as mentioned in past blogs, during the course of my life, i have made a lot of friends. i don't hang out with all of them currently, because, let's face it, there's just not enough time. i stay in touch with many, through emails, phone calls and such, but my core group, these days, is a small circle of good friends in my day-to-day life.
if you remember the premise of this entire blogsite, it's that i'm old. as such, most of my friends are too. my circle ranges in age from about 48 to over 80, so each member of the group has been around in his own life, before intersecting mine, and each has his/her own stories to tell, not to mention, aches and pains. (ok, there's one who is 47, but we forgive him. ah sweet bird of youth!) lately, i've noticed something funny as i sit in conversations with most of them. we've all grown fond of exchanging what ails you stories, and it's almost become a contest to see who can use the best words in describing their particular condition. at a recent dinner party, the conversation went something like this:
friend 1: hi, how are you?
me: i'm good, thanks. you?
friend 1: i've had better days.
me: what's up?
friend 1: well, my back is out. i went to the chiropractor and he took an x-ray and informed that my discs are out of whack and that i have a subluxation.
me: a what?
friend 1: a subluxation. you know, when your discs are not straight and your spine is crooked.
me: oh, i see. good word, btw.
i'm thinking to myself, the game is on.
friend 2: i had that once. it took a while but my chiropractor took care of it and it healed.
me: i'm glad to hear that.
friend 2: but now i have a torn rotator cuff. doctor says i might need surgery.
rotator cuff? subluxation? shit, these guys are serious.
me: i'm sorry to hear that. does it hurt?
friend 2: sometimes.
friend 3: talk about hurt, i have a torn meniscus. hurts like a bastard.
me: can they do anything.
friend 3: we're looking into it. there are these great doctors in new york.
friend 2: i have some really great doctors.
friend 4: oh yeah? well, my docs are so great that they’re famous.
friend 3: my doctors are so good that you can’t even get an appointment with them.
me: well, good luck with that. keep me posted.
i mutter to myself, meniscus? wtf?? he's winning.
friend 2: btw, david, how are your feet?
me: oh, you mean my peripheral neuropathy? same as always, a huge pain in the....feet. and i chuckle. (i've just surged ahead).
friend 4: sorry about your feet. did you hear that jerry had a t.i.a. you know, a transient, ischemic attack.
me: really? is he ok? (shit, jerry's winning).
friend 4: yes, it was brief, but he's not drooling or anything. and with him, it's hard to tell if there's brain damage. (we all laugh mercilessly and without pity).
me: poor jerry. i'll have to go see him.
friend 4: me too, although i hate going over there. his partner lou, has c.o.p.d. you know chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. he wheezes like an old bellows organ. very disconcerting. (seems our compassion is a tad light here, and suddenly goddam lou is winning and he’s not even here.)
friend 2: You know? i had a subcutaneous hematoma once.
i think, damn, what's going on here?
friend 3: that's nothing, i had a pulmonary embolism.
And suddenly it was a free-for-all.....
non-hodgkins lymphoma, take that!
wait a minute. epstein-barr? hey, wasn't that back in the 90's? you can't use that one.
why not, i have it, so there!
oh yeah? herpes simplex. Take that.
i'll see your simplex and raise you a zoster, you know, shingles.
amateurs, macular degeneration,
Wusses. ok, i was saving this .....transdermal magnesium chloride therapy. beat that!
me: (thinking to myself), omg. i thought i had this wrapped up with the neuropathy, but apparently these guys want a real match. so i counter with,
me: did i ever tell you guys the story of the old cocaine days, when we were just a bunch of fools getting high, and one day my lips swelled up like a ubangi native with plates in them? it was weird. then, days later my tongue swelled up the size of a baseball and almost choked me in my sleep, finally it hit my genitals and my penis got huge! (i didn't really mind that one so much). but of course, when something attacks you down there you head to the doctor, so i did. he diagnosed it as.....(are you ready? game kicker here.....) angio-neurotic edema. it was kind of a temporary allergic condition of sorts, that lasts about six weeks and then stops. very mysterious at the time.
friend 1: really?
friend 2: angio what?
friend 3: when was this?
friend 4: listen, i gotta go.
suddenly i felt bad. i probably shouldn't have pulled that ace out of my pocket, but hey, it was a serious game. they're my friends, and they won't hold it against me. someone's gotta win, right? and tomorrow, i'll send emails inquiring about the various meniscii, rotator cuffs, and c.o.p.d. and of course the t.i.a. victim. we'll all gather again next month and play another round. by then, someone will come up with a doozy. i never thought our lives would come down to a rousing game of who's the sickest old man in the room? but the real question is, why am i trying so hard for it to be me? maybe I need psychoanalysis.
(ooh, good word. gotta save that one for next time).