Neil Offen: When pain is such a pain

Mar. 31, 2013 @ 07:32 PM

It’s not that I’m really worried about this pain I’ve been feeling in my right hip. It’s that I’m absolutely certain it’s the Ebola virus.

I felt the same way when I had that sort of ache in my left knee. I was pretty sure it was almost-always-fatal dengue fever. Though there was a chance it was a knee-based cardiac arrhythmia.

When I had that thing on my left big toe there was no question, at least to me, that it was not, in fact, a callus. It was the plague, although I wasn’t sure exactly which plague it might have been. Maybe locusts.

The thing is, I do have a slight tendency to take the normal aches and pains that accompany the slow but inexorable deterioration of the body and immediately assume the worst - like that those things are, in fact, the beginning of the inexorable deterioration of my body.

Because as we get older, the inexorable deterioration of the body seems to happen more often, although it fortunately gives us older people more to talk about when we get together, because we don’t go to the movies much anymore, unless it’s the early show. And if we didn’t have aches and pains, we’d have to talk about our kids, and who wants to hear about somebody else’s nuclear microbiologist best-selling hedge-fund entrepreneur offspring?

While it does make for good conversation, the slightest physical discomfiture nevertheless immediately makes me think that this is the end, I’m done and I’m never going to find out who wins the NCAA basketball tournament or if  they’ll ever discover a cure for brain freeze that comes from eating really cold ice cream.  

Still, despite my own well-considered and researched personal diagnoses, I am, like most men, reluctant to go to the doctor. (Women, on the other hand, go to the doctor when they have hangnails, knowing they can cause dengue fever.)

Like most men, I understand how difficult it is to make a doctor appointment and fit something into my schedule that has absolutely nothing on it through the middle of August. I also hate to go into the doctor’s waiting room and find that the only magazine they have to read is the 2009 Yellow Pages.

Plus, I don’t like being weighed when I’m all dressed and I have my really heavy wallet in my back pocket, plus my very hefty keys in my front pocket. And, frequently, they weigh you in kilos, which feel a lot heavier.

But the real reason, of course, that I and other men don’t like to go to the doctor is that we are convinced the doctor will confirm for us exactly what we have feared: that this is the most unusual case of Ebola virus they’ve ever come across and we probably got it from eating ice cream that was too cold.  

 

Neil Offen can be reached at noffen@heraldsun.com or by telephone at 919-419-6646.