A lot of people might not know this, but it’s important to go to the doctor once in a while. Even when you’re healthy. And particularly if you are Jewish. Jews love doctors. Especially if they are our prospective sons in law.

Now don’t worry, doctors are never upset that you wasted his time. And if the doctor doesn’t see you when you’re healthy, how will he know when you’re sick? He has to have something to measure it against. Maybe you’re always like that. You can go to the doctor and he’ll be like, “OMG, what’s that?”

And you’ll go, “That’s just my face!”

But if you’re nervous about the experience here are some tips you can use to make things easier (or, in the case of some of these tips, more difficult).

MAKING AN APPOINTMENT

  • Experts recommend that when choosing a doctor, you first call their office and ask vital health questions, such as, “Is he currently accepting new patients?” You don’t want to see a doctor who’s not accepting new patients. This is supposed to be a two-way relationship that will not at all be helped by a restraining order.

  • Take a shower. And no, it’s not like furiously brushing your teeth before you go to the dentist, where the dentist will been able to tell that you haven’t really brushed since the last time he saw you. It’s not. But do it furiously, just in case.

  • Bring a breath mint for the same reason you’re taking a shower, and pop it in right before the doctor tells you to breathe normally. Note that the doctor will stand behind you anyway, because he’s not stupid and he’s done this before, and because he has to be there to perform the Heimlich when patients breathe normally with a mint in their mouths.

ARRIVING AT THE DOCTOR’S OFFICE

  • If this is your first appointment with this doctor, make sure to show up early, because they’re going to want to scan your insurance card while you take a test that asks you to write things such as your insurance provider and account number, which you don’t know because they have your insurance card. Don’t copy answers from the person next to you, even if he looks smart and has his insurance number memorized. Also, the test has you sign a disclaimer at the bottom that says you didn’t cheat. I assume. I’ve never read it.

  • One great thing to do in the waiting room is say Tehillim. They say that if you make it through the entire Sefer Tehillim before being called, you get to give the doctor a shot.

IN THE EXAM ROOM:

  • There’s no reason to get undressed. They make you do that so they can buy time while they finish up with the previous patient and get a new stethoscope out of the freezer.

  • If, once you get undressed, they make you go into another room, put your wallet in your shoe. Doctors with an 8-year degree are never going to think to look in a shoe.

TALKING TO YOUR DOCTOR:

  • Your doctor will ask you about your family history, so it’s important to answer honestly, because he’s not just trying to make conversation with extremely awkward topics. It’s also important to know your family medical history, which is why your mother wants you to call a few times a week so you can hear about her medical issues. Because, for example, if your great grandfather died of old age, chas v’shalom, it’s important to mention this, so the doctor knows to look out for it. Otherwise he won’t know.

  • If you have any questions for your doctor, you might have to think them up on the spot. If you write them down beforehand, he might make assumptions about your memory. And don’t think you can just write them down on your arm or something, because he looks everywhere. He’ll be examining you and suddenly answer a question and you’ll be like “What?” and he’ll say, “I’m answering a question. It’s on your back. Oh, your wife must have written it.”

  • If you have anything embarrassing to ask the doctor, make sure to push it off to the end, so that instead of having to face him afterward, you leave it hanging in the air so it’s the last thing he remembers about you.

THE EXAM:

  • In general, the doctor will check your “vitals”, such as your blood pressure, your heartbeat, and your temperature. All of these things are vital, so don’t even bother showing up for an exam unless you have them. If you have no temperature, for example, or if your temperature is zero, the doctor will know there’s something wrong with his thermostat.

  • There’s no way to be calm and keep your blood pressure low while they’re checking it. You’re stressing about keeping it low. The best you can do is picture yourself relaxing on the beach with your arm caught in the grasp of some sea creature that keeps squeezing it. “No, I’m checking your blood pressure!”

“It’s stressed! You’re going to pull me into the ocean! I can’t swim in this gown!”

  • When the doctor tells you, “I’m going to listen to your lungs, so breathe normally,” there’s no way you’re going to breathe normally. You’ll be like, “How do I normally breathe? I have no idea!” Then you’ll hyperventilate. The doctor knows this will happen, but he has to say it anyway, because most people stop breathing when he touches them with the stethoscope. That thing is cold.

  • The doctor will also shine a light into your ear. If he sees the light coming through your other ear, he knows there’s a problem.

  • At some point, the doctor might tell you to eat less junk food. This from a guy with 500 empty popsicle sticks in a cup in his office. You making a craft project?

  • If the doctor gives you instructions, pay careful attention to his phrasing so you can find loopholes later. For example, my doctor told me to stay away from sweets, but he said nothing about sour stix.

  • If you think the doctor might take some of your blood, bring along some cookies. If you think he might also mention your weight, hide the cookies. Put them in your sock. You can also hide the cookies under your yarmulke. Or, if they don’t fit, you can wear a black hat throughout the exam, and they won’t make you take it off. Or you can wear a shtreimel.