As you saw in my last post covering my little summer vacation with brother Oakley, I couldn’t help but notice how many hot dogs Oakley managed to eat at our campfire. Some of my fans as well have been commenting on Oakley’s supposed weight. Now I will admit that Oakley has always been a bit “huskier” than me, but this spurred a concern.
“Oakley, when’s the last time you went to the doctor for a check-up?” I had asked him one day while lounging out on a deck chair with a freshly made Tom Collins.
“My mom took me to the vet a few months ago”, Oakley replied.
“But have you ever been to a real doctor?”
“Nope, don’t think so.”
Just as I figured. Oakley had only ever been to those quack vet shops – never to a real trained and professional dogtor like myself.
“Well Oakley, I feel for you brother. But don’t worry, I’ll give you your first real check-up. Your mom will thank me for it.”
So I would now like to welcome Oakley, and all of you, to Dr. Crusoe’s home office.
To anyone who knows me already, I obviously don’t need to reiterate how qualified I am, but for the sake of any new people out there, I became a fully self-certified (PhD) medical practitioner (dogtor) after studying up on all the DIY courses I could find online.
I would also like to mention that the tools you see in front of me are top-of-the-line medical instruments, so please don’t be fooled by their cheap plastic appearance.
“So Oakley, if you wouldn’t mind diverting your attention from the floor, I would like to start with a few questions on your medical history.”
“How would you describe your current general state of health?” I began.
“I think I smell the remnants of a croissant here on the floor…” Oakley said.
“Oh ya? I love croiss— I mean, Oakley, pay attention!”
“Oop, sorry. What was the question again?”
I rolled my eyes. “Your state of health…”
Oakley thought long and hard, repeating under his breath, “state.. state.. state“. Then finally he blurted, “What is… Utah?”
I gave him a disdaining look.
Oakley noticed my disapproval and added, “What? We’re playing Jeopardy are we not? I love that show, but please, no more geography questions.”
Oh dear. This was going to take a while.
“I just want to know how you consider your overall health to be!” I demanded, my patience clearly waning.
“Oh, okay, I got!” Oakley responded.
“What is… very healthy?” He said.
Whatever, at least he answered the question.
I still had a dozen or more so questions to go, but I don’t have all day either, so I decided to move on.
“Oakley, I’m going to run through a few checks on you with my various instruments now.” I said. “The first will be the stethoscope. This is to measure your heart rate and beat”.
I told Oakley to keep the metal end pressed against his chest as I looked away to concentrate on what I was hearing…
Oh my. This was a very peculiar heartbeat indeed. Heck, it sounded more like a snorting pig driving a tractor than it did a heartbeat.
But then, I wasn’t sure. Was this my inexperience in recognizing heartbeats, or did Oakley just actually have a wackadoodle rhythm?
(See that, a doodle reference).
I moved on quickly so as not to draw attention to my possible incompetence (hey, I don’t want a lawsuit). “Next up is the earsnifferscope…”
But just as I was explaining it, I noticed Oakley had already picked it up and started playing with it!
“Oakley!” I exclaimed. “Put that down! That is not a toy!”
“And that is not at all how it works…” I added. “Hold still and I’ll show you.”
Oh dear, this was very distressing. “Oakley, your ear smells like hamster”.
“What does that mean?!” He asked fretfully.
“Well it can be a symptom of at least several diseases that I can think of off the bat. But let me check a bit further…”
Just as I feared… “Tastes like hamster, too.”
Oakley was shocked. “So what does that mean?! And how do you even know what hamster tastes like?”
“Medical school, obviously.” I responded coldly and clinically. “Before I give you any diagnosis, let me finish the check-up and we’ll see what we’re dealing with here.”
I moved onto the next tool.
“This one is called the coconut hammer.”
“It’s used to test the contents of coconuts.”
I was admittedly a little surprised. “Well, it does appear to be full”, I said plainly.
“Well of course”, Oakley remarked. “After all, how else could I be so good at Jeopardy?”
“Alright, time for the tongue depressor.” I told Oakley to open wide.
“Very good”, I said as I inspected his mouth with the stick. “You may want to brush those teeth a bit more, but besides that everything looks kosher. Did you eat a croissant this morning, by any chance?”
“Thought so”. Those were probably his own crumbs he was sniffing earlier.
“Okay, I’ll need that stick back now”, I told him. “I still need to chew it to bits later”. As a quick aside, it’s best medical practice to chew the patient’s depressor stick once they’re through with it; that way you prevent anyone else from accidentally using it and passing on any bacteria.
