A lot of the people signing up for this are folks who’ve been reading me for years, if not decades.
Yes, I am that old.
But for the new people, here’s a short heads-up. I will make you laugh. I will occasionally make you cry, and, with luck, every now and then I’ll make you think. And, honestly, I don’t care that much in what order or how often I do each of those things.
Here’s my current column, more to come.
I went to the doctor last week with about four issues I wanted checked out. I like to store things up, so I don’t feel like I’m wasting anyone’s time.
First, I pointed out a thing on the top of my head that my sister said I should get looked at. One glance and my medical professional said, “Yeah, that better come off. I’ll send you to a dermatologist.”
“Why?” I asked.
“Just because of where it is, “she said, making a vague gesture towards the top of my head.
“Oh,” I said, “you think it needs to be done carefully because there’s no hair to hide the scar.”
As if I worried about scars.
She didn’t say yes, but she didn’t say no either.
As I went out the door to get my head examined, my wife had said, “Show her those things on your back, too.”
I wasn’t aware I had things on my back. It’s been quite some time since I’ve seen my back, except when I use my wife’s makeup mirror to look for wood ticks.
I took off my shirt and my medical professional said, “No problem. Those are just, you know...”
“You know what?”
“You know,” she said carefully. “Age spots. As we get older...”
I stopped listening. She lost me when she said “we” because I have shoes as old as she is. I know she was just trying to make me feel better, but it wasn’t working, particularly since we’d just finished discussing the arthritis in my neck that makes turning my head a little like steering a cruise ship.
I felt I had something to teach her. “Here’s the thing,” I said. “Every scar I have represents a learning experience. I think all these ugly spots are just more scars, just experience and insight leaking from my body and leaving visible evidence. Instead of age spots, I feel it would be more appropriate to call these wisdom wounds.”
“Let's move on,” she said.
I showed her my forefinger which had become suddenly, inexplicably painful about a week ago, to the point that it was waking me up at night. It felt like it had been smashed between two hard objects - always a possibility - or else like a bee was stinging it every 15 seconds, a little less possible. She poked and prodded and said, “We’ll do some tests, but I think what you have is gout.”
She left the room to order bloodwork and x-rays and I pulled out my phone to do research. All I know about gout is that it used to make the king of France cranky. It turns out it’s a buildup of uric acid in the joints, and it can largely be controlled by changes in diet.
I’m never fond of being forced to change anything, but let’s face it – there is much worse news I could have gotten. I checked on the proposed diet changes.
The one that leaped out at me was the suggestion that I stop drinking beer and instead make a beverage out of green beans run through a blender with a splash of lemon juice.
What the hell?
What kind of sick world are we living in?
The web site called it French Bean Juice. I was a little dubious. I checked with my French brother-in-law as to whether macerated green beans were a common French beverage.
That’s a hard no.
I certainly appreciate the thought of a full night’s sleep without waking due to a throbbing hand, but on the other hand, some prices may be too high to pay. Bean juice just might be the hill where I’m willing to plant my flag.
My medical professional came back with the test results and a couple of prescriptions. She seemed pretty chipper when she said, “Is there anything else?”
I said, “Jessica, you've told me I’m bald, old, and need to stop drinking beer and switch to bean juice. I think you’ve done enough for one day.”
On the drive home, I took a close look at my hand. The offending finger still hurt, and my hand was covered with wisdom wounds.
Later that night, I was sitting in my recliner, watching TV and reading. It was the kind of moment when every now and then I’d have a beer. But I didn’t have one.
I didn’t have any damn bean juice, either.
Copyright 2021 Brent Olson