Monday, May 26, 2008

"Too Much Wine And Too Much Song, Wonder How I Got Along..."

When asked how he felt about turning 60, Stephen King said he realized "any exception will not be made for you. You are getting old". Well, I'm a long way from 60, but today, I had a brush with the realities of the failings of the aging corporeal meat suit.

Let me explain: I've got a laconic, no-bullstuff GP whose basic philosophy is "no news is good news". In other words, if I don't hear anything from him within a few days of my annual check-up, I can stop shopping for black. Such has been the drill for several years now.
Well, this morning, I just missed a call from his office at the Kensington Medical Centre. His receptionist's voice message urged me to call back "right away" to discuss my results. Oh great! I immediately dialed back, and got their voice service. I was already running late for work, so I planned to followup there.
I arrived at my desk and my assistant told me that my doctor's office had called for me here and said I must call them back, again, "right away". If I was nervous on the walk over, I was officially off the scale into Def-Con 4 level panic. I managed to get through and arranged an appointment for a few hours later in the day. The longest hours of my life in recent memory, incidentally...I mean, you read the horrible stories of people with the cruelest afflictions whom I'm sure thought it would never happen to them...and who would play me in the movie of the week? Albert Schultz?
I arrived way-too-early for the followup, navigating a narrow hall packed with some truly poor bastards waiting to get into the lab, and of course, interpreted every non-committal glare and the pronounced silence from the doctor and his receptionist as portents of my impending doom. Eventually, Dr. G finger-wagged me into his office (couldn't he have just broke the ice and said "come in"? Smiled? Anything but the finger-wag like the frickin' Fickle Finger Of Fate...) and offered the chair opposite his desk (oh no, not the chair)--suddenly, he shapeshifted into John Carradine as the town funeral director in every black-and-white western ever made.
I'll cut to the chase: I'll live. As a matter of fact, I was more worried about Dr. G, as he sported a strange bandage on his nose, like he'd just self-administered a rhinoplasty. Short of a zombie pandemic or a collision with an asteroid the size of Texas, I'll probably be around to see the re-release of the original "Star Wars" trilogy that you can download directly into your head (and which I'm sure my kids will one day regard with the same "oh brother" hilarity I bestowed on the films of Ed Wood, Jr.). Dr. G was simply following up on my previous plea to alert me about "anything" and "everything" that could raise his suspicions, esp. with fatherhood on the way. The tests showed that my red blood cell count was down from a year before--not in the zone of concern, but down nonetheless and therefore, worthy of mention. "It's one of those things that happens with age", he offered as an olive branch. He prescribed daily doses of B12 and D and booked me an August 26 followup.
So I'm popping pills and humming the "Requiem For A Dream" theme. I'm sure I'll be fine, but man, did they have to be so ominous about it? They couldn't have told me this over the phone? Of course, I really should save the drama queen self-pity for when the youngsters arrive--they'll provide formidable competition, I'm sure.
BTW, it's the second ultrasound tomorrow--I get to see them again!

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