I sat across from the doctor. He was very Russian. His English wasn’t great. He smiled.
“So, you have problem with anus, yes?”
He gave my midsection a concerned look. “What?”
“Well,” I told him, “it is very painful in my—well, my anus. It started on Monday, but it keeps getting worse and I have a bad cough too so every time I cough my body tenses and I get this horrible stabbing pain and—well, it is agony. It’s like the world’s cruelest fucking joke, there is no God.”
He nodded along with my story and I could tell the only things he understood were “anus,” and “fuck.”
He smiled and stood up.
“Let us go to exam room. I will look at your—” he paused, “pain place.”
He laughed. I laughed. We headed into the room next door. It was a cold room and a young female nurse stood in the corner, watching.
“Take off these,” he said pointing to my pants. I looked at the nurse, she didn’t move. I went to the corner and took my pants off.
“These, too?” I asked, knowing the answer.
I took my underpants off as well and placed them beside my pants on top of different containers of medical equipment. I walked over to him beside the table.
“Up,” he said. He put one hand on the table and lifted a leg up. “Like dog,” he said. He climbed off the table and patted it gently. My turn. I climbed up onto the table. He tapped my elbows and I transitioned into a downward facing dog.
“Good,” I heard him say. He began pressing and prodding.
“Does it hurt here?”
I looked up at the nurse, she was standing there watching like some sadistic, curious cat—big eyed. She had a surgical mask over her mouth, to hide her smile presumably. Then, a finger came into view between us. It was a great big yellow-gloved finger; maybe a ten-centimeter circumference, two to three inches long. It wasn’t an artist’s finger.
“I see anus with finger now.”
Ten minutes after the doctor finished playing I-could-have-sworn-I-left-my-keys-around-here-somewhere inside my anus, we sat across from each other in his office.
“You have trauma anus,” he told me.
“Sorry, one moment. I will get translator.”
He left. When he returned he was with a kid who looked not more than 18. I stared up at him and my first thought was, I can’t shake his hand, I’ve just had a finger in my ass.
But, then I realized, no—wait, it wasn’t my finger, so surely–it’s fine.
I almost reached out before a thought struck me; but someone in the room has had a finger in the ass of someone else in the room. That doesn’t seem like the most atmospheric time for a handshake.
At that point I’d been staring at his hand for the past thirty seconds so not shaking it now would just be awkward. I held out my hand. He took it, reluctantly.
“Bet this is the most awkward conversation you’ll have to translate all day, huh?”
He pulled out a chair beside me. “Mhm,” he said.
The doctor went back behind the desk in front of us and smiled. He began speaking a lot of Russian as the translator nodded along. I couldn’t follow. Eventually the translator turned.
“He says you have hurt it because of trauma. Have you had any trauma?”
I frown, “butt trauma?”
“No. I was just walking, and this pressure just started to build.”
He looked to the doctor, listened, then translated, “did you fall, or sit down on something?”
I laughed a little and shrugged, “nope, not that I can remember. I was just walking, and it started up.” The translator gave me a funny look, the doctor too. At that point I caught on that what I was saying was just the sort of lame ass lie someone might tell if they didn’t want to admit that they’d been playing a game of who’s hiding what, where?
“Really!” I said.
The doctor began writing something. The translator stood up.
“That is all,” he said and left. I waved him out.
The doctor continued writing away on his notepad and I watched the wall for a bit, trying to find the least painful angle to sit at.
Eventually, he slid a piece of paper towards me. It was a prescription with a list of things on it. He pointed.
“uh—for pain. 2 times per day.” He mimed tossing pills in his mouth.
He pointed back at the page, “and this svetcher hmm, svetcher—hmm, only moment.” He pulled out his phone. He typed something. He turned it to me.
“Candle!” He says
“Yes! For your anus”
“Oh, it goes right up there then?”
He laughed. I laughed.
“Okay!” I said, silently praying that some terrible translation error was being made.
He then made a whistling sound and guided his finger through the air, as you might guide a candle through an anus, apparently.
I gave him a thumbs-up.
“Okay?” he said.
I nodded. “Yeah, okay.”
He smiled, handing me the slip. He shook my hand and waved toward the door. I left. As I walked down the hall towards reception to pay, I was able to translate the first sentence of his notes:
Patient Denied Fact of Anal Trauma.