By yesterday morning, I’d finally had enough of having to sleep on my back like a department store dummy and groaning every time I turned to one side or another. I called the doctor’s office for an appointment. I’d tried to tough out the pain in my ribs but it wasn’t going away. Yes, I’ve been hit harder playing baseball, volleyball and hockey but I was younger then and more able to shake it off.

I’ve never had a problem getting a same-day appointment with my family doctor. As I was lounging on the examining table trying to keep the paper from crinkling too much, I got an idea for a plot twist in my novel. I was busy scribbling when he breezed into the room. Patient records are kept on laptops, so as he pecked out my story of falling-off-the-ladder and crashing into a kitchen chair, he was chatting about books and movies.

All he said  before palpating under my right breast was, “A lot of people fall off ladders”. That didn’t make me feel any better. I sensed that he wanted to add, but not people your age. Wisely, he didn’t say that. Poke, poke. “Does this hurt? Does this hurt?” I’d been staring at the ceiling but when he poked the third time I yelped and automatically grabbed his wrist and told him to stop.”Might be cracked,” he said and sat down again to type out a requisition for an x-ray of my chest.

I zipped over to the diagnostic imaging lab down the street and luckily for me, at 4:40 there was no one waiting. Strip to the waist, take a deep breath, exhale a couple of times then I was done. I’ve always been fascinated so the technician let me look at the four digital images. Lungs, ribs, clavicles, heart tucked just off centre and to the left, aorta the size of a garden hose, the  bones of my spine clear and sharp. I have no idea if anything is messed up in my ribcage – that’s for the radiologist to figure out. All I know is that it still hurts… a lot.

As I was leaving the doctor’s office, I detoured to the bathroom for a whiz. As I was drying my hands, I glanced at the assortment of items on the lid of the toilet, just in front of the grab bar screwed to the wall. I thought it an odd place to leave a bowl of candies, right beside the box of orange-topped urine sample containers. But nooooo. Not sweet treats but condoms. These were coloured and flavoured. Oh my. Not your every day Trojans.

image I’d never seen ‘modern’ condoms up close. The silvery little packages looked festive. I remember the plain beige things that were as thick as party balloons but not as festive. Love gloves. Peter protectors. I was tempted to take a sample, but how would I explain to Hub why I had a bright blue condom in my possession? What would I do with it?

Instead, I snapped a photo and teased the doctor about the unusual party favours. He laughed and said that he was surprised how often they had to restock the supply. I was surprised as well, because most of the patients I’ve seen on my visits have been over-the-hill types who wouldn’t know what to do with a newfangled schlong saver. Then again, perhaps there’s a blue-haired underground of senior swingers we don’t know about. Another reason not to assume! Look out – Boomer alert.