I saw my skeleton yesterday.  I walked outside the door and there I was lit up like a cartoon character just struck by lightning –  skull, backbone, and ribs visible for all to see.   I couldn’t take my eyes off the inside of myself.  So intently I studied the image that I didn’t even notice the fella who had come up beside me until he asked me, “What do you make of it, doctor?”  I jumped and then blushed, remembering one of the last things he’d said to me when we were alone: “Take off your pants.”  Doctor visits can be so surreal.

I try hard to avoid this sort of thing, but considerable and chronic pain in my hip had driven me to an orthopedic doctor.  This time, however, I had thoroughly prepared myself for the visit.  I had meticulously thought through my case history, presenting complaint, and my preferences for treatment.  I had even rehearsed the delivery of this message. This had the effect of alleviating my anxiety tremendously.  An additional and unanticipated result of this preparation was that I ended up directing a lot more of the show.  Early on, the doctor quit asking me questions and sat down and actually listened, scribbling notes furiously while I talked.  It was quite gratifying really.  Then he did his evaluation, took x-rays, and presented me with a diagnosis:  scoliosis. 

Scoliosis.  I’m still trying to decide what to make of that.  The word makes my back hurt just thinking about it.  Yet, part of me is secretly excited that I have a condition.  So far I’ve managed to resist the urge to call SeniorCitizenChurchLady to brag about it. “You have a rare, but minor heart condition and asthma you say? Well I have a trick hip secondary to scoliosis!”  I’m sure it would impress her.  In case you’re not in the know, SeniorCitizenChurchLady has a plethora of health issues she expounds on at every opportunity in the most amusing way.  If you’re not in the know, you really should be, so I’ve included a repost (below) of a transcript of an actual conversation between her and moi that illustrates this point.


SeniorCitizenChurchLady Lists her Health Problems

SeniorCitizenChurchLady: The doctor says I have an abnormal doadinal? doodoodendrum? Huh, wha’d he say? Anyway, I have an abnormal doaddeenal bulb.

Me: Duodenal bulb?

SeniorCitizenChurchLady: Yes, and a chronic cough that makes my heart beat irregular.  In fact, he said I have a rare irregular heartbeat.  My PVCs said 100 alpha lipoic acid.  He said it was “minor”, but that’s not right. If it’s rare, that doesn’t sound minor to me.

Me: Things can be both rare and minor. 

SeniorCitizenChurchLady: Well “minor” can’t be right. He also said I have…

Me: Just a second.  I have to take notes on this.

SeniorCitizenChurchLady: Yes, you should.  Write ‘rare irregular heartbeat,’ but don’t write ‘minor.’ And to that you can add a hiatal hernia.  That’s a hole somewhere and some of that other stuff comes through the hole. 

Me: Mhm. I know what a hernia is.

SeniorCitizenChurchLady: Acid reflux.  Put that on your list.  My acid reflux has burned and shrunk and scarred stuff — my esophagus. It closes up and I can’t get anything through it.  They wanted to drop a light down my throat last time I was there.  I said, “Uhh…not today.  Let’s figure something else out.  How about I just chew my food a whole lot?”

SeniorCitizenChurchLady: What do you call that? 

Me: What do you call what?

SeniorCitizenChurchLady: What do you call that when you can resurrect people that are dead?

Me: Um…Jesus?

SeniorCitizenChurchLady: Divaticulostis? Divaticulitis? Vertigo.  The doctor said I had vertigo too.  I can roll over in my sleep and get dizzy. I got this other rare problem.  It’s called many-farts.  That’s m-a-n-y, not m-i-n-i.  There’s nothing ‘mini’ about them.

Me: That sounds like a particularly stressful condition.

SeniorCitizenChurchLady: Then there’s my carcinoma.  I’ve got skin cancer. And my netti pot.  Only one side works.  My ears ring constantly. 

Me:  That’s called tinnitus.  Should I add it to this list?

SeniorCitizenChurchLady: Yes.  And my knee.  I can’t get up.  My hip hurts.  I can’t turn on the shower….Are you going to put all this on your Spacebook?

Me: Yes, I’m going to blob about it on my little e-space.