Monday, November 22, 2010

Extra Cream And Crescent Moons

I just realized that I have passed my one-year anniversary for my blog, StorytellerDoc. It has been an amazing ride, thus far, and I am grateful for all the amazing positives and new friends that have come my way with this endeavor. Thank you... Now, for a post that drifts way off my beaten path.

I pride myself on working hard to stay in good physical shape and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. This, despite my love of scoop Fritos and Nibble With Gibbles potato chips. I come from good genetic stock, however, which makes "fighting the fight' a bit easier. Regardless, though, my frequent trips to my fitness club are a mental necessity with physical benefits that I've grown to rely on in keeping some sanity with my often stressful job.

I've been at the same club for thirteen years. And in those thirteen years, I have seen many new faces and also continue to see many familiar faces. On days when I don't really want to be there, it is nice to see that familiar face pushing themselves at one of the weight stations. Especially when that face is worn by an 80 year-old woman who is kicking ass at the leg abductor machine. Or the middle-aged guy who just finished doing twenty pull-ups.

Some of those faces, both new and old, I have also seen in the ER as patients. For that reason, I often wear a baseball cap pulled down quite low, just edging my eyebrows. Believe it or not, I was more embarrassed to run into the college girl who I recently treated for PID than she was. At least I know not to follow her on the machines she just sat at. Even more necessary, I plug my Koss earplugs into my mp3 player and crank some great, energetic music. That way, if a former patient wants to talk to me about their thrombosed hemorrhoids or that nasty fungal infection that just won't go away, I can feign not hearing them. "What's that, sir?" or "Did you say something, maam?" I may have been guilty in saying that once or twice during a workout.

A few years back, my gym started a program, I think it's called "Silver Sneakers," which gives elderly people a membership discount, encouraging them to work out. This is all good and fine. In fact, I look at some of these remarkable people and am truly inspired by their effort and commitment. However, I like to work out at the same time (mid morning to early afternoon) as the Silver Sneakers folks do, which at times has begun to frustrate me.

Let me reiterate here that I truly am impressed by most of these folks. I can only hope to be in my 70s and 80s and push myself the way some of these people do in the club. But, darn it anyway, some of them are causing me to think about joining another gym. And I'm a creature of habit. After thirteen years, I don't want to join another facility. But here's why--and if any of my following supportive arguments upset you, I apologize for it beforehand.

Several months back, I began to notice that sometimes walking into the men's locker room, before starting my workout, held a dangerous risk. The entrance to it has a C-curve, which prevents those out in the gym area from getting a direct view. Unfortunately, upon walking in, I have been greeted one too many times now by the naked old guy, just finishing from his shower, standing in front of his locker, bent over, drying his toes. And more drying. And still, more drying. I didn't know that drying your toes (did I mention naked?) can be a ten-minute ordeal. But for some, I guess it can be a meticulous process.

So, just go along with me here. Are you picturing the guy? Because, while he is drying his toes, his weighty scrotum with its ten-pound hernia is swinging back and forth, welcoming all who enter the locker room to have a great workout. Trust me, it's hard to be inspired to work out after that. Really, if that is what I have to look forward to in another thirty years, I may just pack it in now.

I have also witnessed many men clipping their toenails (some while sitting naked on a stool). So sometimes, either standing in front of my locker or trying to walk through to get to my locker, I haphazardly step on little slivers and shreds of discarded nails and cuticles. What the hell is this? I actually have a buddy who left the gym because of this. Me? I am made of stronger stock, I guess, than my buddy. I still feel the need to complain about it, though.

Anyone need any talcum powder? Cologne? There is plenty of that after a shower, too. Unfortunately, though, it's not mine. Nothing, and I mean nothing, freshens me up better before a workout than to walk through the obnoxious cloud of baby powder and cheap cologne. I have actually worked out before and thought to myself, "What is that stink?," only to realize that the stink was me. And I don't even wear Stetson cologne!

Just a few months back, I walked into the locker room to be welcomed by another naked man, bent over, drying his toes, with his pendulous scrotum wishing me a "good morning." All well and good now, since I am becoming immune to such greetings. But this guy, at least 80, had something I haven't seen before on the Silver Sneakers folks. Because of the club's free tanning promotion, this guy had an all-over tan--all over except for two very pale half-moons at the inferior creases of his buttocks. In laymen terms, he had two curvy spots of non-tanned skin from where his ample ass doubled-over while he was laying in the tanning bed. If I only knew his name, I would probably tell his family on him.