I looked at the clock. “Almost done. Last thing, I’ll just get your weight on this scale.”
It took a moment for me to see the number.
But when I did…
I composed my thoughts for a moment before speaking. “Oakley, I don’t know how to tell you this.. But it appears you could afford to lose a pound or two.”
He looked to be daydreaming. “Oakley, did you hear me? I said you could probably lose a pound.”
Oakley snapped out of it. “Oop, was just thinking of this morning’s croissant again”, he said, but then continued, “Well Crusoe, if you remember when we had a similar discussion last summer, I mentioned how I’ve been cultivating mass. You know, gearing up for a big workout session. Plus my ears are bigger than yours so you have to consider that extra weight as well. And anyway, last time I went to the vet they said my weight was just right.”
Ha! That’s what “vet said”, huh? All this confirmed that I was right in my observations.
“Well”, I said in my condescending PhD-esque tone. “When do you plan to start this big workout session?”
Oakley thought for a moment. “Anytime.”
“Mhm. And do you plan to observe a healthy diet at the same time to maximize your muscle production?”
He hesitated. “Obviously.”
So with that, I handed Oakley an apple. “Here, we start now.”
Oakley seemed a little dumbfounded.
“What the heck am I supposed to do with this?”
“It’s an apple.” I said. “It’s good for you. Eat that, then we’ll get started on the workout.”
“What about my diagnosis?” Oakley asked.
“Well…” I began. “There’s a very real possibility you have Level 4 Hamster Fever, a dangerous condition originating from the jungles of the Congo, but for now we really need to focus on this weight issue.”
Before he could start dwelling on that, I jumped to laying out an exercise itinerary for the rest of the day. One thing that Dad’s been bugging me to do since I got here is to help him cut the grass. Obviously I’m not really one to ‘do chores’, but I figured this would be good exercise for Oakley if anything.
“You know what’s a really good workout?” I asked Oakley.
“What?” He answered.
“Chores. And specifically, cutting the grass. It does wonders for the buns.”
It didn’t take more convincing than that.
Meanwhile, I caught a quick snack with Mum.
I can afford some frivolous calories here and there, so it was actually very considerate of me to not do so in front of Oakley.
I wasn’t completely free of chores though.
I got roped into helping out with some deck repairs, mainly because I have an exceptional eye for detail and because I’m an expert driller. 😉
Here I am pointing to the spot to be drilled so Dad could mark it with his pencil (hey, there’s only so much I can do without opposable thumbs).
Oakley was exhausted after cutting the grass, but later that evening his self-control was put to the true test when we discovered the humans had prepared this lick-smacking-delectable, “beer can chicken”.
Oakley was eyeing that thing pretty hard.
“C’mon Cru…” He said. “Just a little taste, no?”
“Well okay”, I agreed. “Chicken is high protein – great for muscle development.”
That was true, but between you and me the real reason I agreed was because I wanted a taste myself.
And we did taste. Oh BOY did we taste it. But the next day I told Oakley we had to do something to make up for that unscheduled calorie intake.
“What do you propose?” Oakley asked.
“Well”, I started. “Unfortunately, I believe you had the lawnmower height set a bit too high, because it doesn’t even look like it was cut.”
So Oakley went out to do the grass again, but when he returned I was in the mood for a little playtime. “You know what else is great exercise?” I asked. “Ball!”
And so we played.
I was so tired after all that running around, that I was dying for a cool cocktail on the patio.
In retrospect, a bacon-cheese-yogurt cocktail probably wasn’t the healthiest option with Oakley around, but what can I say, I like bacon…
But then – and once again, I felt we needed to make up for it…
“Please, no more grass cutting.” Oakley huffed. “I’m starting to look more like a black and green dachshund than a black and tan dachshund.”
“No grass.” I replied. “Something better. You notice those potholes up on the road?”
And so, we got to work!
In case you didn’t know, digging is great exercise.
And pulling dump trucks with your own muscle power is even better!
That about marked the end to our vacation together, but I think I really got the message through to Oakley that exercise is important. But I’ll admit, Oakley really isn’t chubby – he’s just a bit husky, short, stout, and stocky.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to chew up this tongue depressor before someone catches Level 4 Hamster Fever.
Since I invented it, I’m immune, just FYI.
Keep practicin’ medicine,
~ Dr. Crusoe
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