with me. That’s the theory at least.

“So how many books did you sell?” Doctor Levin asks. I tell him.

“That’s great,” he says. “Are you gonna go on Oprah again?”

“They’re re-airing the episode I was on some time in June.”

“Let me know when,” Doctor Levin says. “I’ll tape it.”

“Will do.”

“So,” the doctor says, slipping into his medical persona, “Tell me what’s going on with you.”

For several minutes I tell Levin everything that happened to me during my Annus Mirabilis, We talk about my gallbladder, stress levels, relationships, diet, exercise, my recent weight loss, and all the miscellaneous fever and aches that cropped up over the year. When I’m finished Doctor Levin makes me hop up on the table and proceeds to massage my internal organs through my epidermal layer.

“That hurt?” he asks after I grunt.


“Then why’d you make that sound?”

“Because you’re pressing on my empty stomach,” I say. “I haven’t eaten in several hours.”

“Oh, right.”

Doctor Levin takes my blood pressure and reads my EKG. “Everything’s perfect,” he says reassuringly.


“Okay,” he says, reaching for a box of latex gloves. “Get up, drop your shorts, and bend over the table.” Oh boy. Here it comes.

“I hate this part,” I say.

“It’d suck if I prevented you from having a heart attack and then have you die from prostate or rectal cancer now wouldn’t it?” the doctor says.

Unable to argue with his logic, I assume the position. Facing the wall I hear the snap of a rubber glove. Then I feel a cold tickle, some pressure, then a lot.


“Almost done,” the doctor says.

Intelligent verbalization is beyond me now. All I can do is squeal.

Many men avoid having this test done and I understand why. It’s no fun. But my doc is right. It’s better to go through a moment of embarrassment and discomfort than to have something sinister creep up on you. And for any guy who says, “I ain’t letting no one touch me down there!” grow up. Women have it much worse.

As I’m contemplating the irony of adding a new digit to my age while getting a digit up my ass, the gloved finger exits, leaving a mini vacuum in it’s wake. Honestly, for me, that’s the worst part.

“Okay,” Doctor Levin says. “You can put your pants back on.”

I put my pants on and sit down in a chair, gingerly. I feel like asking the doc for a cigarette but that’d be inappropriate on multiple levels.

“Are you all right?” the doctor asks, noting the look of discomfort on my face. “That’s not supposed to hurt.”

“I think I might’ve had one in the launch tube,” I reply.

“Oh,” Doctor Levin replies, ending that line of questioning.

As I feel things rearranging themselves in my bowels, I listen as Doctor Levin gives me some instructions. Eat better, lose more weight, exercise more, get my gallbladder taken out before it becomes a crisis, and, above all, relax.

“You had a hell of year,” Doctor Levin says. “Enjoy life more.”

“I will.”

“Any problems you call me,” Doctor Levin says. “Take your Lipitor. Eat vegetables and all that.”

“Thanks,” I say. The discomfort in my nether regions has passed. I think knowing that a birthday bottle of McCallan is waiting for me at home got me through the ordeal.

“Be well,” the doctor says, exiting the exam room.

“Take care Doc.”

I collect my things and head to the lab. Several vials are laid out in preparation for my blood stream to fill them.

“So how’d it go?” the medical assistant from earlier asks as she preps the needle.

“Okay,” I reply. “You’re gonna take that much blood out of me?”


“Do I get a lollipop?”

The medical assistant smiles sadly. “I’m sorry,” she says. “I’m fresh out.”

And on my birthday too.


Birthday Digit — 93 Comments

  1. Happy Birthday, Steve.
    Glad you’ve lost some weight and are taking care of your self. Thanks for writing!
    I’m on vacation in Utah.

  2. While having some kinky between the sheets fun with my husband, I found the mass that has turned out to be rectal cancer. It wasn’t there last month, so we have a case of EARLY detection…. Now starts the fun of chemo/radiation and getting on with life( and more kinky sex) I just want your readers to know that kinky sex CAN SAVE A LIFE!!!

  3. Happy B~day!

    If only I could get my boyfriend to go in for an annual check up! He’s 50, diabetic, and with a double bypass. You’d think he would want to keep up with the check ups, but no. Maybe it’s denial. What you don’t know won’t hurt you. Oy!

    But cheers to your good health! I’m glad you’re taking care.

  4. “yarmulke under his shirt and and a yamaka on his head”… A yarmulke or kippah is the head covering, and the shirts with tassels are called tzitzit. I don’t know what a yamaka is :P

  5. Hey, didn’t they tell you the finger up the ass exam isn’t supposed to be done until you’re 50? Maybe you should have asked the doc for a cigarette…heh.

  6. Happy Birthday, Waiter! So glad you are smart enough to take care of yourself. Hope more men take the hint. Women seem to be better at going regularly. Have a great day.

