Empathy Thrust Upon Me

Medicine

Of all the things I hoped to be when I was young, a wrinkled bag of aches and pains wasn’t one of them.  Some while ago, BrainRants, a mere stripling in his mid-forties, published a post about all the pains and strange body noises he was accumulating.  Bloody amateur, just wait till he moves up to the pros.

Through a confluence of good genes, a relatively physical lifestyle, and a modified Mediterranean diet, I am far healthier than many men my age.

Several years ago, a doctor at a clinic remarked to the wife, “You have a lot of things wrong with you.  Nothing that will kill you, but a lot of minor problems.”  Between prescription meds and supplements, she downs 20 to 25 pills a day.  She has a general surgeon who has removed a couple of skin growths, a urologist, a rheumatologist, a podiatrist and an osteopath.  I drive her to a cancer clinic and an airway clinic for monitoring.

Until recently, I was exempt from all that.  I had sympathy for her, but didn’t really know what she went through.  All that has changed.  It started innocently enough, about 15 years ago.  She convinced me to take an antihistamine each morning, for allergies.  Then it was a Vitamin B tablet.  I don’t know what it does.  I don’t ask. I am a husband, Yes dear, Yes dear.

Vampire

Next was Vitamin D, I took a tablet a day.  Last year’s blood test revealed that I am low on Vitamin D.  It has to do with my vampire lifestyle schedule – up all night, sleep all day.  I don’t get enough sunlight.  (It burns!  It burns!)  The doctor insists that I take two.  I take a multivitamin tablet laced with something to keep my retinas from deteriorating.

This year’s physical revealed that I have ‘Old Man’s Disease’, my prostate is swollen.  It also showed that my thyroid is running a bit slow.  Perhaps that’s a small part of my weight gain.  I am now taking medication for both of those.  Only ten pills a day, 9 of them before breakfast, and a heavy-duty pain pill a couple of hours before dawn, to help me get to sleep.  I now take four ‘little blue pills’, and not one of them made by Pfizer – although the doctor did offer me Cialis.

I’m on a call-back list for a Neurologist, from my eye problem of a couple of years ago, but my Ophthalmologist visits are down to once a year.  My long-time Optometrist recently died suddenly, but I’ve found a nice young female replacement.

The duct of a fat gland in my back stopped up and it swelled a bit.  Nothing to worry about – until it infected and grew as big as half an orange, making it difficult to sit or lie down.  It burst before I got to see a surgeon, but now I’m on his call list, because another gland is swelling.

Because of the enlarged prostate, I have an appointment to see a Urologist.  I’d sooner suffer another colonoscopy.  You’re going to push what, up where?  I’m waiting for an appointment with a Dermatology surgeon because I have a couple of suspect skin growths.  I have yet to acquire a Rheumatologist, although the most recent spike of incipient arthritis had me barely hobbling for a week.

I have had empathy for the wife and daughter (and any of the rest of you who suffer these accretions of ‘minor’ problems) thrust upon me.

The most unfair thing about life is the way it
ends. I mean, life is tough. It takes up a lot
of your time.  What do you get at the end of it?
A death. What’s that, a bonus?

I think the life cycle is all backwards.
You should die first; get it out of the way.
Then you live in an old age home.

You get kicked out when you’re too young, you get
a gold watch when you go to work. You work forty
years until you’re young enough to enjoy your retirement!

You do drugs, alcohol, you party, you
get ready for high school! You go to grade school,
you become a kid, you play, you have no
responsibilities, you become a little baby, you
go back into the womb, you spend your last nine
months floating…you finish off as a gleam.

Here’s hoping that my list of pills and specialists doesn’t grow to match the wife’s, but even if it does, it beats the alternative.  (Did I mention that my ass gets sore from sitting at the computer too much?)

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Healthy Respect For Medicine

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Mommy!  Mommy!  A strange lady stuck her finger up my bum, and I had to give the Government money to pay her to do it.  Then she hired some guy to do it again with a hose – and then I have to learn to deep-throat.  I don’t understand.  The charges were dismissed, why do I still have to attend the Going To Prison Seminar?

