Sex, Horses, and Breathing

I don’t know if it’s normal to discuss sex, horses, and breathing at your annual with your internist, but that’s what I did yesterday. It started with sex.

I said, “Well, if I have sleep apnea, I’ll have to wear one of those elephant trunk-like things. That’s not very sexy.”

The doctor–an attractive woman in her late forties, early fifties with lively eyes, and shiny, long brown hair–smiled indulgently.

“It doesn’t keep my husband away from me,” she said. Neither does my flannel nightgown, nor my big floppy slippers.”

I giggled with this picture of my internist splashed across my mind.

Not so much later, we got around to horses. Here’s how it went.

I said, “I hope you’re not going to retire any time soon.”

“Oh, no. I can’t do that,” she said. “I have to pay for my barn.”

“Barn?” I questioned. “Do you have horses?”


“Do you ride?”

“Yes.” Her eyes were gleaming now. “But, actually the truth is, I prefer cows.”

“Cows? Did you grow up on a farm?”

“Yes. I like cows best because they’re such peaceful animals.”

“Oh. Have you read Jeannette Walls’ Half Broke Horses?”

“No. Who’s she?”

“She wrote The Glass Castle.”

“Oh, yes, I remember. What a life!”

“This one’s about Jeannette’s grandmother. And she was a character. Anyway, you might enjoy it. There’s quite a bit about horses in the book, though not always literal in meaning.”

“Okay, I’ll look that one up.”

Onto breathing.

“Now,” said the nurse technician handing me a hose attached to a small computer, “hyperventilate into the machine.”

The nurse watched me suck it in, then blow it out. “That a girl. But, this time I want you to do it even faster.” I turn my neck, stare at her quizzically.

“Now more, more, more!” She’s slashed me with her whip.

I gallop forward hoping for open prairie.

I guess I’m more horse, than cow.