By dk davis
As I sat alone in the doctor’s office waiting impatiently for Dr. Karen Ethans to arrive, I stared at the three posters tacked to the faded yellow walls. The first poster was disturbing in its graphic candor, as it showed several stages of a pressure sore in some poor guy’s keister, including a color photo of a baseball-sized hole in one cheek. The second poster listed methods of birth control throughout history, including the reliability of each method — according to the poster, “crossing your fingers” is the least reliable. It was the last poster, however, that most intrigued me. It was a drawing of the male reproductive system, and while the poster was almost childlike in its simplicity, the model had obviously been all man. As I sat and stared at this poster, Dr. Ethans opened the door.
“Good Morning, Mr. Davis.”
“Good morning. Doc, did you ever take a close look at this poster?” I nodded toward the cartoon Priapus.
After a cursory glance, she smiled. “The artist had either a great imagination, or a big friend. What can I help you with today?”
“Well Doc, it’s like this. I’ve noticed lately that the ‘mighty oak’ of my youth has given way to a ‘wobbly weeping willow,’ and I was hoping you could give me a prescription for tree petrifier.”
As she absorbed this, she reached across her desk and grabbed a notepad that read, “An apple a day impedes my income.”
“I need to ask you a few questions before I can prescribe any ‘tree petrifier,'” she said with a wry smile.
“Well, it used to be that I could pitch a pretty good tent. Not a church revival tent or anything quite that big, but a fair size circus tent, if I don’t say so myself. But in the last few years …”
“As fascinating as your discourse on tents is, I actually need to ask you a few questions pertaining to your lifestyle and health.”
“Do you exercise?”
“I watched both the Olympics and Paralympics last year,” I replied proudly.
Dr. Ethans didn’t seem amused.
“Do you smoke?”
“Once I used a fork to try to take a piece of bread from the toaster midway through toasting, and I singed my bangs.”
“Cigarettes. Do you smoke cigarettes?”
“Only when celebrating major holidays, such as ‘Garbage Day Number Two.'”
“I see from your last physical that your cholesterol is normal, your blood pressure is low as usual, and your blood sugar is fine.”
“I knew I was the picture of health.”
“I didn’t say that. What method have you and your wife been using up to now?”
“Well,” I said slowly. “We usually start off by bringing a fresh batch of lime green Jell-O, a can of pineapple rings and a bungee cord into the bedroom. Then Pam flips the switch on the solar-powered …”
“Hold it right there. Do you use any prescription drugs to help you achieve your ‘circus pole’?”
“Circus pole? That’s pretty witty Doc, but no, we have never used drugs.”
“That’s amazing. And you and your wife have been satisfied with your quality of …”
“Wood? For the most part, yes. There have been a few instances where we wanted to get down and dirty and my mechanics wouldn’t quite cooperate.”
“So what did you do on those occasions?”
“Well, there was the ‘popsicle stick episode of ’97,’ followed by the ‘pipe cleaner incident of ’01,’ and I seem to remember the ‘great electrical tape experiment of ’03.’ Oh yes, there was also the ‘colossal paper towel …'”
“Stopstopstop. I’ve heard enough.”
After gathering herself together, Dr. Ethans brought out several pamphlets from her bottom drawer along with a larger booklet. It was then that I remembered Dr. Ethans led a study a few years before, looking at the effects of Viagra on the blood pressure of men with spinal cord injuries (see sidebar, page 33). I was obviously talking to the right person.
“You have several choices,” she started, and slid over the top pamphlet. “Beginning with injection drugs.”
“That get injected where?” I asked, fearing the answer.
“I’ll give you one guess,” she said with a smile.
“Oh, that won’t be happening. Shazzam would never forgive me.”
“Shazzam? Never mind, I don’t want to know. Injection drugs are very popular, and the simple reason is because they work. Papaverine works for many men and a newer combination of three drugs, called Tri-Mix — Papaverine, Phentolamine and Prostaglandin — has been highly successful as well.”
“I don’t want acupuncture being done on that particular part of my body.”
Sliding over the second pamphlet, she said, “Fine. Your second choice is a system called Muse. You take a small capsule and insert it into the tip of the …”
“Unless the last word in that sentence is ‘nose’, I don’t want to hear it. Can’t I try one of the wonder drugs on the market, so I don’t have to torture my squirrel?”
“Squirrel? Just when I think I have heard every possible name, I hear another one. Wonder drugs? You are referring to Viagra, Cialis and Levitra?”
“Yeah, the little blue pill. Didn’t you recently publish a big study on Viagra? And didn’t you find a correlation between the lower a man’s blood pressure dropped, the bigger the unit he had?”
“No! That was definitely not my conclusion!”
“Sorry. You know how the talk on the street is.”
Sliding the larger booklet across her desk, she opened the cover to a marked page halfway through, and showed me an article: The Effects of Sildenafil on the Cardiovascular Response in Men With Spinal Cord Injury at or Above the Sixth Thoracic Level.
“That’s great Doc. Sounds like a real interesting read. But weren’t we talking about Viagra and whether I can have some?”
“Sildenafil is Viagra,” she replied tiredly.
“Why didn’t you say so?” I quickly scanned the four-page article.
When I finished, I looked up, smiled and said, “I’ll start with 50 mg, and if Shazzam doesn’t wake up, I’ll up the dosage to 75 mg and then 100 mg if necessary. I need to be aware that my blood pressure will drop, and if I feel dizzy, it’s no big deal, I should probably just get out of the tree.”
Doctor Ethans smiled, then laughed.
“Wouldn’t you like to hear about the other two options while you’re here anyway?”
“Fine. But you’re cutting into my lovemaking time.”
Dr. Ethans ignored me, and went on. “Actually, I would rather not prescribe Levitra to you anyway, because I don’t feel I know enough about it, except that once again it would lower your blood pressure.”
“The last option is Cialis.”
“See Alice? Doc, I’m a married man.”
“Not ‘Alice’ but Cialis. Also known as ‘The Weekender.'”
“It stays in your system for up to 72 hours, and is actually effective for up to 36 hours.”
“I’ll cancel the Viagra and take a crate of Cialis.”
“Actually, I definitely wouldn’t prescribe this for you.”
“It could turn me into a real tiger, eh?”
“If you were a paraplegic with no blood pressure issues, you might be a real tiger, but with your naturally low blood pressure, you’ll more likely a sleeping kitten. There have been no studies done with quads and Cialis, so just knowing that it stays in your system for up to 72 hours, I think you would be in danger of passing out.”
“Pam says I make love like a sleeping …”
“Please stop. You’ve shared enough for today.”
“Oops, sorry. I’ll just take my prescription and be on my way.”
After handing me the pink slip, Dr. Ethans remarked, “I think it’s great that you and Pam still have an active sex life, especially after becoming parents.”
“I chalk it up to being open-minded, and a willingness to share our fantasies. For example, I have this one where I’m receiving a lap-dance from the Queen of England …”
“That’s it. Your appointment is over.”