Mine is a long sad tale…

Mine is a long sad tale, as the dormouse said to Alice down there in Wonderland – because this is really is my ‘tail’ here, along with a number of the little Tootsie Roll segments above my tail.

Sad, I know. 

But maybe it’s not SO sad.

I went to the doctor today for my annual checkup and on the way into the building saw a man with a grey beard and long shaggy hair lurking by the parking garage; just kind of meandering along among the idling taxis and the little open-air ‘jailhouse’ they have these days to accommodate the smokers.

This man looked to be about 60 and wore khakis, an open-neck shirt, a suit coat, and, perched atop his head, a toy fireman’s helmet. He was smoking as he ambled along and every 20 feet or so he stopped, pulled out a pint and took a long swig.

“Drinking,”I thought. “Maybe that’s what I’ll be doing an hour from now when I come out from this appointment. Maybe I’ll be taking up smoking and trotting over to the packy for a tidy pint myself.” 

Because you never knew do know what they’re going to find out at an annual checkup where the ask so many questions, like when your last period was and whether or not you take Ecstasy.

I was told that this time I didn’t have to pee in a cup and that was a nice break. However they did weigh me, dammit, and the news was way worse than it had been last year at this time. Here’s last year’s rundown:


Today I was told that  my blood pressure is113/70 and that my heart is pumping along at the rate of 65 good hard squeezes per minute, and that seemed great to me,

Some of the rest of the news was less than great: My weight is up eight pounds.

I felt happy to be able to say I run on the treadmill for 40 minutes most days and shy about admitting  I drink a glass or two of wine at night and, on weekends, sometimes take a slug or two of whiskey,

I did complain to the doc about my weight gain though, and in response she said something I misheard. Because we’re good friends by now, she looked me dead in the eye and said. “So you’re deaf now?”

“Deaf as a haddock,”  I said  with a kind of confessional relief, ,and went on to tell her how this leads to of marital dust-ups sometimes, since I always think my mate is saying these critical things to me when really he’s just asking if we have more  paper towels.

“But would you wear a hearing aid?” my doctor asked.

I sure would, I told her. “It would hardly show in my wild tangle of curls and I need the help.  I spend a lot of time young male teens and you know how they are: they’ll say a witty thing once but they won’t repeat it, especially if what they’ve said ranks high on the hilarity scale.

“All right then!”  she said and we made arrangements to have my ears tested by an ear guy.Then we made arrangement for me to have an ultrasound on account of the crazy distention of my belly. We made arrangement appointment for me to have a bone density test since for a while now  I’ve been hurtling fast down the old osteopenia highway.

The last thing I did was to pull up a picture on my phone of my poor crooked back which I didn’t even know was crooked until I went to a yoga class at the age of 50 and the teacher sorrowfully said, “Ah! I see that you have soloists.” By now even the neighborhood DOGS can tell I have scoliosis. Anyway, when she saw this image her dropped. “My god, this is the worst  curve  I’ve ever seen in a patient! You would have been 5 foot nine if you didn’t have this!”  – which made me feel pretty good since I have  a sister and a daughter, each of whom is 5’9″ and I did always feel a little “less than” around them.

We said farewell and I went off  to get the blood work  that will show this and that, my lipids,  my thyroid level, and so on and hey, couldn’t it be a worsening of my hypothyroidism that’s making my tummy stick out so? (We cling to these hopes at my stage of life.

When I walked back to the parking lot, I looked for that ambling guy with whom I now felt a distinct kinship. I didn’t see him but he’s  with me still in spirit. Sure,I have a lot of things wrong with me but as my nice doctor just said it’s mostly just wear and tear on the old jalopy. Plus, wait, I just remembered!  She also said it’s better for a woman to go into the older decades heavier rather than less heavy since the latest research now shows that women with a little meat on their bones have less of a tendency toward Alzheimer’s. And  – more good news! – she said drinking coffee appears to be also good for you, along with  having  a drink or two a night.

So there it is, on the whole a satisfactory visit. I feel pretty good. In fact I feel SO good right now I may just find my  own toy plastic fireman’s hat and plop it on those curls that I just KNOW are going to hide any hearing aids. 😉

me at MGH


5 thoughts on “Mine is a long sad tale…

  1. Terry, I loved this! The best news I got at my last physical was that for women over 65, the BMI #that indicates you are overweight or becoming obese has increases from 25 to 29! Mine is just under 25 (we’re talking 24.99) even though I’ve shrunk an inch. But when my NP told me that, I did not feel guilty getting a bagel with lots of cream cheese slathered on it: I’ve got pounds to go before I need to worry!! Keep up the good work!

  2. Your honesty is always refreshing! This aging business isn’t so much fun, coming up against the limits and deficits or our bodies. But I like your attitude a lot. And, yeah, get the hearing aids. I did and it’s great and I don’t even have curls but no one can see the aids anyway. And a tip…clean your ears once in a while when you get the hearing aids or you’ll end up with an ear filled with wax and an audiologist digging with a probe which will make you want to knock him off his little rotating stool. Ouch.

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