So, tell me, where do I have to move to pick up a classier type of ailment, something exotic with more than one accusatory syllable?
I woke up three weeks ago with my right knee swollen to the size of the Greek national debt and MFW (My first Wife of 40 odd years) took one look before snorting: “It’s gout. It’s from booze.”
Now see here, Doctor Ooze, I’ve had gout before and it appears briefly in my left toe caused by my classy consumption of rich traditional French cuisine like poutine on a stick and has nothing to do with booze.
“Yup, it’s gout,” said the doctor when I presented myself to a local clinic two days later with my leg so stiff that half the population of the Middle East tripped over me in the waiting room. “Take a whole bunch of pills, quit drinking and let’s do a whole series of embarrassing tests to find something more exotic for my memoires.”
This is the third attack of that lame ailment since I was first diagnosed back in the 00s and I’m getting weary of these reminders showing up every few years to offer the ridiculous suggestion that I may not be biologically perfect.
“By the way, what’s the matter with you, anyway?”, the doc asked.
No, you tell me—you’re the physician I assume belongs to the Porsche I hobbled by in the parking lot.
“What I mean is,” said the medic as she scanned the sheet I had dutifully filled out before being admitted to her frigid inner sanctum, “you don’t seem to like doctors very much.”
Based on the evidence, you could see where she might reach that conclusion.
I had been to see a doctor only four times in the last 50 years, in 1972, 1984, 2006 and 2012, and the 1984 event doesn’t count as a burden on medicare because that was for a vasectomy to prevent the conception of future burdens.
It’s not so much that I don’t like doctors as the people they hang out with, who are, like, sick and stuff.
Plus, when I got into the journalism business, an insurance buddy told me the rigours of my trade meant I would likely be dead by 40 anyway and so who needs medics to screw that up by suggesting I quit drinking, smoking, coffee and pizza to drag around this mortal coil till I was maybe 41.
At any rate, this latest outbreak didn’t stay boring for very long. After a week of gout pills, nothing got better and my disposition got a lot worse because I couldn’t drink on the medication.
A return visit to the clinic prompted a second opinion from another medic who claimed it wasn’t gout, but rather osteo-arthritis. He said the cure was all about physio-therapy involving much flexing of the joint to increase muscle strength. I felt like John Cleese in Python’s dead parrot sketch—it was patently obvious I couldn’t bend my leg if Raquel Welch herself turned up with a tow truck to offer me Kama Sutra lessons.
So he gave me some more gout pills and sent me off for a blood test without allowing me any time to study for it.
The lab technician jabbed me enough times for the CSI gang to determine this might be a crime of passion (I have low blood pressure and Dracula would require a sump pump for even a low-cal lunch.)
Long story short, I’m still waiting for the test results and filling in the time doing absolutely nothing except marking off on the calendar the number of days it has been since I’ve had a beer.
No one has heard from me through social media because I couldn’t get my legs under the laptop desk until today (I’m sitting here with a bag of frozen peas strapped to my knee with my foot propped up on an old dictionary.) This milestone still doesn’t represent any cure and I’ll be back in the clinic for more voodoo science next week.
On the plus side, my family is taking good care of me. For the first time in decades, they hold the door open when I take out the garbage propped up on my new cane and have cushions placed strategically around the kitchen should I fall over while doing the dishes.
Now, I know there are a lot of you out there concerned that I haven’t written a word for weeks and the unbending joint hasn’t been the only impediment.
The medication I’m taking is an anti-inflammatory. Since I can’t write anything inflammatory or equally grump, what the hell is left already?!
(Hmmmm … maybe it’s wearing off ….)