Hi, Diddley Dee, An Invalid’s Life’s For Me

Am I the onliest one who realizes human beings were meant to drop dead around age 35? Last week my intermittent lower back pain morphed into chronic unending agony. It hurt to stand up and I was walking like I had a load in my pants, George W. Bush-style. Off we trotted to my beloved Dr. Jeany Tay at South San Francisco Kaiser.

“Does it hurt here?”  “Yes.” “Here?” “Yes.” “And here?” “YES, YES, YES.”

She proceeded to demonstrate my herniated disks and pinched nerves on various human body wall charts. My micro-tears had joined forces to create one jumbo tear. It turns out muscles don’t like being ripped up. Apparently, undigging my dog’s massive holes without squatting properly had not done a body good.

At least I didn’t have shooting pains down my legs or numbness of the feet. She warned me that if I couldn’t pee or lost feeling in my anus, I should proceed directly to the ER. All righty, then.

And then she uttered the magic words:  Bed Rest. For at least three days. No lifting. No exercise. No shoveling. I was made for this. Not to brag, but my DVR is down to 0% and I have reread Gone With the Wind. (I’m not kidding. All 959 pages of the new edition with an introduction by Pat Conroy.) No idler, I.

Of course, my male nurse Florenz Nightingale, better known as the Lord & Master, had the – how shall I put it? – balls to suggest a little roll in the hay as he perfected his lurch and stop driving method on the way home from the doctor’s office. One rain check coming right up, Bub. (Trust me, he collected as soon as humanly possible. I don’t know whether I should be flattered or enraged.)

When I was in college I had a violently positive reaction to that little circle of pin pricks on the inner wrist for tuberculosis. Next thing I knew the State of Massachusetts insisted on stamping out the dormant TB germs in my lungs lest I flower into full coughing mode. The year long program consisted of pills and x-rays issued to a passel of drunkards and sweet little me. I’d rather have taken the cure at Baden Baden.

Around that same time, I became incensed watching the evening news when they announced that German measles had been conquered. Excuse me? I enjoyed a glorious, pain free two weeks at home during third grade courtesy of those teutonic measles and some follow-up malady called the Echo Virus. “That’s criminal,” I sputtered, “that was the best disease I ever had!”

The fact is I cannot wait to be laid up for good. I’m gonna make a happy old broad. A bed, a book, a television – bliss. Jewish Home for the Aged, here I come.


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