Once a year, I make the trek to my doctor for my annual physical, and there is always a moment when I wonder if he’s going to tell me there is something seriously wrong with me.

There is a week between the time I give blood and the doctor’s office does my lab work and my actual check up.

The day of the exam, I have to calm myself when I start to worry.

Certainly, they wouldn’t let a week go by if there was something seriously wrong.

If I had leprosy they would tell me right away, right?

They wouldn’t say, “He’ll be back in a week, we’ll let him wander around society as a leper before we start treating him.”

At least I hope there would be some urgency if my health went south.

Sitting in the waiting room with other people who may really be sick doesn’t help.

All these people who are sick are gathered in one area to share their diseases. I don’t see anyone coming out to sanitize the area after someone gets called back to see the doctor.

I wonder how many germs I sat in last week?

Maybe I was sitting in the very seat a leper was in right before I showed up.

It makes me wonder why people are in the doctors’ office.

Are they just getting a checkup like me? Are they really sick? If they are sick, what’s wrong with them? Do they just think they are sick and rush to the doctor every time they don’t feel quite right?

There was a young couple with a child waiting to see a doctor, and no one seemed sick, so maybe it was just time for shots, but I’ll never know.

No one really looked sick, so maybe we were all there to get physicals — or lepers.

One weird moment happened when they called my name to go back and see the doctor, except there was another Patrick in the waiting room, and it was his turn, not mine. I had to slink back to my leprosy-infected seat and wait.

I think there was just one person left in the waiting room by the time they called my name.

When you do go back to see the doctor, a nurse comes in first to get your history and take your blood pressure.

Then you wait for the doctor to come in while listening to doctors and nurses talk.

I was lucky, my wait wasn’t too long, and I have a great doctor.

Most of our time was just spent talking about health and how to be healthy.

All my blood work came back good, and I have no problems that the fountain of youth can’t solve.

There was nothing seriously wrong that the doctor sat on for a week before springing it on me.

But now, I’m starting to wonder if it’s possible that I did pick up leprosy at the doctors’ office.

Can that happen?

I’m probably just being paranoid.


Patrick Murphy, editor-publisher of the Humphrey Democrat and Newman Grove Reporter in Nebraska, is a former assistant managing editor of The Telegram.