We interrupt this post to bring you a joke. Someone, please turn on my microphone (tap, tap--okay, it's working). Imagine me talking to this guy's grandkids. "Hey kids," I could say, "what is one-half moon plus one-half moon?" The kids would yell out their answer, "One!" "Nope," I would answer, pausing to build their anticipation before answering, "one-half moon plus one-half moon doesn't equal one, sillies, it equals your grampa's ass!" Well, maybe they would be right--grampa was showing me his full moon.

If that wasn't bad enough, last week when I walked into the locker room, there was actually a naked gentleman with his left leg drawn up onto his stool, actively squeezing hemorrhoid cream in his buttock's crack. I kid you not! At least I think it was hemorrhoid cream. I was horrified, hurrying past him before he could ask me to help him out or, better yet, accidentally spray some cream in my eye as I walked by. What's next, the public insertion of a suppository?

Although I view being observant and cognizant of my surroundings one of my best strengths, especially in the ER, I am learning that I may just need to put on some blinders the next time I pull into my gym parking lot. That way, I won't notice any more of the following:

The woman in spandex walking around the track with a saggy, incontinent bottom.
The crescent sweat stain on the seat of the weight machine from the person before me.
The gentleman who's comb-over is not combed-over while he does the bench press.
The fashion trend of wearing two different socks with your walking Reeboks.
The extremely curly hair that is on the water fountain push button.
The inadvertent forgetfulness of putting on a bra before working out.

Should I go on? Trust me, there is a lot more. Or do you get the idea?

Regardless, I am extremely proud of all of my fellow gym-mates. After all, despite any of my misgivings, they are there, at the gym, giving it their best in maintaining good health. Good for them, I say. And because of this, I have never once gone to the front desk and complained. Nor would I. If I did, I wouldn't have anymore of those special "Good morning!" greetings upon walking into the locker room. I just need to get over a few small issues, I suppose.

On second thought, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go fill out my membership form for Curves.

See what so many years in the ER has done to my sense of humor? As always, big thanks for reading! Please come back... I hope this finds you well and wishing you a good week. Jim


Anonymous said...

All the naked bodies and disgusting things you must see at the ER - and the "golden oldies" at the gym are getting to you - hahaha. In the UK, they sometimes call the old folks "crinklies".

I'm sure someone will be offended, but you gave me a smile this morning.

This post aside :) It's so nice to see an ER doc who genuinely seems to like and empathize with people.


Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

no no no doc, take a camera and keep going! ha ha ha

smiles, bee

Sarah said...

wow. all that might make me think about changing too. but this just proves- a lot of men have no shame and no couth :) and the older it gets the worse it gets. if only they were a little more insecure and self-conscious :)
i dont think i could ever get over so much nakedness. anytime a lady was nakey in our locker room it always makes me feel so awkward!

Katie said...

I like to think that over the last year of reading this blog, I have become more tolerant of reading about... well... weird things. Let me just say this post officially grossed me out. Probably worse than most of your blogs set in the ER. The thought of going to the gym crossed my mind for about 2.5 seconds when I began to read this post, but you have now officially convinced me that it is not worth it! EWW!

Excuse me while I go sanitize my hands. Then I'll move on to the keyboard. Then the chair... and if only I could sanitize my eyes!

Other than that, all is well here.
<>< Katie

Wren said...

I've been lucky enough never to have seen naked old ladies in the locker room at the gym, but considering I'm on a track to be one of them before too awfully long, I guess I'd better get used to the idea. Your experience is whimsical and funny, Dr. Jim. Perhaps going to your gym during Silver Sneakers time will motivate you to work out even harder...

Best to you. Hope all is well. And congrats on reaching your one-year blogging anniversary!

Anonymous said...

Hey Dr. Jim,
I laughed like crazy at parts of this post and would like to share that the ladies locker room, it's the same scene (and I'd wager the perfume clouds are much more dense).
Congratulations on making your first year, I wish you many, many more.

Elderly lady in training said...

Hey, why should women wear bras if they don't want to? For some of us they are one of the most uncomfortable garments ever invented (the others being tights, and high heeled court shoes).

Anonymous said...

Oh yea, this is really bad, even in the gym at my university.

Kind of strange though, that you're an ER doc and are so shocked by this. I guess the new re-designed gowns are effectively covering up the "crescent moons" and pendulum...well, you know...?

Anonymous said...

on the bra comment above, I often question if underwires are one cause for breast cancer? Metal so close to the girls can't be great for our health.

Tiff said...

OMG!!! I laughed my ass off through this WHOLE post!!!! SOOOO funny!!! I am soooo glad I am not a guy and have to see the pendulums..ewww!! However, like sarah, I feel awkward as well when I walk into the locker room, and see whole bunch of the "girls" all out naked and exposed for the youngerish, slightly conservative, private young women like myself. That is why I tend to just change in the bathroom, and not the locker room, and for the most part I just jog outside, and lift weights at home, or change and shower at home. Jim, have you thought of maybe changing into your workout gear, at home, then when your done at the car, putting a towel over your seat (if you dont have leather interior in your car) and showering at home?? This way you can avoid the locker room all together!! Just a thought!! Please keep writing amazing, HILARIOUS posts!! Your awesome!!