  7. “…wearing a yarmulke under his shirt and and a yamaka on his head, he smiles broadly when he sees me.”

    I don’t get this- you can’t wear a yarmulke (which is the same thing as a yamaka, just different spelling) under a shirt, only on your head. Do you mean “tzizit,” the fringed undergarment?

  8. “I think I might’ve had one in the launch tube,” I reply.

    BAHAHAHHAHAAAAAAAA man that made me laugh!!!!

    Happy Birthday

  9. Quote: “I think I might’ve had one in the launch tube,” I reply.

    “Oh,” Doctor Levin replies, ending that line of questioning.”

    LMAO, Thanks

  10. Happy Birthday, Steve! Mine is May 18th. :) Glad you got a clean bill of health and good luck during your next trip around the sun!

  11. My personal record for blood vials for one taking is 14. Then there was the time I was in the hospital and they were taking blood from me so often my mom swore up and down there really wasn’t anything wrong with me, they were just using me to feed a bank of vampires in the basement.

    Happy belated Birthday. Hope the rest of it was far more fun. :)

  12. It’s still a good birthday, You got an overall clean bill of health, even after having a visit with Dr.Jellyfinger. (Yes, a Fletch reference)

    I worked dressing up for kids birthday parties for years here in Los Angeles and have seen worse things happen to people on their birthdays. A seven year old boys party had to be canceled when, during a little horse play with an older brother, he was accidentally thrown threw a sliding glass door and had to be rushed to the emergency room. While he was being rolled out to the ambulance on a stretcher he requested “Batman” make him a balloon sword for his ride.
    How could I say no? So I made him one, gave it to him and said, “Hang in there, you’ll be fine.”
    He looked at it and said, “This one’s red. I want a black one.” His Mom looked at me with tears in her eyes, “Can you make him a black one?” I finished just as they were getting ready to close the back doors of the ambulance. The birthday boy held up his black sword and said, “Thanks for coming to my party Batman.” And away they went.

    So yeah, your birthday went very well. At least your trip to the hospital was voluntary.

  13. Happy Birthday, Steve. May you have many more healthy, happy years.

    Loved today’s post, thanks for the laughs.

  14. ““So,” the doctor says, slipping into his medical persona, “Tell me what’s going on with you.”

    It’s been 20 years since I had an MD who’d ask an open-ended question like that, and really wanted to hear the answer. Hold onto him; he’s your real birthday present, even if he does stick a finger up your ass.

  15. I turned 50, and had a similar conversation with my doctor. My is female, and women tend to have smaller fingers.

    She also said that she had a birthday gift for me, and ordered my periscope-up-the-lower-GI test. Oh, joy.

    Fear of the finger test and fear of the scope test keep many people away from the doctor. This is a Bad Thing. Take The Test, people.

  16. I am a physician and I never do understand people, who do their yearly exam on their birthday. Is it because it’s a easy way to remember to do it?


  17. Happy Belated Birthday!

    Just a bit about the gallbladder, had mine out in November after several bad attacks, and my God do I feel better! Several gallstones and the gallbladder disease caused me 5 months of misery, and even though I’m still adjusting my diet to the lack of the organ, I’m feeling human again! Have the thing removed before it’s too late! Trust me!

  18. That’s a great question – wouldn’t one choose another day other than your birthday to have something unceremoniously shoved in the out hole? It’s not what I’d call a day at the beach, but you have reminded me that a checkup isn’t a bad idea. Thanks for that.

  19. Great post, Waiter! I’m only 33 but have a date with a camera in a couple of months. I think I’ll bring my own lollipop just in case.

    I heard a story about a doctor who used to get a nurse to sneak in undetected while the rectal examination was being performed, and place her hands on the patients shoulders.

    The doctor would then say, “Just relax, I’ll be done in a minute.”

  20. Many Happy Returns, Steve.

    A better question is why are you getting a PSA screening while in your 40s (if I calculated correctly). Isn’t that something you typically have done in your 50s? Are you in a high-risk category?

  21. You really should try and schedule your cholecystectomy sooner rather than later. I had my gallbladder removed in 2005, and these days it’s such a minor procedure–you can even go home in the same day, and after 5 days you’re back on your feet. (I think they’ve even improved the laparascopic procedure since I had it done.)

    My doctors told me I don’t need to change my diet, either (though I don’t eat much fatty foods as it is). Just a few tiny scars and that’s about it.

    I had my gallbladder removed after two bouts of acute pancreatitis. And really, all the pain of the cholecystectomy is a pinprick compared to the kind of complications that can result. KF

  22. Happy Birthday.

    I was wondering, why do so many people misspell the lovely name MacAllan?

    Just curious.



