Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Health and Absurdity

I have a confession to make:  I hate going to the doctor.  I don't like to be poked or prodded or inspected.  That may seem strange coming from someone who routinely presents his nude body for study to entire classes of art students.  But modeling for art classes is easy compared to going to the doctor.  First of all, I get paid for modeling; I have to pay to have a doctor look at me.  Going to the doctor is also an admission of fragility or fallibility, something that is not easy for some of us guys to do.  And finally, there is that ultimate fear that the doctor might find something seriously wrong.

So, I usually put off going to the doctor unless I'm in really bad shape.  I go when I have a fever or when my throat is so raw that I can't speak.  Other than that, my wife has to make me go.  A little over a year ago, I was having issues with urination.  I was going more often than usual, and I was producing a rather weak stream.  I didn't think much of it at the time; in fact, I don't think I really noticed the issue until I was in a pose in a drawing class.  I got the feeling that I needed to pee, a feeling which only got stronger as the pose went on.  Once the teacher called a break, I quickly donned the robe and headed toward the men's room.  I got barely a trickle out once I got there.  "Really?" I thought.  I had felt about to bust for just this little amount?

I got back in another pose, and the feeling hit me again.  It was like that the entire class.  Once it was over, and once I was clothed and out in the textiled world, I went on about my business.  I didn't feel any different.  When I had to pee, I went to the restroom.  I chalked up my experience in that class to an off day.  Maybe I had a little virus or something that would quickly go away.

The next class I did was a double model session.  We were to do one pose for the entire three hours.  Rhia, the beautiful young female model sharing the platform with me, took a reclining pose.  I did a standing pose behind her.  It didn't take too long for that feeling of needing to pee to hit me.  At one point, I asked Jim, the instructor, for a break (something I never do) to make a run to the restroom.  Once again, I got barely a trickle, and the feeling of needing to pee wasn't even relieved.  I got back into pose, and spent the rest of the class with the mortal fear that I was going to pee on the reclining girl in front of me.  I went to the restroom at every break, but produced very little actual urine.  It was excruciating, but what could I do?  I finished the class, probably the most difficult class I've ever had to endure, and I am happy to report that Rhia never got peed on.

I went to the doctor the very next day.  She did a quick rectal exam and told me that I had a greatly enlarged prostate.  She had a blood test done, and as I waited for the results in the examining room, that big C word, cancer, never left my mind.  The doctor came back in and said that the tests were negative; that my prostate was just enlarged.  She gave me some pills to help shrink it back down, and I breathed a big sigh of relief.

So I can credit modeling with helping me stay aware of my body and of anything that feels wrong.  How long might I have gone on with my enlarged prostate if I hadn't been modeling?  And what if something had been more seriously wrong while I put off going to the doctor?  They say that early detection helps save lives, so modeling would have helped save mine.  I have always loved modeling for a variety of reasons, but my health had never been one of them until the prostate incident last year.  Now I have even more reasons to love it.

And in how many jobs can one find oneself in the absurd situtation of being in fear of peeing on someone while having to maintain the same position for an extended period of time?

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