Thursday, January 20, 2005

 

Words of Wisdom from the late Dr. Zevon

Readers of this blog, may recall that lately I've been having adventures with the medical establishment. (See, "C.B.'s Big Adventure", December 8, 2004 http://aclockworkbluejay.blogspot.com/2004_12_01_aclockworkbluejay_archive.html). Two weeks ago, a very good friend of my died, unexpectedly, in an absurd accident. This Friday, I get to experience the tender mercies of the disciples of Hippocrates again when I get a kidney stone "blasted".

For some reason, I've been listening to the songs of the late, great Warren Zevon. Two of them seem to "speak" to me in a very direct way.

The first is a cheerful little ditty entitled "My Shits Fucked Up":

Well, I went to the doctor I said,
"I'm feeling kind of rough"
He said, "I'll break it to you, son
Your shit's fucked up."
I said, "my shit's fucked up?"
Well, I don't see how--"
He said, "The shit that used to work--
It won't work now."

I had a dream
Ah, shucks, oh, well
Now it's all fucked up It's shot to hell
Yeah, yeah, my shit's fucked up
It has to happen to the best of us
The rich folks suffer like the rest of us
It'll happen to you
That amazing grace
Sort of passed you by

You wake up every day
And you start to cry
Yeah, you want to die
But you just can't quit
Let me break it on down:
It's the fucked up shit

The second seems oddly appropriate for people (like myself) who have entered their second semi-century and have intimations of mortality:

Don't let us get sick
Don't let us get old
Don't let us get stupid, all right?
Just make us be brave
And make us play nice
And let us be together tonight

The sky was on fire
When I walked to the mill
To take up the slack in the line
I thought of my friends
And the troubles they've had
To keep me from thinking of mine

Don't let us get sick
Don't let us get old
Don't let us get stupid, all right?
Just make us be brave
And make us play nice
And let us be together tonight

The moon has a face
And it smiles on the lake
And causes the ripples in Time
I'm lucky to be here
With someone I like
Who maketh my spirit to shine

Don't let us get sick
Don't let us get old
Don't let us get stupid, all right?
Just make us be brave
And make us play nice
And let us be together tonight.

I've begun to feel that once you let doctors start poking, prodding, and cutting you (much less blasting you with sonic waves), you've let them take control of your destiny. Maybe the best we can do is follow John Cheever's advice in the Wapshot Chronicle:

"Fear tastes like a rusty knife and do not let her into your house. Courage tastes of blood. Stand up straight. Admire the world. Relish the love of a gentle woman. Trust in the Lord."


Comments:
As the real Dorothy Parker once said:
"Razors pain you; Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you; And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren't lawful; Nooses give;
Gas smells awful; You might as well
live."
 
No kidding, getting old is not for the faint of heart. I can relate; my shit is definitely fucked up.

I'm preparing to run a medical gauntlet which, in terms of human degradation, makes Abu Ghraib look like a Sandals resort. I'm having colonoscopy next Tuesday; I've done those before, so it wouldn't be a huge deal, except that I have this history of "bad preps". So so instead of the standard one-day ablution, I get to do a two- to three-day "special prep".

Last month, I actually had to do a dry run of this protocol (for lack of a more descriptive metaphor, e.g., a preliminary sluicing of the Augean Stables). It was not pretty, and frustratingly, it wasn't clear even then that complete success has been achieved.

On top of the hassle and discomfort, I'll be restricted to clear liquids for a minimum of 60 hours, which could get extended another 24 if it doesn't go well. Having given up alcohol and tobacco several months ago, I'll be starving and fully bereft of gratification.

Well, enough of my whining. Good luck with the stone blasting. Is there any anesthesia with that? How is the recovery expected to be?
 
Well the real Doro Parker senses you are becoming crabby- and perhaps understandably so. But you are hardly old, you're more "retro." Just "live your life and forget your age." ( Norman Vincent Peale.)
 
You get general anesthesia. After you wake up, you're supposed to be able to walk out under your own steam. The after-effects are severe bruising (like you took a rabbit punch to the kidney), p***ing blood, and of course you get to "pass" the sand & gravel of the pulverized stone.
 
I prefer Zevon's advice: "Life is short. Enjoy every sandwich.
 
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