The glass of Jack Daniels just left his lips when I walked into his office. A pack of cigarettes - Pall Mall lights - rested at a convenient distance from his left hand. The crisp thud of glass meeting table surface resonated in the office as he winced.
I waited for him to finish his last notes. He wrote in an almost languid manner: like the slow waves of an otherwise still lake, made to move only by a zephyr's urging. Seated at the edge of the patient's chair was a disinterested face masking my slightly bothered heart.
He looked at me expectantly - he knew why I visited. I had briefly explained my malady when I called to book an appointment. Eyes fixed on the fresh page of my file, we recapped my complaints.
There was a dull, empty ache that has been bothering me for a while.
It wasn't something that particularly affected my daily routine. I could still go about my life as usual like every other healthy person even when the symptom surfaced. Yet it was annoying, and so I made up my mind to get it checked and sorted out, the flat throbbing below my stomach.
"Shall we do a physical examination now?"
It was very direct. I remember he once said that doctors don't like to waste time. But of course, how could you afford to when most of the time it's a matter of life and death?
The ceiling was a dazzling white that became a blinding empyrean when he probed my insides. I trembled. He noted. His hands moved knowingly, applying pressure as it traversed my horizontally laid anatomy. Paying attention to every pulse, every spasm, every change in temperature.
"Face that way."
I never liked clinics and hospitals. They smelled of anesthetics and early goodbyes. They made me fear that which I know very well - my body.
And fear makes one compliant.
The obedient patient that I was followed all his instructions. Positioning my body as he asked, breathed and coughed as he ordered, revealing whatever he demanded. I asked questions. He replied some, and ignored most. But with every question asked the pressure applied increased. It sometimes hurt. I knew then to keep my questions for later.
A blood sample had to be collected at the end of the examination. He drew blood, and it hurt.
"Am I still passive?" he asked.
More notes were scribbled in his cursive doctor's handwriting before he finally gave a diagnosis. Yearning, he said. Yearning was it. He has stopped the ache for a while, a relapse is inevitable. There wasn't any medication but only therapy.
"If you ever want it, you can just call me."
I exited his office, with the doctor's estimation that the symptom will resurface in a month's time. I have yet to book an appointment.