Stranger in a dark room!

She nodded her head in an obvious signal to me to come in. Even as I gingerly stepped in, she was all ready and raring to go. She drew my attention to the bed in the corner, and simply told me to undo my pants at the waist while she proceeded to switch off the light. As I lay down with my pants unhinged, she began rubbing my abdomen with practised ease. I was nervous, but she seemed quite cool. After all, I had paid good money for the service.

Stop thinking kinky. The above is just the verbatim report of the moments leading to the ultrasound scan of my abdomen, which I was prescribed to take after some prolonged trouble in my belly.

To get an abdomen scan done you need

1) An ultrasound scanning machine

2) An abdomen

3) And water, that is roughly the annual rainfall of Chirapunjee, to fill the abdomen with.

In general, they allow you to lie on the scanning table only after your bladder is about to create an impromptu tsunami in the vicinity. To put it in more ideal terms, you will be in prime condition for an abdomen scan after a long-drawn beer session.

I would have asked the doctor why the bladder needed to be so full for the scan if only my mind was anywhere close to thinking any thought other than how do I ease off the humungous Sintex container that was doing desperate duty as my bladder.

Also last week, as part of my prescribed medical tests, blood was sucked out of my veins at least five times all within a space of three hours. And at the end of it all, the medical reports made it clear that I was anaemic. What else could I have been after sacrificing so much blood that, in my reckoning, would have been the lifetime supply of an active Dracula.

The labs are also very finicky about the kind of blood they want. They don’t just prick a vein and let the blood dribble out. As befitting a true torture test, they take blood after your first yawn. Then after your first wink. And then, after your first swear word uttered against the tests. It goes on till you are left with no energy to do any bodily function. It is at this extremely weak moment, they produce the bill for your tests and you can’t even cry out your protest.

But the beauty of lab tests is such that each one of them so uniquely repulsive and irritating that you will be confused as to which deserves to be called the most reprehensive.

Anyway, for all your troubles, at the end of it all you are given a huge file with more papers than the CBI filed in the 2G scam case and scanned images which for normal eyes look like pictures taken on a camera without opening its lens lid. You in your desperation will try to at least make sense of what is written there. But you won’t understand a single word of it. Medical reports are usually written in absent-minded cryptology.

So you will run to your doctor lugging all the reports. And then, in the clinic you wait for more time than you waited for Sachin Tendulkar’s hundredth hundred for him to show up. But this is also evidently part of the test, which is aptly called, test of patience.

And when the doctor arrives, you show him the report, and casually looking at it will tell you the one word every patient fears hearing the most: Inconclusive.

Ergo, more tests, and more inconclusiveness, and eventually when the doctor prescribes a medicine for you it will probably be the one that the friendly neighbourhood medical shop man would have straightaway given if you had had the forethought to go to him in the first place.

But whenever I think of doctors and tests, I remember this chastening experience that I had long ago. It was a private party where you get to bump into many strangers.  Someone was introduced to me with the following words: ‘Meet Mr.Maheshwaran. He is a leading doctor.’ Saying this the man who gave the introduction left, and with nothing much to do, I thought I will bone up my general awareness on health and hygiene and started pounding the doctor with my personal and physical status.

‘My heartbeat is around 80 per minute and my BP is 120/85 and I am affected by flatulence from time to time’. Just as I was getting into the swim of things and about to him convey the details of my lipid profile, the quiet man dryly said: ‘why are you telling me this? I am only a veterinarian’.