Neil Offen: Where does it hurt? Everywhere
Let’s see, here’s the current list: my right foot, my left hip, the middle of my central back, my left eye, my left wrist, my other wrist. Yes, those are the parts of my body that currently aren't quite working at optimal efficiency.
Now I know they all have their reasons for that. Some are on vacation, down at the beach, some are studying for finals, some have outsourced their functions to multi-nationals that pay considerably lower wages. Nevertheless, it is dismaying to realize that as my body is getting older, despite my efforts to convince it otherwise, it is inexorably starting to break down.
I was just hoping it wouldn’t all happen at once.
Of course, it’s all probably my fault.
Because my right foot hurts, I have adjusted the way I walk, creating pain in my left hip. Because my left hip is painful, I compensate by bending too low at the waist, straining the middle of my central back. Trying to look carefully at the out-of-joint middle of my central back, I poked myself in my left eye with both of my wrists. Now everything hurts, but at least I’m well-balanced.
I have dealt with all of these increasing debilities the standard way, the male way, the courageous way, the stupid way: I have ignored them. I have not been to see the doctor about any of this because…well, because I’m a man and men don’t go to doctors.
Our schedules are just too busy. Between complaining to my wife about the pain in the right foot and complaining to my children about the ache in the left hip, there’s almost no time left to go to the doctor, particularly if when we get there we have to fill out new patient information forms that ask us which vaccinations we’ve had and what was the address of our junior high school.
In addition, doctor’s offices only have magazines featuring stories about celebrities we’ve never heard of.
Moreover, we’re not good at putting on those medical smocks that you have to tie in the back.
And we don’t have time to go to the doctor because we’re too busy going to the dentist and the podiatrist.
But, of course, the main reason we don’t like going to the doctor’s office is that we are convinced the doctor will confirm exactly what we fear most: that, for instance, the pain in the right foot is actually advanced, incurable inability to remember who won the 1982 World Series.
We are worried that the doctor will tell us, yes, we only have several weeks left to finally replace the furnace filters for the spring before we have to replace the furnace filters for the fall.
And most of all, I don’t go to the doctor because I am absolutely sure the doctor will say that I’m just getting older, and there’s not a really good cure for that.
Neil Offen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.