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Robert Kirby: Firing my own personal physician

By Robert Kirby

Tribune Columnist

Published January 22, 2010 5:55 pm
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2010, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
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Mormons believe in a 100 percent, full body, fender-to-fender Resurrection. If you had a body in this life, you get it back fully restored in the next.

Actually, you get a "perfect" body back. Anything not covered by warranty down here, gets fully restored after the Resurrection.

I've always relied on this theology as a fallback medical plan. Anything I did to myself down here, God would fix up there. And I was going to die anyway.

Last month, my wife spotted a large Band-aid on my hand. When my explanation was overly vague, she knew immediately what had happened.

Her: "You've been playing doctor again, haven't you?"

Me: "No. OK, yeah. But it's not infected this time. See?"

"Playing doctor" refers to a long history I have of operating on myself in the garage. This is every bit as terrible as it sounds, but she won't let me do it in the house anymore.

She never really got over coming home from work one day and finding me in the bathroom trying to plug this hole I'd made in my neck with a pair of needle nose pliers.

It wasn't a big hole. There was this small lump that had been around forever and I wanted to check it out. What if it was a bullet? Or an alien?

One thing led to another and I was into myself with the help of Craftsman before I knew it. I got the lump. It was -- well, we were never really sure.

After that, whenever I hurt myself or wanted to see what something was, I had to "self-surgerize" in the privacy of the garage. Warts, cysts, skin bits, lumps: I've fixed them all. I once put two stitches in my own knee with some fishing line.

This isn't macho. It's laziness compounded by a prurient curiosity. I couldn't be bothered seeing a doctor for something that wasn't clearly going to kill me if I messed with it myself.

This didn't always work as well as it sounds. After I "fixed" one of my toes, it got infected. I thought I was going to have to start buying bigger shoes, but my wife made me go see a doctor instead.

My wife says this behavior shows a clear lack of respect for the body God gave me. I should take better care of it by taking it to a professional until it's time to trade it in for good.

Last year, one of my fingers stopped working. I ignored it until a large bump developed on the palm of my hand. I could make the bump temporarily go away with a hammer, but the finger still wouldn't work.

My wife finally made me go see an orthopedic surgeon. When I described the problem and the course of treatment I'd been pursuing, the doctor said he could fix my finger but there was nothing he could do for my mind.

I got the point. Until the Resurrection, I need to start leaving some things to the pros. There's stuff wrong with me now that can't be fixed by anything Sears sells.

Robert Kirby can be reached at rkirby@sltrib.com" Target="_BLANK">rkirby@sltrib.com.



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