  23. Glad to see you taking care of yourself. These tests are important, even if you don’t like them.

    And damn straight we women have it worse. You may get a finger up your butt but at least you don’t have your balls squished and cold metal up in you.

  24. Happy Birthday Waiter!

    Have always loved your site and look forward to reading your book(s)!

    A whole post about a prostate exam? And the amount of discomfort from one little finger up your ass for less than a minute?!? Oh Dear…
    No wonder prostate cancer is the number one cancer for us, if this is the general reaction!

    Suck it up and get the test guys!

  25. Happy Birthday Waiter!

    Only one thing – I’m a woman and frankly I’m not sure we “have it much worse” – at least our asses are generally off limits… good on you for being brave. x

  26. It’s become commonly accepted that men need digital rectal exams and PSA’s, but in reality their utility is debatable. They very well do more harm than good.

  27. Happy Birthday Steve – My bithday is May 16 and I turned 40 too!

    I feel as though this year is shaping up to be my Annus Mirabilis, so here’s the being forty and fabulous!

  28. Thank you for posting this. I’m seeing Dr. “Ben Dover” tomorrow, and I don’t feel so bad about it now.

  29. I think the discomfort depends on the experience of the doctor. While your doctor may be very experienced, he probably doesn’t do a prostate exam every day. When my wife was going through fertility testing 15 years ago, she was seeing one of the world’s most renowned urology/fertility guys. He was always the guy on the news when there was a story about fertility problems and anything related to urology. The guy wanted to check my prostate to see if I was the problem since, with many couples, the problem is with the man. Me and my prostate passed with flying colors and I didn’t have the least bit of discomfort other than a couple of resident doctors (one very attractive 20-something young lady) were “behind” me and observing. He let them “have a feel” of a normal prostate. At least I resisted the urge to coo.

  30. Hi! I’m currently reading your book and it’s a PAGETURNER. It goes quickly and I just want to keep reading. It has, however, put me off of the at-one-time romantic idea I had of being a waitress at any point in my life ;) Great read! Congratulations on your progress.

  31. What you should do is have your cholesterol and PSA test done BEFORE the physical. This way you can tell your Dr. ‘no thanks’ to the butt check if your PSA is normal. This is the way I do it with my Dr. and we’re both happy about it.

  32. Hope you have had a very happy birthday!

    BTW, a digital exam is important. I hate them, too, and my doctor is very nice and careful about it, but I always flash on prison movies when the rubber glove comes out. Ugh. No, doc, it doesn’t hurt exactly, but however you want to describe the sensation, I find it unpleasant in the extreme.

    On a much more pleasant subject, I just read your book cover-to-cover and loved it! I wish I had half the writing talent you do. I must confess that, cheap ass that I am, I got it from my local library. Sorry!

    Can I partially make up for that by noting that I do make sure to always be pleasant and nice to waitpersons and to tip 20% or more!

  33. I too schedule all those (horrible) appointments during my birthday month. Not the actual DAY but the act of getting one year older reminds me to get the dreaded PAP/Pelvic done (yeah, much worse. You try spread eagle with your feet in stirrups buddy!), the mammo and twice yearly teeth cleaning and check up. Man I hate April.

    Good on you for taking good care of yourself and for having such a seemingly great doc.

  34. Happy (belated) Birthday!

    Just finished catching up on your blog. Beautiful, touching, witty, humorous and overall invigorating. Has been one of the factors creating 2 great days at work.

    Will hunt down your book and devour it ASAP.

  35. Happy (belated ) Birthday !!

    Some of us are content with bumps on the back for our birthdays.

    Ah well , bottoms up !!!

  36. Women really do have it worse, since they tend to scrape that nice, tender inner skin. It’s the strangest feeling, with a plastic phallus that splits apart like an alligator clip in there getting poked around with an unforgiving cotton swab and other unhappy looking instruments. Let’s not mention that horrible, HORRIBLE crack-crunching noise the plastic phallus makes when they shove it in you to split you open. Women sometimes get fingers in their ass, sometimes not-it depends on how your internal organs lay, because every girl is a different degree of screwed up.

    Then there’s the breast examine where you have the doctor and the nurse staring at your bare breasts while they pummel them, and last but not least, the “pelvic examine” of them shoving fingers between your legs and palpitating your entire lower abdomen.

    God forbid you have the flu that day. Or an upset stomach. Then we wait 2-6 weeks for results.

    And then it comes back with “uncertain results” so you get to do the whole thing over again.

    What a joy!

    Late happy birthday, bang the hell out of the girl when you get the chance, and good for you for having some success.

  37. OMG! Just a week ago, I went to my OB/GYN and you’re right, we women DO have it much worse. I’ll spare your comments section the details, but I would trade with men ANY I had to give blood too, but a lot less than you gave. So maybe, this once, that makes us

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