I went to see my female doctor for my regular physical – ‘cause there’s 703 days in a year, right??  Suddenly my annual checkup became an anal checkup.  It all started innocently enough.  She took my blood pressure – 120/70, which means my heart ain’t thumpin’ hard, and I’ll live long enough to make some people sorry.

“Do you have to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom?”  I’m almost 70 – of course.  “How many times?”  Usually once, occasionally twice.  “When it gets to three, contact me, and I’ll start you on meds that you’ll have to take every day for the rest of your life.  Is it still rigid when you have to go?”  Uhhh…no.  “Would you like some Cialis?”  That’s like offering a dog a driver’s licence.

I’ve heard about, Turn Your Head And Cough, but around here, it’s, Shuck your shorts and lie on the examining table in a fetal position, facing the wall.  Suddenly….WOW – are you right up to the wrist?  I don’t think I’m going to get out of this fetal position.  She says, “I don’t feel anything unusual.”  Lucky you, I do.

She’ll make arrangements with an internist, but first, I have to take tests to prove I’m healthy enough to survive the torture.  I asked one, innocent question.  Would a little extra adipose, just north of the belt buckle, combined with poor eating posture, prevent the esophagus from emptying into the stomach, causing difficulty swallowing?

The next thing I know, I’ve got $250 worth of stomach pills I don’t need. I’m thankful for a great medical plan, which pays for it.  The unexpected benefit is that they’re combo-pills with an added painkiller just short of Hillbilly Heroin.  I could sell these on the street.  The next time I have a headache (very uncommon) I’ll just crush one up and snort it.

After walking five miles at the Cruise Night, and then setting the daughter up for the Anti-Violence Festival the next day, and hauling her stuff back home, both hips said, “Take the pill!  Take the pill!”

So, off to the clinic I went.  I had to do a 12 hour fast.  I was starting to have food withdrawal symptoms, but I made it.  Some sadistic little oriental nurse-wannabe stuck a railway spike in my arm, and sucked out so much blood, I thought they were doing a remake of Helter-Skelter.  Then she said, “I need a urine sample.  Could you fill this little cup?”  Not from over here.

My cholesterol levels are lower than my doctor’s, although I still need to remove that spare tire.  Like any other bureaucracy, Ontario’s taxpayer-paid medical coverage can sometimes be head-scratching.  The doctor’s visit is paid for.  Four blood tests and the urine tests are paid for, but the test that might indicate that I have prostate cancer???  That one I have to pay $30 for!  😕

The wife’s had to endure colonoscopies three times.  Except for the finger, I’m still a virgin.  At least I’ll have someone to guide me through it – and point and laugh when I go all sucky and whiny.  I think I can handle that, even though I’ll have to drink stuff that makes cod-liver oil taste like Haute Cuisine, and ending up so empty that I won’t be able to face into the wind without developing a whistle.

It’s the endoscopy I’m a little worried about.  I have a sensitive throat.  I could never do gay porn.  The wife takes 12/15 pills every morning, including a couple that would choke a horse – into the mouth, a little juice, one big gulp, and they’re all gone.  Me?  Anything bigger than an aspirin, and I have to distract myself.  Oh, look, a chipmunk!….Is the pill gone?  Well, it will be by lunch.

I think if it weren’t for all these tests, old folks would live forever.  All this embarrassment and stress??  Ah Hell, let’s just die and get it over.

NoMoWriSo

The month of November is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo.  I first ran into it about a year ago as I began blogging.  A lady writer, whose blog I had been reading and commenting on, gave it a try.  I offered to stop bugging her for a month, but she felt she could handle both tasks.

You are expected to produce a short novel of fifty-thousand words, in thirty days, an average of 1667 words per day.  It would be a good idea to get out ahead of that, and produce 2000 words a day at the beginning, to give yourself time at the end for proofreading and editing.

