May 16, 2023, 05:55AM

Just When You Thought It Was Safe

You don’t need to be a good person to see bad things happening every day.

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My visit to Urgent Care wasn’t urgent. I’m waiting in the lobby to give blood samples. That's better than giving stool or urine samples, but not by much. Lab tests for hepatitis and glucose/diabetes are standard fodder for oldsters. There’s also an order for vitamin D deficiency screening. Upon check-in, I had to wear a surgical mask for safety. From what, nowadays, I’m unsure. An educated guess would be protection from effects of that plague’s residual scourge around the globe or bad breath. The only place that masks are mandatory today are hospitals and clinics. Sounds legit, but I wouldn’t bet on the virus, vaccine, booster shots, quarantines, lockdowns, or all the rest of that qualified mess. Public health restrictions aren’t in effect, though the virus could rebound, making an ugly comeback, and yet, growing old is truly getting old for humans merely being. The future was here. I'm still waiting for the present to pass.

A quick glance around the waiting room reveals all manner of the mostly elderly. I’m part of a growing group of seniors whose once youthful productive citizen’s promise has slowly dripped, dribbled, or squandered away. Some have obvious health problems, others suffer in quiet despair. The checklist is long, ranging from handicap disabilities and infirmities, to less serious concerns. Morbid obesity and diabetes are the big issues. One by one, names are called. It’s painful to watch them get up and go, hobbling away with canes. Walkers, and wheelchairs. They disappear, in slow–mo agony, through the doorway. I feel lucky, getting up from chairs, with only a slight moan or groan. Still able to get around on my own steam, without assistance. I also know it can change instantly. It's usually my lower back and knees that hurt. I’m pushing 70. You can taste it, approaching the twilight zone endgame. It’s not checkmate, but options are few. Who wants to live forever with minor aches and pains? Everybody, it seems. Let's play two out of three.

Finally, my turn for the bloodletting ritual. It’s dumb luck, I have a rookie nurse jabbing me with a needle. Failed attempts in both arms and a hand. One, two, three, maybe four times without any success before the real RN takes over. I feel like a junkie who can’t hit a vein's sweet spot. Six blood-filled test tubes later, it’s over. I make my dizzy, light-headed escape. I received the results via email the same day. No surprises, as suspected, but didn’t want to admit. A fatty liver, borderline diabetes, and very low vitamin D. Negative for the Hep B or C, running through the alphabet of diseases. What a relief!

The plague, and isolation, took a toll on people. Too many suffer, some more than most, giving up the ghost on a regular basis. Not to mention the indignity of growing old. Suicide and insanity are now a common theme park ride water slide. People who go off the deep end, wading to the shallow side of the politics, pee in the pool, are divided right down the middle of the kiddie park to oblivion. They have serious doubts, fearing basic truth is no longer true.

Maybe I'm just a fuddy-duddy, but a casual stroll down the streets of Anytown USA could be fatal. Another statistic in the human numbers game of violence. My physical health is better than my mental health; the simple fact is, the fuckery of things is broken, bought and sold out, for and by the people who represent the people. Those assholes who pawn themselves off as public servants. Permanently screwed up and over by overlords. Preaching to the choir could result in a lawsuit or a dozen bullets from an AR-15. Hypocrisy's double standard, the moral compass of religious fanatics. Pro-life, anti-vax, homophobes, marching in protest against living for life, shunned by the very group they're proud members of. Ostracized and bullied by your own kind. You don’t need to be a good person to see bad things happening every day.

Am I blue? There’s a gap in thinking what was still is, as opposed to what is, was. It happens all the time. I’ve distracted myself long enough to save me from myself. I have 15 unopened voicemails, 130 unread emails, seven unanswered texts and a million reasons to worry about everything. I do it all the time. I have 15 minutes to change my mind. 


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