"Doctor" Matt said...

Great way to start off my day...with a good laugh! I know EXACTLY the pendulums you are talking about. Hang in there (pun intended).

Anonymous said...

Elderly Lady in Training - if god meant for us to wear harnesses, we would have been born horses!

Tracy2 (not 40DD)

Tanya said...

This is why I have a treadmill in my bedroom! I never got over the trauma of junior high school gym class and thus, I will never join a gym!

tracy said...

Like Tanya, i like the idea of having my own treadmill (please, please keep going after 1ike 11+ years..."knock wood"!) and doing aerobics and DVD's at home!

The Locker Room...just gross, any way you look at it and what ever age group of people is there. Although, i still have a part of me that wants to join a gym...unless i can somehow get hold of the elliptical i crave so badly!

Mismatched socks? i thought that was a teenaged girl thing. My cousin told me it was all the rage with her daughter and friends...(new) "sock exchange" 'Couse, being the Eternal Teenager, that made me want to do it too...

Thanks for a splendid post, Dr. Jim and may you and your family have a Blessed Thanksgiving.

tracy said...

Anyone want to do a "Sock Exchange"...? :)

Anonymous said...

I work out a lot too, and I have a problem with the itty bitty titty committee. Women with no breast tissue to speak of, yet they still have nipples which can be seen through their gym apparel. I don't come here to see that thank you very much. Wear a damn sports bra!!

Have Myelin? said...

Oh this was terrific! Thanks for the laugh. =)

Anonymous said...

Hilarious! Happy blog anniversary and Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

Anonymous said...

I'm a 20-something female, and I fully support your belief that females should wear spome type of supoort when working out.

I'm rather small-chested, and every single time I've tried to work out without chest support, I've had to stop because it hurts. I have no idea how larger-chested females stand the "bouncing."

Cartoon Characters said...

That's why I work out at home.
But then, it's all fodder for your writing...and that's good for us.

Freda said...

I'm so glad I read this in the evening but wish it had not been just before dinner!

Peter said...

Hi! First off, congratulations on your first anniversary. After twelve months worth of blogging, coming up with articles can sometimes be like getting blood out of a rock, but you're more than on the right track and we hope to see more in the future.

Pumping iron is a great way to not only stay fit but to clear the head as well. The same applies here, except at the moment I'm getting over a stress fracture as a result of trying get in shape for my twelve monthly shuttle run exam – 7.7 by the way. Alright if you're twenty something but not so good when nearing fifty five. But as they say, no use crying over spilt milk!

As for getting dressed in full view of others, I still can't bring myself to do it as I'm still a prude even after all this time.

But if ever you do see me in your gym you will be able to recognise me by the scars on my back and not by the size of my downunders.

Take Care,

Cerulean Bill said...

Sounds like my local Planet Fitness.

If you figure out how to join Curves, please let me know!

Anonymous said...

Ok...the uber-complete drying of the toes is forgivable...the toenail clipping less so, perhaps worthy of some signage in the change room.

But the application of hemorrhoid cream is completely unforgivable, I don't care how bad the hemorrhoids are! This is something you do in the privacy of the bathroom!

Good Lord.

Karen said...

Funny post to mark your one year! You need a good pair of blinders! LOL

Anonymous said...

One day, we'll be there, too, if we're lucky. Some things that might help: signs asking people to refrain from clipping nails so they fall on the floor; to avoid applying medicines in the common area, etc. Perhap, too, areas could be constructed with separation curtains so people could have some privacy. I don't know how old these folks are, but I'm sure you are aware that some judgment slips as we get older and a few gentle reminders would be helpful. It's not a whole lot of fun watching one's body age. It's even less fun realizing that a doctor finds the aging bodies and what they do so distasteful. Gentle coaching especially via some disreet signs would be better than self-righteous departure.

SeaSpray said...

Hilarious! And not ..if faced I mean MOONED with it. ;)

I'm thinking they could be at all gyms. On the other hand ..what if?

It's been about a week since I last read this and in my mind's eye ..I keep seeing "his weighty scrotum with its ten-pound hernia is swinging back and forth,".

Can you go in with your head down?

Unnerving for germaphobe like me to think about and so I choose denial at the Y. :)

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

You might have been joking, but at 62, the pictures you presented make me very reluctant to go to a gym! I don't want anyone joking about MY less than perfect figure!