H. E. Ellis has been encouraging me to “write” but the creative muse still hasn’t tasered me.  Perhaps if I come up with a story line, I may try it at a later date.  I’ve published more than twice that amount on this site; it just took me a year to do it, a thousand words at a time.

November is also Movember, when the more testosterone-laden among us, male and female, are urged to grow mustaches as evidence of support for education about, and eradication of, prostate cancer.  Much as I would like to be one of the guys, especially at my enlarged age, I can’t grow a mustache, not unless I shave off the one I already sport, and start all over again.

My father wore a mustache, pretty much all of his life.  I’ve seen photos of him during W.W. II, even before I was born, and he had a mustache then.  Without consciously copying him, I’ve also had a ‘stache since shortly after we were married.  Nothing outlandish, no Fu Manchu, no Mexican gunfighter, and definitely no David Crosby soup-strainer.  I don’t know how guys can stand those things. I hate it when one side of my mouth collapses and follows a bite of sandwich in.

Back in 1965, when I was enrolled in the Adult Education scholastic upgrade course, I didn’t shave for a week.  I came to school on the Monday, and the uptight Accounting professor demanded to know what I thought I was doing.  I explained that I was going to grow in a mustache and a neat VanDyke beard.  Oh no!  You can’t do that!  Shave it off!  It wasn’t till much later that I was appalled at the nerve of this man making judgements on what I could and could not do with my own face.

A couple of years later, after I became a husband and father, I decided to skip the beard, but grow in a mustache.  My wife actually prefers me with a beard, and has encouraged me to grow one on several occasions.  Five years or so after the mustache first appeared, I grew in a big, bushy, Grizzly Adams one, and kept it for over five years.

Many years later, I started riding motorcycles, and the beard came back each winter.  You see it in my Gravatar.  Up here on the frozen tundra, I still rode my bikes nine months a year.  I could put up with the cold, as long as the streets weren’t snowy or iced.  I found that a heavy beard below my full-face helmet kept the cold winds out.

I had three levels of gloves, from thin to insulated thick, because that’s where a motorcyclist feels the cold most.  Snowmobilers often have heaters installed in their handlebars, to keep their hands warm.  Each winter I thought about doing it to my bike, but never got around to it.  As the temperatures plunged, my rides got shorter and shorter, till I was down to just the 15 minute ride to and from work.

One year, December 21 was the last Friday I worked before Christmas.  Since there’d been no snow, I still took the bike.  The coldest day I ever rode was another year when the temperature at 6:30 AM, as I left for the shop, was minus 18 C (0 F.).  The heat dissipation fins on the engine become your best friends when you stop for a red light.

Our son has inherited some of the wife’s Italian genes.  You can’t braid the hair on his back, but he comes well supplied.  I was taking a night, Business Law course the evening he was born.  I went to the hospital after class, and looked in the nursery for my son.  I eliminated all the pink ID slips and scanned the blue ones for one with our name, but couldn’t see one.  As I went down the hall to the wife’s room, I passed this hairy little monster with motorcycle goggles, under a spotlight.  I told the wife I hadn’t seen our cute little child, but had spotted this little Hell’s-Gnome.

She said to get used to it; that was the one we had to take home.  He had been born severely jaundiced, and they put him under an ultra-violet lamp to assist in clearing the toxins.  Ordinary babies just got sleeping masks, to protect their eyes.  With the full head of hair he had, his kept slipping off, so they had to install the biker shades.  With his huge head, the wife had to hold him erect, when his aunt gave him his first haircut at three months of age.

At twelve, his Grade 8 teacher suggested that he shave off his black incipient mustache.  He did, but when he went to high school in the fall, he just let it grow.  By thirteen, he had a better mustache than any of his teachers.  At about twenty, he grew in the Grizzly Adams beard to go with it, and has not looked back in twenty years.

Neither he nor I can do anything for the cause, that we’re not already doing.  So, there you have my twin excuses.  No Mostache growing, no Writing a novel, So what?