Today while sitting on an uncomfortable but necessary paper sheet separating me from the doctor's chair I perused my all-too-familiar surroundings.
Pamphlets for the elderly, good to see you.
Pressure cuffs, we meet again.
Needles, you're dead to me.
I greeted the quasi-clean environment like an old (and annoying) friend. The kind of awkward acquaintance that you just can't seem to escape from. But try as we might, we are doomed to make eye contact in the grocery store and attempt forced small talk.
I have been in more doctor's offices, nurse's chairs, and metal contraptions than I would care to admit lately. Due to my famous combustible brain matter that we all know and love, I find myself in routine check-ups on a frequent basis.
CAT scans, MRI's, PET's, ultrasounds, X-rays, that tiny heart monitor thingy that they put on your finger that lights up; I've done it all, folks. I have done it all.
And for some silly reason I had the impression that after my brain surgery mumbo-jumbo I would be all good; forever exempt from the medical world of pokes, prods, and sympathy lollipops.
But no. Ohhhhhhh no, no, no, you silly brain-damaged comedian, you!
After approximately six months spent dealing with doctor's visits, intensive therapy, and a garden variety of medications, I experienced a radio silence. All of the sudden I was back to normal. Or the new normal, really. The kind of normal that has occasional bouts of double-vision when looking to the left and falls promptly out of chairs for no good reason.
It's a hilarious coincidence that while writing this post in the neighborhood Starbucks I quite literally fell out of my chair and onto a complete stranger when I saw a friendly face enter the door unexpectedly (Wade, you have my permission to judge me).
During my student-teaching semester I hardly ever needed to visit my annoying ol' pal at the doctor's office. I was too busy running around my classroom like a chicken with its head cut off to even notice what condition my health was in and if it needed tending to.
I was on edge and fantastic. Epically stressed out and riddled with anxiety.
I was a glorified zombie trying to convince everyone that I was a human and not a gooey test tube of medical complications.
Cue my summer body. And no, not the summer body that does yoga half-naked in the park or relaxes leisurely by some sun-kissed beach tide waiting for the hot beach volleyball playing men to stumble by.
It's the body I'd been neglecting for the past six months. A body overcome by a laundry list of obnoxious ailments. Without penciling in a visit to therapy or the next MRI session I had procrastinated on the upkeep. I slacked on the oil changes...
Crud. Now I just remembered I actually forgot to get my oil changed, too. What an accidental metaphor.
Needless to say some work needed to be done, and by medical professionals. What I originally self-diagnosed as a callous was soon discovered by the salon technician as she went to town on my dry, cracking feet like an Italian with a cheese-grater.
"Oh, honey that's a wart...those are baaaad. I had to have mine cut off my foot. See the scar?"
Oh, fantastic. Another surgical procedure. Another scar.
What the hell, body?
My mother took me promptly to the Walgreen's to find the freeze-away remedy. For the next couple of weeks I tried relentlessly to rid my foot of the wart, channeling Lady Macbeth and shouting, "OUT DAMN SPOT," at the top of my lungs in my bathroom.
So eventually I ignored it and continued on grading papers and thinking of new exciting ways to make my Power Points more engaging for my students.
Eh, what's a little wart gonna' do? It's got nothin' on that brain hemorrhage of mine.
Towards the end of my student-teaching semester my body found other ways to casually piss me off. This time in the company of my friends. At a local summer food truck event in the heat of May my friends Rebecca, Mason, and I scoured the lot for the best burgers and brews. Alongside the food trucks were local merchants; hand-made jewelery, bags, and adorable knick knacks. We found a tent filled with organic hand creams.
Perfect. Just what I needed for my dry man-hands.
I found an opened sample and rubbed it on my hands. We carried on our way to the beer tent that would later disappoint us.
After about an hour in the hot sun I could feel my hands tingling and going numb. I figured nothing of it and thought that it was simply the mystery cream working its magic on my hands. As we exited the festival I turned to Mason.
"It's pretty normal that my hands are numb. Right?"
"Mimi, I don't know how to tell you this," Mason said straight-faced, "but I think your hands may have been roofied..."
I looked down at my tingling, red hands in humiliation. I knew there must have been something in the cream that was giving me an allergic reaction, but I had paid no attention to the name of the product nor its ingredients.
By the morning my hands had broken out into a full-scale awful, itchy rash.
While I knew I always had sensitive skin, I was peeved that my body was doing this to me. I tried again with a variety of over-the-counter medications and for a while it seemed that the rash was going away.
But alas! The body is a fragile being.
A little time spent in the sun caused my hand rash to flare up again. Hence my long-awaited visit to the doctor today for the rash and pesky wart that refuse to go away.
And here we are again, consistently disappointed in my body's inability to keep its shit together. So to give my body a little bit of credit for trying to keep pace with my hectic life, I gave it the reins for the day.
Here's what it had to say:
Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to listen to me today. For once. It shouldn't be of any surprise what I'm about to say right now, but in case you've been ignoring me for the past 23 years (which you have), here's some things you should take note of:
We are not immortal.
We don't like it when you binge eat chocolate and salty things and watch Netflix for hours.
Running five miles sporadically without proper training or athleticism hurts us. So stop.
Our skin hates it when we're stressed out. So just stop thinking about all the stuff that stresses us out. Like now.
Read the ingredients for Christ's sake. We can read, can't we?
Stop doing stupid things like Snapchatting at odd hours of the night. We need our beauty sleep. Unless you'd like to see us age prematurely. Forehead wrinkles, I'm looking at you.
Do some yoga, yuh lazy scum. Lord knows we could use the balance in our lives. Remember that time, just a moment ago, when you fell out of our chair? Do you enjoy embarrassing us? DO YOU.
Since when has exercise ever been rational for eating an entire pizza in one sitting? We can't elliptical our way to eliminating that muffin-top with your poor excuse for a diet.
Vegetables do not count if you cover them in butter and salt.
DRINK SOME WATER, WOULD YUH. Jesus woman. You'd think you enjoy making us look and feel like Nebraska during the Dust Bowl.
Well now that we've covered some of my minor complaints, I'd like to end by saying that it is indeed all downhill from here. The rush you used to feel by running shall soon be replaced with knee replacements and asthmatic lungs. Don't bother trying to prevent worry lines, they are already here and they are here to stay.
Oh sure, we've got a couple more glory years ahead of us. We could capture the eye of a young male suitor at the YMCA. But those days are few and far between, my decomposing friend.
Take it from me, your poor, innocent body, you might look cute and endearing now when you stumble out of chairs and into stationary objects...but just wait til we hit 75.
That shit is not cute.
Your Fragile Body