Doctors and hospitals are for sick people
 

My wife has this strange idea about health.  Apparently in her family even when you were not sick you went to the doctor.  And when you showed any symptoms off you hurried to the doctor’s office.
 

I always knew her family was peculiar.     My parents had another theory.   You went to the doctor when there was no other alternative or when you were on the brink of dying.
 

It was a strategy to put off going to the doctor for as long as possible.   They had a saying in Yiddish, “Zolst kaynmol nisht fallen tzvishen di hent fun doktoyrim – you should never fall into the hands of doctors.”
 

In their experience, if you went to the doctor with a pain in the side, they poked and prodded and tested until you had cancer.   Better to avoid the encounter and remain healthy.
 

You have a cold?  Take some chicken soup, stay in bed for a little and then you’ll be good as new.  If you went to the doctor, he was bound to wind up telling you had a real krenk.
 

In other words, doctors are for sick people, not for healthy ones like you and me.
 

Besides, what do doctors actually tell you?
 

I went to the doctor once with stuffed up sinuses, coughing up phlegm and wheezing.  I tell him I get this every year or sometimes as an allergic reaction to dust.
 

So he checks me over sends me for tests and consultations with specialists and at the end of it all, he tells me, “You have sinusitis and chronic bronchitis.”
 

So I ask what does that mean?
 

So he says, “it means you have stuffed up sinuses and you periodically cough up phlegm and wheeze.”
 

What a racket!  That’s what I told him when I came in!
 

So my doctor and my wife were after me to go for an annual check up.   I checked with my brother who grew up in the same milieu as me and he told me it was O.K., he started to go for an annual check up already – when he was sixty.
 

I decided to be more adventuresome than him, so I went for one when I was fifty nine.  I needed an oil change and a lube job so I could be set for the next decade.
 

This is when I discover that an annual check up is like casual sex.
 

There I am bending over and he sticks his fingers where the sun don’t shine while he talks about the cold weather we’re having.  I’d call that pretty casual.  And since it was so cold, it would have been better if he had stuck his hands in the oven for a few minutes before doing the examination.
 

So this was the mystery of the annual check up – and why I have instinctively put it off until now.   You mean I have to do this once a year?  Next time I’m going to do it in warm weather.
 

I made a note to myself that if I met a doctor at a party I would refrain from shaking hands unless I was wearing gloves.   Can’t be too careful.
 

But I cannot shake the bias of my parents and I suggest never giving the doctor any excuse to put you into the hospital.  Even if the doctor comes in and says, “you have cancer,” you give a sigh of relief and say, “fine, just as long as I have my health.”
 

Just remember.  Hospitals are for sick people.
 

What is most important is to follow the dictum, “what you don’t know can’t hurt you.”  That should keep the doktoyrim at bay until you’re ready to shuffle off this mortal coil. 
So if the thought of going to the doctor comes to your mind, shake it off, spit three times and say. “Abi gezunt.”